El Mariachi - worth the price?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    El Mariachi - worth the price?

    So I'm new to steel framed bikes. I think the last one I had was a Redline bmx cromoly bike.

    But I've ridden a recent All Mountain HT steel framed bike in SoCal and loved it. But it's sort of a slack bike for my needs in the PNW tight and twisty trails.

    But I'm curious about the El Mariachi. I'm thinking the steel frame and the 29 wheels may be just enough to offset a full rigid bike. It would give me enough of a challenge to ride the trails and dance with the bike. I appreciate the 1x9 drivetrain since we do have some big hills on a lot of our trails.

    But what am I paying for? $1700 is a lot of greenbacks for a HT w/o a suspension fork. Can someone educate me on why this is a great deal?

    I currently ride a Cannondale Rush 4 I got this spring (been riding a '96 Stumpjumper over the winter) And unless I'm riding with the LBS guys, I'm actually bored riding my Rush with my friends that don't ride as regularly. But I will not go back to a rim brake setup.

    Looking for a HT to have some fun with.

  2. #2
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    I love mine as a rigid bike. The steel is compliant and the fork is quite amazing for a rigid fork. The 29er wheels really smooth out the ride and steel helps IMO. I wouldn't say that it replaces suspension but it is better than a 26er rigid.

    Whether it is better on tight and twisty will only be something you can determine. I would suggest borrowing a 29er to try out on your local trails if you can. Check your local forum here for a loaner. Try before you buy.
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  3. #3
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    Not a thread hijack but if you are curious about rigid 29ers there are plenty of threads offering even cheaper models to get started on in the 29er forum.

    That said, the El Mariachi is a beautiful bike, can't go wrong with it.

  4. #4
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    So what does a typical Mariachi weigh?

    Some run a Monocog near me. But I've read that they feel like a lump. Not as lively and not as forgiving a ride. Just heavy and bulletproof.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    So what does a typical Mariachi weigh?
    .
    Salsa lists 26.5 lbs on their web site. Mine weighs 25.7 lbs with the Salsa build kit and some new wheels. Both are weights for a medium.

  6. #6
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    Yes, get one. You won't be sorry.

  7. #7
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    Yes, i love mine!
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  8. #8
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    It's absolutely worth every penny... I own two, in fact. Most people who own them call them a bargain, because they ride with a level of refinement characteristic of more expensive frames. That's primarily why they're worth the money. If you've ridden bicycles for several years, and owned several bikes, the difference will be readily apparent. Even if this is your first bike since your old Redline, you'll recognize it as a really nice bike when you ride it back-to-back against something like a Redline Monocog. Not that there's anything wrong with a Monocog -- it's a very good bike. It's just that for the price, it has a heavier, less lively riding tubeset, components and wheels, because it has to... It's a matter of economics.

    But ultimately, you should buy for the frame, because you can replace every other component on the bike... Buy the best frame you can afford to buy. And in that respect, the El Mariachi is a very, very nice frame. Here are a few pictures of me putting mine to the test.

    To say it has passed with flying colors would be an understatement.

    Good luck!
    MG
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  9. #9
    Rigid in Evergreen
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    I'm also teetering on the point of getting an El Mar, it looks like the frame & fork sells for $830...

    I'm debating whether to do the Salsa 1x9 build kit or do a custom build kit.

    More specifically... what bits do you guys swap out from the stock build-kit and why?

  10. #10
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    was looking seriously at a niner mcr, but have got the chance of a really good deal on a new el mariachi that has me tempted ...

    have been comparing the geometery of the L and XL models, or more specifically the top tube lengths ... i am 6'3"-6'4" with reasonably long legs and arms and wondering if the L would fit me ... anyone of similar height that rides a large?

    have been doing some reasearch and comparing top tube lengths to what i already own and what i have ridden and more importantly found comfortable ...
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

  11. #11
    Hud
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter
    I'm also teetering on the point of getting an El Mar, it looks like the frame & fork sells for $830...

    I'm debating whether to do the Salsa 1x9 build kit or do a custom build kit.

