Sarma Vortex a cautionary tale- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Sarma Vortex a cautionary tale

    I ordered the Sarma Vortex frameset and crank on cyber Monday, it finally showed up yesterday. It says on their website 5-10 days for delivery, first disappointment! & they clam a US warehouse, I don't believe that is true anymore.

    The good points-

    1. Great price...only $1150...but might be a case of 'you get what you pay for' More on that later

    2. Came with lots of 'extras' Bars, Post, headset etc.

    3. 'Fits' narrow q factor cranks & 4.8 in tires....More on that later...

    4. I haven't taken it for a real ride yet but the geo seems good from my short test ride

    5. Under 27 lbs with a conservative build.


    The bad-

    1. If I have 2 spacers on the ds and one space on the nds as recommended the crank arm are not an equal distance from the frame and the nds crank are is only has ~1.5mm clearance with the chainstay

    2. The chainline of the Sarma crank does not allow me to run 4.8 in tires with out the chain hitting the tire.

    3. The paint on the frame chips VERY easily. Disappointing

    4. I did not receive the set screw to hold the rear axel nut to the derailleur hanger.

    5. Very limited tire clearance on frame and fork with 4.8 in Maxxis tires.

    6. Rear wheel not dished correctly

    7. Nitpicking but it did not come with bottle cage bolts and the cable routing could be better



    Now I'm waiting on an incoming Raceface crank and Sarma will not email me back. I'm considering contacting my CC company or Paypal to try to get a partial refund.

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    1. Common to have different clearance left and right, but you want to make sure there's no flex and 1.5mm isn't a lot. Can you switch to 3 spacers?

    2. Can you flip the chainring?
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
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    1. Not true, the q-factor should be equally spaced from frame center line. Look at any Shimano spec sheet for example. It looks better with 2 spacers on the NDS and one on the drive side, but that puts the chainline even more inboard.

    2. No I believe they are using the SRAM direct mount spec. I could get a SRAM zero dish direct mount chainring instead of the one that it came with that's dished 6mm inboard. But I don't want to invest anymore money into their crank

  4. #4
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    In a perfect world the pedals would be equal distance from the centerline of the frame but that might not be possible. If it is better with two spacers on the non drive side, do so and change the chairing. Sometimes cheap comes with a price.

  5. #5
    since 4/10/2009
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    Shimano cranks install differently than, for example, Race Face CINCH cranks. The RF ones allow you to run them un-centered. Shimano does not.

  6. #6
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    I purchased the Vortex frame only on Black Friday. I had most of the parts for my build and only had to purchase a few things. Having read the spec for cranks I figured any tire over 4.5 would be tight. My frame arrived in 8 days. Must have been one of the first orders.

    I had a Sram X5 2x10 crank on hand that I got for Christmas last year. I installed that and I have 8mm clearance on both sides. There is no way the chain will not rub when in the granny and bigger cogs in the rear when using a 4.8 tire. I currently have a Vee Snowshoe 4.5 on the rear and it clears. Consider this tire is actually around 4.25 on an 80mm Mulefut.

    The frame only came with: Thru Axle, Seat Post Clamp, Headset and derailleur mount for both a 100mm and 120mm crank. My frame also did not include the bottle cage mounts. I found this odd given the other parts that were included.

    I have the bike built, however have not had the opportunity to ride it yet. Can not comment to the paint chipping easy.

    A friend of mine bought the frame only and a fork. It took about 2 1/2 weeks for him to receive his frame.

    I do believe they still maintain the warehouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have read a few other posts on Sarma and it appears that only small parts are in this warehouse. It would appear that all the frames and complete bikes are coming directly from China. Could be a production issue? The bikes and frames are also popping up on eBay now.

    I will try to post a couple of pictures of my build with some more details over the weekend.

  7. #7
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Shimano cranks install differently than, for example, Race Face CINCH cranks. The RF ones allow you to run them un-centered. Shimano does not.
    Yep, I run the race face cranks and I have the spacers maxed out on the drive side so I can run the D5 tires. My cranks don't clear by the same amount on each side...but they clear.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  8. #8
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    Sarma Vortex review?

    I'm curious how you guys like your Vortex? I'm thinking about buying one but can't find any reviews which makes me a bit leary.

  9. #9
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    Sarma Vortex

    Quote Originally Posted by MTBTruckee View Post
    I'm curious how you guys like your Vortex? I'm thinking about buying one but can't find any reviews which makes me a bit leary.
    I .really like my Vortex. I could not beat the Black Friday price. I have made some changes since my frist post. I purchased Bontrager Barbegazzi tires (4.7) and was not able to run 2x10 with these tires. I see on the Sarma site that they have Vee Snowshoe XL now on there Vortex nd 2x10, they also run a different crank.

    I went to a single ring and there is no clearance issues now. I am running 80mm rims. Not sure what it would be like with wider rims? I currently have the bike partially disassembled to do some upgrades. I will post with some pics when I have it completed.

    I have rode the bike twice now. I did single track once and it performed great. Geometry is very good. Probable better for snow than trail. My second ride was on hard packed snow/sleet with a light cover of snow. It handled great in these conditions. I really liked the ride and handling.

    We have not had much of a winter here to truly test the ride in real snow or on groomed trail.

    Sarma has also confirmed that the Vortex can take 29+ as another option. This is something I hope to explore in the future. I also have friend that purchased a frame and fork. He has not completed his build as of this post. He is doing 1x11 for his build. So you will get some additional feedback in the future.

    Hope this was helpful?

  10. #10
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    Thanks, that does help. I'll look forward to seeing some pics. when you get them posted.

  11. #11
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    I hope you don't mind me asking, how good of a deal did you get on Black Friday? Did you get the 1.0 or 2.0? I'm looking at the 2.0 and upgrading to the carbon wheels. How are the stock alum. wheels? Sorry about all the questions, but I can't find much for reviews. Two more question, What size did you get and hows the standover?
    Thank You.

  12. #12
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    Vortex Pic

    Sarma Vortex a cautionary tale-img_0333.jpg

    May be a while till my new parts get here so I thought I would post a pic of my Vortex from a couple weeks ago. I changed from a 2x10 to 1x10 when I went to the Bontrager tires. There was some chain rub on the tire with 2x10. Adding a carbon bar and making a few drive train changes. Then should be complete. In this configuration it is 31 pounds.

  13. #13
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    Black Friday

    Quote Originally Posted by nathan59801 View Post
    I hope you don't mind me asking, how good of a deal did you get on Black Friday? Did you get the 1.0 or 2.0? I'm looking at the 2.0 and upgrading to the carbon wheels. How are the stock alum. wheels? Sorry about all the questions, but I can't find much for reviews. Two more question, What size did you get and hows the standover?
    Thank You.
    I bought the frame only. It was $280, best bang for the buck out there. I had half the parts on hand for the build. I bought the wheels from Bikes Direct (Novatec hubs/Mulefut rims). I am doing some upgrades now. Posted a pic earlier today.

    Frame is really nice. If I purchased a complete I would go with 100mm rims if you could get them and also a 1x drivetrain. A 2x will have chain rub in the lowest gears with larger tires.

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