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Salsa El Santo Frame

Product Reviews - Bikeman's Product Testing

The Salsa El Santo has what I was looking for in a full suspension. Light weight frame material (Scandium) and a very tuneable shock in the Manitou Swinger 3-Way. The El Santo has great welds that fall in between aluminum welds and Ti welds. A sweet "dyno-white" paint job and subdued flames makes for a white hot looking frame without looking like you just got your ride "pimped".

My good friend, ace mechanic and race pit boss Tom built the frame up for me. There were no issues with the frame during build. Everything came together nicely. Seemed like one minute I had a living room full of bike parts and the next I had a super cool full suspension ride. Thanks Tom!

ImageA few different build kits are available through bikeman.com but I opted for more of a custom component package to suit me and my riding/racing style, Bikeman.com was there the whole way to point me in the right direction. Some of the goodies I chose include: Fox 100 RLT fork, Shimano XT front/rear derailleurs, Race Face Deus X-Drive Crank, Hope Mono Mini disc brakes, Mavic 717 rims, XT hubs, a light Ritchey Pro stem, Salsa Pro Moto bar, a nice cushy WTB Rocket V Race Saddle and a Salsa (watch-ya-mouth!) Shaft post. I love this build. It's half "racer boy light" and half "blue collar trail bike" Just what I need for my riding and racing.

The Manitou Swinger shock was easy to set up, but it does take a few attempts to find the air combinations with the SPV that you want. A few laps around the yard with some roots and rocks to test out the shock allowed me to dial in the Swinger pretty well. Saddle time is the only real way to find your sweet spot. Do a couple of rides with a shock pump, find your pressure and then ride on and enjoy.

My first few rides had me on some awesome dry and twisty single track with plenty of roots and logs. The first thing I noticed about being on the El Santo is that I really didn't feel like I was on different bike which means I was right on with my sizing, set up of my stem, saddle set back and most importantly the 3-Way Shock. I felt like I was on my hard tail except for when the trail got rough and technical the bike seemed to float over the roots and rocks, making my back very happy. It also allows me to carry way more speed through technical sections than I ever could or maybe I should say would on my hard tail.

On out of saddle switchback climbs I could not make the 3-Way bob on the smooth parts yet the suspension tracked over the technical sections and around switch-backs like it was glued to the trail.

In my first few weeks with the El Santo I've logged close to 14 hours and can't say enough about it. Most recently I put in a 4 hour, 36 mile single track training ride and it performed marvelously. Felt great the whole ride and at the end didn't feel like I got smashed by a 10 ton truck.

This frame is a steal! Salsa did a great job designing the El Santo and Bikeman.com had a great selecion of parts to help me get this build going. The El Santo has the ride quality of a frame that should cost much more! I give the El Santo a 5 Bikeman rating for quality and value.

There's a season of riding and racing ahead and being in the saddle of the El Santo looks to make it a great one!

Rated: Image
Salsa El Santo


 Buy / Details

2006 Salsa El Santo Full Suspension Frame: X-Small, Red. Got a tough trail to grapple with? It’s time to call on El Santo. Four inches of front and rear travel with Manitou SPV shock technology get you where you want to go without any fuss. Scandium tubing, four-bar linkage, CNC’d rocker arm, Swinger 3-Way Air shock, and cartridge bearings...
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