2012 El Mariachi Lineup

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.

This post filed under topics: El Mariachi Mountain Biking New Product Tim Krueger

Share this post:


Tim Krueger

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.


JK | October 26th, 2011

I just got my slate blue frame a few days ago. I can’t wait to build this guy up.

At first glance this frame looks nicer than my custom steel frame that cost 3X as much. The Alternator drop outs are beautiful.

Salsa keeps blowing my mind. I’m stoked to add the El Mariachi next to my Spearfish. So when’s the steel road frame coming back???

John | October 26th, 2011

Just a bit off topic..  You mentioned an internal hub on your Mariachi.  What kind did you use and what were your impressions/experiences with it?

BTW I love my Ti El Mariachi!  LOVE IT.

Wally | October 26th, 2011

I love the green frame. I want one. Like I told J, soon my garage will have more Salsa than a Mexican market.

Dann | October 26th, 2011

That El Mariachi 3 will soon call home.

John | October 26th, 2011

Can you gives approximate weights for the El Mar 3 and 2 complete builds?  Thanks!

adin | October 26th, 2011

I can’t wait for my El Mar Ti to arrive. The reviews, looks, and build quality will make this my one and only ‘do everything’ bike. With tailored framebag out for the El Mar coming soon, I am out of excuses to put off a bike packing adventure vacation another year. Thanks Salsa!

One question: You reference Ti complete comes with XO group. Is this the case, or is most of the build X9 as referenced in the spec list on main bike page?

alangunn | October 28th, 2011

i have to admit that i am a bit torn. i like the idea of more standover, but also like a larger triangle for more framebag space - i’d love to make this my go-to bikepacking frame. the stock revelate bag makes it even more of a complex decision. hmmm.

Brian | October 30th, 2011

I read somewhere that the Mukluk Ti frame is made in the USA by Lynskey? Is this true? Also, is the titanium tubing exclusively US sourced?

Dario | October 31st, 2011

Ciao from Italy! Thank you, thank you Salsa for the el Mariachi. Ride your steel 29er frame it’s a great experience. For me that’s the real big revolution!!

whitebike | October 31st, 2011

I currently ride the steel 2011 El Mariachi as a SS Fully Rigid using the matching steel fork.  I also ride an S-Works SL2 and S-Works Epic.  The El Mariachi is currently the only thing I care to ride recently.  Truly shocked at the ride quality.  It is not carbon, but it is still glorious. The geometry is a pleasure to ride all day and I am truly impressed with how well is handles all single track.  I ended up riding it in the PCP2P Race and other MTB Ultras where I would normally pick a carbon ride over the steel for 9 plus hours.  All the races I rode this year I ended up dropping time from my Full Suspension Carbon???????  I am already planning on a Vaya and the Selma Ti then make the El Mariachi the do it all 1 x 9 geared.
It is just a fun ride…..........I could go on and on!!!

Andrew | November 7th, 2011

Any plans to make the El Mar Ti with the alternator drop-outs?  The El Mar Ti is geared only, and the new Selma Ti is SS only.  I’m interested in the option to go SS or 1x9 in a ti frame.  Will there be a Salsa titanium option for this in the near future?

Gorgeous looking frames, and I hope to be on one when the snow melts in the spring!

Andrew | November 7th, 2011

Oops. I forgot that the Selma Ti HAS alternator drops, could you set it up with continuous shifter cable routing since it doesn’t have stops?

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

Built up my new 2012 Jungle Fever Green El Mariachi frame last week and love it so far. Not sure I like how much the shifter cable is exposed to the elements, as it seems for a long haul bike it should be covered more. I have it set-up 1x9 with a 34t CR and 11-34 cassette w/ X9 components w/ a Rock Shox Reba SL fork. The geometry is perfect for my riding style and seems to hug the trail better than my last bike (2010 Scott Scale 29er). So far love the bike!

Adin | November 9th, 2011

DarrinW nice set up - what are you using up front for chain keeper ?

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

I am using a Paul’s Components BB mounted guide. I used one before on my old Trance 26er and loved it. You can see pictures of the bike on the El Mariachi Pictures post on MTBR under Salsa brand..

whitebike | November 9th, 2011

Do you need a chain keeper?

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

For a 1x9 set-up yes as you cannot have the chain really tight like a Single Speed set-up. The chain likes to bounce around a little especially on more technical singletrack and the keeper makes sure you have no slippage. I have seen some run them with a N-stop and a Bash guard, but they don’t work as good as a chain keeper like the Paul’s, MRP, or E13.

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

lets see if this works… Pics

whitebike | November 9th, 2011

Cool….I clicked on your image and it linked to the bike.  Nice setup.  I run mine as a SS Full Rigid.  Do you lik the geometry the Suspended Fork creates?  I am thinking of going to the Selma Ti SS and making my El Mariachi a 1x9 with a Suspended Fork.  Yes, the keeper makes since and I thought he derailleur would allow for the chain to pop off the front ring.
Thanks for the information.

Adin Maynard | November 9th, 2011

I am patiently awaiting my 2012 Selma Ti with El Mar Ti complete build (end of Dec. likely, Salsa said)  except set up as 1x10 with Salsa 32T chain ring up front.  Going with Selma over El Mar, just seems common sense.

I like that Paul’s chain keeper as seen on DarrinW’s green rig…sweeeet .

DarrinW, you keep your dog in the saddle bag? That thing is supersized.

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

Adin, are they brazing on cable guides to the Selma for you? the El Mar Ti would be sweet with alternator dropouts

Adin | November 9th, 2011

No brazing- I didn’t figure at this sweet price point that they could do custom work like that.

Ill try to run long housing first. Never tried this, but seems many people do it. If it doesn’t seem right, then Ill try the aftermarket clamp-style cable stops. And maybe in long term, have my frame making buddy add them.

DarrinW | November 9th, 2011

click my icon for more pic’s including a close up of the 1x9 set-up.. I just flipped the stem today but no pic of that yet.

whitebike | November 10th, 2011

Great set up.  Gargantua seat bag.  Where did you find it?

travis holt | December 21st, 2011

What is the price on the steel frame?

Terry | September 14th, 2012

O please tell me you can make me a Mariachi ti for a Rolhof rear hub. Please !

Kid Riemer | September 14th, 2012


It is your luck day. We make a left side Alternator plate specifically for use with the Rolhoff hub.

Adin Maynard | September 14th, 2012

I just called my local dealer regarding 12x142 alternators.
Why do they cost over $100? Is the metal better engineered than the standard 9mm versions ?

Terry | September 14th, 2012

Thanks for the fast reply Kid,  If this works with the Multi gear Rolhoff please talk to Alan at Moes Bike SHop North Bend Oregon about details and I am ready to buy.

Terry | September 15th, 2012

So what I would really like to spend my money on is a Mariachi Ti set up for the Rolhof 14 speed internal hub. Can I get a frame like that? and What is the price. Or you could just tell Alan at Moes Bike shop North Bend. Phone is, 541-590-0541

Terry | September 15th, 2012

Sorry I keep forgetting to say I want a BELT DRIVE Rolhof hub.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.