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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at a new frame and like the look of these.On paper they look very similar frames,weight and numbers are similar.I realise the tubing is different but am interested in peoples opinion on either.
 

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Stayin' Puft
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1,241 Posts
I helped a friend build up an El Mariachi last night. I have to say, Salsa makes a really sweet frame and their swinger dropout design is slick and was very smooth to set up. I own an '06 El Mar frame myself too that was my first 29er, other frames have come and gone but that has been a keeper.

Both frames are a little steep-head-angled like most of the production 29er stuff. My friend used an old 490 axle-to-crown Niner fork that slacked it out a bit. I ride a 480 axle-to-crown custom fork on my el Mar, the extra cm seems to take the edge off the twitchiness of a true 72 degree HA. Personal preferences though.

I like that they dropped the top tube on the KM and use the angle-brace now. The standover was always a little high for their size, plus the ETT a little short, and the head tube sort of silly-short, at least for my sizing but everyone's requirements are different. I fit on a Large El Mar ok (barely) but would need an XL on the KM for sure. So the numbers are really not "the same" when it comes down to fitting the bike. I do like Surly's though in general, I have owned 3 of their frames but never a KM.
 

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I've got a '10 El Mar (blue) and have ridden the KM and own a CrossCheck. Overall the quality on the Salsa is a bit better (lighter tubes, cleaner welds).

I think it really depends on what you want to do with it. The El Mar is versatile but in an off road only sense.

The KM is more "all round" in that it'll take fenders, rim brakes, racks, etc ...

If you want to set it up SS, my vote is for the EL Mar, the dropouts are excellent.
 

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Riding or Drumming
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213 Posts
cliclismo said:
I've got a '10 El Mar (blue) and have ridden the KM and own a CrossCheck. Overall the quality on the Salsa is a bit better (lighter tubes, cleaner welds).

I think it really depends on what you want to do with it. The El Mar is versatile but in an off road only sense.

The KM is more "all round" in that it'll take fenders, rim brakes, racks, etc ...

If you want to set it up SS, my vote is for the EL Mar, the dropouts are excellent.
Well put.

KM= Swiss Army Knife (SS, geared, racks, fenders, urban, off-road)

EM= SS, geared all-day off road rig
 

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Salsa has got looong chainstays compared to the KM. The Salsa would be my perfect frame if they had got the chainstays to a sensible length.
 

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lord of my world
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The frames are probably the same weight. I have ridden a KM for the past 5 years and just built up a El Mariachi. I haven't ridden the Salsa yet, so I can give a opinion yet on the ride difference. It's got a lot to live up to though, I love my KM.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the interesting and informative replies.Looking forward to your ride report Surlywhore.
 
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