Friday, October 21, 2011

Custom Bike Build: Mike's Salsa El Mariachi.


Mike contacted us with the idea of building a no holds barred, go fast 29er single speed.  The primary purpose of the bike would be racing in local events, and generally ripping up single track. The bike would be built around high end parts, with particular attention spent on the wheels.  Mike had a list of parts he specifically wanted to use.  We added our two cents, ordered things up, and waited for them to arrive.


Salsa's El Mariachi fit the bill for the frame we were looking for.  Mike likes steel bikes.  We wanted to be able to use any current 29er fork, which the Mariachi's 44mm head tube allows for.  Salsa's Alternator swinger drop outs are the best single speed tension system I've used.  They are really easy to use, and allow for dead easy chain tensioning.  It's a heck of a platform to build any 29er!  

Mike chose to go with the blue El Mariachi frame.  To compliment this Mango Chris King products were used through out the bike.  These are top notch parts, and should all easily last the lifetime of the bike.  The orange color really pops against the subdued blue of the frame.  The overall appearance is stunning.

This bike was going to be rigid, and Whisky's new tapered steer tube carbon fork was an obvious choice.  Light, comfortable, and quite stiff, this will make for a very positive feeling front end.  Attached to the frame with King's tapered steer tube headset the orange color choice is obviously a good decision.

While the 44mm head tube is visually large compared to the smaller steel frame tubing, the bigger lower headset cup and wide carbon fork really blend together well.  The minimal geared cable stops are visible in this picture, but are really not noticeable when looking at the bike en mass.  I like Whisky's use of subtle graphics, and the matte finish of the fork is really nice.

The wheels on this bike are the ones featured in yesterday's blog post.  These are as good as 29er wheels get.  We went with Continental Race King 29er tires set up tubeless.  These are my favorite all around tires for Midwest mtb riding. The fact that the Conti logo orange matches almost exactly it an added bonus.

For the crank we went with Shimano's standard XT crank with Salsa Ring and guard.  The XT crank is our choice for durability, light weight, stiffness, and all around performance for the dollar.  The black with black rings looks great on here.  The orange CK bottom bracket doesn't hurt either.

This is one of the most beautiful bikes we've ever built.  It offers an amazing amount of performance for a relatively low cost.  To put if in comparison, this bike costs just over what the entry level US built Trek Madone does this year.  That's with arguably the best mtb wheels you can possibly get, along with many other hugely nice performing parts.  As pictured here it weighs in at 20.6 lbs!

I love how this one turned out, I'd love to take it home myself.  Look for this to be ripping it down in Iowa at races soon.  It'll be that blue blur passing on the left!


Wally said...

Nicely done Ben. Good pic of the new El Mar blue color and I do love the Mango color on the blue. Nice selection of parts. Good build. The wheels are gorgeous.

Guitar Ted said...

Nothing "stupid-light" either. That's what I like about this bike. You can hammer this thing without worry.

Great job, Ben and Curtis! Congrats to Mike on another fine addition to his stable.

James Fisher said...

yet another job well done.

Vito said...

You really have been doing some amazing stuff Ben. I love checking your blog updates to see what the latest projects are. The El Mariachi is sweet.