2012 Mamasita

Today I have the privilege of introducing the latest evolution of the Mamasita hardtail 29er.

In its relatively short lifespan, the Mamasita has earned a fine reputation as an XC racing and singletrack-riding machine. It loves singletrack and going fast…preferably both at the same time.

Evolution Of A 29er Hardtail

As part of the product design team at Salsa, I had a hand in the continued evolution of this frame and have spent a substantial amount of time riding the bike. Let me walk you through the changes we’ve made and share the results of those changes with you. I think you will like them.

If you are reading this blog, you probably have the understanding that all bikes are not the same. They have different goals they seek to accomplish. That is not just true of types and categories of bikes, but of models of bikes within what can be thought of as narrow categories.

Take for instance the Mamasita. It is a 29er hardtail. Within that category we offer several other models: El Mariachi, Selma, and Mukluk in steel, alloy, and titanium. Each of these is designed to achieve a certain goal within a given set of parameters. These parameters can be set by everything from supply chain, cost of materials, competition in the marketplace, price, time, manpower, knowledge, weight, materials, desired ride quality, product goals…and the list goes on.

The Mamasita’s primary goal is Efficiency. That efficiency comes from maximum power transmission. With this evolution, we’ve removed weight and improved features while maintaining the previous generations ride quality and lowering the price. Let’s take a look at how this has been accomplished.

Xtrolite Tubing

The 2012 Mamasita is crafted from the same EV6 Xtrolite aluminum tubing we use on the Spearfish. That’s right, the frame is no longer Scandium or a Scandium Carbon mix.

The switch to Xtrolite tubing gives us much greater freedom in tube shaping. That tube shaping allowed us to maximize the ride quality of the Mamasita, add features like a tapered headtube and PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell, while still beating the previous frames’ weight and maintaining the same fatigue level.

New ‘Modern’ Features That Make Sense

This evolution of the Mamasita adds both a Tapered Headtube and a PressFit 30 Bottom Bracket Shell. We believe both of these ‘newer’ standards offer performance advantages for this type of frame.

The tapered headtube and the larger downtube boost steering precision. The PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell stiffens the frame laterally, improving power transfer and drivetrain efficiency. Match these changes with the increased circumference of the downtube and you get yourself a stronger frame because of the increased weld area.

Stiffness Isn’t Everything

While adding those features improved frame tracking, power transfer, and efficiency, we wanted to retain the ride quality heritage of the Mamasita.

Anyone can design a stiff bike. Designing a stiff bike that doesn’t beat you up is another matter. We continue to use multiple tools to make the Mamasita a bike that doesn’t feel like your run-of-the-mill alloy hardtail.

Tubing type and butting profiles play a part in this of course, but so does tube shaping. The Mamasita continues to use custom-shaped chainstays and seatstays to maximize lateral stiffness, while creating vertical compliance for bump absorption.

Ride quality is also enhanced by the use of a tapered seat tube that allows the Mamasita to use a 27.2mm seatpost. The wider end of the seat tube helps stiffen the frame around the bottom bracket, while the narrower end allows the smaller diameter seatpost to add comfort. Only our full-suspension bikes use a seatpost larger than 27.2mm…and that is because they’ve got several inches or more of rear suspension working for them already.

‘No carbon?’ you ask. Nope. We’ve accomplished the same ride quality as the previous Scandium/Carbon Mamasita while reducing frame weight and price, and improving durability.

Now remember, this is a 29er hardtail. It is not a softail, nor is it a full-suspension bike. But we are very proud of the ride quality we have created using this design. It gives you maximum efficiency and the trail feedback you want without beating you up.

The Devil Is In The Details

For those that haven’t noticed, the bike world has developed more standards than ever of late. If you decide to build up a bike starting from a frame, we highly encourage you to work with your local bike shop, as they are a wealth of knowledge in a constantly changing bike world.

