Since its inception, the Mamasita has held the coveted position as Salsa's speed-focused XC racer. Sporting a SRAM X7/9 drivetrain, NoTubes rims, and a Fox F29 Fork, the Mamasita Complete Bike soldiers on as Salsa's podium chaser.Like any good competition vehicle, the Mamasita's been Salsa's proving ground -- in this case; 29er development, material selection, and geometry. When the spicy lady first appeared at trail heads and jittery staring lines, it possessed a curvy scandium alloy tube set with carbon rear stays. That was 2007, during the mad scramble for dominance in an emerging 29er market.This was a time when frame concepts naturally trickled over from both 26in-mountain and 700c-touring/cross worlds. Before 29ers, XC racers ran 45/55 PSI with compact, stiff frames, and they desperately needed more trail-smoothing compliance to avoid severely fatiguing racers. The Moto Rapido, Salsa's then top-of-the-line race bike, had carbon seat stays for this reason -- and it served as the basis for the Mamasita.This was also a time when q-factors trumped BB stiffness, and 29er's were thought of as fat-tire cross bikes -- evident by the first Mamasita's road friendly, 73 degree head tube, and its pinner, 68mm bottom bracket shell. Thankfully, Salsa takes race development seriously, and it was quickly realized that the standards for 26 inch wheels and drop-bar bikes weren't going to cut it.The latest Mamasita ditched the complex and expensive carbon/scandium hybrid for a full hydroformed EV6 aluminum frame. Instead of relying on carbon to dampen the ride, terrain-smoothing, higher-volume 29er tires get the job done. Also contributing to a distinctive ride quality, is the rapid development in hydroforming technology.This allowed Salsa's brain trust to tune the stays for adequate compliance, but more importantly, it placed a focus on efficient power transfer from the cranks to the rear wheel. Compounding that concept is a PressFit bottom bracket and custom-designed Write-style dropouts. These provide a stiff junction between tubes for on-demand acceleration. Tying everything together up front is a tapered head tube that ensures that steering inputs from the 100mm Fox F29 with 15QR aren't lost to flex.The Mamasita's geometry has also changed drastically from its first foray. Instead of a nearly flat head tube, it's now slackened out to 71 degrees with a 100mm fork. The seat angle remains the same, but the chainstays are close to 5mm shorter. This offers a ride that's quick turning, yet stable, and highly capable on any XC race course.Aside from being an early 29er pioneer, Salsa's history also involved manufacturing beautiful components. Keeping that spirit alive is a Pro Moto 2 handlebar, stem, and seatpost on this complete bike. Another defining product from Salsa is its artfully crafted quick-release. While the front axle needs to be a QR15, the rear gets a timeless Salsa QR.Those QR's hold a hand-laced wheelset consisting of Stan's NoTubes ZT
Strengths: Very fast, great spec on complete build
Weaknesses: None I can find yet
I purchased this bike (2012 model) this summer as an upgrade from my rigid Specialized Rock Hopper 26". Though probably not a fair comparison to this bike but the experience thus far has been phenominal. It has proven to have extremely confident handling, and very easy to ride. The ride doesn't seem particularly harsh though not as smooth as a carbon bike but mush cheaper and more durable in my opinion. I did my homework before buying and the SRAM parts that Salsa put on the bike are of higher quality than similiar price bikes, most are about $500 more for the same parts. The rest are Salsa brand. At approx 25# it is also very light for a complete build. I have put a 400+ miles on it and just completed my first race. I am extremely pleased with my purchase, a great value for the price range.
Similar Products Used: Spec Hardrock FS, Spec Rockhopper
Bike Setup: SRAM X7/X9, REBA RL shock, Stans Arch ZTR, Conti XKing 2.2. Original Complete build
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2012
Strengths: Light! Responsive! Smooth for a hardtail!
Weaknesses: Decals are a little weak looking.
In April I bought a $400 steal 29er just to see if the 29er thing was for me. You couldn't get the smile off my face! I love the ride of a ridged 29er, even at 32lbs. I soon starting upgrading parts. Rims, bars, stem, ext. I started looking into a nice frame and decided on the 2012 salsa mamasita.
I built it with the whiskey parts ridged carbon fort and the problem solvers BB so I could run it single speed. I love it. I was really surprise on how smooth the ride is. Even better than the steal frame I had. Very pleasant, yet it is a rocket ship on the trail. Mine weighs in complete with Easton xc one rims and slx cranks at only 22lbs. This bike rules!
Strengths: Fast, Fast, Fast. Great part spec for the money on a complete build.
Weaknesses: Not a lot to say here. For a race/marathon hardtail it does an extraordinary job.
