-Legendary Ventana "Electric Sex" TIG welds
-Precision machined side plates and shock tabs with integral "V" logo
-"X-brace" mainframe for increased stiffness and improved standover
-Double seal, oversized cartridge bearings
-15mm bearing axles at main and tower pivots
-Low 2.66:1 rising rate shock compression ratio
-"Super-link" multi pivot rocker for increased lateral stiffness
-Extra beefy down tube gusset
-Vertical dropouts with replaceable derailleur hanger
-International Standard disc brake mount
-1-1/8" steerer tube
-Romic coil rear shock w/ adjustable comp and rebound damping
-Fits 34.9mm top pull front derailleur
-27.2mm seat post diameter
-73mm, internally butted, one piece, CNC machined BB shell and main pivot
-Shot peened & red anodized finished mainframe
-Shot peened & clear anodized finished rear swingarm
Similar Products Used: Specialized Hardrock Sport.
Bike Setup: Frame- Ventana El Chamuco in annodized red. Size is large
Fork- Fox Float 130 RLC
Headset- Cane Creek S-2 with carbon spacers
Stem- Tompson 120mm with 5deg rise
Handlebar- Easton Monkey Lite OS Carbon
Shifters- SRAM X9
Brakes/Levers- Avid BB7 rear/BB5 front
Cranks- FSA carbon fiber 175mm
BB- Raceface SRX
Front Derailleur- Shimano XT
Rear Deraillleur-SRAM S7 long cage
Cassette- SRAM PC-970 11-34T
Wheel Set- Shimano XT hubs with Sun Rhynolite rims
Tires- IRC Trailbear 2.25
Saddle-WTB Rocket V race
from Hood River, OR
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2008
Strengths: Built heavy duty. This bike floats and soaks up tough bouncy terrain as well as carves and agressively handles corners. Jumps controlably and lands soft. Climbs well.
Weaknesses: A little on the heavy side, but you don't notice it while climbing, and the little extra weight keeps you from getting thrown around on chunky downhill rides. Long story short...none.
I bought this bike after riding a Turner 5-spot for a year looking for just a hair more travel. What I got much to my surprise was a bike that not only could soak up the gnar downhill, but with the proper front fork set-up, could also climb better than the 5-Spot, caught me a little by surprise. It also doesn't get tossed around on the trail quite as much as the other bike either, its more forgiving. I do not have a 20mm QR thru axle on the front, which is made up for by a Chris King Hub, which makes the bike so stable it feels like you could ride over anything! The bike is a bit heavy for standard cross country, but thats not what the bike was designed for and I dont ride a whole lot of that around here anyway, so I give it 5 chili's
Bike Setup: 2.5 front Gazzalodi, 2.3 rear. Atomlab DH rims, Chris King front and rear hubs and headset. Marzocchi 6" front fork with 2" compression for climbs. Hussefelt DH cranks. Shimano XTR deraillers, Hope 3-piston rear, 2-piston front brakes.
a Weekend Warrior
from between SF and LA
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2006
Strengths: excellent craftsmanship--weld quality, tolerances, attention to detail, made in USA. outstanding company--Sherwood supports his products & customers 100%. extreme lateral stiffness of rear end via the 'superlink'. good pivot placement. rising suspension rate. 2.6:1 leverage ratio (less than RFX). low c of g, and an abundance of standover height. approx 7.8 lbs frame w/ coil shock (1/2 lb lighter than bullit w/ coil), or about 7 lbs w/ dhx-air shock.
Weaknesses: none if ridden for intended purpose (stout 6-inch travel "all mountain"/"trail" bike; frame was not designed for dual crown forks, burly freeriding, big drops/etc.).
the chamuco is simply a really, really nice 6" travel single pivot frame.
i just got back from 8 days of riding in Fruita, Moab, Gooseberry, and Bootleg Canyon. i loved the way the chamuco handled everything in its way while pedaling down the upper half of porcupine rim, and couldn't imagine a better match of bike & trail.
plenty of great 5" & 6" travel frames currently exist, and the chamuco is definitely on the burly, stiff, long & slack end of that spectrum (as opposed to the lighter, flexier, shorter & steeper "XC" end). as expected, its in its element when descending rough terrain, but it can still climb pretty well too. when shod w/ lighter wheels & tires and a fork that can drop its a2c length if needed, the chamuco's ability to ride all day long and climb anything is enhanced.
suspension design is way overhyped as the single most important factor affecting the way a bike feels on the trail. but IMHO frame quality, frame geometry, suspension quality (ie sophistication and tuning of fork's/shock's compression & rebound damping), rear-end lateral stiffness, and tire selection affect how a bike feels on the trail at least as much as rear axle path, if not more.
in short, the chamuco is a single pivot bike that works, and works well. when i last checked, CBO (no connection) was selling the last remaining frames for $800, which is a steal considering that high forward SP frames are still viable designs and that a chamuco frame's msrp was $1500 3 years ago. if 6" of smooth travel in a strong and stable frameset suits your needs (but aren't looking for a frame built for a dc fork), and you aren't intimidated by a 30-35lb bike (NOT heavy by current standards), then you should get one while you still can.
