El Mariachi Bad Beginner+ Bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    El Mariachi Bad Beginner+ Bike?

    So, I just bought a Salsa El Mariachi as the S have been reduced significantly ($1,075). I have been MTB riding for about 2 months and riding on pavement since earlier this year. From the research I did it seemed to point to getting a HT if the budget was ~$1,000, but on my local MTB board the feedback after posting pics of my new ride was that it was maybe not the best choice for a beginner. I have to hike a bike a lot on the climbs, I thought that I might be able to put a 22 on the El Mar, but the LBS said the crank wouldn't allow.

    Anyhow, after the responses I have a bit of buyer's remorse. I know for vets $1,100 is nothing for a bike, but for me it is a lot. Basically a year worth of discretionary saving. I guess I should try not to stress, I can't take it back anyway.

  2. #2
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    Nice bike

    Ride more, worry less

    Especially about what other people think...

  3. #3
    ridin' dirty
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    I hope I don't sound like a jackass, but I don't see your problem. Are you just bummed because you spent so much on the bike? Or are you having trouble with the bike's quality or fit?

  4. #4
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    Its a cool bike, good parts, good company, F the haters.
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  5. #5
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeThePlanet
    So, I just bought a Salsa El Mariachi as the S have been reduced significantly ($1,075). I have been MTB riding for about 2 months and riding on pavement since earlier this year. From the research I did it seemed to point to getting a HT if the budget was ~$1,000, but on my local MTB board the feedback after posting pics of my new ride was that it was maybe not the best choice for a beginner. I have to hike a bike a lot on the climbs, I thought that I might be able to put a 22 on the El Mar, but the LBS said the crank wouldn't allow.

    Anyhow, after the responses I have a bit of buyer's remorse. I know for vets $1,100 is nothing for a bike, but for me it is a lot. Basically a year worth of discretionary saving. I guess I should try not to stress, I can't take it back anyway.
    I am guessing that people here are missing your point, which I believe is that you are worried about not being able to put a granny ring on this. Yes, that could be an issue, but you really won't know until you spend some time on it. However, this bike is a rigid, right? I think if you can get used to doing more climbing out of the saddle, then you may be OK on it. If you are willing to push through and suffer a bit, you will be surprised what you can do on a single ring. Heck, you can do a lot on a single SPEED.

    Otherwise, selling this crankset and getting a double or triple is not the end of the world.

  6. #6
    AZ
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    Keep riding it , it takes time to get bike strong .

  7. #7
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    wait...i'm confused....is the OP actually complaining about riding a Salsa El Mariachi?
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  8. #8
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    I was just excited about the new bike. I had an 06 Rockhopper that I bought a year and a half or so ago. Rode it a few times on the road after not riding a bike for 15 or so years. Then it sat for about 6 months. Everything changed when I was camping on NorCal and Oregon and saw people bike touring. I had never seeing it before. I started reading touring journals on crazyguyonabike and I was hooked.

    Plus, I moved to downtown Huntington Beach right on the PCH and a municipal bike path along the beach. A lot of people out riding so I took to it again, determined to get into better shape. I could barely ride five miles without my lungs and heart fighting for who was going to jump out of my chest first. And my butt . . . forget about it.

    Anyhow, I kept at it and once summer rolled around I knew that I needed a proper bike for road riding and future touring. I bought the CrossCheck and loved it. With the summer off as a teacher I was going out 4 days a week and riding for local errands. I got up to 30 mile rides, albeit slow, winded, and sore. That is when I decided to take the RockHopper out on the trails. I wanted more. I liked to hike and this seemed better, I could cover more ground and see more nature.

    After ~2 months I realized I'd stick with MTBing even though I don't like downhill and SoCal is a lot of downhill. The RockHopper was ok, but I rode a friends bike with disc brakes and knew I needed them. Plus, I loved the CrossCheck so much I wanted a steel frame. So, I went in search and ended up with the El Mar with the deep discounts going on.

    With the excitement I posted pics of the new bike and people said I made a bad choice because it wasn't a beginner friendly bike. I should have gotten a FS. It is true I can't climb well and have to hike a bike, but I figured I'd get better. Just after spending a lot of money on a bike and being excited and posting pics get the, "Not a goof choice for a beginner.", "See if the LBS will take it back.", etc.

