'04 Scandium Salsa Caballero- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    '04 Scandium Salsa Caballero

    Hey all, I'm looking for a little advice regarding the next frame I'm going to purchase.

    Scenario:

    I've been racing on my custom nrs2 for the last 3 years and have decided midway through my first sport season that I would like to go lighter (and that I just want a new frame....) for next season and was considering the 5.2 pnd Caballero. I realize that I'll need to make other upgrades to significantly drop weight, but my problem is that I can't decided on what frame to purchase and have not been able to find reviews detailing the Cabs ride, especially in comparison to the nrs. I've pretty much eliminated all the very high end fs xc race frames (Racer X, Spider etc, fuel oclv) due to budget considerations. Any thoughts on the Cab vs the nrs would be great or just comments on the Cabs ride would be helpful as well.

    Oh and I still haven't completely nixed the idea of going hardtail, so if you are pro ht and would like to convince me how fast I could possibly be by dropping roughly 2 pds right off the bat, be my guest.

    Thanks a ton,

    B

  2. #2
    inner peace to make peace
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    2004 Motobecane Fly Team Mountain Bike

    foget the fs xc bikes for serious xc racing (xc fs are great for relaxed trail riders)!
    buy this: 2004 Motobecane Fly Team Mountain Bike $1595 (no tax or shipping) - it's 21# for 18" frame bike. or just the frame and sid fork for $599.

    after you get this super light hardtail: 2004 Motobecane Fly Team Mountain Bike, swap to the high volume 2.1+ fat tires with real knobbie for better traction (like the 2.1 irc claw comp "lite" or one of them WTBs).

    at the Billy Cross xc race at Lake Sonoma, NorCA, this past weekend
    among the fastest seven riders, 1st six were on hardtails.
    Even on the reputed "rough and technical" Skyline xc race, in Nappa, most of the top ten were on hardtails, last year.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_fly_team.htm

  3. #3
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    Salsa has made a cheaper knockoff of..........

    ..... the Rocky Mountain Element TSC. I have a 2001 Element TO and noticed the similarity in ads for the Salsa in recent magazines. Check out the Rocky linkage and shock placement for yourself at www.bikes.com then compare that to the new Salsa.
    I can say that the Rocky is the best bike I've ridden/raced and would only compare it to a Titus Racer X. Now Salsa has a more affordable alternative.
    With some intelligent application of $$$ on lighter wheels a 24lb Salsa should be realistic. If money is no object you'll enter the 22.5lb realm but the stock Rocky TSC will get you there with more style points.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by calgarydave
    ..... the Rocky Mountain Element TSC. I have a 2001 Element TO and noticed the similarity in ads for the Salsa in recent magazines. Check out the Rocky linkage and shock placement for yourself at www.bikes.com then compare that to the new Salsa.
    I can say that the Rocky is the best bike I've ridden/raced and would only compare it to a Titus Racer X. Now Salsa has a more affordable alternative.
    With some intelligent application of $$$ on lighter wheels a 24lb Salsa should be realistic. If money is no object you'll enter the 22.5lb realm but the stock Rocky TSC will get you there with more style points.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Thanks a bunch dave. I'm actually taking everything off of my nrs and applying it to the Salsa. Any advice on what you would do next to lose weight according to the following list?

    Wheelset: Crossmax XL disc
    Brakes: Avid Mechanicals
    Crank: Race Face Next LP
    Fork: Marzocchi Marathon
    Tires: Hutchinson Python SL with Stan's
    BB: Crap shimano low end, stock with nrs purchase
    Bar: Easton Monkeylite XC
    Stem: Bontrager low end
    Post: Thomson
    Seat: Selle Italia Trans Am
    Pods: Deore

    Thanks again for your help!

  5. #5
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    I looked into the Salsa as I was in about the same boat as you. I was turned off by it's really short top tube, even the 20" frame bearly had enough top tube compared to my current 18" bikes.

    What I ended up doing is since my budget pretty well excluded any of the $1500+ frames new was I kept my eyes out for a great condition used Racer-x. Forget the fuel, it might be a nice bike, but even on ebay the frames go for nearly $1000 for a used oclv fuel frame. Some people are obviously willing to spend $1000 for a used trek frame, I'm not one of them.

