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  1. #1
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    Considering purchasing an El Salt: how is the handling?

    Hi. I am in the market for a new mountain bike. I am currently riding a Cannondale Scalpel, which I really like. I do find myself wanting more travel though (mostly in the rear). I can go through the 2.5" in the rear pretty quickly on that bike, and want a 4-5 inch lightweight XC bike. I have also tested the Cannondale Jekyll for a few days (5+ inches both front and rear, super-plush coil-spring Lefty fork) and loved how I could simply point and shoot that bike through anything (mostly because it was so plush and ate up the trail. Incredible on downhills as well, but pretty high for slow-speed stuff and climbing). Ideally, my perfect bike would be a marriage between the two: plush so that I can relax at times and simply "point and shoot" through rough terrain, while still maintaining fairly good handling. Headtube would ideally be about 70 degrees: good trailbike specs, not race geometry, but not slack either. BB should be enough so that I can ride through tough terrain while still have a good singletrack bike.

    So far, based on the reviews and responses I have seen here, it sounds like the Salty should be at the top of my list. I am also looking at the Intense 5.5 and Turner 5-spot, although both of those frames are a bit heavier and the Turner is more slack. I want a lightweight yet durable XC frame that handles great, but with some adjustability. I like the idea of having a 4/5 option for travel-many of the rides I do have no need for more travel. FWIW, I am 145 lbs, 5 foot 8, and ride fairly fast.

    A few questions for everyone on this board: I talked with Sherwood about fork options, and he said that he personally rides a F100x and 5" rockers on the Salty-is this the hot setup? He also said that their demos are equipped with TALAS forks and that they have been well recieved. So, which is preferrable: adjustable travel (TALAS) or fixed 100mm travel (F100x, Float RLC, Minute 2)? I found it interesting that he is riding only 100mm up front and 5" in the rear-does that mean handling isn't ideal with a fork other than 100mm up front? On most bikes, it would seem that matched travel front and rear is the way to go.

    If I want a fairly plush setup that still pedals well, what are my options? I really loved that Lefty Max+: it was so plush and smooth. I would love to get that feel throughout the bike, rather than the stiffer air fork and rear of the Scalpel. Something that was as plush as that Jekyll, yet able to ride in a 4" mode is what I am looking for (the Jekyll had a Fox Float RL on the back, but with the single-pivot design, the rear ate up everything). Do I go coil front and rear? Is there even a coil fork that plush available in XC (100mm) lengths?

    Thanks for your help. It sounds like the El Salt is the frame for me, I just would like to get some confirmation on setting it up. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I recently purchased a bushing Salty I think a 02' model without even a demo ride. I built mine up as a light trail/race bike right around 24.2lbs. With all the talk over the years about the slow accelerating and bobbing of the Salty I quickly upgraded the fox float r to a 5th element. I can't really comment to much on my setup cause my 5th element never really worked quite right from the get go and finally had to send it back to be rebuilt after only 5 rides. What I can tell you is with the 5th acceleration was wicked fast while I had it but once I installed the fox float r again has back up I quickly noticed how the bike felt more balanced between front and rear with the more active rear shock as I'm running a fox float 100 RLC up front. Once I finally dialed in the fox float I now see no reason to even own a 5th element though I might end up 2nd guessing myself once I get a good working 5th on my Salty.

    BTW, I have the standard 4" rockers on my Salty and don't see the need for anymore travel as pure speed is what I'm looking for north and south. Also I think my headangle is alittle steeper than the advertised 70 due to the fact Fox is known for having shorter crown to axle length compared to other brands, I'm thinking more like 70.5 for my setup.

    So far I'm very happy with my Salty with the few rides I have on it, couldn't ask for anymore.

  3. #3
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    Go for it

    You have a lot of questions.

    I rode a jekyll as my sole bike for 3 years prior to getting my salt. I find that the Salt does EVERYTHING better. I run 5 inches front and rear, but really prefer a trailbike "hiking" set up to a "race" set up. I have a romic rear and Talas front. This thing is plush. High BB for getting over rocks. It pedals efficiently over rough ground when climbing, and the rear end really hooks up on the rough steep stuff. I can get up stuff on this bike that my Jekyll would just spin its rear wheel on. On smooth climbs, some bob is noticable. Who cares.

