Written by Steve Morse Tuesday, 28 March 2006 00:00
I chose the Salsa Dos Niner, beside the fact that it’s a 29er (I’m nearly 6’ 4”), because I also race it’s brother - the Salsa Campeon road bike, and absolutely love that road machine. I did a little research and read some reviews online (which mainly consisted of me staring at pictures on my computer at work, and drooling on the keyboard). Within a few weeks, I had the shiny new “Green-go” colored Dos Niner bike frame hanging in my basement, and a couple huge boxes which showed up on my doorstep, which held the hand-picked build kit. It was truly X-mas in March. Here are some of my observations after a few rides on it:
As I’m sure all 29er’s are, this thing is mammoth (I got the size XL). At first, it felt like I was riding on a piece of farm equipment, rather than a bicycle. I thought maybe I had made a mistake on the size, but after a while I decided it was a good fit. With the big Maxxis Ignitor tires on the 29” wheels, it definitely looked and felt tractor-like. I broke it in on some pretty easy fire trails, on the big ring and a locked out front suspension, the thing rolled along like a rocket ship. It felt like cyclocross season again.
When the trail gets rocky or pockmarked, the little rear Relish air shock, which makes this bike officially a “soft tail” soaks it all up, with an inch of travel. Truthfully, when I first saw the design of the frame rear- the pivotless design and air shock, I was a tad skeptical. Adjusting the Relish shock, turned out to be very easy, I pumped it to the recommended psi that the instructions specified for my weight. I figured the strange-looking, flat, pivotless “stays” would break clean in half the first time I jumped the thing off a rock. Alas, I figured Salsa probably knew what the heck they were doing, so I put my faith in the bike and went for it. I jumped it off of some pretty big rocks (for me), and rolled over some nice logs, and of course hit a bunch of other stuff I probably shouldn’t have…I’m here to report that the frame design works A-OK. The designers at Salsa have their crap together. Simply, a rock-solid ride.
I took it bombing down some sketchy down hills and tighter technical sections, I didn’t feel restricted at all by the oversized wheels. I don’t think I would feel any faster on those sections if someone loaned me their little 26” wheeled kiddie bike. In fact, I’m guessing the opposite would be true for me. Furthermore, it climbs just as well. I don’t feel any loss of traction when the trails goes skyward. A few times I did feel like I was “unicycling” up some extremely steep climbs, but I’m sure it’s rider error- can’t blame the Dos. Overall, I would categorize this steed as “confidence-inspiring” to this MTB newbie.
All in all, I’m very happy with my Dos Niner. I can’t wait to take it out again this weekend, and get it all dirty again.
|2006 Salsa Dos Niner Frame: XLarge, Green, 29er Soft Tail. Big wheels keep on rollin’. That’s the idea behind our Dos Niner 29er wheel mountain bike. Pivotless Scandium softie design with our proprietary Relish airshock. One inch of rear wheel travel is just enough to take the edge off of things, and combined with the extra smoothness 29...|
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