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  1. #1
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    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...

    Hello mtbr! Been a looooong time since I posted here but I could really use some good advice.

    I ride a 2015 Salsa El Mariachi 3, which, at time of purchase was imo a pretty sweet bike, and as one of the last steel frames available thats not "boutique" it's still kinda special...However, I feel like it quickly became outdated...almost feels like I'm metaphoricaly riding my 26er again...

    I'd really like to upgrade the wheels to something lighter and wider but, unfortunately, the frame and fork are 10x135 and 9x100mm quick release respectively. It seems finding anything that is not boost spacing and/or thru axle has become futile.

    I'm having a hard time deciding whether to continue trying to upgrade (wheels, fork etc) or just cut my losses, sell the bike and buy something "modern".

  2. #2
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    If you like the bike and feel like it only needs new wheels, there are heaps of options. Talk with a custom wheelbuilder (I am one) and see what options you have.

    That said, there's never been a better time to buy a new bike. Hard part is deciding which one.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    What @mikesee said. My first 29er was the 1st gen el Mar. Rigid. Eccentric. OX Platinum sweetness. Many bikes since, but one was a 1st gen Surly Krampus with 135 qr rear and 100 qr front. I could run 29x3.25 on that thing. Depending on what your el Mar frame/fork will accommodate, you can go crazy with tire experimentation. And you can probably find all kinds of great deals on used wheels on eBay, etc. Steelís realz. Enjoy.

  4. #4
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    I specifically bought my last two bikes because they were 135 and 100 QR. This allowed me to be able to switch wheelsets between those bikes and a couple of other bikes I already had. One of my wheelsets can fit through-axle frames with an end cap change. Maybe you can find or have a wheelset built that can be used on your current bike and then be used with an end cap change if you get a newer bike.

  5. #5
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    Your hub options are endless and range from Shimano Deore to King/I9/DTSwiss. New bikes are amazing, but if you like your Salsa and want new wheels, most competent shops should be able to build you a custom set or order something pre-built from a distributor. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsepro View Post
    Your hub options are endless and range from Shimano Deore to King/I9/DTSwiss. New bikes are amazing, but if you like your Salsa and want new wheels, most competent shops should be able to build you a custom set or order something pre-built from a distributor. Good luck.
    Not only are the hub options almost endless, but the rim options are plentiful as well. The only real limitation will be the clearance in your frame/fork. If you still love your bike, you will certainly be able to find a wheelset that suits your purposes.

  7. #7
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    I agree, if you're happy with the frame then it's worth spending some money on upgrading components. Building wheels with some nice wide modern rims would make a big difference even though you can't fit a really big tire in the back of that frame.

    What fork are you running? Having it serviced will bring it back to life and is money well spent. Most likely you can get up to a 2.6" tire in there, depending on what fork it is. Even a 2.3-2.4 on a wide rim will feel a lot different than what you're on probably.

    I'm also a fan of 135 steel frames.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  8. #8
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    Also, you can buy the alternator dropouts for a thru axle, not that expensive and perfectly compatible with your bike, I miss my Mariachi so bad

  9. #9
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    Dude, definitely still a sweet bike, may not have the super low, stretched out, super slack geo that is "trending" these days, but so what, if it still feels and rides good to you, then a wheel upgrade should definitely breath some new life into it. As others have said, still LOADS of complete wheel options out there to fit 135/100, just get a set that uses end caps so in the future you could go that route if you get a new frame/bike - you can use boost adapters.

    Looking at the geo for your bike from Salsa, they're claiming the frame can take 2.4" tyres out back, so guessing you can at least upgrade to an i27-30 rim on something like a Hope Pro4 hub for relatively cheap. If you really want to save, try a set from Bicycle Wheel Warehouse I think the name is, they have their own house brand hubs, that get great reviews and the set is the same cost as a rear Hope. Rim wise, something from WTB, Spank, Race Face, e13 or DT Swiss, will get you a good rim, used to be a Stans fan, but don't like the new stuff - personally I'm a WTB fan when it comes to rims, so I'd suggest the new KOM Tough, Frequency Team or Asym depending on your needs.

    If by chance you're not completely happy with the bike, then, by all means, go out and demo some of the newer ones out there, so many to choose from these days, hard to really get something bad now compared to 10 years ago. I just recently switched from a 2008 rigid Monkey to a 2018 rigids Kona Unit and am very happy with the subtle changes between the 2 - more reach, Monkey XL was always a tad small for me. 68 degree HTA vs the Monkey's 71. Ability to run proper plus tyres, Unit actually fits 29x3" which makes riding rigid a whole lot nicer. Also running 29+ raises the BB up quite a bit, helping to combat the silly drag your pedals BB trend happening these days.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  10. #10
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    Wow! Thank you for all the replies, I forgot how great this forum is!