    More specifically... what bits do you guys swap out from the stock build-kit and why?
    The build kit is very functional. Go for the kit then swap out anything you don't like. Spec is all a very personal thing.
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    was looking seriously at a niner mcr, but have got the chance of a really good deal on a new el mariachi that has me tempted ...

    have been comparing the geometery of the L and XL models, or more specifically the top tube lengths ... i am 6'3"-6'4" with reasonably long legs and arms and wondering if the L would fit me ... anyone of similar height that rides a large?

    have been doing some reasearch and comparing top tube lengths to what i already own and what i have ridden and more importantly found comfortable ...
    i'm 6'1 and ride a large, but for you, at 6'3"-4", I'd probably put you on an XL. i like to run 100mm stems on the el m, and you'd need a stem longer than 100mm to make a large fit.

    you'd like the XL better...
    I like bikes

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    was looking seriously at a niner mcr, but have got the chance of a really good deal on a new el mariachi that has me tempted ...

    have been comparing the geometery of the L and XL models, or more specifically the top tube lengths ... i am 6'3"-6'4" with reasonably long legs and arms and wondering if the L would fit me ... anyone of similar height that rides a large?

    have been doing some reasearch and comparing top tube lengths to what i already own and what i have ridden and more importantly found comfortable ...
    I'm 6'3.5" with a 34 pants inseam and I am riding a Large, mainly because I got a great deal on this particular bike. If I were paying full price and had my pick, I probably would have gotten an XL. That said, my L feels great, even though I'm definitely at the upper end of the size range. Up front I'm fine with the stock stem length (110mm?) but I'm thinking of getting a layback seatpost.

    OP: If this F&F is overpriced, its not by much, and over the life of the bike you'll totally forget about the extra $100 or so you could have saved by going with something else. If you ride it and like it (most do), don't worry if its the best deal possible and buy. I got the complete 1x9 build and am very, very happy.

  14. #14
    Rigid in Evergreen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hud
    The build kit is very functional. Go for the kit then swap out anything you don't like. Spec is all a very personal thing.


    I'm actually interested in hearing some other folks personal experiences with the El Mar build kit and/or some experiences on building up the frame&fork.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter
    I'm actually interested in hearing some other folks personal experiences with the El Mar build kit and/or some experiences on building up the frame&fork.
    I bought the frame only and built up with a Reba SL. The stock version are well stocked but there were a few items I did not like, wheels for one, so I built up. I am running mine single speed and had some parts I took off another bike but I spent almost the same as the built price.

    Previous post on the build:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=507508
    "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul".

  16. #16
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    I bought my El Mar 1 x 9 pretty much stock, with the exception of a Fox F29 80mm fork I/O the stock rigid fork. I immediately swapped out the stock wheelset in favor of tubeless ready rims (Bontrager) and tubeless tires (Spesh). Not an essential move, but I run tubeless on my other bike and am spoiled forever. I also swapped out the stock brake levers, as the Avid's that came on the bike just felt cheap and unnatural. Found some used XTR levers that were a huge improvement. I love the looks of the Pepperjack grips, but they started spinning after one ride, so on went the foam ESI grips. Dropped the stock 110mm stem for a 90mm as I'm used to a shorter stem, and that was the sweet spot there. Bolted on Ritchey bar ends for all the standing climbing. I have only ridden it about 7 times, but that's enough to fall in love. Just for kicks, I raced it last weekend in Big Bear, to find out if I could survive the 1 x 9 set-up. I did..barely...and though I didn't buy this bike to race, I might just do so next season. At my advanced age, for a race season I would have to go to a 2 x 9 set-up or risk blowing out a knee. For recreational riding, I love the simplicity and freedom of the 1 x 9, and this could easily be the only bike in a stable. Bike weight is right around 27.5 with the Fox fork. Amazing ride, highly recommended.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the inputs, everyone.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Ala Carte? I'm wondering if the 29 is not suited as well to the local trails that are very tight and twisty. We have lots of roots and rocks as well.

    And how is the company doing these days? It sounds like they put out a great product with lots of care under a different owner than current. Are they just riding out the "Salsa" name by just welding some tubes together and splashing fancy paint?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    I'm wondering if the 29 is not suited as well to the local trails that are very tight and twisty. We have lots of roots and rocks as well.
    Man, keep your voice down lest you bring in those crazies from the 29er forums!!!

    Seriously though, 29ers excel over roots and rocks, and I've never met a twist or a tight spot that my 29er kept me from clearing. Simply put, if you feel good on the bike it will never be an impediment to your success.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbaier
    I'm 6'3.5" with a 34 pants inseam and I am riding a Large, mainly because I got a great deal on this particular bike. If I were paying full price and had my pick, I probably would have gotten an XL. That said, my L feels great, even though I'm definitely at the upper end of the size range. Up front I'm fine with the stock stem length (110mm?) but I'm thinking of getting a layback seatpost.

