Monday, November 17, 2008
Video, Initial Ride Review of the Salsa Big Mama...
Here's an overview of the Big Mama I shot with my Flip video camera on the bike's maiden voyage this past Saturday. I just got it uploaded to Google Video and the version out on Google's site is larger than the version here, so if you want max quality, I'd recommend going out there to check it out. You should see the native video coming out of the camera... Totally television quality - amazing.
My initial ride impressions of the Big Mama are very positive. The design of the suspension, while essentially a linkage-driven single pivot, is very efficient yet active due to the tuned flex seatstays, which work with the Fox RP2 damper to minimize interference with pedaling and remain responsive to the widest variety of bumps possible. The low leverage ratio requires very low air pressures. Even with the smaller-volume air can on the Fox RP2, I only need to run 95psi to achieve 25% sag (12mm on the damper), and I'm running the rebound damping wide-open (full-fast). I read on the Speedgoat blog that they felt like this was a bike that was really created for ProPedal, but I really couldn't disagree more. I feel like the Big Mama is a really efficient bike on the dirt with the ProPedal in the off position. I don't even really want it when I'm on pavement. Yeah, I do notice a subtle difference under moderate to hard pedaling on pavement with the ProPedal engaged, but anytime I'm on dirt, I like the bike wide open. I mentioned this to Jason Boucher earlier tonight when we spoke and he said that it was likely I'd end up dropping my air pressure in the rear just a bit as I got more used to the bike, but that said, he was on the same page as I was on the ProPedal thing... The bike is designed not to need ProPedal, especially off-road. If anything, I feel like one of the Big Mama's distinct strengths is its efficiency under pedaling without the need for damping-based pedaling aids. It gets up and goes when you punch the gas. I like that.
The Big Mama is also very neutral handling. I can get off my El Mariachi and get on the Big Mama and ride either bike hard without drama. That's cool. You can feel that they're from the same family and that's something I've come to appreciate from Salsa's bikes. Consistency. As I get a little older, I appreciate it more and more, so I was relieved to ride the Big Mama and feel that familiar handling that I know and love, only better. It's laterally stiffer and obviously better suspended than any 29-inch Salsa to come before it, and those two things should ultimately make it the best-handling Salsa 29er to-date. I believe time will bear that out to be the case. Please don't tell my El Mariachi...
The handling is definitely stable. My Manitou fork doesn't have as much offset as the new Rebas, which would make the Big Mama handle a bit quicker. I'm thinking about trying my Maverick SC32 on the front, just for fun. Jason ran an SC32 on one of his prototypes for quite a while and I have to admit, it sure would look sweet... We'll see if I feel adventurous. This is the time to do it, I suppose! No time like the present.
Enjoy the video!
Posted by MG