    I guess spending that kind of money and seemingly spending it wrong stressed me a bit. I didn't grow up very well off and agonize over any spending of funds.

  9. #9
    Can't feel my legs
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    As long as the lack of low gearing does not discourage you, ride it, love it, and don't worry what others think

    Now, let us see the pics

  10. #10
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeThePlanet
    ...With the excitement I posted pics of the new bike and people said I made a bad choice because it wasn't a beginner friendly bike. I should have gotten a FS..
    those people are dumbchits.....you have a rawkin' awesome rig.....

    go ride your bike.....
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  11. #11
    Queenslander
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    Your local board sound like a bunch of tools to me! Ride your bike and enjoy it, it is awesome and will climb better than most FS rigs that you will see getting around. As for changing the gearing, You will get better effect by making the back sprocket larger than worrying about the front ring. Go up a tooth or two and you will really notice the difference.
    Doin' it for the love - Palauan Style

  12. #12
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    I will break it in tomorrow. There is a good ~15 mile route with minimal climbing to get used to the new setup. 1x9 should get my legs into shape quicker for loaded touring.

  13. #13
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    I can only speculate as to why you are second guessing yourself.. "peer pressure"..lol. I'm just kidd'n man..
    Obviously a really nice bike but this bike appears to have a rigid front fork and not a suspension front fork and that's probably why you had gotten that negative feedback?
    But actually I too have been second guessing myself about adding upgrades to a budget bike based on feedback.
    But as those in the know like to tell Charlie.."shun the non believer...shuuunnnn".
    Ok it's late and i'm tired.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeThePlanet
    I will break it in tomorrow. There is a good ~15 mile route with minimal climbing to get used to the new setup. 1x9 should get my legs into shape quicker for loaded touring.
    Its a 1x9? What possible argument could there be to tell you that its not suitable for you? Oh and disregard my comments about the rear sprocket, i assumed you had bought a single speed
    Doin' it for the love - Palauan Style

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananakaos
    Its a 1x9? What possible argument could there be to tell you that its not suitable for you? Oh and disregard my comments about the rear sprocket, i assumed you had bought a single speed
    If you would have looked it up you would have known that.

    I would still not use that bike for touring, main reason is because you dont have a big ring. You are really going to wish you had a big ring on the road, trust me.
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  16. #16
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    But he said he wanted to change out his 32t chainring to a smaller 22t which would imply climbing and not touring, and why did you want a rigid fork and not a suspension fork if you are riding trails? Just asking..

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atari
    But he said he wanted to change out his 32t chainring to a smaller 22t which would imply climbing and not touring, and why did you want rigid fork and suspension forks if you are riding trails?
    No one needs a suspension fork, especially on a larger tired 29er, the larger tires act as a suspension.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  18. #18
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    I have a CrossCheck for touring. I was just saying that the MTB will help to get me into shape with all of the hill climbing. I wanted to add a 22t in addition to the 32t. Sorry if that was confusing. I didn't want a rigid, it was the El Mar came with. Word on the Net was the El Mar was an excellent frame and quality components and a great deal at ~$1,000. I asked the shop about a squishy fork they recommended a Reba, it was almost $800. That is almost what I paid for the bike and was WAY out of my budget. So, I figured I'd ride this and save up.

  19. #19
    I'm just messing with you
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    I converted my Spot from 1x9 to 3x9, cost about $150 all told. LX crank and derailleur from Jenson, shifter from e-bay.

    Yes, a good fork is expensive if you have to buy it separately and is a primary reason I bought a Spot instead of an El Mariachi.

    You've got a nice bike, ignore the haters and ride it.
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  20. #20
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    So you haven't ridden the bike yet, and you're worried about what other people think? Post back after your first ride, I'm sure you'll be happy with the purchase.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    If you would have looked it up you would have known that.
    Looked what up exactly?
    Doin' it for the love - Palauan Style

  22. #22
    XC Ground Pounder
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    Don't listen to anyone else. If you like it, ride it.
    Well, since they gave us a KHS forum, I guess I have to come up with something else for a sig.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananakaos
    Looked what up exactly?
    What the bike is.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  24. #24
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    I converted my Spot from 1x9 to 3x9, cost about $150 all told. LX crank and derailleur from Jenson, shifter from e-bay.