    OP: If this F&F is overpriced, its not by much, and over the life of the bike you'll totally forget about the extra $100 or so you could have saved by going with something else. If you ride it and like it (most do), don't worry if its the best deal possible and buy. I got the complete 1x9 build and am very, very happy.
    just wondering if using riser bars makes a difference over using flat bars ...
    my XL 26" salsa el santo has a top tube of 625mm, and with the 120mm stem, flat bars and no set back setpost, i have had to slide the seat forwards a bit [until i get a smaller stem],

    yet on my L size GT peace 29er with a 635mm top tube, 120mm stem and riser bars, it feels like i could really slide the seat back a tad more ...

    just to confuse things, my trek 520 touring bike which is so comfortable only has a 590mm top tube with 120mm stem and flat bars ...

    am thinking the XL size gives more scope to play with, but the L size would fit ... maybe the decider would be how much i like to have my family jewels banging on the top tube when stopping on the trails???

    damn this sizing thing is confusing!
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

  20. #20
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    The Mariachi is more than the sum of it's parts. Out of any bike I have had it is the most fun. You can hammer (The Mariachi loves to climb) if you want to, ride all day but it is relaxed enough to just take a cruise on a fire trail withot feeling like your over dressed (6" suspension... with a kiddie trailer being pulled behind) I saw one in person about 2 or so years ago and resisted for a while but finally found a frame and I absolutely love it! By the way Every color I have seen in person looks way better than any pics...

    I origially thought I would put front suspension on it, purchased a 2009 Reba Team and it just sat because the bike works so well with the Salsa Fork, this said you will enjoy it much more with high volume tires such as the 2.55 weirwolf Lt's Salsa Specs. I have a friend that put 2.1 Ignitors as a rigid and though it felt fast it was much more harsh.

    As a comparison to the Al Carte I ride with a guy that built one as a shhhh.... 650b... and rode it side by side with his Mariachi. He now owns two Mariachi's 1 1X9 bought as a complete bike and one SS he built up. His feeling was that the 650b did not compliment the frame as well as the 29" in a full rigid format- I can imagine built with 26" wheels as a rigid it would be even less complimentry compared to the Mariachi.

    Here is my Build that Comes in at 24 lbs. with Bell, computer etc... for a med. I highly recommend it-
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    I Just wish I could ride more!


  21. #21
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    its a very nice bike...i thought the complete was reasonably priced in 2005....frame warrantied so went from blue to red version. Best service out of bb7, cranks....wheels not so much.

  22. #22
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    I love mine. I got a deal on a left over new 2007 Mariachi green med. frame off of ebay for $450. I am 6' and so far the fit doesn't seem bad. I built mine up with ebay deals and local deals for a little less than $2K. It is single speed with the rigid fork. It is by far my favorite bike, I had a K2 hardtail, santa cruz heckler, and ellsworth moment. It would have been less without the king hubs, bb, and headset. And since I've added a 2.4RR in the rear.

  23. #23
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    is there any real difference between the 2007 model and the current model?

    i really like the colour of the current red one, but i have found a brand new still in the box 2007 XL sized model that i think i can get for a really good deal ... if it is the tomatillo green then i am certainly interested ...
    "old enough to know better. too old to care."

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    is there any real difference between the 2007 model and the current model?

    i really like the colour of the current red one, but i have found a brand new still in the box 2007 XL sized model that i think i can get for a really good deal ... if it is the tomatillo green then i am certainly interested ...
    Other than color and the seat tube brace they are pretty close. I mentioned it earlier in this thread but a guy I ride with has both a current model in red and an older style in the tomatillo and has not noticed a difference. Maybe some will? I have and love the red but the green is awsome.
    I Just wish I could ride more!


  25. #25
    tl1
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    Mine was pretty inexpensive

    ...for a complete bike in Spring 2007. $1348 plus tax at my LBS. They cost more than that now but it's still a very good deal. You can find complete bikes for under $1500.
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  26. #26
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    I think Speedgoat has a sale on a complete 1x9 rigid bike for $1400 with free shipping. This is perfect bike setup. But not financial timing wise...

  27. #27
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    Yes, plain & simple ...great bike

  28. #28
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    So the seat brace is a model year difference not a sizing difference? Will an older model with the brace have a lower standover height, or have the seat stays been lowered on the seat tube on the newer? mgersib, I assume from your post that you're just as happy with both?