    To be honest, I was very late to the 29er party. Going from a great but VERY out dated 26" Gary Fisher hard tail, the El Mar felt like a totally new, amazing experience. I guess I didn't expect the industry to change things so drastically, making it feel "antiquated" so soon.

    Ive always been a change things, make them yours, kind of person. I bought the El Mar for the frame, with every intention of upgrading the components. New Fox fork to replace the Recon silver, lighter, wider wheels, maybe even paint...but I guess I'm having second thoughts.

    I did speak to a couple of wheel builders when I first got the bike and let's just say there was some sticker shock there...$800-$1000 for Stans Arches laced to Hope hubs...I guess that is reasonable for a custom set of wheels? I've always been partial to Mavics but it seems they only make boost/thru axle wheels now? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I did speak to a couple of wheel builders when I first got the bike and let's just say there was some sticker shock there...$800-$1000 for Stans Arches laced to Hope hubs...I guess that is reasonable for a custom set of wheels? I've always been partial to Mavics but it seems they only make boost/thru axle wheels now? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    I've never been a fan of Mavic wheels or rims. Might be due to the era when I was exposed to them and everything sucked equally bad.

    Hope Hubs 100/135 = $70 + $190 [Jenson] = $260 [Can be converted to 110/142/148 later as needed]

    Stan's Flow Rims = $100 each [Jenson]

    Say $1.50 for each spoke + nipple = $96 say $100 for 64 [Sapim Race @ Jenson]

    So you are up to $560 + wheel building service...just a rough number, but it gives you some benchmark for wheel costs.

    One of my bikes is a 2014 model. Uses 100mm/135mm Hope hubs, but it fits 29 x 3" tires. Those wheels can be converted to 110/148mm if that is ever needed so money invested in the wheels won't be wasted. It's a super fun bike!

    If you love riding your bike keep riding it. Buy hubs that can be converted to Boost. I just sold a 26er that I rode for ~9 years. It was way out of date in a lot of ways, but it's still a rad bike and a buddy is riding now and probably will ride it another 9 years!
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  13. #13
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    I didn't know that most aftermarket hubs could be converted to boost if needed...if I read that right...I always assumed they were a different monster all together. This changes everything. A bike shop owner I spoke to specifically bought a frame that wasnt boost so he could continue to use his industry 9 built wheelset, which led me to believe its either boost or not. Is this a new option or always been this way?

  14. #14
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    Don't mind all the hype and new standards, if the geo of the El Mar is still working for you, it's a fantastic frame, such class, go ahead and do the upgrades, most can transfer over to something else if you later on decide.

    You can easily get a set of Hope Pro4s wheels for $600 shipped, or some those BWW wheels for about $400. If you really want to add some bling and carbon, you can pick up a set of Reynolds Black Label wheels for $999 which use i9 hubs.

    As suggested you could go for a bigger front tyre, like one of the new 2.6"s sizes, this would offer more grip and increase front end height a bit and help slacken out the HTA a tad. 120mm fork would then also help slacken the HTA out some more. Could also do a mix and match wheelset, like I used to run on my '08 Monkey with 2.8" B+ in the rear and 29x2.6" in the front, the B+ in the back, really does help take some more of the edge off of a HT.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Wow! Thank you for all the replies, I forgot how great this forum is!

    To be honest, I was very late to the 29er party. Going from a great but VERY out dated 26" Gary Fisher hard tail, the El Mar felt like a totally new, amazing experience. I guess I didn't expect the industry to change things so drastically, making it feel "antiquated" so soon.

    Ive always been a change things, make them yours, kind of person. I bought the El Mar for the frame, with every intention of upgrading the components. New Fox fork to replace the Recon silver, lighter, wider wheels, maybe even paint...but I guess I'm having second thoughts.

    I did speak to a couple of wheel builders when I first got the bike and let's just say there was some sticker shock there...$800-$1000 for Stans Arches laced to Hope hubs...I guess that is reasonable for a custom set of wheels? I've always been partial to Mavics but it seems they only make boost/thru axle wheels now? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I didn't know that most aftermarket hubs could be converted to boost if needed...if I read that right...I always assumed they were a different monster all together. This changes everything. A bike shop owner I spoke to specifically bought a frame that wasnt boost so he could continue to use his industry 9 built wheelset, which led me to believe its either boost or not. Is this a new option or always been this way?
    I would definitely verify the specific hubs you plan to use can be converted. A lot can, but Murphy's Law states that if you don't check you'll end up with some odd ball exception.

    To convert the Hope Hubs I have on my 100/135mm 29+ bike from 2014. I bought some Wolf Tooth conversion kits.

    https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/...ts/boostinator

    There are other sources for conversion parts including some manufacturers.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  16. #16
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    If your head tube is tapered and you're still on a recon silver, a fork upgrade can probably be had relatively inexpensive. Then you can do a TA up front too, and this will really tighten up your handling on the front. You can get a 110mm or 120mm also, if you want a little slacker head tube, just know you'll want to change your bar spacing and saddle position a bit to compensate.

