Ventana El Saltamontes Frameset

4.9/5 (10 Reviews)

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Ventana El Saltamontes

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Reviews 1 - 10 (10 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Lindsay a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: October 7, 2014

Strengths:    Quality of build, paint, welds etc. Stiffness, durability. Simply outstanding.

Weaknesses:    Slightly short top tube and reach. Got a 16 as there were 16, 18 options at the time. A 17 would probably fit a little better and allow a shorter stem so be sure to consider fit before deciding on frame size. I'm 5'7', 170lbs (all muscle hahahaha)

Bottom Line:   
Well, I thought I'd post this now as I find mtbr becoming too commercial and the smaller high-end bike builders being pushed out by the marketing muscle from the big guys ... also, I know I posted a review here after about 6 months of first getting the bike and mtbr seems to have lost it. Along with about 50 other reviews for this outstanding frame.

I live in Ottawa, Canada and ride 3-4 times a week in the spring/summer/fall. Rough XC and all mountain. There's great riding here in Kanata Lakes, Gatineau and Tremblant.

Compared to every other bike I've had and ridden in 20+ years, this is the stiffest, most accurate, precise ride I've ever ridden. This bike has done a few thousand miles, has been dropped and thrown and bounced... it is bomb proof! Always true. Says a lot for the bike, the excellent wheels and all the parts. Maintenance wise, I have replaced the cassette and middle chain-ring twice along with the chain, the derailleur hanger once (ordered two spares with bike), brake pads too. In 5 summers.
Durable in every way! More so than carbon I'm sure.

I'll never get rid of this bike, it'll last forever.

I MIGHT upgrade to 120 forks to slacken the head angle and get more travel up front and I MIGHT eventually get 1x11 gearing but I'm so used to this bike I'm not sure I want the change(s). I MIGHT consider getting their 27.5/650B bike too but can't bring myself to divorce the El Salty just yet :-) and I'm sure the newer El Salty frame is even better!

Quite simply, you pay for what you get and you get what you pay for. Ventana make superb bikes, they're hand-made, service is excellent and quality is second to none!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tremblant

Duration Product Used:   5 years

Similar Products Used:   Claude Butler, Giant NRS and a few others.

Bike Setup:   I've had this bike 5 summers now. Built with Fox 32 RLS fox and Float rear shock, Hays StrokerTrails brakes (yes, they are actually very good), Sram XO gearing (yes still 3x9) and I had Speed Dream wheels made too. CK headset, Thompson seatpost and stem etc etc. Cost about $6K Canadian at the time (incl. wheels) and comes in on the scale under 24lbs.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Luciano Serra a Weekend Warrior from São Paulo, Brazil

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2005

Strengths:    Anodized paint, Laterally stifness, Very active rear suspension, downhill ride fell, lightweight and detailed construction.

Weaknesses:    Not an efficient pedaling frame (needs shock lockout for every climb and flat xc roads).
Minor weaknesses: (a) high center of gravity (with 6" rocker link) and (b) short wheelbase for downhill speed.

Bottom Line:   
I loved my old El Saltamontes but I had to install new bushings kit often. The main reason I did the trade-in offered by Ventana (and this is a great feature of getting a Ventana frame) was that they improved to a double bearing pivots w/ a 6" link option, besides the annodized paint that I'm not sure they do for everybody (was an option too). The bike performs very well at any trail. The only complaint is to its poor pedal efficiency/bobbing. I'm looking to swich the rear shock for an anti-bob version, but I'm having problems also in getting the spected size. Anyway, if you don't race, I do reccomend this frame if you want to built A REAL ALL-MOUNTAIN BIKE.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   at Campos do Jordão area

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $2200.00

Purchased At:   Directly from Ventana

Similar Products Used:   Ventana El Saltamontes 00' model (bushings pivots, BMX style dropouts, 4" rear travel)

Bike Setup:   Mavic Crossmax XL Disc wheelset, 2.5 front 2.35 rear tires, Fox Float RL rear shock (looking to swich it, maybe Manitou 4-Way air or Romic Ti), Marzocchi Z1 SL fork, Race Face Deus/Sram X-0 drivetrain, Thomson Elite cockpit, Avid 203/185mm Juicy 7 brakeset.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Doug a Cross Country Rider from Asheville,NC

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2002

Strengths:    Laterally stiff,beefy but not too heavy.Great all around bike.Frame is perfect.All the detail you hear about in Ventana is there.Custom built geometry to fit my 6'-7" frame.Sherwood and everyone else at Ventana are very helpful and easy to work with.Bike and pivots have held up very well through many hard miles.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
This bike was well worth the money spent.An additional fee applied for the custom geometry but it made it all worth it.Sherwood was extremely helpful in helping me decide on the geometry and not pushy at all.Excellent customer service.
To be so beefy built and to be such a large frame(25.5" top tube,24" seat tube) this bike is not heavy at all.It excels in any type of riding I do and I think it is one of the best all purpose full-susp. bikes going.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pisgah Forest Area

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   Ventana

Similar Products Used:   Hardtails and high-pivot URT's

Bike Setup:   4" Bomber fork,Fox float-R,XTR-XT mix

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom a Cross Country Rider from Yorktown Heights

Date Reviewed: June 8, 2001

Strengths:    (latest model) unbelievable attention to detail, no canti bosses (looks smooth),adjustable travel, double rows of bearings everywhere.

