Interbike 2008: Salsa Selma Ride Report

A couple of weeks prior to Interbike, I was invited to Salsa Cycles headquarters inside of parent company Quality Bicycle Parts warehouse and office complex in Bloomington, Minnesota. The purpose of the visit was to preview the 2009 Salsa Cycles line up and ride the new Selma single speed 29″er.

The Selma is basically a take off on Salsa’s Mamasita 29″er geared hard tail bike. The two models share the same geometry, (tweaked for 2009), the same Scandium enhanced aluminum frame with carbon fiber seat stays, and 29 inch wheels. The difference is that the Selma is a dedicated single speed rig, sporting an eccentric bottom bracket, and no provisions for cable stops for derailleur cables. (There is a derailleur hangar for those that would want to rig the Selma for gears.)

I got to swing a leg over the Selma at one of the best single track loops in the Mid-West, the Murphy-Hanrahan trail system. The trails are swoopy, have nice climbs and descents, and basically just smile inducing terrain in a typical upland woods atmosphere. The Selma I rode was equipped with a Fox F-29 front fork, Mavic Cr29max wheels shod with Hutchinson Pythons, and was running a 34 X 19 gear. The gear was perfect for the fast buffed trails with the Fox fork providing excellent steering characteristics with it’s 46mm offset mated to the new front head angle on the Selma/Mamasita bikes. Steering was intuitive and didn’t require a lot of arm input or crazy body english to get around the tighter corners at “Murph”.

While this was my first ride on the Selma, I have been on several Mamasita’s, so I had a backdrop to compare the Selma to. The new tweaks to the geometry have made the Mamasita/Selma platform better, in my opinion. I no longer feel that the front wheel is tucked too far beneath the frame in descents, which made the bike feel nervous in those situations. Now I feel the bike can be let go to fly down hill more since it has a more stable feel on the backsides of the steeps. I also noticed that the Selma felt torsionally stiffer than previous Mamasita’s I had ridden. I asked about this and was told that European testing standards are getting more stringent in regards to bicycles. This prompted Salsa to spec a slightly heavier, thicker down tube on the new Selma and Mamasita to insure the frames would exceed the testing standards. However that may be, it results in a more precise steering feel, and for the Selma, a great feel on out of the saddle grunts which are common on single speed bikes.

Of course, the rear end carries over from the Mamasita frame and here again, the magic of the flattened Scandium chainstays, flattened carbon seat stays, and exposed seat post make for a ride that is smoother than your typical hardtail. All without feeling flexy, or inefficient. Talking about efficiency, the Selma delivers in spades with a solid bottom bracket area and quick acceleration when you decide to stomp on the pedals. It is definitely a high performance single speed platform.

Then you have the Selma’s looks, which are in line with the rest of Salsa’s 2009 line up graphically. It has a distinct look without going over the top. The blue is pleasant to the eye and will lend itself well to anyone liking the new trend for white components or blue anodized componentry. (See the Selma show bike decked out with blue Hope components.)

Overall, the Selma should satisfy those who clamoured for a single speed Mamasita and should also appeal to those looking for a high performance single speed sled in 2009. It handles with quickness, but retains downhill stability, is very efficient in power transfer, but has that nice ride quality that the unique frame design has to offer. All in all, a fantastic new addition to Salsa’s 29″er line up.


No Responses to “Interbike 2008: Salsa Selma Ride Report”

  1. mg Says:

    Great report brother… I knew you had the lowdown on the awesome ride quality this bike had lurking inside it’s stealthy grey tubes!

    Hope you’re having a great day in Vegas!


  2. d.p. Says:

    Didn’t we put something like this on the “wish list” on the way back from Dirt Kanza a couple years ago? Dang, only better. Another home run from the brethren to the north.

  3. captain bob Says:


  4. GreenLightGo Says:

    that is the hottest bike in the lineup! Great job!

  5. dan Says:

    nice report feels like i’m at the show. keep up the good work.

  6. rafal Says:

    do you know the pricing on this bad boy?

  7. Guitar Ted Says:

    rafal: MSRP is $850.00 for the frame

  8. jayt Says:

    looks interesting, also the new mamsita. ive considered (considering) one but am concerned about durability. i weigh 195-205 lbs. what do ya think?

  9. what the fork Says:

    What’s the axle to crown on that fork in the pic?

  10. Guitar Ted Says:

    what the fork: White Brothers Rock Solid 29″er carbon fork: 465mm axle to crown.

  11. Guitar Ted Says:

    jayt: Sorry I missed your comment earlier!

    I am 240lbs, and the bikes ride great for me and seem durable. I’d not be afraid to hit one up if I weighed in at your weight. In fact, Captain Bob, who owned a Mamasita and sold it to buy a Selma, is 200lbs and had zero issues with his Mamasita.

