Grey mood? Nope.
Grey skies? Well yes, this is Western PA!
Grey hair? Nah, not yet... I'm talkin' bikes here. I'm talkin' Ti.
My love of Ti (that's Titanium) is no secret. Since I sold my Titus HCR a few years ago, I've pretty much blathered on here on the blog about how I miss a Ti frame. I tried full suspension a few times, and while my back and body took to the comfort, my mind did not take well to all those moving parts and things to "set, tightened, and maintain." I love my Dos Niner, I love my Mamasita, but what I've missed is the ride feel, easy care, durability and let's be honest- the freaking LOOK of a Ti hard tail.
After years of job switching (Wifey), having a kid (B-Man) and most recently- leaving a job and starting a magazine (me), I accepted that my Ti days were done, and I accepted that easily since I have me some kick ass bikes!
Then came "The Leak"
I had a feeling in my nuggets, by reading in between the lines here and there, that the Spicy "S" was kicking around the idea of a Ti frame. But the model, look, builder, MSRP, etc., I had no idea about. But then "the leak" happened... Salsa had a meeting with some dealers about their 2010 models, and BAM! Before you can say "my credit card number is..." some shop rat/loose lipped dealer put the info on the Net. Word was out.... Salsa was going to be releasing some Titanium frames in 2010. Interesting. No, MORE than interesting.
The offerings would include a Titanium version of the El Mariachi sans EBB (not a fan of EBBs, go ahead tell me they're "great" and "versatile", I will tell you that if I had one it would creek, slip and be a general pain in my ass. Plus, I don't need versatile in the gears dept., 'cause this kat ain't ridin' no single speed). This shit's hard enough WITH gears.
Why do I think a Ti E.M. is so cool? Well, since you asked.... 1. It's Ti (duh) 2. No EBB, 3. No sliding drop outs of any kind, 4. El M geometry is pretty much exact as my fave bike (the Dos Niner) and 5. It's Ti (duh deux).
While I felt bad for my friends at Salsa, in that their marketing plans fell through, I can't say I was disappointed to hear such news confirmed. What I was disappointed about was realizing that while the frame looked incredible (I speak of the El Mariachi, although the Ala Carte, looks great too, except for those tiny wheels) I didn't see how I could possible get one, especially since I had pretty much made the ballzy and now proven untrue declaration that I would be "semi retiring" from racing, only racing a couple times and in no need for fancy pants frames etc.,
But, as the days went by after after the product news leak I found out some info from my contacts at Salsa, and from my shop sponsor (Pro Bikes- 3 Pittsburgh area locations to serve you), that while it wouldn't be Wal Mart Huffy cheap, something could be worked out for sure. Hmmmm....
Well I'm very happy that planets aligned, great support was got here and there, and it all came together. Also happy that the not so aggressive/all too loving power of Wifey was easily tamed (thank God for boxed wine), and barring Armageddon or other some Old Testament, "Wrath of God" type catastrophe, this spring my aging, saggy ass cheeks will be on a Salsa Ti-EM, and trying to get back to the head of the mid pack.
The only downside that I'm probably looking at April or May for delivery. But who cares? Till then I will continue to rock the sub 26 lb. Dos Niner as the race bike and the Mamasita will my back up. But once delivery takes place all the goodies on the Dos Niner will move to the Ti-EM. THEN if you're looking (and I know you are) a 2009 Mamasita (as of now) will be for sale with nothing wrong with it other than the misfortune of being born the wrong metal type.
I told myself I wouldn't' blather on about materialistic bike lust things in 2010, but f*ck it, I'm stoked to be able to get hold of sweet ride like this. For what it's worth- I also lusted the steel El Mariachi, and tried to get hold of one last summer even with my distaste for the EBB, but Salsa had already begun phasing it out. Only a few Large ones remained and they were committed to Salsa dealers... Anyway the new Ti E.M. looks to be spot on for what I want out of a bike. I also can't thank my shop (Pro Bikes- Three Pittsburgh area locations to serve you) and Salsa Cycles for assistance. Every good deed by a bike shop and MFG keeps a 5 year old from white slavery. (That's a fact! I saw it on the Internet!)
I can't tell you how anxious for spring now. Races are coming up, a bike on order, and with XXC a bit more established I feel like I can focus a bit more on what I truly want out of riding and racing. Just don't ask me what that is.