  29. #29
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    I'm 5.65ft height would this be ok bike for little shorty like me. I heard you have to be at least 6ft to ride a 29er?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by briscdm
    So the seat brace is a model year difference not a sizing difference? Will an older model with the brace have a lower standover height, or have the seat stays been lowered on the seat tube on the newer? mgersib, I assume from your post that you're just as happy with both?
    You are correct, sir. They dropped the brace for the 2008 model year, which has carried forward to 2009. Standover has not appreciably increased. As you guessed, they did lower/shorten the seatstays to go with the shorter seattube. So on a large/20-inch frame, where on the original El Mariachi, the actual seattube length would have been 22-inches to the top of the collar, the new seattube length is actually 20-inches to the top of the collar. You just see two inches more seatpost. The top tube length is the same, standover is pretty much the same (it's maybe just a hair higher, but for me, it's not a substantive difference) and the handling is just as tight as it ever was. All in all, it was a successful redesign. It didn't ruin one of my favorite frames ever...

    In fact, I just raced my red El Mariachi to second place in the 3-hour "enduro" class in the fifth round of our state series, held at Tranquility Park up in Omaha. I've attached a couple of photos from that race, courtesy of our local photogs, Jeremy and Michael
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter
    I'm actually interested in hearing some other folks personal experiences with the El Mar build kit and/or some experiences on building up the frame&fork.

    I bought the complete bike from Speedgoat in 07, the 1x9 version with rigid fork came in at about 27.5 lbs. Since then I've replaced the crank with a triple, replaced the rigid fork with a Reba 80mm race fork, and replaced the Avid bb7 brakes with Hayes stroker carbons.

    My latest upgrade is some Stan's Flow rims. Total weight now is 26.5 lbs with pedals, not bad if you ask me for 29 steel frame. I just raced her in the Leadville 50 a couple of weeks ago, it's the most stable and comfortable bike I've ever ridden. I also have some Gordo rims for Winter riding.

    Can't say anything bad about this bike.

  32. #32
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    Yes, happy with mine since the day of purchase. Since I bought it the only changes were the grips and brake levers, two things that just are a personal preference. Good luck with it.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by wannabeRacer
    I'm 5.65ft height would this be ok bike for little shorty like me. I heard you have to be at least 6ft to ride a 29er?
    i'm just under 5.8 w/ 30in inseam and have a Small Limited Edition and a Medium newer red 07-08 frame, you'd be fine with a small frame!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by brado1
    i'm just under 5.8 w/ 30in inseam and have a Small Limited Edition and a newer red 07-08 frame, you'd be fine with a small frame!
    I concur 100-percent. I know people that are 5 foot 2 inches in height that love their El Mariachis. They look like big wheel BMX bikes... Radical! And they rip on them too.
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  35. #35
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    so, have the ebb's held up on everyones rig? i now have 6 months on my el mar.. i have always had chain tugs on my ss bikes. it was a big jump for me considering frameset price. it has worked out so far. i found i just need to keep the mechanism a little cleaner than my other bikes. what position are you guys setting your bb at? my only complaint is the bike is just too pretty. a roll in a rock garden gave her the scrathes she was needing on the 2nd ride.

  36. #36
    dru
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    I'm stoked. I built up a 27.5 lb Alfine powered version in XL. If you went for all XTR instead you'd have a 25 lb bike. That's sweet for an XL 29er, although the weight of mine isn't bad either.

    I love the ride but the rigid fork beats on you a bit. I'm running super low tire pressures to compensate. I've had one pinch flat in 3 1/2 months of riding. I'm 99% certain I'll put suspension on it by next season.

    As for the handling it is fast, no doubt about it but isn't twitchy.The bike climbs phenomenally compared to a 26er. The rear wheel traction is fantastic. There is lots of room for very fat tires too.

    The EBB is cool but I believe you need to be fastidious with maintenance on it. I use grease on some parts, anti seize on others, and torque it to the manufacturer's specs' which is much tighter than you'd think. I've had to adjust it once so far. No big deal really. It screams for a IG hub or single speed!

    Oh, the paint is awesome. I have the '07 in Green. I'm sad every time I crash. Luckily I've only chipped the clear coat in one place.