    Yes, a good fork is expensive if you have to buy it separately and is a primary reason I bought a Spot instead of an El Mariachi.

    You've got a nice bike, ignore the haters and ride it.


    Winner , no further advice needed .

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    What the bike is.
    You mean I should somehow look up this guys specific bike? Am I supposed to use the force?

    Seeing that you are such and expert, i am sure that you know that the El Mar is available as a single speed too.
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  26. #26
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    The maiden voyage was awesome. Cold, but awesome. I got about 15 miles in. The 29er wheels kick arse. The roll over stuff no problem. I felt much more in control on the descents. Surprisingly I climbed better with the 1x9 29er than the 22t on the Rockhopper. I still had to hike a bike on the longer climbs, but mashed up the shorter stuff.

    I am pretty sore, but that is mostly due to lack of core strength. The fully rigid steel 29er was as least as nice as my front suspension Rockhopper. I'd say even better. I am sure with a squishy fork it must be quite good. I was cruising like I was in a Cadillac.

  27. #27
    AZ
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    Awesome , glad you are enjoying the new ride . Keep it up it just gets better .

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeThePlanet
    but mashed up the shorter stuff.
    Thats your problem right there.

    spin dont mash.
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    To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it."
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  29. #29
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    With 1x9 I din't have much choice. Only so much spinning I could do.

  30. #30
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    Glad you like it. Riding 1x9 will force you to tough it up hills that you would have tried to downshift in to the granny. And props for riding rigid - I absolutely LOVE riding rigid (after riding a full suspension bike for two years and a hard tail for two before that). It'll make you physically stronger, and make you quicker to pick your way through stuff, and the feel of the bike on the trail is just awesome.
    :wq

  31. #31
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    Pics or it didn't happen!

  32. #32
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    Congratulations on buying a great bike for a great price. I remember when you posted about wanting an El Mar before you bought the bike and everybody and their cousin opined that, based on your self-description, you weren't ready for 1x9. So it probably shouldn't have surprised you that got a lot of negative feedback. But screw them - you got the 1x9 anyway, so go enjoy it. Who cares if you have to hike up a few hills? Are you racing anybody? You're still getting out into nature, right? Do you know all the local trails yet? Pick the not so hard ones to start off with. As long as you're having fun, that's all that matters. If you ever get down to San Diego, go ride Mission Trails - an El Mar would rip there!

    If you posted pictures of the new bike and didn't get the external reinforcement you were hoping for, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe just ride for you, not anybody else. Send the pics to your real friends, not MTBR. Enjoy the bike and keep the rubber side down.

  33. #33
    I live to bike
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    Beginner, schmeginner. Who's to say what is a "beginner's" bike. There is nothing that requires a beginner must ride a cheap 21 spd 26er w/front suspension and v-brakes, despite so many on the forums who think so. You had the money for a nice bike, so why not? Full suspensions, in my mind, make great beginner bikes. So do SS 29ers.

    All that to say your bike is particularly excellent for a beginner: gears only in the rear so you can get the hang of shifting without also worrying about cross-chaining; rigid will help you learn to pick a line and ride with finesse, big wheels will make for a comfortable, stable, and fast ride; and disc brakes mean you will actually be able to stop in panic situations.

    When you do decide to get a suspension fork, the Reba is a nice choice, but as you noticed, expensive. There are quality forks for less, however. Not as nice as the Reba, but nice for the money, anyway. A RST M-29 is around $400-$450, A Rockshox Tora about $400, a Rockshox Dart probably less than $300. There are choices from Manitou in the $500 range, as well.

    As for adding lower gears in the front, you will need another crankset. A crankset, front derailleur, and shifter, which, depending on quality level, you could get all for anywhere from $100 to $1000.

    Enjoy the bike and have fun!
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle

    When you do decide to get a suspension fork, the Reba is a nice choice, but as you noticed, expensive. There are quality forks for less, however. Not as nice as the Reba, but nice for the money, anyway. A RST M-29 is around $400-$450, A Rockshox Tora about $400, a Rockshox Dart probably less than $300. There are choices from Manitou in the $500 range, as well.
    Tora is about 250.00 For the 318 Solo Air, Dart 2 only will cost you 80 dollars.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle

    When you do decide to get a suspension fork, the Reba is a nice choice, but as you noticed, expensive. There are quality forks for less, however. Not as nice as the Reba, but nice for the money, anyway. A RST M-29 is around $400-$450, A Rockshox Tora about $400, a Rockshox Dart probably less than $300. There are choices from Manitou in the $500 range, as well.

