Getting Used To It
Wow, I am sssooo getting used to fast dry trails. I know it will end soon or later, but I'm trying not to think about that, I'm just trying to think about the fun I've been having breaking in the El Mariachi on some twisty dirt. Not only for half of last week's LBD (attempt), but also this week, right here in the twisty, suburban single track that is Boyce Park.
With about 70 miles of dirt under the wheels I can truly say the frame is great. I'm finding it more compliant than my Mamasita, but not noodily at all under my big boned body. Any nit picking I've been doing has purely been with my set up of stem/spacers/post/grips. Not sure if I can blame the frame for slipping seat post. The frame itself: finish, look, ride feel, geometry, etc., is the best.
Occasionally, I find myself forgetting to let my bung hover above the saddle, and remain seating through some stuttering trail sections, as if I was relying the Dos Niners' Relish shock to ease the bung slam. As you can imagine, it only take a couple times to be reminded that I'm on a hard tail. BUT having said that, the overall feel from the trail is amazing. You feel connected to the trail, but don't feel like it's beating you down. If I was to give it a number on a 1-10 comfort scale, the E.M. is at about a 6, while the comfort level on the Dos Niner is about an 8, with a FS bike being in the 10 range. That is TOTALLY acceptable to me.
For a race or ride that is mostly single track and over 5 hour long the Dos Niner still seems the right tool for the job. Given my habit of keeping my bung in the saddle. But for races/rides that include double track, forest roads, and pavement along with that single track (Mohican, 101, SM100, many of my mountain epics) the Ti El Mariachi seems my likely choice. For me, a Ti hard tail has all the benefits of racing a carbon frame, but with increased durability and piece of mind, and all the benefits of a steel frame with no weight penalty or corrosion issues. Although Niner, and Salsa, make some KILLER retail steel frames. I've been lucky to attempt my racing with two bikes to choose from, but if I had to have JUST one, NO DOUBT it would be a Ti hard tail. After all I can always throw on a Thudbuster to ease the bung.
I guess this was long winded way of saying I love my new frame, I got out for a nice 1:40 ride today, and I apparently find it super easy to work the word "bung" into a blog post more times than an ass fetished man with a collection of wine barrels.