    As to the hardtail -vs- FS. It's true you will see a lot of expert level XC racers on hardtails, esp. those that place highly. I've heard all the "well in my area, we race on "real" trails and no one XC races hardtails so if you race on a hardtail you must be riding paved XC courses" but the bottom line is if you are a pro level racer, and you can't take 2 hours of abuse from a hardtail, and don't have the skills to keep the bike on a good line and ride smooth without a rear suspension, you wouldn't be a pro anyway. People forget what suspension is for, it's not for resting your legs or saving your butt, it's for keeping the wheels on the ground to maintain traction, on most XC race courses that's easily done by a good rider without rear suspension. In fact you'll find a lot of pro bikes that are sponsored and race a rear suspension bike, either have the shock set very stiff or have a custom rear shock to make it's travel limited. However, those are pro level riders and they live and ride in a different world.

    Almost no XC course is won on the downhill sections, the amount of time you spend going down is tiny compared to climbing and riding the flat sections. Even if a course had 50/50 mix of uphill and downhill you can make way more time up climbing faster than you ever will decending faster. Of course no one wants to hear that because it's a lot easier to build a bike that decends easier and faster instead of training your skills and body harder to perform better.

    For the average rider a low travel light efficient FS bike on a rough XC course can certainly make a difference. The only real way to tell is to take a hardtail and a FS bike to the courses you race on multiple days and compare lap times. It almost always feels like you are going faster on a hardtail, even though your lap times may be slower, because you get a lot more input from the trail that you feel, the bike won't compensate for your mistakes so you tend to feel a little more out of control, hence faster. Also if you're not super serious about racing, it's a lot more comfortable to do a race on a XC FS than it is to get beat on for 2 hours by a hardtail too. If that makes racing more fun for you, then your likely to train harder and get faster on the FS bike.

    I know for me with the race courses around here there is only one of about 10 that I am actually faster consistantly per lap on my FS bike than my hardtail. Not that I can't find XC "trails" where a FS would be faster, but for our race courses the hardtail is usually faster.

    Of course the answer that's always correct is build both

    As for parts I'd get rid of that low end shimano BB and get a XT level one, you can drop a good bit of weight for $25 and some of those lower end shimano BB's are really crap.

    After that I'd go after the wheels, tires, pedals, tubes, rotating weight basically. Loosing static weight on the bike does not have anywhere near the effect of reducing rotating weight.
    Todd

  6. #6
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    My NRS frame (med) weighs in at 5.25...

    I am not positive that the Salsa will be more than a few grams lighter. It will have a plusher ride, however.

  7. #7
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    Why don't you like the NRS? Many people love them.

    Quote Originally Posted by bortiz24
    Thanks a bunch dave. I'm actually taking everything off of my nrs and applying it to the Salsa. Any advice on what you would do next to lose weight according to the following list?

    Wheelset: Crossmax XL disc
    Brakes: Avid Mechanicals
    Crank: Race Face Next LP
    Fork: Marzocchi Marathon
    Tires: Hutchinson Python SL with Stan's
    BB: Crap shimano low end, stock with nrs purchase
    Bar: Easton Monkeylite XC
    Stem: Bontrager low end
    Post: Thomson
    Seat: Selle Italia Trans Am
    Pods: Deore

    Thanks again for your help!
    But to answer your question.....

    Wheelset: Crossmax XL disc - top pick
    Brakes: Avid Mechanicals - Hope Mono Mini
    Crank: Race Face Next LP - top pick
    Fork: Marzocchi Marathon - Fox F80RLT (if budget permits, ebay @ $450)
    Tires: Hutchinson Python SL with Stan's - can't go wrong
    BB: Crap shimano low end, stock with nrs purchase - RaceFace Ti
    Bar: Easton Monkeylite XC - can't go wrong
    Stem: Bontrager low end - Ritchey WCS
    Post: Thomson - can't go wrong
    Seat: Selle Italia Trans Am - whatever if comfortable!!!!!
    Pods: Deore - XT will last longer

    You have it really dialed with the wheels/tires selection. The only thing that stands out is the Avid discs. If your budget allows, find a lighter brake setup.
    Do you have a top quality indoor trainer? And the discipline to use it properly? That is the #1 item most people ignore.