Weaknesses:    not a single thing !!!

Bottom Line:   
unbelievable quality, customer service, paint everything

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   ninham multiple use area

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Yorktown Cycling Center

Similar Products Used:   Ellsworth truth se (i thought that was nice but for the same money you can get a lot more and the Ventana is made and assembled in the same place.

Bike Setup:   hayes,hugi,zi 5",xtr etc...

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Giles a Cross Country Rider from San Francisco

Date Reviewed: December 27, 2000

Strengths:    Amazing Ride. Stiff. Good climber, great descender.

Weaknesses:    None.

Bottom Line:   
It is a great bike to ride and own. I loved my last Ventana; this one is even better. I originally had a Z2 atom bomb fork on the bike. It is much smother and better balanced with the X-fly 100.

The El Saltemontes is pricy, but worth it. The bike is both a work of art and a well built machine. Ventana's trade-in program is good deal, making it easier to justify buying a new frame if you already own a ventana.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1550.00

Purchased At:   Ventana

Similar Products Used:   El Habinero

Bike Setup:   X-Fly 100, Fox Float R, Race Face Crank/BB, XTR, Mavic, blah, blah ...

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by DEP a Cross Country Rider from Michigan

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2000

Strengths:    Stiff, really stiff. Great riding bike, just outstanding. Craftsmanship is top notch. Ability to run air or coil over.

Weaknesses:    Price

Bottom Line:   
Wow, what an incredibly fun bike. That's the best way to sum up this ride, fun. Light enough for XC use, beefy enough for tough use. Can be built up nice and light with a sid 100, and light parts, and an air rear shock. Can be built up beefy with a double-triple clamp and a coil-over. Really a versitile bike. A true mountain bike. For sport class racers with a light build up it could be run no problem. For others, build it up beefy and trail-ride this bad boy. I'm surprised I don't hear more about it. The handling works great just about everywhere. I found most other 4-bars, and for that matter trail bikes to handle slow, not the case with this ride. The superdust is a cool color. All in all, an outstanding bike. I liked it better than the tracer and ellsworth truth, handled better, and was stiffer (the tracer was close). Fun, fun, fun. Expensive as all heck. The 5 chili rating is for the ride quality, it's that good. The value rating... well it's real pricy though I've seen good deals out there in the mtbr marketplace and on ebay.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Moutain Goat

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1895.00

Purchased At:   Mail Order

Similar Products Used:   Ellsworth Truth, Ventana Marble Peak, test rode a bunch others

Bike Setup:   x-fly 100, xt/king mix

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Bruce a Cross Country Rider from Mountain View

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2000

Strengths:    Suspension design, rear end stiffness, construction, handling, looks, ...

Weaknesses:    Not cheap

Bottom Line:   
Bottom line – this bike is awesome. There are certainly other cool bikes out there (Truth, Tracer, XCE, Superlight), but this has a nice combination of downhill toughness and handling and cross-country climbing ability and weight. Plus it looks beautiful and is made like a piece of art. It looks like it belongs in a museum but is way too much fun for that.

The rear suspension makes climbing easier, both in rough technical stuff where the suspension helps keep the rear tire in contact with the ground, and in long bumpy slogs where you can stay seated and relaxed over the rough stuff. Downhilling on the El Saltamontes is a total blast. The stiff rear end corners like it’s on rails and the active suspension just eats rocks and roots even under heavy braking or pedalling. Out-of-the saddle hammering is not as quick as my Kestrel CSX hardtail, but I think that is mainly the plush fork – the rear end does not bob from pedal forces.

I have ridden this bike as a ski area downhiller (e.g. Flame-out at Northstar Tahoe) and a shuttle run bomber (e.g. Butcher’s Creek at Downieville), but mainly as a cross-country trail bike on all kinds of trails. It excels at everything I have asked it to do, from technical dropoffs to swoopy turns to crazy climbing. I weigh about 150 lbs and run my rear shock at 100 psi, which gives about 5/8 inch sag at the shock. I run the front forks at about 25 psi. I have been mountain biking since the early 80’s but am not a radical free-rider into dropping off roofs or North Shore type riding, and my cross country racing days are over. I mainly like to ride technical single-track and for that type of riding this bike excels.