Bike Setup: approx 34 lbs w/ 6" Z150 SL fork, romic coil, 36-24 dual ring crank, 8spd drivetrain, rhynolite/marz 20mm front wheel, 521/XT rear wheel, 800g tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Petaluma, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2006
Strengths: Bike is solid, well built, takes crashes( endo's) in stride, descends like a fright train rolling down a mountain, easy to climb with even though it's a full suspension 30lb bike, tons of BB clearance, beautiful fit and finish to the frame. Laid back riding positon is lungs-friendly.
Weaknesses: Single pivot brake jacking-really minor- and weight I suppose( 30lb)- but these are not weakness' they're more like minor trade-offs for such an all around great performing bike. No bike is perfect.
This is a great bike that is hand built by a great company. The customer service is outstanding, the frame designer answered my all questions himself. This is a good example of bike designed to go anywhere and do anything(within reason). A true "Set it up and forget about" type of bike. This bike can climb, descend and cruise through most any single track and fireroad. This bike is not meant for DH racing types, or Cross Country types that want their bike to be on a diet( this bike weighs between 28lbs and 35lbs depending on set-up). I also don't recommend this bike for jumping. The bike is very flashy, so if you want to blend into the trial or not draw attention to yourself, this bike won't work for you. The bottom line is that I love this bike and am very happy with the way it rides/performes on the trail.
Similar Products Used: None, I rode a fully-rigid stumpjumper for 10 years prior to this bike.
Bike Setup: Fox Float R ( propedal) 130mm, Manitou Minute Three 130mm, Avid Juicy 7 Brakes, Shimano XT hubs and front derailleur, Shimano 540 pedals, Ritchey seatpost and cranks,Easton Monkey lite bar, Sram shifters-rear derailleur-cassette and chain.
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2005
Strengths: Super stable
Weaknesses: Steep rocky DH switchbacks
Superb choice for long trails with aggro involved. Lacks the uphill sprint of a true XC sled but at 35lbs, that's par for the course. Avoid the 04 Z150; A poorly damped fork for any bike but I think the Chamuco would handle well with a Z-1 5" fork. The front end pushes on steep tight rocky switchback downs that my hardtail has no prob with. My first single pivot - Feedback only noticeable in granny ring but of negligible performance vice. Good for clysedale XCers or XC come DHers like meself.
Bike Setup: Z150 FR SL; Sram 7.0; Avid mechanicals; LX cranks; Titec XC stem and riser bar; Mavic 3.1 UST rims on XTs
a Cross Country Rider
from Palm City Florida, USA
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2005
Strengths: Rigid. Solid. Swing link in rear is a big plus. This thing handles anything that I can throw at it. It's a better bike than I have the ability to use.
Weaknesses: Cable routing could use help. Especially the position of the cable holders on the top tube, which can hit your knee at times. What I wouldn't call a weakness but it might cause some concern is the bottle mount under the downtube. But that's what you get with a frame of this design.
If you're looking for an awesome HD trailbike that's just a little more stout than a heckler, look no further. It is close to being overkill, I think maybe a 1+ degree steeper HA would be better for strictly trail useage. After getting this frame and building it up with the parts from the heckler/switch, I have changed some things to better suit the frame. I liked the 5th much more than the romic, so that changed, and the TALAS fork just wasn't up to the potential of the frame. As it sits, the bike is THE most confidence inspiring ride I've ever owned. It climbs up the same stuff my horst link Switchblade couldn't (with the same exact tires), is more comfortable at speed descending than anything I've ridden, and there's no bobbing at all (honestly the romic was good pedaling also). What more can I ask for? With the price they are selling this for, it's a great bargain by today's ridiculous frame prices, and it's got an air of exclusivity to it as you don't see them anywhere. Always an attention getter. I'm giving it 5/5 on both counts, just be careful with your knees and watch the cable routing.