    Have fun,
    Dave

  8. #8

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    ... and if we just ... Thanks Todd!

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    I looked into the Salsa as I was in about the same boat as you. I was turned off by it's really short top tube, even the 20" frame bearly had enough top tube compared to my current 18" bikes.

    What I ended up doing is since my budget pretty well excluded any of the $1500+ frames new was I kept my eyes out for a great condition used Racer-x. Forget the fuel, it might be a nice bike, but even on ebay the frames go for nearly $1000 for a used oclv fuel frame. Some people are obviously willing to spend $1000 for a used trek frame, I'm not one of them.

    As to the hardtail -vs- FS. It's true you will see a lot of expert level XC racers on hardtails, esp. those that place highly. I've heard all the "well in my area, we race on "real" trails and no one XC races hardtails so if you race on a hardtail you must be riding paved XC courses" but the bottom line is if you are a pro level racer, and you can't take 2 hours of abuse from a hardtail, and don't have the skills to keep the bike on a good line and ride smooth without a rear suspension, you wouldn't be a pro anyway. People forget what suspension is for, it's not for resting your legs or saving your butt, it's for keeping the wheels on the ground to maintain traction, on most XC race courses that's easily done by a good rider without rear suspension. In fact you'll find a lot of pro bikes that are sponsored and race a rear suspension bike, either have the shock set very stiff or have a custom rear shock to make it's travel limited. However, those are pro level riders and they live and ride in a different world.

    Almost no XC course is won on the downhill sections, the amount of time you spend going down is tiny compared to climbing and riding the flat sections. Even if a course had 50/50 mix of uphill and downhill you can make way more time up climbing faster than you ever will decending faster. Of course no one wants to hear that because it's a lot easier to build a bike that decends easier and faster instead of training your skills and body harder to perform better.

    For the average rider a low travel light efficient FS bike on a rough XC course can certainly make a difference. The only real way to tell is to take a hardtail and a FS bike to the courses you race on multiple days and compare lap times. It almost always feels like you are going faster on a hardtail, even though your lap times may be slower, because you get a lot more input from the trail that you feel, the bike won't compensate for your mistakes so you tend to feel a little more out of control, hence faster. Also if you're not super serious about racing, it's a lot more comfortable to do a race on a XC FS than it is to get beat on for 2 hours by a hardtail too. If that makes racing more fun for you, then your likely to train harder and get faster on the FS bike.

    I know for me with the race courses around here there is only one of about 10 that I am actually faster consistantly per lap on my FS bike than my hardtail. Not that I can't find XC "trails" where a FS would be faster, but for our race courses the hardtail is usually faster.

    Of course the answer that's always correct is build both

    As for parts I'd get rid of that low end shimano BB and get a XT level one, you can drop a good bit of weight for $25 and some of those lower end shimano BB's are really crap.

    After that I'd go after the wheels, tires, pedals, tubes, rotating weight basically. Loosing static weight on the bike does not have anywhere near the effect of reducing rotating weight.
    Todd
    Yeah, I'd been looking for a used Racer X, but have been unable to come across anything in my price range and decided that if I could score a Salsa through the shop I work/race for in the $500 range, I would take it. I actually got it for under 5 bills, so I think I came away nicely.

    Fantastic description of fs vs ht as well. I'd actually been talking with a few of my expert friends, I'm a sport racer, and they seem to always have mixed responses for me, sort of like your paragraphs above. It finally came down to the fact that I have been on fs for 3 years and I like the comfort and like to climb seated, so I thought I could use that suspension to, as you stated, keep that rear wheel on the ground when climbing over rocky sections, which we have plenty of here in Austin and on the TMBRA race courses.

    And yes, it is ideal to be able to build up that second bike to really put my skills and cycling attributes to the test to truly find out what bike I am faster on. Can I barrow $500?

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