The El Mariachi was the first Salsa frame that I ever owned; my gateway to Salsa. I immediately formed a bond with the Tomatillo Green-colored bike, and since then, have owned every different version of the El Mariachi. Having said this, it is what makes me proud to be responsible for continuing to make sure the El Mariachi is at the top of the game in steel 29ers. To me it represents everything perfect in a hardtail 29er. For 2012, this is no different, and I am happy to introduce our El Mariachi models to you here.
The El Mariachi and I have been on some great adventures, so before we dive into the exciting details of the 2012 lineup, I want to talk about what I feel makes the El Mariachi so great.
The first thing I noticed when climbing onto the 2007 El Mariachi was how I immediately felt at home on it. Typically, when I bought a new bike, it would always take some getting used to. Even on the first ride however, that El Mariachi and I felt like long lost pals, ready to do anything. There were no nervous twitches to get used to, no quirks to compensate for. It just worked, and worked well.
When I made the switch to the 2009 Ruby Rojo-colored frame, I felt a bit nervous. Would it still feel the same? It did, and through a few various incarnations of this frame from internal gears to singlespeed, to derailleurs, and eventually back to internal gears, it was always right there, delivering for me, steady and predictable. Ruby Rojo and I did the Kokopelli trail in the spring of 2009.
Ruby Rojo and I on the Mary's section of the Kokopelli trail, March 2009 - Photo by my brother, Ryan. Check out his work at Ryan Krueger Photography
After coming to work for Salsa, the 2011 Bomb Pop Blue-colored frame was the first El Mariachi that I had taken a professional part in creating. This time, I was nervous. New to my job, wanting to make sure that we improved upon the platform, yet kept all the great characteristics from earlier El Mariachi frames. We did just that, adding wonderful improvements such as the Alternator dropout and Kung Fu tubing, but still maintaining that right-at-home feeling and stable geometry that has always made it my go-to bike. Bomb Pop Blue and I did the Kokopelli trail and the White Rim trail without support in 2010.
Bomb Pop Blue ridden by me, and Ruby Rojo ridden by my friend, on the White Rim trail
I also owned and spent plenty of time riding both the 2010 and 2011 versions of the El Mariachi Ti. The El Mariachi Ti was most often my bike of choice for the quick local singletrack loop after work, or the weekend jaunt up to the northwoods singletrack. As true as ever, it did what I expected and never let me down.
El Mariachi Ti, Rock Lake trail, October 2010
For 2012, we wanted to continue to make smart improvements to the El Mariachi frame while maintaining the very popular handling and ride quality.
The newest addition to the Tim Krueger El Mariachi lineage
2012 El Mariachi Steel Frame Updates
We started up front by switching to a 44mm headtube on the steel El Mariachi frames. This allows the use of previously standard 1-1/8” steerer tube forks or newer 1-1/2” tapered forks by simply using different headsets. We first implemented this on the 2011 El Mariachi Ti, and had excellent rider feedback on the versatility this offers.
We’ve also improved standover clearance by shortening the seat tube of each size by an inch, yet keeping the same fit and geometry.
Finally, we’ve added a XS size. Adding the new smaller size is very exciting, because it now allows shorter folks to fit and enjoy the ride of the El Mariachi.
2012 El Mariachi Complete Bike Lineup
For complete bikes, we have strengthened the line, providing a greater variety of price points, and helping more people get on board the El Mariachi. When we spec a bike, we always base our decisions around one principle - making a bike that we would want to ride.
The El Mariachi 3 adds even greater value to the platform that already won Bicycling magazine's Editor's Choice Award for Best Value in 2011. We did this through the help of our friends at SRAM, who designed great products such as the Elixir 1 brakes and RockShox Recon Gold 29er fork, providing excellent ride quality at an unbeatable price. Add a 10-speed X7 component group to our superb steel frame, and you have not just a great value, but a great ride. The El Mariachi 3 has an MSRP of $1499 and comes in Jungle Fever Green.
The El Mariachi 2 builds on last year’s award-winning complete bike spec, and adds a tapered steerer RockShox Reba RL 29er with Maxle, while retaining the Salsa Pro Moto 2 cockpit, Stan’s NoTubes Arch rims, and SRAM X9 10-speed drivetrain. The El Mariachi 2 has an MSRP of $1949 and is available in Slate Blue.
The El Mariachi Ti is our premier offering in this platform. It maintains its excellent 3/2.5 seamless Titanium, US-made frame, and adds on a nice compliment of Salsa Pro Moto 1 parts, including our carbon fiber handlebar and seatpost. With a SRAM X0 10-speed group and a RockShox Reba RLT 29er with PopLoc, it is well prepared for any adventure. The El Mariachi Ti has an MSRP of $3399, and continues to feature an Industrial Mill (brushed titanium) finish.
All three El Mariachi frames are also available for those that want to build up their own bike.
I have been lucky to experience the El Mariachi all these years. It is a bike I truly appreciate. To any of you current owners of the El Mariachi, I hope you are enjoying the bike as much as I. And to any of you who are considering the El Mariachi, the 2012 models are here, ready and willing to take a rip down some local singletrack, or a trip into the backcountry.
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I come from the land of trees, lakes and cheese. I like beef jerky, singletrack and pale ale. I believe derailleurs were invented for a very good reason. Long rides with good friends and campfires is really what its all about. Oh, and if its not anodized, its worthless.