  12. Chexem Says:

    Hey Ted
    Just got the Selma under my skin. You mention that Cap’n Bob sold his Mamasita to buy a Selma. I am getting “March/April” from the online dealers. Know of any sitting in a warehouse?

  13. Brian Says:

    I was pumped about getting a Selma for 2009, but my 2008 Mamasita has only been ridden cross country [be me] for about 9 months and it is already cracking where the carbon fiber seat stays joing the Scandium tubing just under the seat area. I sent pictures to Salsa to ask for a warranty replacement for this frame,but they said it was just a crack in the clearcoat. I don’t believe it. I am a materials engineer at Boeing with a MS degree in this area, and it is definitely not just the clearcoat cracking. So, Salsa says to keep it and ride it, I say it is a safety issue and I need a replacement. Even if I go to sell it on eBay or something, no one is going to buy it if they think the fame is cracking regardless if it is just the “clearcoat.” So now what do I do? Any other Mamasita owners had this problem? I like the bike, but I feel stuck. Suggestions?

  14. Guitar Ted Says:

    Brian: Well, it sounds to me that you have your mind made up, but at the risk of that, I will tell you that this is common with bonded frames using dissimilar, (and in some cases similar) materials. I have been in the bicycle business since the early 90’s and I can recite several instances where this “cracking” (which is almost always cosmetic) has occurred.

    So, with that in mind, the Mamasita does this, and I have seen it. To me, it is only another example of a cosmetic issue, not a structural one.

    I can also tell you that Salsa Cycles, and other bicycle companies have their frames independently tested by certified test labs to pass stringent European standards and if the Mamasita was suspect, it would have been pulled off the market long ago.

    Again, if you are convinced in your own mind that it is a serious problem, that is something you will have to react upon. I can not prevail upon you to change your mind, but I will say that I would ride a Mamasita with a clear conscious and not worry one bit about it.

    I hope you can come to terms with it, but if not, I suggest you sell it and get something that allows you to ride with peace of mind. 🙂

  15. sharpbike Says:


    Give a deal on the mamasita and I would consider buying it. The race it to let you know how long it last. Let me know what you think.

  16. one_speed Says:

    nice writeup!! Sounds like a fun ride.

    How will this frame hold up to a 200+ rider?

    Love the way the mamasita rides.

  17. Guitar Ted Says:

    one_speed: See comment #11 above 😉

  18. A C Says:

    What different component or kit levels are going to be offered? Do you have prices for these yet?

    The light blue touches with the hope brakes and XTR cranks are sweet.

  19. Guitar Ted Says:

    A C: The Salsa Selma will only be offered as a frame for 2009. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a complete Selma introduced at Interbike, or maybe in mid-summer of ’09. Especially if frame sales are brisk and dealers start asking for it.

    The build on the show bike was stellar! I got to see it up close and personal a few times.

  20. sharpbike Says:

    So on the Mamasita side of thing again. I am 5’11 . I am wondering if I would ride a medium or large frame. I have a Carbon Rush and A carbon Raven super V both are large.

    Inseam is 34. I was looking at the standover measurements and they are 31 and 32 .

    Any suggestion?

  21. Guitar Ted Says:

    sharpbike: Without seeing you and having you fitted, my guess is that you would fit best on a medium.

  22. Brian Says:

    Guitar Ted,

    Your experience and advice are very much appreciated. I knew that someone on this site would have the experience with with the Salsa frames, and specifically product user experience with the mamasita to provide some advice. While I have ridden/raced numerous types and brands of bikes both on-road and in the dirt, the Salsa Mamasita is the first Scandium Carbon bike of its type that I have had for off road, XC riding. Don’t think I am bad-mouthing Salsa, because I am not. I also have a Salsa steel frame Mtn bike (that I really enjoy)and Salsa gear/components on other bikes. I was just surprised to find this cracking issue on Salsa’s high end 29er frame. I have not torn it down or sent it back yet…just looking into my options. I just don’t want to have a possible safety issue because my frame has a unique problem or was a quality escape from the factory. Any other users observe this condition on a Mamasita?

  23. sharpbike Says:

    Guitar Ted I have been looking for a Mamasita on the net. They are hard to find in the Medium size. I have not been able to find one in stock. You know when they will be avaliable or a location that has them. I will need it to be shipped to an APO since I am in the military and living abroad. Thanks for all you help. I think with the info that I have got here that I will get a Mamasita instead of the Air 9. That is if I can find one. Thanks again.

  24. boomking Says:

    I CAN’T wait for one! Already have the parts ready!