The 2012 Mamasita frame uses a tapered headtube. We chose to use Cane Creek’s ZS standard to maintain a low stack height and clean look. The Mamasita is a racing bike and we feel this is a benefit to those riders.

This frame, with its PressFit 30 Bottom Bracket Shell accepts any PF30-compatible mountain double or triple crankset. Beside performance benefits, the thing that sold us on PF30 is the compatibility. There are several different styles of adaptors already available that allow you to cleanly run a 24mm spindle crankset. The ability to fit a wide variety of cranks is about more than just building up a frame. It allows the owner to choose which crankset they wish to use for a given course or event. Perhaps a double would be best for a fast, rolling course, while a triple may be necessary for long climbs in big mountain territory.

Shaped Downtube: This maximizes the weld area at both the headtube and bottom bracket. This allows us to maximize stiffness in the desired direction in those areas, boosting steering control and drivetrain efficiency

Custom Rear Dropout: We designed a forged, Wright-style dropout for the Mamasita. Actually, we designed multiple dropouts, as they are frame-size specific. These dropouts are minimal in size and weight and feature both a replaceable dropout and an integrated brake mount.

Cable Routing: This always brings out the opinions, which is good; because where there are opinions there is thought and reasoning. For the Mamasita we are running the rear brake housing centered under the toptube. This keeps the cable out of the way and eliminates leg interference while also allowing you to run your brakes regular or ‘moto’. Although we prefer full housing on many of our bikes, we opted to shave a few grams by running the bare shifter cables under the downtube and adding cable stops near the headtube.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

The time I’ve spent riding the new Mamasita has me enthusiastic about the final product. I’ve spent time riding it on our local singletrack and in the mountains out west. I’ve run it in a variety of configurations, including 1x9, a semi-fatbike winter bike with an Enabler fork, and Larry tire up front, and as a singlespeed via the E46 bottom bracket being developed by the geniuses at Problem Solvers.

The first thing I noticed when riding the updated Mamasita was the reaction from the rear end. It felt like I was directly connected to the tire. Each pedal stroke has a nice, stiff, direct responsiveness. The rear end feels smooth and solid.
Combined with the large shaped downtube and complementary toptube it really helps bring the frame together and connect the front and back end of the bike. I find myself diving into corners and having more confidence in the front-end tracking. I love how the Mamasita allows me to keep my weight centered and make the 29er wheels feel smaller than they are in tight corners. Any mountain biker knows how fun it is to carve a turn.
This bike loves curvy, swoopy singletrack. I think the biggest thing I appreciate about the Mamasita is that it disappears underneath me. After the first few miles I noticed the bike less and less. It does exactly what I need it to do; connect me with the trail without any extra frills.

The Bottom Line

If your #1 goal is efficiency and power transfer in a 29er hardtail, this is your bike.

Mamasita framesets are available now from Salsa Authorized Dealers. MSRP is $599

Complete bikes will be available in November from Salsa Authorized Dealers. MSRP will be $2099

This post filed under topics: New Product Sean Mailen

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Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

I was born and raised in the hills of Tennessee. I decided in high school I wanted to design the best bikes and parts possible; I’ve been following my dream ever since. I love about every possible mode of cycling, mountain biking is the most fun, but if I’m on two wheels I’m happy.


S.Fuller | September 2nd, 2011

I had a chance to ride one of these a few months ago. I’m not a single track pro or a competitive racer, but I will say that your comments about the bike disappearing and it’s responsiveness mirror what I felt on a short test ride. I’d love to have one of these, but it would mean retiring the Dos Niner that I just built up last year, but I’m happy that there’s a obvious replacement in the wings should I my current frame need replacing.

Jim C | September 2nd, 2011

My 2008 Mamasita is the best bike I have owned in 25 years of cycling.  It’s almost hard to believe you have improved it.  But it looks like you’ve done the impossible.  Way to go, Salsa!!!