I came to this bike from a 6" trail rig with 26" wheels so it took some time to figure it out. Honestly it scared the crap out of me at first. It felt twitchy, tall, and odd. I replaced the rigid White Brothers fork with a Reba and put a 70mm stem on it (for handling and fit) and put some miles in and now I'm pretty thrilled (No dig against the WB fork, it was amazingly light and took the edge off - would be great for touring and short, smooth races but I got beat up and tired of the skipping around in corners). Handling is precise, cornering is FUN, and riding uphill feels effortless. The back tire stays put most of the time even when climbing out of the saddle with Kenda Karmas. The scandium frame is plenty light and inspires much more confidence than a carbon frame. The ride is less harsh than other hardtails. An exceptional bike at any price. Very fun. I'm about 5'6" and the small has plenty of standover.
a Cross Country Rider
After riding steel bikes for a while I knew I wanted to build a very light 29er. It was between the Mamasita and the Niner EMD. I am so happy with the Salsa desicion. It is an awesome frame. Riding this bike as a full rigid is amazing. I feel like im on a snowboard sometimes its so smooth. Power to the back wheel is incredible. It is everything I ever wanted in a bike! Negatives are non-existant for me as I like to ride with thin tires...except chain slap when bunny hopping. Could fix this by going ss though...think I might look out for a Selma. I wouldnt mind owning 4-5 of these frames in reserve for the rest of my life. Did I say how light it is with the carbon fork? I ride the medium and am 6' with 35.5' inseam...the seat is high (400mm)...I could have fitted a large but wanted a very lively bike. This is it.
a Weekend Warrior
from muldrow, ok, USA
Date Reviewed: April 22, 2010
Strengths: great set up right out of the box. full shimano xt group that works very well on this bike. great for a bigger rider (6'4", 100kg) and a pretty danged light weight ride in the XL frame (sub 30lb) perfect machine for endurance riding/24 hour racing
Weaknesses: hardtail takes a bit to get used to after riding full suspension rig for past few years
shimano rear cogs "slip" a bit, but i am sure that is a set up issue that will just require a little bit of tweaking
great bike. climbs like a goat, quick on the downhills and rolls right over rocks and logs in the trail. a lot of fun and a great fit for the bigger rider. a bit of a challenge for the yakima roof rack and it scratched the rock shock fork post, but it had to get scratches on it sooner or later. seat is surprisingly comfy, and the geometry of the bike seems to be almost perfect. i love this bike and i love the frame build quality. highly recommended and i think that the price is spot on.
CHRIS at speedgoat cycles is a great guy and i would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you guys do business with those folks if you are looking for a new bike. they do a quality job and sell great bikes.
Similar Products Used: none. brand new to the 29er realm
last bike was a specialized fsr xc comp and prior to that a rode a very nice gary fisher montare (still have the bike and love it)
Bike Setup: shimano xt drivetrain; salsa for the rest; crank brothers pedals (stainless eggbeaters); ergon grips with climb bars (very, very comfy)
a Cross Country Rider
from Phoenix, AZ
Date Reviewed: February 5, 2010
Strengths: -Light! a Large 20" Frame weighed in at 3lbs 8oz.
-Carbon stays (look cool and are VERY functional)
-Climbs great and is smooth on technical downhill sections
Weaknesses: -only 1 frame color
I switched to a hardtail from a Full Supspention bike because a guy my size (6' 250lbs) the pivots where wearing out twice a year. So just a cost issue (pivots and shock). I looked at all HT frames, Niner, Marin, Specialized, Gary Fisher. And they all looked the same other than the stickers you had a hard time telling each appart. I came across the Salsa and it looked awesome. I have heard horror stories of frames made of scandium. Scandium is a bonding agent added to alumn. This allows for stronger connections and welds to the tubes. Armed with the knowledge on the frame I purchased one. (the price for this very high end frame is much better than the other brands as well). to date I have logged about 600 miles on it and there hasn't be any issues. I made sure and put a chain stay protector on (handle bar tape with electric tape ends) and I used crankskins frame protector all over the bike as well. When you are my size weight really isn't a problem. I would recommend this frame to anyone that is looking for a great all around frame. even though it is marketed as a race frame. and since I do not have a HUGE budget this is my 1 and only bike. And it is truely a lot of fun to ride. Ride-n-Smile.
Bike Setup: Mamasita, I9 wheelset, Titec, Sram XO and Kenda
a Weekend Warrior
from Milwaukee, WI, USA
Date Reviewed: September 30, 2009
Strengths: -Light! My 20" Frame weighed in at 3lbs 8oz.
-Carbon stays do kill trail buzz but the bike is still very stiff.
-Climbs well and is smooth on the downhill sections.
-Steers fast. This 29er doesn't ride like a truck.
Weaknesses: -Rear tire clearance. Most tires bigger than 2.1 will NOT clear the rear.
-Fat wide chainstays collect mud.
-Scandium will break.
