Sorry for the blah inside-the-office images, but my digital camera has been outta commission for a couple days now (coming back online for tomorrow's FFL Cabin Fever Killer), so I had to borrow a camera from work to snap a couple of quick images.
This is my new Salsa El Mariachi -- my first fully-rigid 29er, and the first rigid mountain bike I've owned in more than a decade. Salsa's Website can tell you more about the technical details of the frame, but I've had the opportunity to ride it three times now, and my initial impressions are incredible. Here's some aspects that stand out:
- The Bushnell Eccentric Bottom Bracket (EBB) -- An amazing piece of engineering, the Brownell EBB makes the El Mariachi capable of running either geared or single while using vertical dropouts. I used to be somewhat fearful of EBBs, after experiencing the at times hammer-wielding experiences MW and I had back our days at Cycle Works in the mid-90s. Today, the Bushnell EBB makes it amazingly quick and easy to adjust BB position and chain tension (about 15 seconds), and it only weighs 140 grams. When compared to early versions that weighed in upwards of 400 grams, it's clear that dramatic evolution has occurred in the past 10 years. So where initially I was trepidous about the Bushnell EBB, I'm now a fan.
- True Temper OX Platinum tubing -- Jason at Salsa and I were both fans of Bontrager's fine steel frames back in the 90s. Many of you may recall I won a NORBA national -- my only national win -- on a RaceLite. Well, the tubing chosen for the El Mariachi is a direct descendent of the tubeset our favored Botragers were constructed of. You can tell too... It's got a sublime balance of stiffness and compliance that immediately felt 'just right' to me.
- The difference between 'compliance' and 'suspension' -- While the El Mariachi frame and fork are both amazing in their compliance, when you hit stuff hard, it's clear there's a clear distinction between a compliant riding frame and having 3-5 inches of suspension to absorb bumps. I think I'd kinda' forgotten that. I love the responsive feel of a rigid fork though, and the plates in my right arm haven't protested a bit... yet. We'll see how it takes Platte.
- Clearance to spare -- I'm running a 2.3 Exiwolf in the rear and a 2.2 Nevegal in the front, and both have plenty of clearance. And it sounds like we might need that clearance this weekend...
- Yep, she's a looker -- Salsa calls it Tomatilla Green -- I see guacomole, or perhaps a margarita... Hmmm, now I'm thirsty. But whatever you call it, you can't call it ugly.