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Ryan Henry | September 2nd, 2011

Great little write-up!  Any chance you guys will be doing the same with the new Mariachi???

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | September 2nd, 2011

Ryan, We’ll work our way through each frame/bike that has updates. This coming Monday morning you’ll get a chance to learn a heck of a lot about our new Horsethief model.

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Zac | September 4th, 2011

Kid, I look forward to Monday

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sam | September 7th, 2011

Just curious about your experiences with the E46 BB from problem solvers on the mamasita. Would this BB allow somebody to run M770s on this frame for single speed? Thanks in advance.

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Clink | September 10th, 2011

Like the look of the new frame.  Surely if the chainstays were around 17” it would be even more responsive in singletrack?  Shorter chainstays do make a difference…

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Tommy | September 12th, 2011

2012 lineup looks great! I do have one question though, any chance of the Dos Niner coming back? Maybe even in, dare I say, Ti? Call me sentimental but I’m a proud owner of a Dos and as happy as I am with your new lineup I’m saddened to see it go.

Marshall Brown | September 25th, 2011

After riding the Selma, I really wanted the Mamasita; i’m use to gears. The 2008 is a nice ride, when the time comes. I will diffently get the new Mamasita. Thanks for making awesome bikes.

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Uncle Doug | October 14th, 2011

This is my new Swiss Army knife!  I just traded in my road bike on a LG Mama frame, and will run this rigid for road & cross.  Saving my money for nice fork for mtn.
P.S. - you guys need to sell your shirts in XXL for us guys who eat

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John | October 25th, 2011

Any chance these will be offered in other colors?

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | October 26th, 2011

John - There is no other color for 2012.

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chito | November 21st, 2011

Hi! I bought my 2012 Salsa Mamasita 29er frame last October and built it up using a Rock Shox Recon and a slew of Sram and Shimano parts. I first tried the Mamasita in our home trail, Inmalog Trails in the northern part of the Philippines. I immediately felt the direct power transfer from my body to the bike and it was awesome! I was floating through the trail’s muddy portions, made mincemeat of the rugged uphills and flowed down tricky single tracks and downhills. This bike rocks! How I wished I decided to get one of these really fast frames earlier. Oh, before I forget, I and my Mamasita, creamed the other guys in their flashy size 26 racing bikes. Yes, I love my Salsa Mamasita!

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travis holt | November 25th, 2011

I want one of these so bad! Do you have a complete bike wieght?

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George | December 2nd, 2011

I realize the article is focus on the Mamsita which sounds great but I’m looking at it and also your El Mar Ti- ‘m in Utah Salt Lake Park City area great riding but you have to climb to get any thing good—sometimes pretty good altitude-price is great- I wonder about the stiffness- I like your comments about precision ride-would be using a 80mm shock-thanks-George-SLC-UT

Magento Developer | March 23rd, 2012

I also want one, the Hardteil model please!

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Dr. Arturo F. Jasso | March 31st, 2012

Beautiful bike, light, efficient and looks great. However, the person who choose the name does not knows Spanish. The proper spelling for the name of the bike should be “Mamacita” not mamasita. That is an euphemism that a man tells a women that she is very beautiful end SEXY.Transalated literally means “little mother”, in case you want to know.

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Ding Cristobal | August 16th, 2012

I absolutely LOVE this bike! I bought it as a frame and put in the best components I can afford. It performs very well with the Shimano Deore XT groupset. I totally agree with the comment about the bike “disappearing” from underneath you as you ride it. This is what I feel really. The premium on efficient power transfer is something to experience. I’ve had my Mamasita for just over a month now and I am already looking forward to the 2013 version. Given the chance, I’d get the 2013 Mamasita and set it up as more of a hybrid with a rigid fork. I would make it my road/touring bike and would plan on going on epic rides on it. To the excellent craftsmen of Salsa, you have a real winner with the Mamasita. I thank you for making my biking experience so much better and enjoyable.

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