    I did this with an old QR bike and it made a very big difference.



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  17. #17
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    Im loving everything I'm reading so far. Thank you for all the amazing help!

    Does anyone know where I can still find the 12x142 Salsa Alternator drop out and maxle kit? I'd prefer to go this rout if possible. I also want to go with a thru axle (possibly boost?) Fox fork if I'm gonna go all in. Is boost that much better than a standard 15mm thru axle?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I didn't know that most aftermarket hubs could be converted to boost if needed...if I read that right...I always assumed they were a different monster all together. This changes everything. A bike shop owner I spoke to specifically bought a frame that wasnt boost so he could continue to use his industry 9 built wheelset, which led me to believe its either boost or not. Is this a new option or always been this way?
    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Im loving everything I'm reading so far. Thank you for all the amazing help!

    Does anyone know where I can still find the 12x142 Salsa Alternator drop out and maxle kit? I'd prefer to go this rout if possible. I also want to go with a thru axle (possibly boost?) Fox fork if I'm gonna go all in. Is boost that much better than a standard 15mm thru axle?
    I wouldn't say most. But quite a few of the better brands can be converted to boost with a kit.

    First place I'd check would be any shop with a QBP (distributor) account or a Salsa dealer. QBP owns Salsa, but doesn't restrict parts like that to just Salsa dealers. I've bought Salsa parts from non-Salsa dealers before.

    And honestly, the thru-axle dropout kit really isn't 12x142 specific. They're the same dropouts used for 12x148 bikes, but the frame itself is a little wider when the bike is boost spaced. There actually were dropouts made that could be used on a boost-spaced bike to fit 12x142 hubs (for the Timberjack, IIRC) and those are NOT what you want.

    Throwing more honesty at you, if you're going to make bigger changes to the bike, I'd rather have a thru axle up front than out back if I had to choose. On a steel hardtail like the El Mar, I don't think QR is an issue whatsoever. Up front, though, it does make a difference.

    The only reason I'd get a boost fork up front would be because of the availability of suitable forks. It can be difficult to find good quality non-boost forks on the new market nowadays. Used ones are out there, but if you were considering a new fork, that's the one thing that would convince me to go boost for the fork on your bike. Two main reasons for boost - one being that it allows for stronger 29er wheel builds, which isn't terribly relevant on an xc bike like the El Mariachi (more relevant for rowdy all mountain/enduro bikes). The other reason is that it enables frames with more tire clearance. Otherwise, non-boost frames and wheels work perfectly well.

    $800 is not unusual for a wheel build of that nature. Hope hubs are sort of in the midrange of the price scale for aftermarket decent-quality hubs. I spent around $1100 for my fatbike wheels (Hope hubs, Chinese carbon rims, built by mikesee who posted above). IIRC, I spent about $300 for the build + spokes. And the rims were probably 3x more expensive than the Stans rims posted above.

    I'm planning a wheel build with I9 hubs and Race Face Arc rims (similar to the Stan's above) and it'll be in the $1,000 range. I've signed up for a wheelbuilding class (not much different in cost to what I'd spend to have someone else build them) and I'll be building my own wheels.

    You can get the cost down on a wheel build, but you might have to sacrifice some things to get there. I had a wheelset built for my commuter bike almost a decade ago, and spent about $450 all-in. I used a basic Shimano hub (M529 or something very unspecial workhorse-type) Velocity Dyad rims, and basic straight gauge spokes.

  19. #19
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    I've learned not to upgrade an older bike and just put that money towards a new one.

    I'd just ride yours until you know its time for something newer.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Im loving everything I'm reading so far. Thank you for all the amazing help!

    Does anyone know where I can still find the 12x142 Salsa Alternator drop out and maxle kit? I'd prefer to go this rout if possible. I also want to go with a thru axle (possibly boost?) Fox fork if I'm gonna go all in. Is boost that much better than a standard 15mm thru axle?
    Boost won't make a noticeable difference in the front, but everything thing is going that way so if you're getting a new fork and wheels anyway, there's no reason not to go boost.

    A Fox 34 SC 120mm might be worth a look. Pretty sweet fork but is limited to only 120mm due to its lightweight design. If your not too heavy the Fox 32 SC is also an excellent fork, but limited to 100mm.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale-Calgary View Post
    I've learned not to upgrade an older bike and just put that money towards a new one.

    I'd just ride yours until you know its time for something newer.
    Depends what it is and how much you like it.

    A good quality steel hardtail? Worth keeping if you love it.

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  22. #22
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    This thread needs pics. OP, how about a little El Mar love??
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  23. #23
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    Man I would love to post some pics but unfortunately 2 things: I dont have any current pics and second, even if I did I wouldn't know how to post them. I had this same problem when I was posting to the raw aluminum thread after I stripped my Fisher down to bare metal. All I wanted to do was show it off but for the life of me couldn't figure out how...computers...not my strong suit.