  25. EB Says:

    I wanna Pedal that beaut until she breaks-
    Ride and Smile-

  26. El Monkey Says:

    Ted, how did this one compare to the more suspended Dos Niner? Closer to a regular hardtail or does it have the same not-fully-rigid-but-still-not-suspension feeling as the Dos?

  27. Guitar Ted Says:

    El Monkey: The Selma, (and the Mamasita as well) feel as though you have a big cushy, underinflated tire in the rear, even if you are running 35psi. It just has the slightest amount of give. Not unlike a very nice, compliant carbon fiber or titanium seat post. Not like a Dos Niner, which begins to feel like a stiff suspension bike and definitely is moving back there as you ride it.

    So the Selma/Mama frame is nice riding, but definitely not “suspension-like”

  28. jayreg Says:

    Im very interested in buying a selma. But im wondering if I will be able to handle it. I weigh right around 200lbs and ive only been serious about biking for about 3 years and the first year was mainly road. Now im into riding a lot of rooty and rocky single track and im just wondering what you think.

  29. Guitar Ted Says:

    jayreg: I weigh 240lbs and wouldn’t bat an eyelash at riding this rig hard…..wait! I did once! 😉

  30. Simon Says:

    I recently was given Dos Niner frame from a friend who had broke the weld apart at the left chain stay and dropout. He weighs 260ibs and didn’t believe he could use it again without it braking. I wanted to know if I have it welded will It need extra reinforcement? I also found cracked paint on the welds behind the head tube. Is it no good?

  31. Guitar Ted Says:

    Simon: The frame is no good! Please do not try to repair it yourself. Welding aluminum is one thing, but heat treating it and artificially aging it is another, highly specific and technical process.

    If your friend was the original purchaser he may have a warranty claim with Salsa. Check that out, but please do not try to repair it yourself. It could lead to serious injury or death. Really!

  32. boomking Says:

    That frame is shot. Every frame material has a fatigue life and that frame has reached it. I agree with GT. I also weld (aluminum,steel,bronze, etc, etc) I wouldn’t touch a torch to it. Also its scandium not aluminum. Would make a great shop stool, using the rear end and a seat post and seat!

  33. El Monkey Says:

    If my broke and if Salsa would refuse warranty replacement, my theory is: hacksaw, flex plate and bolts. Convert it to a construction as on the Siren Song, if possible, by removing the inner parts of the stays, bolt them to a ti/carbon plate and try to attach the plate to the BB somewhere.

    Probably not realistic, but if it works then you’ve got a perfect travel bike – just remove the rear section and put it in a case.

    If you have got the workshop, the engineering skills and the time to do it, that is.

  34. Steve Says:

    This is a bargain frame available at Performance. Now with 25% off, plus $25 +/- shipping gets it delivered for $175. If you risk the repair and ride option, please take out a significant insurance policy payable to your dependents or family on death or dismemberment. Enjoy.

  35. JK Says:

    I’ve been riding and smiling with a Selma for three months now. The rear doesn’t feel soft but I wouldn’t call it hard either. I never feel any movement there, but it really seems to take the edge out of hard impacts. Part of it might be the 29″ wheel size though. I’ve been running Racing Ralph Evo 2.25 at 33 psi. The ride is solid but gentle. The lateral stiffness mentioned in the Interbike ride report is definitely noticeable making the Selma feel very efficient.

  36. JK Says:

    Oh, forgot to mention the only gripe I have: slight creaking from the EBB. It seems to require regular retightening and I’ve also relubricated it once. But that is sort of a feature of the wedge style Bushnell EBB.

  37. Warren Says:


    My Mamasita is cracking at the clearcoat just behind the seatpost as well (where the scandium joins the carbon). Salsa declined to replace the frame and reported it wouldn’t fail. I am the original purchaser and know of several others who have either been denied a replacement or in a few instances been sent a replacement. Salsa is NOT consistent with respect to this issue. My LBS did tell me they have it straight from Salsa that I won’t have a failure at that joint. So. . . now that Salsa is on the hook, should anything happen to me while riding it. . . . I guess that would be a question for general counsel. On the other hand, I have several other Salsa products I’m happy with. For now, I will ride the bike and if the crack becomes more of a problem (because it cracked there for a reason-movement), I’ll take it back in and argue my case a little further. Also, riders in my neck of the woods won’t touch a Salsa product now due to the recent warranty experiences, unfounded or not.

  38. boomking Says:

    What size is your Mama- I might be interested in it! since its “broken” it must be dirt cheap right?

  39. Super Cool Bike Shop Says:

    We just received a demo version of this bike and so far we’ve heard great things. I’m actually waiting until the demo period is over and I can turn this into my personal daily rider 🙂

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