Similar Products Used: Have owned all in one year(with the same exact build kits, just switched frames)Heckler/5th coil, Titus Switchblade TALAS, Now the El Chamuco which I'm keeping. Multiple other CC race frames, etc.
Bike Setup: 5th element coil rear, TI spring, Sherman Firefly plus 150mm, Raceface Next LP cranks, Avid Juicy 7's 160mm rear, 200mm front, King headset, Thomson post and stem, WTB saddle, Mike Garcia built 36h Singletracks on Hope XC hubs, Kenda 2.5 Blue Groove F, 2.1 Nevegal rear, Stan's strips/sealant. Maxm bar, Oury lock-on grips, Hope skewers and seatpost QR. 32lbs, 14 oz as it sits. Could easily be built to 30lbs or even less with a lighter fork, wheel/tire combo.
from El Dorado Hills, CA
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2004
Strengths: Handling/geometry, lateral stiffness, low standover, very smooth suspension
Weaknesses: Water bottle mount under downtube. Not a good spot for a bottle or battery. Better to buy clamps for a seatpost bottle cage for night riding.
Excellent bike. The handling and suspension impressed me so much that I sold a 2002 Enduro frame after riding a demo Chamuco for a weekend. It just did everything better on the trails I regularly ride (including braking).
Mine's about 36 lbs. and I use it as a general purpose bike. I originally rode it with a Fox Vanilla 125 for about 6 months before buying the Z150. The Z150 gives the bike pretty slack angles and a long wheelbase but it's been easy to get used to it. I actually don't even use the ETA lockdown any more.
Similar Products Used: Ventana La Bruja, Specialized Enduro FSR, Ellsworth Truth
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Z150 FR, mix of old XTR/XT parts, Thomson Stem and post, Hope BULB/Mavic F219 wheelset
a Cross Country Rider
from Everson WA.
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2004
Strengths: Super strong single pivot, long top tube, beautifully constructed, a company that cares
I wanted to build a light freeride, slack angle cross coutry bike. This is the ansewer @ 29.5 lbs. For whatever reason this single pivot climbs so much better than the other bikes I have owned. It stays firm, whether climbing or hard pedal strokes, you're always going forward. This Chamuco is very nimble in the flats. It accelarates so good it's easy to keep up to my cross country buds. Point her down hill and hang on. I love the 68 degree head angle combined with the Super-Link; you always feel in control no matter how steep or fast it gets. Granted I spent a ton to make a light super strong bike ($1550 is the frame price) but it is worth every penny. Bottom line, I'm 47 and El Chamuco makes me feel so much younger plus it's just so fun to ride. Isn't that the point?
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mt. Switch, Sata Cruz Bullit, Specialized Enduro
Bike Setup: Manitou Minute One fork, King Mavic 317 wheels, Race Face Next (24-36-bash guard) XTR dual control 8" front rotor Romic Ti spring, 2.3 Vertical Pros, Easten carbon bars, Race Face stem & seat post.
Date Reviewed: April 8, 2003
Strengths: Burly, no side to side flex, strong strong strong, plush, beautiful welds, Romic shock, company that cares.
Weaknesses: would pay extra for laser etching instead of stickers for emblems.
Probably one of the better single pivot 6" travel freeride frames available. The super link rocker assembly takes away any of the side to side flex you might find with other single pivot frames. This is great for those off camber drops and rough landings. The bike feels very natural with the Z1 fork. Geometry is for free riding but the bike is very nimble and predictable. A suitable bike to spend the day on. Great maneuverability. Ramps up very well, great hucker. Sherwood and the rest of the staff at Ventana have been great to work with. They have always made themselves available and are very conscientious about their products. Buy Ventana!
Similar Products Used: Joker, Bullit, Superlight, Super V.
Bike Setup: Hayes Disc, 321 Mavic, XTR, King, Thompson, Z1-Freeride QR20, Holzfeller cranks, Titec stem ect.
a Weekend Warrior
from Highland Village,TX
Date Reviewed: February 14, 2003
Strengths: Very Strong. Great attention to detail, Romic Shock
Weaknesses: Only comes one color.
I had previously ridden a Trek Fuel 80, but after cracking the frame twice, I really wanted a bike I felt could handle my weight and riding style (265lbs very aggressive.) The Chamuco handles this very well. The quality is without equal, and the Romic shock eliminates any Bob when climbing. I no longer worry about my bike being able to handle what I can dish out. and this setup weighs in at only 33lbs. I would recommend this setup to anyone.