    When I crank the settings down to four inches front and rear, the bike becomes more like a sports car. Tight, rougher riding, and better handling, but beats you up more. Really a dramatic change in personality.

    To me, the beauty of the salt is that you can set it up and adjust it to meet your needs and desires. Lightweight air sprung single track machine, or heavy, big travel, light freeride. You decide based on your parts spec.

    For a rocky, steep Arizona terrain I love my set up. and have no regrets in choosing the Salt. YMMV.

    Eric

  4. #4
    Trail Rider
    Reputation: Quattro's Avatar
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    I'm considering the same...

    Quote Originally Posted by chiho
    Hi. I am in the market for a new mountain bike. I am currently riding a Cannondale Scalpel, which I really like. I do find myself wanting more travel though (mostly in the rear). I can go through the 2.5" in the rear pretty quickly on that bike, and want a 4-5 inch lightweight XC bike. I have also tested the Cannondale Jekyll for a few days (5+ inches both front and rear, super-plush coil-spring Lefty fork) and loved how I could simply point and shoot that bike through anything (mostly because it was so plush and ate up the trail. Incredible on downhills as well, but pretty high for slow-speed stuff and climbing). Ideally, my perfect bike would be a marriage between the two: plush so that I can relax at times and simply "point and shoot" through rough terrain, while still maintaining fairly good handling. Headtube would ideally be about 70 degrees: good trailbike specs, not race geometry, but not slack either. BB should be enough so that I can ride through tough terrain while still have a good singletrack bike.

    So far, based on the reviews and responses I have seen here, it sounds like the Salty should be at the top of my list. I am also looking at the Intense 5.5 and Turner 5-spot, although both of those frames are a bit heavier and the Turner is more slack. I want a lightweight yet durable XC frame that handles great, but with some adjustability. I like the idea of having a 4/5 option for travel-many of the rides I do have no need for more travel. FWIW, I am 145 lbs, 5 foot 8, and ride fairly fast.

    A few questions for everyone on this board: I talked with Sherwood about fork options, and he said that he personally rides a F100x and 5" rockers on the Salty-is this the hot setup? He also said that their demos are equipped with TALAS forks and that they have been well recieved. So, which is preferrable: adjustable travel (TALAS) or fixed 100mm travel (F100x, Float RLC, Minute 2)? I found it interesting that he is riding only 100mm up front and 5" in the rear-does that mean handling isn't ideal with a fork other than 100mm up front? On most bikes, it would seem that matched travel front and rear is the way to go.

    If I want a fairly plush setup that still pedals well, what are my options? I really loved that Lefty Max+: it was so plush and smooth. I would love to get that feel throughout the bike, rather than the stiffer air fork and rear of the Scalpel. Something that was as plush as that Jekyll, yet able to ride in a 4" mode is what I am looking for (the Jekyll had a Fox Float RL on the back, but with the single-pivot design, the rear ate up everything). Do I go coil front and rear? Is there even a coil fork that plush available in XC (100mm) lengths?

    Thanks for your help. It sounds like the El Salt is the frame for me, I just would like to get some confirmation on setting it up. Thanks!
    I talked to Sherwood and he asked me what fork I would be using?
    If I was going to use a 5 in. fork get the x5 frame. If I was going to use a 4 in. fork, get the Salty. I'm thinking that the stock headangle on both frames is what he wanted me to experience in my choice.
    I think 70 degrees would be what I'm after as my current bike is setup that way. Yet Turner uses 69 degrees. My consideration of the Salty is for weight. The 5 in. rocker would be my choice. This would give me a frame that had 5 in. travel and with Quad bearings, keep the weight near my 6 lb. target(probably a little heavier) I would think that the Talas might work as it is adjustable. If I was going to go wth coils all around, I would choose the X5. One thing, I ride a 4 in. travel bike now and never come near using all the front travel. The rear comes pretty close to 4 in. in everyday riding. So maybe a little longer travel in the rear would be fine for a plush ride.

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