  24. #24
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    Always thought the El Mariachis were a cool bike, especially once they changed to the alternator dropouts. Throw one of Salsa's excellent CroMoto Grande thru-axle forks on there and I still think those frames make for an awesome rigid SS. I am probably the odd man out as far as not wanting long, low, and super slack for something that I will be spending a considerable time standing and mashing. If the price was right, I would still buy one.

  25. #25
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    You have a bike thatís worthy of a new wheelset. If the Salse fits and you like it, quality wheels and tires will make you like it more.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Hello mtbr! Been a looooong time since I posted here but I could really use some good advice.

    I ride a 2015 Salsa El Mariachi 3, which, at time of purchase was imo a pretty sweet bike, and as one of the last steel frames available thats not "boutique" it's still kinda special...However, I feel like it quickly became outdated...almost feels like I'm metaphoricaly riding my 26er again...

    I'd really like to upgrade the wheels to something lighter and wider but, unfortunately, the frame and fork are 10x135 and 9x100mm quick release respectively. It seems finding anything that is not boost spacing and/or thru axle has become futile.

    I'm having a hard time deciding whether to continue trying to upgrade (wheels, fork etc) or just cut my losses, sell the bike and buy something "modern".
    www.speedgearbike.com

    Wayne will build you a custom wheel set for your spacing. Also, if you go with a hub like the Hope Pro4, you can change the spacing between 5mm QR, 9x100 10x135, or 15x100 12x142 if you ever buy different bike that uses any of those spacings. There are a few other hub brands that can change out end caps to adapt the spacing to your bikes. Hope is just one brand who does it.


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  27. #27
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    El Mar is a nice bike and it's worthy of keeping, unless you want something different like an FS bike. I don't know if the steerer is tapered on that bike, if it's not that could be a problem, but not insurmountable, there are manitous and other forks that will fit. There are enough nice 135 hubs still out there that I wouldn't be worried and you could still build up a nice wheelset for it.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  28. #28
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    So I've decided to keep the El Mar. I'm going to get a set of wheels built and replace the Recon, which is actually a Gold not a silver, with either a Reba or Fox thru axle fork. The other thing I'm looking to do is xt brakes over the generic shimanos it has now. I think the bike is worth it and deserves the love. Thank you all of the awesome advice! I'll try updating as I go along.

  29. #29
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    Sweet! Good plan.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  30. #30
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    If you're going to do that, then do yourself a favour and get a fork with 34/35mm stanchions, the weight increase is minimal over a 32, but the stiffness and steering precision is very noticeable. Also, take a look at the X-Fusion stuff, normally about 1/4-1/3 less than a modern Fox/RS and just as good, IMHO, especially the RC HLR damper ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    So I've decided to keep the El Mar. I'm going to get a set of wheels built and replace the Recon, which is actually a Gold not a silver, with either a Reba or Fox thru axle fork. The other thing I'm looking to do is xt brakes over the generic shimanos it has now. I think the bike is worth it and deserves the love. Thank you all of the awesome advice! I'll try updating as I go along.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  31. #31
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    Parts are expensive. You are making a bunch of marginal improvments on a XC bike in order to make it more of a trail bike.
    I would get a dropper if you do not have one and more agressive tires and call it good. Maybe relace the front wheel with a 30mm id rim if you are rolling 2.5" tires. N+1 gives you a backup bike to loan to friends and you can use all the upgrade $ on a Nimble Nine if you like steel hardtails or go all out and get a FS whip.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  32. #32
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    WOW, it looks good, you should to try it

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    So I've decided to keep the El Mar. I'm going to get a set of wheels built and replace the Recon, which is actually a Gold not a silver, with either a Reba or Fox thru axle fork. The other thing I'm looking to do is xt brakes over the generic shimanos it has now. I think the bike is worth it and deserves the love. Thank you all of the awesome advice! I'll try updating as I go along.
    Lots of life still in an El Mar. Keep it and ride it. Upgrade it as needed. One way to "upgrade" is to get used parts from others upgrading. Might be able to score a nice non boost fork from some one who thinks boost is so much better. Same for nice older wheelset. Nothing about boost is really a performance upgrade you will notice. It is just the new standard so new stuff is boost, but that mean lightly used non boost stuff can be had cheaper.

    BTW... My Vassago Verhauen is steel and non boost. There is nothing "out dated" about it despite it being a 2015ish frame.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  34. #34
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    I wouldn't upgrade a thing except maybe go to larger tires, 2.35 or whatnot. Demo new bikes to get a feel for what you want. You sound like a blind follower of industry trends with too much time on your hands. I would take a computer class.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    I wouldn't upgrade a thing except maybe go to larger tires, 2.35 or whatnot. Demo new bikes to get a feel for what you want. You sound like a blind follower of industry trends with too much time on your hands. I would take a computer class.
    How bout you try not to be so presumptuous and condescending?