The guys at Ventana and the Gibson Design group are great. I have had Sherwood Gibson, the bike designer and company owner, return calls and e-mails, and Charlie Galliger is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. If you go with the big guys you could get a nice bike for less dough, but if you want something special from a small company with personality and passion it is tough to beat the El Saltamontes as a great, all-around trail bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Butcher's Creek Downieville

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Y-33 (owned), Santa Cruz Superlight, Marble Peak, hardtails

Bike Setup:   17 inch, electric super dust El Saltamontes frame with Fox Float R shock, Marzocchi Z-1 X-Fly fork, Shimano XT disk brakes, Hugi DT hubs, Mavic 317 rims, Shimano XTR derailleurs cranks, and shifters, Thompson seat post, WTB saddle, Race Face low riser bar and 110/10 stem, Chris King headset, Time ATAC pedals. The frame and shock weigh 5.7 lbs and the complete bike weighs a bit over 26 lbs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brett a Cross Country Rider from San Francisco,CA USA

Date Reviewed: June 28, 2000

Strengths:    Excellent build quality, perfect frame finish, extremely efficient shock setup... descents, climbs, cornering... all AWESOME! Best damn frame I've ever owned.

Weaknesses:    None... expect to pay when you get a frame of this caliber.

Bottom Line:   
What can I say... Ventana has an awesome owner appreciation program... trade in a previous frame... I had a Marble Peak FS (5 years old) and get a credit for a new frame. I couldn't resist. This bike combined with the Zoke front shock is amazing (4" up front and 3.9" in the rear)... it descends, climbs, and corners the living hell out of my MP. I finally feel like I have a bike that was built for me.

Initiation ride was in Downieville in the Sierras, Pauley Creek & Butcher trail... baby's head, river beds, stream crossings, sick descents, long and short steep climbs, single track with turns so tight, you miss and you're over the edge and a helicopter is on the way to pull your carcass out of the river bottom. The combination of the Salt and Zzoke handled it all with aplomb and then some... another guy mentioned he felt it made him a better rider... I wholeheartedly agree. The guys that I rode with are normally a minute or two behind me on rides... took them 15 minutes to catch up on these rides. I had to kill squirrels and eat pine needles on the trail for sustenance while I waited...

For those of you with the cash and another Ventana frame... call them and talk to Charlie, you will not be disappointed. He was extremely helpful and offered excellent advice.

For those of you that aren't a Ventana owner... this is the bike to buy if you're into XC... I've tried their closest competitors... Ellsworth, Turner... there is no comparison.

I'm building a disc wheelset (king, 317 CD, 14-15 DB) and will buy the XTR disc brakes, when they come out... I was going into turns so fast that I need the extra stopping power and modulation... Arch Supremes just aren't cutting it any more.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Downieville... Pauley Creek

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   Marble Peak FS, GT LTS, Klein, Sepcialized, Turner, Ellsworth, Trek

Bike Setup:   Salt, '00 Marzocchi Z1 Xfly, XTR, Race Face, King, Kore, Phil Wood, Arch Supreme

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Andres a Cross-Country Rider from Las Cruces, New Mexico

Date Reviewed: November 6, 1999

Well balanced, laterally stiff, handles rough terrain quite well, good climber, great decender, plush, etc.


Bottom Line:   
I have been riding this bike for approximately one month and have been quite surpirsed with many of its excellent qualities. This bike is well balanced, laterally stiff, and will ride over anything you will put in front of it. I have been impressed with how well it ascends steep single track climbs. It may not be the fastest climber, but it is extremely reliable and will get you to the top of any steep section with confidence as the rear wheel sticks to the ground like a pit bull and you don't have to worry about bio pacing when going over obstacles. Also, this bike will get you to the top of any rough climb without letting you over exert yourself as the rear wheel will not spin out on you and you will also notice that won't have to fight your peddle strokes due to bio pacing. As a descender, this bike is hard to beat. Just point it down and it will smooth out the roughest of sections.Overall, this is the most fun bike I have ever owned and has already made me a much better rider.
The Saltamontes has got to be one of the best all purpose bikes in the industry, if not the best.P.S.I bought this bike from KALO and Bret has been helpful, resourceful, and suportive.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Continental Divide

Duration Product Used:   
less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   
Santa Cruz Heckler

Bike Setup:   
El Saltamontes 17 inch frame;
Stratos Expert Shock;
Marzocchi Z 1 Bam;
XTR Shifters, brakes, and derailers;
Kooka cranks, Real rings, and Race Face bottom bracket;
Chris King hubs, 14 gauge black spokes, and Bontrager Valiant rims;
Chris King headset;
Ringle stem;
Kestrel carbon fiber bar;
Thomson Elite seatpost;
WTB SST 98 saddle, ti rails;
Geax Warp (front) and Blade (rear) tires;
Cook Brothers quick release levers;
Specialized tubes with slime;
27.5 Pounds

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Carlos Relova a Weekend Warrior from San Francisco

Date Reviewed: October 20, 1999

Stiff Frame
lower bottom bracket,
lower center of gravity,
more aggressive geometry,
field serviceable pivot system,

Factory Spring for Stratos Helix Expert is too stiff. I need a softer one.

Bottom Line:   
Great Frame!!
Seems stiffer, yet lighter, than my previous Marble Peak FS. Tracks well. Awesome travel.
The new field serviceable pivot is a great addition.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Skeggs Point

Duration Product Used:   
3 months

Similar Products Used:   
Marble Peak FS
El Habanero

Bike Setup:   
Z-1 100mm,
Stratos Helix Expert,
ESP 9.0sl ....

Reviews 1 - 10 (10 Reviews Total)

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