Mariachi Cockpit

A quick update on the Mariachi.

In the interests of mountain bike handling and practicing technical skills, I wanted to throw a shorter (70mm) stem on it.  I also wanted to look at a slight riser bar shape, for greater comfort on long SS rides.

I didn’t want to, but had to do Thomson.  And if you’re doing Thomson X-4, that means dress-up kit.

Artsy shot.

Standard RATG garage shot.

These bars are a wee bit narrower than the stock aluminum ones.  I haven’t yet decided if I like that…I was digging the wideness of the stock bars.  We’ll see.  However, I’m amazed at what a huge change the shorter stem makes in the bike’s handling.  I’m loving it.  There’s just enough room to get my Garmin on there…but the steering is right now direct…without being twitchy.  It’s a match made in heaven.  And the dress-up kit looks…snawesome.  Also, FWIW, a 140 gram weight reduction (’bout a third of a pound).

I’ve been putting on SS miles lately, because I really like this bike, because I’m really trying to work on technique, and because the SS kicks my butt.  It’s a different kind of workout.  You have moments where you’re spun out on the road, and moments where you’re standing on the pedals, heaving with all of your might…and no gears to help you out.

The Mariachi invites exploration.  The (somewhat heavy) 2.2″ Trail Kings have tons of traction and reasonable volume, and inspire confidence in all conditions.  And so, I put them through their paces, with some trailbusting.

Busting through hip-tall grass, crossing drainage culverts, riding across plowed fields…just another day, living the dream.


5 thoughts on “Mariachi Cockpit

  1. This is an extremely relevant and interesting post to me. It’s interesting to see how you’ve affected your steering with your stem changes in particular. I wonder if improvement in steering for you is particular to the Mariachi frame geometry or your body type. I have a 2009 Specialized Rockhopper SS (size XL) that I have a 110MM Ritchey stem on and recently tried to put my Specialized stem back on (same length, more rise/drop) and found that it effectively shortened the stem and made the bike dive as I began to turn. I like an aggressive posture on the bike so I mount stems in their ‘drop’ orientation. I have a disproportionately long torso for 6′ 3″ which puts me on the larger frame and longer stem, so I can’t see going to a shorter stem to improve handling for myself.
    Also, we’ve been cutting the handle bars down on all of the newer bikes over the last couple of years to be able to fit between the tightly planted pine trees up here in Michigan 🙂 With wide open spaces, I think I’d prefer the wider handle bars, though.

    • I honestly think that, if I were using this bike for a pure XC rig, I would have kept the longer stem.

      The shorter stem really livens up the handling, and makes it easier to loft the front end. It isn’t so direct as to be dropping in corners (maybe with a 50mm stem?), but part of that has to be attributed to the geometry of the Mariachi. For that matter, it doesn’t exactly have short chainstays, either…

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