Friday, February 23, 2007

Why are you smiling so much lately MG???

Here's why:
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.
My new El Mariachi will accompany me to the FFL CFK tomorrow, so if you're there, don't hesitate to holler at me and check it out. But whatever you do this weekend, have fun and be safe.

Cheers,
MG

13 comments:

-jb said...

very good mg, i like it!

len said...

dude, that thing is sweet.

maybe a tomatillo on the vine, but definately not tomatillo (salsa verde) salsa. you get to be an salsa expert real quick down here. or its kinda like the color of jalapeno trees (gringo northeast texas mexican chain which is a good alternative to the comfort food in the region) guacamole mayo mix. i know its messed up and doesn't taste that good, but if you only weigh a duece fifty up in those parts, you're considered skinny.

I bet that ebb rocks. I'd love to try one. track ends are simple and relatively easy to allign but realligning the disk would drive me up the wall. Kona's sliders are okay, but I have a little trouble alligning the wheel with them. they also take a bit of time. any unit riders out there have some tricks, i'd love to hear it.

the ebb seems like the way forward to me. nice and simple with no messing with wheel allingment.

rip it up on that thing. how many bikes is that now?

was up to three myself till the latest surly mishap.

-jb said...

lenny, with the wheel in the drop outs, and the right tensioner tight, i put my left hand on the left seat stay, hold the wheel in place with my thumb, and sight down the tire to line it up as i tighten the right drop out. then tighten the left drop out, spinning the wheel to check alignement. if that makes any sense at all, it seems to work well.

MG said...

thanks guys.

len, i'm impressed by your salsa knowledge.. perhaps a bit scared, actually.

on the unit sliders. i get the chain tension close, then lock the left side down, but not all the way. Just enough to hold it there. Then use that as the fulcrum to get your chain tension right. Once you lock-in your chain tension, loosen the left side and center as necessary. And put some washers under the bolt heads too -- the dropouts slipped something fierce for me until I did that. I was running a stack of two washers, the base washer slightly larger than the bolt head washer, which was an attempt to keep the washers from distorting. It worked pretty well.

... so basically what bonsall said.

But the EBB solves that, and as long as I keep it greased, it should stay silent, I'm told. So far, so good.

debaser said...

I wasn't so impressed with those until I saw one in person, then I really liked 'em.

Not so sure about the ebb thing. The sliders on the OnOne have been problem free.

A.B. said...

Nice looking bike! I think you'll really like it. Have you owned a single speed before? I have tons of fun on mine, and it makes me stronger too.

ortiz said...

MG, your rig is so dope and when I grabbed it by the handle bars i shit myself at how fricken sweet it felt, i can't wait to have a bike that I'm stoked on...it's been too long, but all the sweeter... Hot Salsa bro...

redstone said...

"there's a clear distinction between a compliant riding frame and having 3-5 inches of suspension to absorb bumps"

Um, I was thinking about that today, actually, during my ride on the On*One at Hall Ranch today. I think my hands are still sore dude.

MG said...

thanks a.b. - yeah, i've had a few singlespeeds, but this is my first single 29er. it's a good combo.

ortiz, you're funny. that was fun hangin with you yesterday. i'm gonna check your website in a little bit to see if you've got any pics posted. i bet you got a lot of good shots.

debaser, i don't think sliders are a bad option -- far from it. where 6 months ago, i was hesitant to use an EBB, the EBB itself, along with salsa's implementation of it into the el mariachi, was what made me a fan. chain tension adjustments take all of 15 seconds with a 4mm allen and a green park spanner. the sliders on your on one look really good, probably better than the kona design that some have had issues with.

dave, if i lived out there it'd be a lot harder for me to groove on a rigid bike. but there are subtleties in handling that you can only experience with a rigid fork. it still blows me away. and for wilderness park, and a lot of the stuff we ride around here, suspension is a nicety, not a neccessity. what's nice is having the geometry set up so it's a win-win situation either way. if i'm coming out there, it'll take me about 20 minutes to set it up with my reba or sc32.

thanks again guys.
mg

ButchieCantaloupe said...

man, you missed out on some sick skiing.

ButchieCantaloupe said...

A.B. are you really 250 yrs. old? that's`vampire old.

A.B. said...

Whoa dang! I guess that's what happens when you leave the year blank on your profile. Fixed, and thanks for your concern about my mortality, butchiecantaloupe:)

To keep this on track, mg how do you have your bars set up? Do you like them so far? I checked out a haro mary this week and boy were those bars comfy.

MG said...

butch -- you know what my skis would have been like in that warm snow... i woulda' been hiking... in crappy boots. there's no wax that can save my skis -- it's just time for new equipment.

a.b -- the 17 degree salsa bars are very nice. i like them a lot. that said, i am never one to resist messing with my setup a bit. last night i put a 80mm high-rise salsa stem on with an upside-down mary bar. it looks incredibly good, a lot like a scorcher bar, but unfortunately the brake levers intersect the top tube when the bars swing around, which will likely limit how long i keep that setup. i'll take some pics and post 'em later.

but bottom line, the 17 degree salsa bar is a good alternative for those who don't want to go the wacky mary or jones bar route. one note however - i'd estimate you'll need a 5-10mm longer stem with the 17 deg. salsa bar than you would with a standard bar. Something to think about if you choose to make the switch. i'm lucky to have a lot of stems in the parts bin...