    Enjoy the bike and have fun!
    I don't believe Rockshox makes anything other then the Reba in a 29er. You can find them used on ebay all the time for under $300. The Tora nor Dart come in 29ers.

    The quote you got from your LBS is ridiculous for a fork.

  36. #36
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    Tora and Dart do come in a 29er model. At least, they are stock components on some 29ers. I assume that they would be available as a seperate part. I believe that Reba comes in a couple different models. $800 may be about right for the highest racing level or whatever, but I'm sure there's a cheaper model. The $800 quote is also the full bike shop special order price. Still Reba's are pretty expensive. The general consensus, from my understanding, is that Tora is the best value in terms of performance vs. cost.

  37. #37
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    For this model year (and last too iirc) Rock Shox added 29er options to a bunch of forks. It's not just the Reba anymore.

    Bear in mind that there have been mountain bikes longer than there have been suspension forks, and people have been riding on dirt longer than they've had gears. As an above poster mentions, you can add a three-ring crankset, shifter and derailleur if you want to. If your bike has the same cassette that the web site mentions, you can't get any lower gearing there, but 32-34 is already a little less than a 1:1 ratio. The lowest ratio on my commuter is something like 40:28 (but asphalt is more standing/mashing friendly than dirt.) So enjoy the bike, and enjoy coming out of this process with better line selection and a smoother standing climb than your peers.

    It's helpful to have a clean standing climb if you don't have the ability to spin up the steep stuff, or if you sometimes do very long climbs and need to change positions. Try not to manhandle the bars too much, and move your hips over the pedal you're putting power into. Also, it's easy to lose traction on the rear wheel of a mountain bike off-road, so try not to shove on the pedal too abruptly. I feel like I'm most effective climbing out of the saddle or sprinting when I'm only using my hands to stabilize myself and I'm doing everything else with my legs and feet, and at a relatively high cadence (which is also smoother, so easier not to lose traction.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  38. #38
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    To the OP.

    Nice bike you have. That was one of the bikes I considered before I got a Monocog Flight.

    With the 1x9, it gives you tools to make it. But there is the challenge as well. Whether you choose to accept the challenge is all up to you. Don't give up. Keep riding and you'll find that there will be less hiking involved.

    And heck, I still have sections I hike on my 3x9 FS bike. That's just all part of the ride.
    Just get out and ride!

  39. #39
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    Well, for something to be a good bike,t here's two factors, the initial quality of the bike tiself, and it's impact on the rider.
    Salsas are pretty damn good bikes so no worries there...
    As for you, you're riding it and loving it.
    So yeah it's a good beginner's bike.


    Now if it increases your skills because you can do new things on this bike you wouldn't try before, and the terrain you can ride on gets wider and more varied...
    Then it's an EXCELLENT beginner's bike.

    So ignoring ALL forums (this one included) just ask yourself, am I riding to new levels, trying new things, seeing new parts of my county/state/continent? Sounds to me like your asnwer's in there somewhere.

    (and yeah, post pics!!)
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  40. #40
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    OP, great bike, no question. If you're looking at a suspension fork, I'd look for a Reba quality or better. There's plenty of reasons, but I figure that the extra cash up front is going to be worth not having to replace it down the line like you would a Dart (if they make dart 29s non OEM).

    Do you have a 34T cassette for your bike? If not, it may help you conquer even more of those long grind climbs. Keep them big wheels rollin' and soon enough you'll be spanking all those internet haters on the trails.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR1
    I don't believe Rockshox makes anything other then the Reba in a 29er. You can find them used on ebay all the time for under $300. The Tora nor Dart come in 29ers.

    The quote you got from your LBS is ridiculous for a fork.
    You can get the Tora 29er from any lbs - they can order them from QBP or Rockshox. I'm not sure the Dart is actually offered aftermarket, but easily found used (I've gotten OEM ones through Cannondale for customers). Prices I quoted are based on regular retail markup; you may be able to find them for less.
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  42. #42
    Never trust a fart
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    The Dart3 is avail aftermarket. But usually for only a small amount of money more, get a Tora or Recon.


    To the OP. GET OUT AND RIDE.

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