    For your information I am not a so called follower of trends. Trends are irrelevant imo. What attracted me to to the El Mar was the classic, non-generic, me too steel frame. If I decide to upgrade or not that's my choice. I prefer to make things mine. The point of this thread was that I felt like I had very few if any options to do so. I'm still not 100% positive what I want to do yet...and for the record I wish I had more time on my hands...I'd be riding more. Thanks for you input...

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    How bout you try not to be so presumptuous and condescending?

    For your information I am not a so called follower of trends. Trends are irrelevant imo. What attracted me to to the El Mar was the classic, non-generic, me too steel frame. If I decide to upgrade or not that's my choice. I prefer to make things mine. The point of this thread was that I felt like I had very few if any options to do so. I'm still not 100% positive what I want to do yet...and for the record I wish I had more time on my hands...I'd be riding more. Thanks for you input...
    Don't worry about a new bike unless you want something specific. Do you want a FS bike? Or an AM Slacked out HT? Or do you want an XC style HT? You have a great one and there are many little things you can do to make it more snappy if you like. I would not put a big 140mm fork that bike, but if you want a new slick light drivetrain, cool wheels and kick ass fork? Yes please. You could make really cool bike since you have solid frame foundation. Don't skip a beat because it is not boost.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    dinosaurs ruled the world for almost 200M years. We should be so lucky!

    I think you made the right decision. The bike industry, more anything else, wants us riders to see their bikes as disposable. New trends make older bikes nigh useless and we "have" to upgrade, new standards make it mandatory. You should be able to get a very nice wheelset built up for well under $1,000.

    A new fork will really change the feel of the bike (and a slight increase in travel will slack out that unrideable 71 degree headtube angle ).
    Heck, if you really want to, you could probably put an angleset on there and see what a 69 degree head angle feels like.

  38. #38
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    unfortunately kevbeers' got a point.
    reread your OP and it sounds like you're simply bored with your current bike just because its not what todays bike magazines are gushing over
    to start spending a crap load of money on upgrades you need to have at least some sort of affinity or emotional connection to the bike to make it worth while in the long run.
    a new set of wheels or whatever isnt going to give you that.
    consider your position wisely before buying anything....

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Don't worry about a new bike unless you want something specific. Do you want a FS bike? Or an AM Slacked out HT? Or do you want an XC style HT?
    Or to put it another way: What do I wish my bike did better, then consider options that would make that happen.
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    sorry to come across as presumptuous and condescending. My wife would tend to agree with that assessment, hehe.

    I think you reminded me of my former self when I was trying to go 1x10 on a bike that was fine as-is, just cause I felt some unjustified need of the sexiness and moderness of 1x. In general, upgrading components is incredibly money-wise inefficient, and can lead to potential incompatibility, wear, and other performance issues. And the fact that you are short of time for riding is not really where you want to be at when undertaking a project...better to invest the time riding.

    I have been face to face with salsa el mariachi and I love the bike. Granted it was huge frame (XXL) of a friend where I ride a medium, so it is hard to gauge what was really going on geometry-wise for me, but I like the frame and components approach and quality. And I do consider that a boutique bike, or definitely not a main stream offering, anyway.

    I think you can get a long ways with a new set of tires. Those are 2.2 as I recall. Go bigger, 2.3-2.6 and tubeless setup, if you want to have better traction and cushion.

    Honestly man, learn how to post a picture. Goal for the year for you.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    sorry to come across as presumptuous and condescending. My wife would tend to agree with that assessment, hehe.

    I think you reminded me of my former self when I was trying to go 1x10 on a bike that was fine as-is, just cause I felt some unjustified need of the sexiness and moderness of 1x. In general, upgrading components is incredibly money-wise inefficient, and can lead to potential incompatibility, wear, and other performance issues. And the fact that you are short of time for riding is not really where you want to be at when undertaking a project...better to invest the time riding.

    I have been face to face with salsa el mariachi and I love the bike. Granted it was huge frame (XXL) of a friend where I ride a medium, so it is hard to gauge what was really going on geometry-wise for me, but I like the frame and components approach and quality. And I do consider that a boutique bike, or definitely not a main stream offering, anyway.

    I think you can get a long ways with a new set of tires. Those are 2.2 as I recall. Go bigger, 2.3-2.6 and tubeless setup, if you want to have better traction and cushion.

    Honestly man, learn how to post a picture. Goal for the year for you.
    It's cool Kevbeer. My fiance accuses me of being blunt or short at times. No harm intended. I've been riding a long time. Done a lot of tinkering and upgrading along the way, riding my 26er waaaaay past its prime. Buying that El Mar was almost euphoric for me as I wanted one for a long time. I guess its just a little disheartening when I try searching for something as common as a wheelset and turn up nothing but boost and thru axle setups...It made me question its longevity.

