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Discussion Starter #1
Just test rode both, same set up on both from my LBS (BB7, X9 drivetrain, etc.) One is steel, one aluminum. Also D660 comes with a very nice Reba SL fork, while the El stands pretty with a rigid. They felt very similar, I loved the big fat tires on the El.

My LBS tells me I can put the Reba on the El (for like $400 more) and that the big tires can go on the D660.

Anyone have these? Anyone ride them? Please, bestow your MTBR wisdom on me.
 

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Life is Go0d!
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There is a review of the 660 in Dirt Rag, issue 138. They loved the bike, after Redline sent them a Ngear Jump stop.(fixed the issue in future production) They said the customer experience was famous, as in good. Highlights of the review, Climbs like a champ...Star qualities on descents and aggressive terrain... Low maintenance cartridge hubs... Double butted stainless spokes on Laserdisc wheels are stout... Its hard to put this bike in a sketchy situation and not come out on top... On each ride, I found myself looking for more stunts and drops to explore...26.6lbs. for a 19in. test bike... and finally, a do it all bike, from trail riding to stunts and racing. This bike boasts advantages with cost and simplicity. Sounds like a good deal for the money to me, you're welcome. :)
 

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Life is Go0d!
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I think Redline has had the 29er geo dialed since my first ride on their Flight model in 2007. I have 3 of them, so maybe I am biased. They certainly give more bike for your money, and stand behind them, with a lifetime warranty. I have never had to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah my LBS stocks their D660 with a Jump Stop, so no problem there. The Mariach has an Eccentric Bottom Bracket, would make for an easy switch to SS which is a big idea on my brain. The downfall of being a college student, too many ideas too little money. (Or is it too much beer...?)
 

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Life is Go0d!
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There is always the Flight.. it can be run with gears, but comes as a single speed. I put some pictures up on the single speed forum of myself, and the little woman havin fun.
 

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Rider and Wrench
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You did not mention the prices your LBS os offering but overall as sold the D660 is a more "do it all" bike. For around $1350 for a D660 w/Reba VS an El Mariachi fro $1500+ with a rigid Fork. I think the Redline is a fine bike and have always liked the simple and well dialed geo and build. This said I have an El Mariachi and run it with a rigid and I love it (I would not trade it for many more pricey bikes either!), I have friend with two and he runs them geared/SS/1X9.... with front Sus. etc...and both of us have (or sold because the Mariachi was more fun) F/S 29ers and they are more bike than the parts list can rightly spell out. With the WTB WW 2.55 and the well designed rigid fork it is a very responsive and forgiving ride because of the OX steel- Since you are leaning towards SS the El Mariachi would be high on the list. For a hardtail the Steel frame makes alot of sense and is super durable and offers a very lively ride- Either Way you are looking at two very well thought out bikes that keep the marketing bling to a minimum and keep it simple- ....If you can get the El Mariachi for close to the same with a fork or less without I would go that direction but since you have a college budget and beer to drink I would have to make the final on the trail as you want it price a big factor-
 

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Rider and Wrench
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davefj40 said:
buy the Mariachi and learn to homebrew. that's what i did.
Can't ride worth a coors light but sure can brew! ;) Now get that 1X9 put back together!
 

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I'm very happy with my rigid Mariachi. Great bike although it will certainly cost you more then the D660.

Really hard to go wrong with either.
 

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Do a search on eccentric bottom brackets here so you can make an informed decision. Some people have no problems, some people have constant problems. I've gone down the EBB path and for me personally, it would be a deal breaker. I'm not saying Salsa makes a bad bike - I'm going to build a La Cruz soon - I'm saying I wouldn't buy an EBB bike from ANY manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the help, right now my LBS has the D660 at $1600 and the El Mariach at $1560, so right there next to each other. I love the large wheels but they say I could put those on the D660. How is the rigid fork riding technical stuff? Don't get me wrong I'm not too crazy, but I do like a good rock garden.
 