This bike is designed as an XC race bike first and foremost IMO. The rear tire clearance may be an issue for someone intending to have a really light hardtail they can put fat tires on a just have a good time. I have a Hutchinson Python 2.1 on a Bontrager Rhythm Elite and there is maybe 8mm of clearance at the top of the carbon seat stay. So fat tires are out, not that there are many fat 29er tires anyway. I do have some scratches on the carbon but it's only surface so far.
I have an 08 frame and it seems pretty clear that it was designed for a Reba fork. The F29 80 is shorter than the Reba so I think that it may have been the reason the bike felt too twitchy at first. The 100mm feels good and stiff and is much less twitchy than the 80mm. The 09 and newer have tweaked geometry so you should be able to run any fork you want.
Rear chainstays do collect mud and downhills will have the chain slapping right against it. So put something on the drive side if you value the paint.
For what the frame costs there are equally good bikes out there IMO that are just as light. It's a great bike but you pay a premium for riding something no one else is. I have yet to see another one on the trail.
The frame is also very durable and strong. I ate it hard at Dupont and ended up launching the bike up into the air into a pile of rocks and it barely came out with a paint chip. This is definitely a fast, great handling 29er but it's probably not the bike for a beginner as it's not so forgiving.
Similar Products Used: Fisher Superfly, Fisher Ferrous 29er, Specialized Stumpjumper Expert 29, Felt Nine Race
Bike Setup: Fox F29 100 15QR/Fox F29 80, Juicy Ultimates, XTR Shifters, XT front and rear, crank and cassette. Bontrager Rhythm Elite/Chris King ZTR Flow wheels.
a Cross Country Rider
from Madison, WI
Date Reviewed: June 16, 2009
Strengths: LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT!
-Carbon seat stays smooth out bumps, but rear triangle is still quite stiff
-Welds holding up well, no complaints about workmanship, etc. (was a little worried about the carbon seat stays, since I'm bigger; 6'3" 200)
Weaknesses: -Chainstay NEEDS a guard; otherwise, expect to have paint chips after your first serious off-road ride
-Make sure you put enough spacers in your stem, or your shifters may dent the top tube if you spill
The Mamasita is LIGHT. I was amazed when the frame came in; the box was heavier than the bike!
Built up my own bike from just the frame; I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The Frame works perfectly for an XC setup, and POWERS up hills! Only two complaints: 1)If you don't throw a chainstay guard on the bike IMMEDIATELY, the paint WILL come off on your first drop/bumpy ride. 2)the derailleur hanger in the rear was slightly bent when the bike got to me. No biggie, just grabbed a pair of pliers and straightened it.
Bottom line: The bike is a beauty, quite durable (I've dumped it and flipped it multiple times, no damage yet), and very light! Very impressive.
Similar Products Used: Motobecane niner, SS Aluminum niner
Bike Setup: Juicy Ultimate brakes, Saint shifters, Saint rr der., XT fr der., Rock Shox Reba, XT hubs, Velo Blunt rims, Stylo crank/BB
a Cross Country Rider
from Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2009
Strengths: Great bike. The carbon rear triangle is super sexy, and the pinstripe decals on the black 08's looked incredible. Not sure how much vibration/trail abuse the carbon saves you from, but it should be worth something in theory.
Weaknesses: A bit expensive. Everybody buys into the marketing of "superlight racing 29'er," but an aluminum Fisher 29'er frame at the same size is claimed to be about .2 pounds lighter. Considering you pay about $450 retail for a lighter Fisher with a lifetime warranty vs. $800 for a Salsa with a 5 year warranty , I'm not sure how the Mamacita is perceived as a lighter bike or a better value.
I really like the bike, but it is heavier, more expensive, and has a shorter warranty of unknown quality than other 29'er options. The carbon fiber rear triangle looks cool, but after a short test I'm not convinced it really does much else for the bike (other than increase the cost). I cannot find any basis for ranking this as the "best of mtbr," other than folks who paid the extra cash needing to justify the loss.
Similar Products Used: Surly Karate Monkey - still looking for a Niner to compare.
Bike Setup: Drivetrain, handlebars, wheels - you know the drill.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sacramento California USA
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2009
Strengths: Fit, looks, light, stiff, fast, climbing, descending, and finally cornering. Does that cover every aspect of a riding a bike?
Weaknesses: Longevity of Scandium Frame, factory frame prep
I'm 6'4" so the 29er platform was a no brainer for me. I bought a 2008 23" frame and the fit is right on with a 110 mm stem. I've been looking for a "deal" on a MCR, Mamasita, or an Air 9. No deals on the Niners so I bought this bike. I don't regret it one bit. I am riding bumpy, rocky, messed up trails on this bike as fast as my 100 mm travel FSR, with more confidence. I noticed the big wheels don't have as much tendency to get caught between rocks or get stopped by objects on the trail they just roll over them. I have to admit this is also my first bike with disc brakes so I'm thinking some of my new found confidence is the effectiveness of the disc brakes over rim brakes.
