Interbike Follow Up - El Mariachi and Ala Carte

Hey folks, here is part two of our Interbike followup. What’s going on with the El Mariachi and Ala Carte? Well, let me tell you…...

Having just returned from Eurobike and Interbike, I can assure you that this is unquestionably one of the important questions that needs to be addressed. We got asked countless times. Thanks for caring and asking. I think the news I am sharing today will please most and make sense. It could also make some folks sad. Let me explain.

We think the Ala Carte and El Mariachi are two of our most important products. This feeling isn’t just based on sales. Nope. This feeling is based on feedback from customers & dealers throughout the world. Beyond that, they are legacy products that have meaning to each of us that work here at Salsa and to Salsa as a brand. We love the Ala Carte and El Mariachi.

We did wish to show you new Ala Carte and El Mariachi’s at Interbike and/or Eurobike this year. So what happened? In short, the product we’ve been prototyping didn’t deliver on our promise and didn’t live up to the names of the products. Thus we backed up a bit and took a different approach.

So….Just what does this mean for the here and now?

First, we won’t be showing a new Ala Carte or El Mariachi anytime soon. We just want to do it right. I know you all may understand this and we also know it may disappoint some dealers and consumers. We are truly sorry for the delay.

Second, if you have been holding out pondering if you should buy a current one or a wait for a new one, we think you should support your Salsa dealer and buy one now. They are amazing products. They ride “just right”! Don’t wait.

Third, our promise. We promise we are working on these two amazing products. We’ll keep you posted on progress.

Thanks for your time.

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Jason Boucher

Jason Boucher

Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.


 Puerto Rico |

My $0.02: we're coming up on the end of the 1st decade of the 21st C.  If you're going to tinker with Ala Carte, which is Salsa's most iconic model, you might as well do it radically and signal an entirely new direction for Salsa.  Otherwise, you might as well drop the Ala Carte entirely (as you did another iconic model, the La Raza) and simply let go of Salsa's old baggage altogether. 

There are powerful, independent brands such as Chris King hiring great talent (e.g. Sycip) to build them outstanding, U.S.-built production frames that are giving custom framebuilders a true case of the jitters.  They're not yet competing in Salsa's space (pricepoint too high), but they're pursuing the same market proposition as Salsa: production frames/bikes that try to bridge the gap btw. custom and production—including color- matching stems and all.  If Salsa is smart, it won't simply wait around for these competitors to achieve economies of scale and make a full-on assault on Salsa's market space.

I LOVE Salsa.  I own 4 Salsa's, all of them complete.  Yet, I think it's time for Salsa to start thinking outside the salsa jar a bit.  If I were to do a new Ala Carte, I'd do it as a full scandium frame with a badass carbon fork.  Or I'd do a market-crushing, price beating Taiwanese titanium frame with 100 mm front suspension.

To the extent I'd want to offer any 26" mtb in steel in my range, I'd do something similar to what Salsa has done with the Casseroll: an attractive, well-designed, affordable, back-to-basics CrMo frameset both in a triple and a singlespeed version.  Surly is currently offering neither (they do have their iconic 1x1, but only as a frameset).

My perception is the steel market (such as it is) is caring less and less whether the steel be CrMo or TTOXP or S3, etc.  For instance, although some of us may well understand the virtues of an El Mariachi, it's tough for the average consumer (and tough for the average bike shop to sell) to justify the premium paid over, say, a Karate Monkey.  Custom builders might get away with selling premium steel, but production builders (except for a few high cach? brands such as Chris King) will have an increasingly harder time making that sale as the price of both carbon and titanium offerings continues to decline.

Another thing I'd recommend for Salsa: explore the urban transportation market a bit more.  Surly has neglected this market, and Civia is still trying to sell production Rolls Royces to the masses in the middle of a an economic recession (though they're signaling a change in direction).  Salsa could do edgy, different transport offerings that wouldn't fit the Civia brand.  Something along the lines of a Charge Mixer, for instance.

All of the above is meant to be constructive.  I'd like to see Salsa succeed, and I want to continue buying Salsa bicycles (including a new, radically different Ala Carte!)

 MG |

As an owner of two El Mariachis—a "current" generation (red) frame and a former generation (green) frame, I can say that both indeed ride just right.  When the new one comes, I trust it'll be worth the wait and we'll all be happy.

Thanks for the update, guys.


 Butcher |

MG, thanks for the comment.  I know you love your El Mariachi.  Thank you. 

Puerto Rico - Thank you for owning and supporting Salsa the way you do.  It's great feedback.  There are some interesting gems in it that I think we can learn from.

 Manicmtbr |


You forgot to talk about the new Moto Rapido. 


 Butcher |

Manic MTBR - We heard you.  Look for something soon on 26" vs 29" and it's relation to Moto Rapido.

 Shad Holland |

I love the builds of both models. Steel is awesome and I think it should stay. Geometry in my opinion is a bit old skool. I hope the new models have longer top tubes and a more aggressive geometry that is ready for the more technical single track we see being developed everyday. 16" frames should have at least a 23" effective top tube….then scale up from there as frame size increases. Just my 2 cents….:-).

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