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Gangreen
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I have an El Mar and my buddy has a D660. We both have sus forks and his 660 is about 1-1/2 pounds lighter than my El Mar. So if weight is a concern, or you plan to race the bike a fair amount, I'd steer you towards the RL. Not to mention the fork. Rigid forks are lighter and definitely cool, but, sorry, not comfortable. You'll be able to roll a rock garden, but not very fast! The EBB on the Salsa hasn't been an issue for me. I love my Salsa, and "soul" wise I think it's the better choice. But IMHO the fork is a must.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just curious, what fork did you put on it? (I'm pretty new to the MTB scene and in less an act of god gives me insane ability, won't be racing.) I understand the Reba SL, on the D660, is a very good fork.
 

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Jam Econo
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Another Option

Surly just dropped the price on 2008 complete Karate Monkeys by 17%. That makes the MSRP $975.
They are singlespeed with BB7's and Mr Whirly cranks.

Specifications:

* Frame: Surly Karate Monkey
* Fork: Surly Karate Monkey 1-1/8" threadless
* Headset: Ritchey Logic Comp
* Stem: Kalloy 25.4mm Forged
* Handlebar: Surly Torsion bar, 666mm width
* Brake Lever: Avid Speed Dial 7
* Brake: Avid BB7 Cable-actuated disc
* Crankarm/BB: Surly Mr. Whirly
* Seatpost: Kalloy SP-342, 27.2mm
* Saddle: WTB SST
* Freewheel: Shimano singlespeed
* Chain: SRAM PC-870, 3/32"
* Hubs: Surly singlespeed disc, 32h
* Spokes: DT Champion 2.0mm straight gauge
* Rims: Salsa Delgado 700c
* Tires: WTB Exiwolf DNA, 29 x 2.3" Steel bead
 

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Gangreen
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El Mar Fork

I have a Fox F29, but I hear good things about the Reba. BTW, racing doesn't require talent, just an addiction to suffering.
 

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Bikeoholic
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I would buy the El Mariachi. If you really felt it nessecary you could save up for a new suspension fork, but I have a feeling you wouldn't want to.

I've had many Aluminum frames and a few steel frames and in my opinion steel is real and makes one He!! of a bike.

*full disclosure, at one time I owned 2 El Mariachis (one geared one SS)
 

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I just picked up an El Mariachi last week. Was able to get the complete for less than $1300, so you may be able to get a better deal than you think. So far I have enjoyed it. I will admit there is at least a portion of every ride where I think I need a susp. fork, but for the most part I am enjoying the rigidity...handling is just so nice.
 

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Memories...

I graduated from PSU in '90. Bought my first mountain bike there in '88, and have had *lots* of bikes since then. I've done the full circle from rigid to front suspension to soft-tail to dual suspension and back to rigid singlespeeds. The latest mtb is an '07 el mariachi (in Penn State blue ;), which I run 1x9 and rigid. I still have other mtbs, but the el mar is my do-it-all ride.

I don't think you can go wrong with either bike, but I don't think you should let the front suspension be the deciding factor. I'm 40+, ride all the technical, rocky trails in Austin, TX, and have no trouble keeping up with most of the fast kids on their suspended bikes. No maintenance or tuning of the fork means more money and time for drinking beer at the Skeller!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Woohoo, Skeller! Haha, thanks, I'm really leaning toward that El Mar, like you said if I want a fork that bad I could add it. Plus, once I graduate here and make money (at least that is the plan right?) I'll be looking to purchase another, which means with that EBB my El Mar becomes my SS.

Did you ever ride out in Rothrock? Not sure what it was like in '88, considering I was just entering the world..... sorry if I made you feel old!
 

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tproc said:
I just picked up an El Mariachi last week. Was able to get the complete for less than $1300, .
Damn that is cheap!! Is it old stock or just a dealer trying to move a bike that wasn't selling?
 
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