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    let's pretend you somehow won a bike of your choice up to $3500 in price. What would it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I guess its just a little disheartening when I try searching for something as common as a wheelset and turn up nothing but boost and thru axle setups...It made me question its longevity.
    Meh. You can build up lots of high quality wheels of any size. Ok, your selection of proprietary and machine built wheelsets will suck, but buy a nice hubset, some rims, and either have a builder have at it, or learn to do it yourself.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    let's pretend you somehow won a bike of your choice up to $3500 in price. What would it be?
    Man...turning up the pressure...Here's the truth. Shortly after purchasing the Salsa, Trek released its Stache 29+ line up which, I pretty much fell in love with the Stache 5 at first sight. Irony is, I was originally looking at the Surly Krampus (also 29+)but went with the El Mar instead. So, I guess when you put it that way, I'd go with a new Stache. Dont judge me lol.

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    I guess when it all comes down to it, I want a bike that's fun to ride and wont leave me feeling beat up at the end of the ride.

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    interesting. Ok...get 2.6" tires and a dropper and voila, your el mar is a stache more or less. New wheels is a waste.

    Stache is not that light weight nor stiff, I might add....and stache 5 is the lowest and heaviest model...

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    I have to wonder if you actually would enjoy 29+ long term or if you just like the idea of 29+...personally I wouldn't ride 29+, but I live in southern cali.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    interesting. Ok...get 2.6" tires and a dropper and voila, your el mar is a stache more or less. New wheels is a waste.

    Stache is not that light weight nor stiff, I might add....and stache 5 is the lowest and heaviest model...
    I dont think a 2.6 will fit in the rear of the El mar. I bought a 2.4 Maxxis Ardent recently and once aired up, it was no bigger than my 2.25 Rocket Rons...it was more the color of the Stache 5 that got me. The black with blue accents did it for me. If I bought one today I'd go with the 7.

  49. #49
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    Dude, hate to say it, but youíd like a Stache more than your el mar I evolved from a 2008 el mar (gen 1) to a custom Black Cat, to a Krampus. And now on a custom Waltworks running 29x3.25. All rigid, BTW.

    And donít get me wrong - that OX Platinum el mar was really sweet. Even with the eccentric BB.

    Short stays, long front, flickable 29+ is where itís at. And you can get a screaming deal on the first gen Stache 5 with the carbon fork. Seriously.

  50. #50
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    I like your El Mar, and I think it's worth keeping.

    If your interested in 29+ you should definitely give the Krampus another look. I built up a Krampus frame this summer. Custom build and I absolutely love it. I owned the first gen Krampus for 1.5 years, the new one is even better.

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-img_5820.jpg

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-img_5864.jpg

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-dscf0228.jpg

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-img_5890.jpg
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Dude, hate to say it, but youíd like a Stache more than your el mar I evolved from a 2008 el mar (gen 1) to a custom Black Cat, to a Krampus. And now on a custom Waltworks running 29x3.25. All rigid, BTW.

    And donít get me wrong - that OX Platinum el mar was really sweet. Even with the eccentric BB.

    Short stays, long front, flickable 29+ is where itís at. And you can get a screaming deal on the first gen Stache 5 with the carbon fork. Seriously.
    i have now owned 24 bikes since I have been on this planet. The very best bike I have ridden but do not own is the Stache. I may yet own one. It is the most fun on two wheels that is not an ebike. Go ride one and you will understand. Safe Travels! .

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalon2018 View Post
    i have now owned 24 bikes since I have been on this planet. The very best bike I have ridden but do not own is the Stache. I may yet own one. It is the most fun on two wheels that is not an ebike. Go ride one and you will understand. Safe Travels! .
    You bring e-bikes into this conversation, really? Bad enough you're a Trek fanboy. Put the Kool-aid down fella.
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  53. #53
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    Two of my bikes out of 24 were Treks. I mostly ride a Ti HT. You seem to know nothing. Safe Travels.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    I like your El Mar, and I think it's worth keeping.

    If your interested in 29+ you should definitely give the Krampus another look. I built up a Krampus frame this summer. Custom build and I absolutely love it. I owned the first gen Krampus for 1.5 years, the new one is even better.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sharp looking bike!

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Man...turning up the pressure...Here's the truth. Shortly after purchasing the Salsa, Trek released its Stache 29+ line up which, I pretty much fell in love with the Stache 5 at first sight. Irony is, I was originally looking at the Surly Krampus (also 29+)but went with the El Mar instead. So, I guess when you put it that way, I'd go with a new Stache. Dont judge me lol.
    I am running my vassago Verhauen with 29+ rigid right now, but used to run it with 2.35/2.2 and a fork. The frame despite being non boost fits up to 29x3.0 in the back. Which do I like better? Hard to say. 29+ is different and so is rigid. The 29+ really just blows through anything, but I have to keep the front light to deal with the rigid fork. I used run a Fox 32 SC on there so that will not fit a 3.0 tire. The nice thing is I can easily go back to normal 29 and the fork if I wanted. Or try to got with 29x2.6. They will fit on my 35mm wheelset, but I don't think those will fit under the 32SC either and I really don't want to buy another fork. That 32SC is in fact pretty sweet you just can't run massive tires under it.