    Here's the list of goodies:
    1400 tires Kenda SB8/Maxxis Ardent
    440 x 2 rims Salsa Delgado Race
    1900 hub Alfine
    200 shifter Alfine
    2700 frame XL El mar.
    180 front hub 36 hole XT
    450 cranks RS8 Middleburns
    400 pedals pd m 520
    300 bb Tange
    130 bar RF. carbon XC
    300 post Ritchey Comp
    170 stem Ritchey Comp
    125 king head set
    1100 fork El Mar rigid
    280 brake levers xtr
    450 calipers xtr
    200 rotors xtr
    135 seat Selle Italia slr
    80 nipples brass
    200 chain pg 830
    150 skewers salsa
    270 spokes dt double butted
    300 tubes


    12300 (26.82)

    27.4 lbs actual

    occasional cyclist

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by standingindian
    so, have the ebb's held up on everyones rig? i now have 6 months on my el mar.. i have always had chain tugs on my ss bikes. it was a big jump for me considering frameset price. it has worked out so far. i found i just need to keep the mechanism a little cleaner than my other bikes. what position are you guys setting your bb at? my only complaint is the bike is just too pretty. a roll in a rock garden gave her the scrathes she was needing on the 2nd ride.


    Have about the same time on mine and no creaks and or pings.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefmiguel
    Have about the same time on mine and no creaks and or pings.
    In two years, on two bikes, no problems with either EBB... They've never loosened, creaked or done anything else weird. I think they're great.
    I like bikes

  39. #39
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    I also can attest to the undefinable attraction to the El Mar. I have to 07 in blue. I rode it rigid for a year, got a Fox fork, now I want the rigid back. So I'm thinking about getting the new red El Mar to have one front susp. and the other rigid.

    I really, really like my El Mar.

  40. #40
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    Got off track....

    The OP's question of "worth the price?"

    Yes, it's worth the extra money to me to feel like I have a great bike. Not just a good bike, or decent bike, but a great bike. I want to ride it just to ride it. That's what great bikes do.

    Yes. Worth the price.

  41. #41

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    Great bike, just got mine more than a week ago..
    I'm 5.8 w/ 28 inseam, S size fits me well.



    I got a great deal from a local rider for the frameset, and gave it a good mixture of used parts, budget purchases from CRC & the LBS:

    Salsa Cycles
    El Mariachi '07 frameset (True Temper OX Platinum)

    Salsa CroMoto Grande rigid fork
    Salsa CroMoto S.U.L stem
    Salsa Lip-Lock Clamp

    Shimano
    Shimano Double M545 Chainset (removed big ring - now 36T single ring)
    XTR Chain
    XT F/R Disc hubs and 160mm XT rotors

    SRAM
    SRAM X.9 Rear Derailleur (Medium Cage)
    SRAM Rear X.9 Twister Shifter
    SRAM PG950 11-34T cassette
    Avid BB 7 Mech Disc Brake with Avid Speed Dial 7 levers

    Others
    DT X470 29" Rims + DT Comp spokes
    Panaracer Rampage 29 x 2.35
    Token Notch-AA aheadset
    NC-17 XC Pro Flat Bar
    Velo lock-on grips
    ABR seatpost
    Wellgo MG1 platform pedals
    Ripcord green shifter & brake cables + housing
    N Gear Jump-Stop
    Selle Royal Dardo saddle

    Last edited by avemaria; 08-21-2009 at 02:57 AM.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkMJ29
    I also can attest to the undefinable attraction to the El Mar. I have to 07 in blue. I rode it rigid for a year, got a Fox fork, now I want the rigid back. So I'm thinking about getting the new red El Mar to have one front susp. and the other rigid.

    I really, really like my El Mar.
    Oh yeah... Do it. You won't regret it a bit. I rode my rigid green El Mariachi SS Tuesday night, then my hardtail geared red El Mariachi last night. Having the option of both is awfully nice!!!
    I like bikes

  43. #43
    tl1
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    That is a sweet deal

    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    I think Speedgoat has a sale on a complete 1x9 rigid bike for $1400 with free shipping. This is perfect bike setup. But not financial timing wise...
    $1395 with free shipping. Great price on an awesome bike.

    http://www.speedgoat.com/product.asp...t=19&brand=216

  44. #44
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    Good build Avemaria.

    I like those pedals!

  45. #45
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    Hello
    Iím looking for Salsa El Mariachi OX Platinum steel, eg. 2007, 2008/2009 or possibly earlier models or similar later ones. Ideally size small, maybe medium. Is anyone selling? Please let me know. Either frameset or complete bike.
    Willing to have it shipped if not local.
    Thanks!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mon19 View Post
    Hello
    Iím looking for Salsa El Mariachi OX Platinum steel, eg. 2007, 2008/2009 or possibly earlier models or similar later ones. Ideally size small, maybe medium. Is anyone selling? Please let me know. Either frameset or complete bike.
    Willing to have it shipped if not local.
    Thanks!
    There's a salsa and surly traders page on facebook that you will have better luck on. I've seen a few of those pop up.

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