Last updated on August 14, 2013
Today I finished assembling my new bike, a complete 2013 Salsa El Mariachi Ti, size medium, that I purchased from Trail’s Edge. For quite some time I’ve wandered a dedicated, geared hard tail 29er, and so back in September 2012 I ordered this one. It was originally slated to ship in mid-December 2012, but (apparently due to Salsa’s growing popularity) it slipped until this past week (April 2013). Regardless, I’m happy to have it.
This was purchased as a complete bike and received it in the box so I could put it together myself. This worked out well because I both like assembling my own bicycles, and it allowed me to swap out the parts I was immediately wanting to change, like the saddle, handle bars, grips, and tires. I end up spending around 12 hours on the initial assembly of a bike this way, but then I’m comfortable with how it went together and how it’d been tuned, and when something goes awry I’m ready to take care of it.
The only problem I had during this assembly was with the tubeless setup on the rear wheel. I’d originally intended to use a Specialized Fast Trak Control tire, but I had enough difficulty getting it installed that I headed over to Rochester Bike Shop mid-assembly and picked up a Kenda Small Block Eight and used it instead. During the install I found the Specialized Fast Track on the Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch EX rim was such a tight fit that it was very difficult to get the tire fitted, and then it wouldn’t seat. Using my High Volume Inflater I attempted to overinflate the tire to get it to set, but before it did that the other side blew off the rim with an incredible bang, with enough force to bend and crimp the tubeless valve inside the head of the inflater. Thankfully the rim wasn’t damaged, so after getting the new valve and tire everything went together just fine.
I’m happy with how the bike came out thus far, with two exceptions, one minor and one major. The minor exception is that I don’t like the red logo on the side of the stem. It’s not terrible looking as there is some red at the bottom of the fork, but the bike now needs something red on the rear end to balance the color. This may get replaced, though, as the major problem is one of reach. While I’ve got the seat/crank area setup properly, the Salsa Bend 2 bar is not a drop-in replacement for the Ragley Carnegie’s Bar that I prefer.
The Bend 2 is both a little wider and doesn’t sweep back as far as the Carnegie’s Bar, and when measuring from the nose of the saddle to the bolts in the grip (same saddle and grips on both bikes) the El Mariachi Ti has 45mm more reach (saddle to grip) than either my steel El Mariachi or Titus Racer X 29er. It’s only a smidge longer than on the Mukluk 2, so I will give it a go for this weekend (scheduled for 8.5 hours of riding total) and see how it feels. I’ve thought that I’m perhaps a bit too upright on either the Titus or steel El Mariachi, but they’ve also felt fine for many, many hours of riding. Since the Carnegie’s Bar is no longer made and nearly impossible to find for sale I may have to investigate a stem change and trimming the bars if the current setup doesn’t work out. At least that should take care of the red color imbalance.
As with many tubeless setups the tire loses air for a while until a few rides can get the sealant wholly distributed, and this caused me one problem. When I got home from work today I found that the rear tire had lost its air, causing the bike to fall over in the stand. In doing so the top tube brushed a table leg, putting a small scuff in the finish. This is probably nothing compared to damage which the bike will incur from kicked up sticks and rocks, but it’s a bit frustrating for that to have happened before I even got it on a trail.
Finishing off the bike I topped the Niner YAWYD with a cap from Southern Tier Brewing Company. This black bottle cap with a shovel and traditional wood mashing paddle fits very nicely on the bike, and is a (admittedly non-Michigan) brand that I really enjoy. I’ve taken the bike for a ride around local neighborhoods to bed in the brakes and get the Garmin Edge 500 to auto-calculate a rear wheel size, so it’s ready to ride this weekend. This proved that the Elegant Cadence Magnet that I’d posted about earlier works great, even using a lower profile magnet than the one pictured before. It’s much nicer than a magnet sticking off the back side of the pedal, secured with adhesive and a cable tie.
So far I’m really happy with this bike, and I expect this to continue as I ride it more. There’s a little bit of fit tweaking like with any new bike, but I think I’ve got it pretty close, and hopefully it’ll work well for the foreseeable feature, allowing me to successfully complete a number of long rides. Weighing in at 26.16 pounds (as pictured here, including the Garmin) it’s also one of the lightest bikes I’ve ever owned.
I’ve got a few parts leftover that I probably won’t use (Salsa Back Country Lock-On Grips, WTB Pure V saddle, too-short Salsa Pro Moto 1 Seatpost, Salsa Pro Moto 1 Carbon Flat handlebar, Continental Trail King 2.2 tires) on this bike, but they’ll be good things to add to the spares pile. I’ve also got a SRAM X7 S1400 2×10 crankset without bottom bracket (it was stock on the El Mariachi Ti, I replaced it with the X0 that I picked up a few months back), but as it is 104 BCD I can see myself using it on another bike as a single speed or 1×9 crankset.
Here’s the exact components on it, as of this evening:
Frame: 2013 Salsa El Mariachi Ti (Medium / 17″)
Fork: Fox Racing Shox OE, CTD w/ Open Bath Damper
Headset: Cane Creek 40 ZS44/EC44
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP (XR / Black)
Crankset: Truvativ 2011 2×10 X0 GXP (00.6115.422.070, Blue)
Rims: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch EX 29er (Blue Accents)
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition (Black)
Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2 (23°)
Stem: Salsa Pro Moto 1 (100mm)
Seatpost: Thomson Elite (Straight, 27.2mm x 410mm)
Seatpost Collar: Salsa Lip-Lock (32.0mm)
Saddle: Specialized Phenom Comp (143mm, Grey / Black Underside)
Grips: Ergon GP1 BioKork (Large)
Shifters: SRAM X9 2×10 Trigger
Front Derailleur: SRAM X7 High Direct Mount
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X0 Medium Cage (Blue)
Cassette: SRAM PG 1070 (11-36)
Chain: SRAM PC 1051
Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 (Blue)
Bottle Cages: King Cage Iris
Other Accessories: Mirracycle Original Incredibell, Niner YAWYD Top Cap, Planet Bike Superflash Stealth, Scotch 2228 (Chainstay Wrap), Race Face Crank Boots, UHMW Tape for Cable Rub and Heel Rub, Garmin GPS Mount.