    Oh and my 35mm wheelset uses 135mm QR rear end. My normal 29er wheelset uses 10mm though axle with same 135mm spacing. However I can change the drops out to 12x142 of I wanted.

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-29plus.jpg
    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-vz4xakv2_zzgflqmr7f3zypgbmekp-l7j7aeatlxmaa-2048x1536.jpg
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbeer View Post
    ...personally I wouldn't ride 29+, but I live in southern cali.
    29+ is really nice where the dirt is always loose and slick. For golf ball to baseball size rubble 29+ is great. For damp sticky "hero dirt" 29+ is too much. I ride in the Az desert and what we have is mostly loose dirt and what somefolks call "blown own trails". I rode tuesday and it had rained on Sunday and the dirt was oh so sticky. Hero dirt we get only a few times a year. Super grippy, but draggy for the 29+ tires. If I rode that dirt all day I would not both with 29+ at all. However that is exception rather than the rule here.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by biff55 View Post
    unfortunately kevbeers' got a point.
    reread your OP and it sounds like you're simply bored with your current bike just because its not what todays bike magazines are gushing over
    to start spending a crap load of money on upgrades you need to have at least some sort of affinity or emotional connection to the bike to make it worth while in the long run.
    a new set of wheels or whatever isnt going to give you that.
    consider your position wisely before buying anything....
    Meh, lighter and wider rims to run bigger tires at lower pressures doesn't sound like a horrible idea to me for the OP's Salsa. Replacing an older stock wheelset with with wider, lighter, and stiffer new one could do a lot for that bike. Not to mention the better feel if the OP went with a higher engagement hub.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by croatiansensation View Post
    Meh, lighter and wider rims to run bigger tires at lower pressures doesn't sound like a horrible idea to me for the OP's Salsa. Replacing an older stock wheelset with with wider, lighter, and stiffer new one could do a lot for that bike. Not to mention the better feel if the OP went with a higher engagement hub.
    Pretty sure the frame is going to limit tire size more than what a small bump in rim width would enable, unless OP made a bigger change like a b+ setup.

    Wheelset upgrades do make a pretty notable difference, but I think it's worthwhile to keep in mind the limitations of said frame.

  59. #59
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    If you are replacing the fork, remember that year range of El Mars had a 44mm headtube, so swapping that bottom headset allows you to go with a tapered fork, giving you more options and a bit of future/upgrade-proofing.

  60. #60
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    Nothing wrong with your el mar. I go through a lot of bikes, but it's one of the few I've kept around. Nice riding frame and the dropout system works really well.

    Here's our 2014 EL Mar that has a lot of donor parts from other bikes.

    Converted to 12x142 https://www.universalcycles.com/search.php?q=alternator

    2.6" Tire on the Front, 2.35 on the rear
    Nox Rims
    Onyx Hubs
    xx1 cranks
    xt brakes
    Enve Fork

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-received_10100458301682794.jpg

    I feel like I'm riding a dinosaur...-received_10100458301687784.jpg

  61. #61
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    ^ damn, can I raid your parts bin?
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Nothing wrong with your el mar. I go through a lot of bikes, but it's one of the few I've kept around. Nice riding frame and the dropout system works really well.

    Here's our 2014 EL Mar that has a lot of donor parts from other bikes.

    Converted to 12x142 https://www.universalcycles.com/search.php?q=alternator

    2.6" Tire on the Front, 2.35 on the rear
    Nox Rims
    Onyx Hubs
    xx1 cranks
    xt brakes
    Enve Fork

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    Sweet El Mar! I love that color. Is 2.35 the biggest you can fit in the rear? I was looking at 2.4 WTB trail bosses...think those will fit?

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    ^ damn, can I raid your parts bin?
    About the only things left in my parts bin are stock el mar parts

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Sweet El Mar! I love that color. Is 2.35 the biggest you can fit in the rear? I was looking at 2.4 WTB trail bosses...think those will fit?
    Thanks! It's just a little small for me and a little big for my wife, so it's our shared spare bike. I didn't want to take big loss selling the parts I had, so they got moved to this frame.

    2.35 ikon on 30mm internal width rims are the biggest I've tried on the rear. Not sure how wider tires or tires with bigger knobs will do in the frame.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Thanks! It's just a little small for me and a little big for my wife, so it's our shared spare bike. I didn't want to take big loss selling the parts I had, so they got moved to this frame.

