Every since getting the Salsa El Mariachi Ti last April I’ve been interested in trying it out with a rigid fork, but due to the lack of availability of reasonably priced, readily compatible forks I hadn’t been able to. The (very nice looking, but expensive) Whisky Parts Company No. 9 Carbon Thru Axle 29er Fork would have worked, but at $595 (MSRP) it’s too pricy for my part-time rigid fork desires.
As of last week QBP began shipping part FK0851, a 15mm thru axle tapered steerer tube version of their CroMoto Grande 29er fork, the same one which ships on the 2014 Salsa El Mariachi Single Speed. I have the non-tapered 9mm quick release version for my steel El Mariachi Single Speed (photo) and like it there, and with a MSRP of $209 I figured it’d be a good fork for the El Mariachi Ti. Ryan over at Apto Cycling ordered the fork for me the day it was available, I picked it up on Thursday, and this evening I got it installed.
At 2.8 pounds (versus 3.7 for the Fox) it only saves 0.9 pounds, but it should give me everything I wanted in a rigid fork on that bike: a stiff, reasonably-priced, not-squishy front end that’s drop-in compatible with the suspension fork and easy to switch to. The Whisky fork would have saved another 1.3 pounds, but at nearly $400 more, I don’t think it’d have been worth it.
I’m quite happy with how the fork looks, with the gloss black goes great with the titanium frame, and the overall setup was as easy as I could have hoped for. I’m not as keen on the Rock Shox Maxle design as I like Fox’s lever type a bit more, but it does work as advertised. Sitting still bike has a slightly more aggressive posture than with the suspension fork, right about equal to the proper sag setting while riding it.
I’m really looking forward to getting that bike back out and riding it… That’ll still have to wait for a thaw and nicer weather.