Salsa El Mariachi as 1×9

This morning I finished converting my single speed Salsa El Mariachi to a 1×9 (one chainring, normal 9-speed cassette) setup with a rigid fork which I think might be nice for springtime dirt road rides. Reusing the old (and relatively light) rear wheel from the Titus meant that this setup is essentially the same weight as when the bike was a single speed. There’s probably a couple more ounces now, but the scale shows it around 26 pounds before and after, so this is a nice treat.

To complete this build I used the following:

· Salsa Ring Dinger (Bash guard / chain guide.)
· N-Gear Jump Stop
· SRAM X9 Long Cage Rear Derailleur (2010)
· SRAM X9 Trigger Shifter (2010)
· DT Swiss X370 / X470 Wheel (old wheel from the Titus Racer X 29er)
· Generic Bottom Bracket Cable Guide
· Jagwire L3 Housing and Caps
· SRAM PC-991 Chain (Leftover / Spare)
· Shimano LX-level 11-34 Cassette

Of all these parts the only bits that I had to purchase were the Jump Stop, shifter, and cassette which were purchased from Amazon, the MMBA Forum, and the MMBA Expo (respectively). Pete helped me out with the bottom bracket cable guide, as he apparently has a stash of them. Everything else was laying around the house leftover from other projects or bikes. Total out of pocket cost for this project was less than $60.

Tomorrow’s plans are for dirt road riding, so to test everything out I set off from home and did a nice paved route up to Stony Creek and back, totaling just under 35 miles. I ended up stopping off twice to visit a friend who works at local fire stations; these (and in particular some of the tools there) were pretty nifty to see. The ride went well overall, and I was able to ride pleasantly fast (for me), regularly seeing 20MPH+ including a 36MPH+ downhill just outside of Stony Creek.

So far the bike is working out really well. With a 34t chainring I had a quite pleasant gearing, spinning out only when on longer/faster downhills. For most things that I did today it was a quite sufficient gearing, and something that I could also see myself enjoying on most local trails.

The knobby Racing Ralph is probably a bit more than needed as a front tire, but for now it’s what’s on the bike so I’ll leave it there. Perhaps I’ll switch to something a bit lower knob in a few days, but we’ll see (Kenda Slant Six, maybe?). For now I’m just hoping to enjoy riding dirt roads on a rigid geared bike with normal MTB-type tires. If we can’t have snow and/or frozen trails and/or properly dry trails dirt roads will have to do.

Here’s two more photos of the El Mariachi in its new 1×9 configuration:

· Sitting against a (unused this year, I presume) piece of snow plow equipment near some local condos.
· Detail of the 1×9 drivetrain.

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