We will start with the ride. Brandon and I headed down to Mohican State Park yesterday morning thinking the worst. We have had a ton of rain and snow over the past month, but Mohican is just sandy enough that it doesn't hold much moisture and dries out pretty quickly. Still, we have had a lot of rain and snow, we had decided we still needed to ride off road, despite what the trail conditions were, Brandon's first race is in a month and I had been staring at a freshly built bike. Much to our surprise, other than being a little soft, the 25 mile loop was in fantastic shape, sure there were a few muddy spots, some erosion from the rain and snow melt, and downed trees. I will say that I was in no shape to take on the 25 miles on my single speed, but I did suffer through it, and survive. Barely! At mile 13 I began to wear down, because 1. I was pushing a slightly tall gear for me this early in the season, and 2. I was trying to keep up with Brandon who is 11 years younger than me! Regardless of my bonking, It was nice to spend the day in the woods.
|Brandon and his Raleigh Hodala Single Speed|
|One of the best sections of trail|
|Post Ride, not too muddy for March in Ohio|
As for the ride, the first thing I noticed was the stiffness. I think the two major contributors are the existence of a chainstay bridge which the Karate Monkey doesn't have, and the new Kung Fu tubing. I had only ridden the previous generation El Mariachi in a parking lot , so I can't really compare the two. Compared to the Surly, the Salsa rear end feels a little stiffer. With the carbon fork the bike is definitely lighter, it weighs in at 23.60lbs, which is not featherweight, but neither am I so, it's light enough. When I was decided on this frame, I knew I needed a longer top tube than was on my Karate Monkey which is an 18" frame with a 23.5" top tube. With the Salsa I went with the 20" frame with a 24.5" top tube which stretched me out nicely, and the stand over ended up only changing by a .25 inches. The fit on the Salsa seems to be perfect. Though blue is not my favorite color, it was nice to look down and see the bright blue paint job in stead of black, brown or army green which all of my most recent bikes have been. So, in conclusion of the first ride report, the El Mariachi was a good fit, and a worthy replacement for my beloved Karate Monkey. Hopefully I can get some more time on the Salsa, and hopefully my fitness level goes up, because right now, I can't imagine riding the Mohican 100.
|Salsa chainstay bridge|
|Lack of chainstay bridge on Surly Karate Monkey|