I thought that I'd share some pictures of my new ride with you guys. This will also help people looking for technical details on this frame, since there aren't a lot of pictures out there of the Ventana El Martillo CX. Hopefully people looking for pics and build specs on google will see this one come up. This frame looks great, by the way. The seat and chain tubes are fat and sexy, and the paint job is just amazing in the sun. Gorgeous welds. I took some pics of the tire clearance so that people could see what it's got. The closeups of the tire clearance are with a 700x40 CX tire. In the pictures, I'm riding a Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700x40. There's lots of clearance on both sides. It's geared 50-34 with an 11-34 cassette, Ultegra all the way around. Ride report follows pictures/parts list.
Total Parts List:
Frame and Fork
1. Ventana El Martillo CX frame (cosmic orange)
135mm rear spacing, disk mounts, no cantilever mounts
2. Salsa La Cruz Fork (painted by Ventana to match the bike)
Handlebars, Tape, Seatpost, Stem, Saddle
1. Salsa Bell Lap Handlebars
2. Thomson Seat Post (silver)
3. Thomson X4 Stem (silver, 100mm at 10 degrees)
4. Specialized Bar Phat Bar Tape (white)
5. Specialized Phenom Titanium Gel Saddle (white)
Headset, Seat Post Clamp
1. Chris King NoThreadSet (silver)
2. Thomson (silver)
Drivetrain, Brakes, Controls
1. Shimano Ultegra 50-34 compact crankset, front derailleur, shifters
2. Shimano 11-34 Cassette
3. Shimano Ultegra Rear Derailleur (medium cage)
4. Shimano XTR Trail Pedals
5. Avid BB7 Road Disc Brakes (160mm rotors)
6. Shimano Ultegra Controls (STI Dual)
Wheels, Hubs, Spokes, Tires
1. Stans No Tubes Arch 29er (white powdercoat)
2. DT Swiss Spokes (silver)
3. Chris King ISO Disc Hubs (silver)
4. Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (700x40c) Tires
Today, for the first ride, I took this bike through its paces. I didn't just want to pedal it around the block and call it a day. So, I did around 40 miles with 4000' of climbing. See ride here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/306650
What can I say about this bike, now that I've tested it in dirt, hit 45 mph on some downhills, leaned into turns through hilly areas, climbed a 20% road grade, and raced another roadie? That this bike does it all. This bike handles very well, due in part -- I think -- to its relaxed geometry. It doesn't feel laggy, though. It's got a quick, stable feel to it, but corners well, too. It is a very stiff bike, and doesn't flex at the bottom bracket area at all. This gives it a quick, fast accelerating feel. It rides nice for aluminum, too. Much better than I expected. Where I think the bike shines is in carving at speed. I've ridden road bikes for quite some time, and mountain, too, and the turning/cockpit has an intuitive feel to it. Where you want to go, it goes. It doesn't fight with you at all. Has an almost eerie ride quality, in that it is so stable. You kind of have to ride it to see.
Any downsides? That's a tough one. I tried doing everything to it that I could, yesterday, but I didn't find any style of riding that it didn't do well. I've got some pretty big tires on there (700x40c), so my top speed wasn't what it could be on a 120 PSI 22mm tire (I ran around 80psi). As far as some other details, I jumped curbs, slid the rear wheel out on sandy turns, and tried to stick the front tire in a crevass and get back out again, which it did well. I wanted to see if it wanted to dump me, or not. It never did. The front wheel didn't even shudder when I turned into a 1" gap in the pavement. It just slid along, then I popped over. You can tell that whoever designed this frame knew that you weren't going to be spinning around with the women's social, or posing at starbucks with an orange and silver bike. I'm sure these two things the bike would do well, but that's not what it prefers. This bike likes to be ridden. Not surprising, coming from a company known for their mountain bike prowess.
At the end of my ride, I felt more tired than usual. It was an odd feeling. That feeling reminded me a lot of my days doing hard road rides with teams/amateurs. It felt like I over exerted myself out there, almost. It's hard to say why, except that I think this bike is capable of going fast, and therefore you want to keep going fast. I was taken back a little by that. But that's probably a good thing. When I came home, I was pretty drained. 12 chicken wings, 3 non-alcoholic beers, a burrito, some amino acid pills... then a nap. I woke up an hour later with tons of cramping in my legs. 3 hours later, after my ride, I'm still in that sweaty afterhaze that you get into when you really push it for 3+ hours.