    2.35 ikon on 30mm internal width rims are the biggest I've tried on the rear. Not sure how wider tires or tires with bigger knobs will do in the frame.
    I've been wondering about sliding the alternator drop outs back. I would imagine that would provide room for bigger tires...but at what cost? I wonder if that along with the larger tires will slow down the handling too much...has anyone played with them?

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I've been wondering about sliding the alternator drop outs back. I would imagine that would provide room for bigger tires...but at what cost? I wonder if that along with the larger tires will slow down the handling too much...has anyone played with them?
    Not gonna give you much extra space. The stays on that bike were always on the narrow side.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

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    So I have a very surprising update. Yesterday I went into one of my favorite local bike shops who've I've been doing business with for close to 20 years. Browsing about something catches my eye...a barely used 120mm Rockshox Pike RCT3, along with a WTB Asym i35 front wheel laced to a 15mm DT Swiss boost hub. 1 of the shops customers decided he only wanted to ride Fat Bikes so he parted out his newely built 29er. It was like fate! Exactly what I've been looking for at a drastic discount! I got everything for $600 cash and had the shop order me a WTB Asym i29 for the rear. I'm pretty psyched! Now I just gotta figure out tires...

  68. #68
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    Nice! Major score.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Nice! Major score.
    Thanks! The fork looks practically brand new. Some very minor cable rub from the brake line and that's it. The wheel is in perfect condition but has a rather worn 29x3" Vee tire that I'm removing. I was stunned how light the wheel was. I honestly thought it was carbon when I first picked it up.

    For tires I'm thinking 2.35 rear, and something in 2.35-2.6 up front. Any suggestions? Nothing too aggressive...more XC than all mountain.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    For tires I'm thinking 2.35 rear, and something in 2.35-2.6 up front. Any suggestions? Nothing too aggressive...more XC than all mountain.
    Congrats on scoring the fork/wheel!

    I am liking my 2.35Ē Nobby Nic / 2.4 WT Rekon. The 2.6 Rekon actually weighs less than the 2.4.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    R

    Congrats on scoring the fork/wheel!

    I am liking my 2.35Ē Nobby Nic / 2.4 WT Rekon. The 2.6 Rekon actually weighs less than the 2.4.
    Are you finding the maxxis runs close to the claimed size? I've found maxxis tires tend to run small...I'm also a diehard Schwalbe fan.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Are you finding the maxxis runs close to the claimed size? I've found maxxis tires tend to run small...I'm also a diehard Schwalbe fan.
    On my i29 rim the 2.4 WT Rekon is running a little small (I think I measured 2.38"). The Nobby Nic is running big - it is a little over 2.4".

    My friend is running the 2.6" Rekon - I forget which rim he has it on, but it is only marginally larger than my 2.35 NN. I do believe his rim is narrower though.

  73. #73
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    Man, that is a sweet find, happy for you. That Pike and those wheels are going to transform how that bike feels, you'l be so stoked on it and won't be looking for upgrade/another for 2 or 3 years I'm guessing

    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    So I have a very surprising update. Yesterday I went into one of my favorite local bike shops who've I've been doing business with for close to 20 years. Browsing about something catches my eye...a barely used 120mm Rockshox Pike RCT3, along with a WTB Asym i35 front wheel laced to a 15mm DT Swiss boost hub. 1 of the shops customers decided he only wanted to ride Fat Bikes so he parted out his newely built 29er. It was like fate! Exactly what I've been looking for at a drastic discount! I got everything for $600 cash and had the shop order me a WTB Asym i29 for the rear. I'm pretty psyched! Now I just gotta figure out tires...
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  74. #74
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    I love Racing Ralphs...Would a 2.35 Ralph be too narrow for the i35?

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    So I'm having trouble figuring out tires. I want either a 2.6 or 2.8 front. A shop employee told me that I cant go smaller than 2.8 on that i35 wheel...is this true? Most tires I'm looking at at 2.4, 2.6 or 3.0. Will a 2.6 work on that wheel???

  76. #76
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    Yes, a 2.6 will be fine on an i35 rim.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  77. #77
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    So will a 2.4 and a 2.5, well the true to size ones anyway.
    By continuing to browse my posts, you agree to accept my use of cookies.

  78. #78
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    I'm looking at WTB Rangers, Trail Bosses, and Bontrager Xr2 and Xr3's. Any other suggestions? I dont want anything too aggressive.

  79. #79
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    All depends on your terrain, but my experience would lead me to recommend the Bontis, either an XR2 rear/XR3 front or if your trails are more loose, XR3 F&R or XR3 rear/XR4 front - you don't really notice rolling resistance in the front like the rear and always nice to not have your front wheel wash out on loose stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    I'm looking at WTB Rangers, Trail Bosses, and Bontrager Xr2 and Xr3's. Any other suggestions? I dont want anything too aggressive.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

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