I whipped around FDLT today and was actually catching up to a really fit guy on one one of those fancy new Ibises on the down hills. Of coarse he handed it to me on the climbs... But the fact remains I feel like I can rip the down hills, with a big ol' grin.
One thing to note my frame required the BB to be chased and faced. The mechanic said that the scandium is very brittle, and to be very careful when installing the bottom bracket.
I did a no bling build (no XTR or XO) and my 23" bike still came it at 26 lbs 5 oz with time atac aluminum pedals. I could easily drop one pound by going tubeless and getting some lighter pedals. I have noticed I don't use the big ring too much so a 2x9 is a possibility with this bike.
So far I love this bike, it has exceeded my expectations for what I expected a hard tail to do. The stiff frame, tight handling, and big wheels are exactly what I've been looking for. I'd say if you are 6' or taller and like hard tails I wouldn't even bother with a 26" wheeled bike. These things start looking goofy in the smaller frame sizes but people are riding them and still seeing the benefits of the big wheels.
a Cross Country Rider
from Santa Barbara, CA
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2008
Strengths: Light. Responsive and stiff without being harsh. Actually has a good amount of shock absorption with the carbon stays. Visually the coolest bike I've ever seen.
Weaknesses: At the carbon/scandium junction on the seatstay, I've started to see some grooves in the paint. Not a fracture but could be a bad epoxy? It hasn't affected the ride quality and I'm going to keep going on it.
I bought the Mamasita primarily for racing XC and endurance races. But I've come to use about it as my primary bike for almost all MTB rides from steep & technical to long distance climbing days.
This bike is made to go fast... it demands that you push harder. It accelerates, corners and climbs so fast that it puts my road bike to shame.
I'm not sure if it's the 29" wheels, big volume low psi tubeless tires, my ti seatpost or the carbon seatstays but this bike just floats over the rough stuff. I was a little bit hesitant to give up my 4" of travel but I can honestly say i don't miss it. For super long back country rides, FS might help if you have back problems .. but the Mamasita is an XC racing bike, not All-Mountain.
Despite that, the mamasita is smoother on 95% of the technical stuff than any FS bike I've ridden. I actually find myself cleaning lines that I used to struggle with... I bought the bike to climb hills and race XC and it turns out to be the best descending bike as well! You have to be an aggressive, active bike handler but if that's your style, the Mamasita will fly with you.
Strengths: light weight great shock absortion handles great nice graphics.
Weaknesses: bottom bracket height for me was lower than my other 29er bike making me more careful through the rocky sections.
i recomend this bike for racers or experienced riders . made to go fast .solid handling. never felt that the steering was too fast as numbers indicate. this bike can be made very light mine was 23 lbs. nice on uphills. bought my frame on ebay and was able to build a sweet ride for about 1600 dollars.
Weaknesses: Flat chainstay on rear disc side gets scratched when I take out the wheel by the rotor.
The more I read about 29ers, the more I wanted one. Read an article in Velonews with Jeremy Horgan Kolbelski. A week after reading, sold the 26er and fork. Relaced the hubs to Stan's Arch, and got myself a Reba Race. I love the way this bike rides, I made the rotational weight of the wheels as light as possible.
Could of been lighter, but thought the Arch rim would be better suited to me than the ZTR Race 29 rim. You can get a lighter frame by niner, fisher or orbea, but I think this bike is light enough. I would only save a half of a pound. Put the money in the wheels, I will eventually experiment with a rigid fork and cross tires.
Had some issues with trying to take the rear wheel out, my rotor sometimes hits the flattened chainstay, I need to learn better finesse. The flat chainstays are really cool looking and I'm sold on that they smooth the ride out. I had a carbon mountain bike before and this rides similar. The bigger wheels might be a part of that too. 6'2 ride a large, and think the fit is right on.
Similar Products Used: Stumpjumper, Trek Elite 9.8, BMC Team Elite.
Bike Setup: Kings hubs, Stan's Arch, Aerolite spokes. Sram X.0, Juicy Carbons, Race Face Deus, Solos Headset, Thomson post. Yada, Yada, Yada.
a Weekend Warrior
from Boston, MA
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2008
Strengths: Light and very fast. Climbs amazing.
This is my first product review. I like this bike so much that I felt the need to write a review. I am 6'2" - 190 and this bike in a large really does fit me great. I have had a few scratches here and there on the frame but the paint really doesn't seem that fragile to me. I have had an FSR and a hardtail 26er singlespeed for 3-5 years and this is my favorite bike. I sold my FSR and bought this bike and have no regrets. The gearing on the 29er does take some getting used to. I am sold on the 29er technology. It is not quite as soft as I thought it was going to be but still a great bike. I would recommend this bike to anyone.