Salsa El Mariachi 3 Complete Bike - $1,549.95

It takes some manufacturers a few tries to get a frame just right. Some never do. When the folks at Salsa introduced the El Mariachi a few years ago, they nailed it the first time with a geometry that's right at home in an XC race but won't murder your back on a multi-day backcountry epic. The real beauty of El Mariachi is its ability to fill so many roles.You'd be hard pressed to find a more versatile and functional bike for off-road riding than a hardtail 29er. Make it from steel, and you have a bike that will last very near forever, tackle almost any terrain you can find, and won't dynamite your wallet on the way. The Salsa El Mariachi 3 is just such a bike. Salsa's Kung Fu Cro-Moly tubing is triple-butted to reduce weight without sacrificing strength at the joints, so you'll never have to worry about cracking the frame at a weak point. Salsa's innovative Alternator dropouts also allow quick-and-easy single-speed conversionswhether they're planned, or just a way to get you home after a massive mid-ride mechanical. The Alternators utilize a swing-style design, and are kept in place with the aid of tension bolts, so you don't have to worry about getting both sides right with just bolt-torque. This swinging style also means that you can tune the ride characteristics of your El Mariachi easilykeep it in tight for short effective chainstays and quick handling, or move it out to lengthen the chainstays and add stability. The El Mariachi, like all Salsa bikes, lends itself to the lengthy and epic, and is an ideal candidate for multi-day backcountry bikepacking. This is not to say, of course, that you can't race itthe El Mariachi eats up short-track XC races just as well as it handles hundred-mile days through the woods.El Mariachi 3 comes with a Manitou tower Expert Fork. The Tower is a 100mm XC fork that weighs just over four pounds. It's air- and rebound-adjustable so you can dial in the feel that you want. - $1,549.95

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