Salsa Ala Carte SM609

By blackmountaincycles,

Filed under: Vintage Bikes

In its first life, this frame was painted purple and had yellow decals.  I bought it through Ebay about 12 years ago.  Maybe 11.  It was pretty worked over and, back then, there were a lot of really good deals still to be had in the vintage mountain bike scene on Ebay.  I don’t think that’s necessarily the case these days.  Today, if it’s old, it’s got to be worth a mint.

Anywho, soon after purchasing the frame, I had it powder coated white because I wanted a white canvas to create something unique, but still in the Salsa rasta theme of green/red/yellow.  I’ve always liked the traditional “Jelly Bean” finish, but wanted to do something different.  Something to make a splash.  And I wanted to do it right with the right tools.  So, the frame sat – white and non-descript on the shop wall for these past 9+ years.

Another frame that sat on the wall for almost as long as the Salsa was an ’80s Steve Potts that was owned by a customer/friend and had been repaired, but not painted.  Over the summer, we finally decided it was time to get it painted and off it went to D+D Paint.  Just before it was ready to be sent back, I had a EUREKA! moment and asked Rick at D+D if he had any small bottles of green, red, and yellow paint.  He confirmed and sent me some paint along some activator.  I was in business.

One morning a few weeks ago, the sun was out and it was going to be a nice warm day.  Warm enough to help bake the paint onto the frame.  I set up the frame on a workstand out back, bought 3 disposable paint brushes, poured a bit of paint into a cup with the activator in a 3:1 ratio (purely guessed this), and got to town splattering the paint on the frame.  Some are old enough to remember the late ’80s/early ’90s and the industry’s love of splatter paint.  I never had a splatter frame and figured it was time.  I started with green and overloaded the paint brush a bit so the first swing of the paint brush produced a big spoltch that immediately started running down the down tube.  At first, I thought “dammit,” but then realized that the beauty of a splatter paint job is the complete lack of perfection.  Each splatter is unique and this big green goober running down the down tube was completely unique.  It’s staying.  Red was next and went on with a bit more expertise, followed by yellow.  By the time I got done with the splattering, I was ready to splatter paint anything I could get my hands on.  I really dug this revitalization of the old Salsa frame.

After letting the paint bake in the sun all day and letting it completely dry for a few days, I set about to get the decals on.  I had an original set of decal that Ross Shafer sent to me.  According the the post mark on the envelop, he sent them in December of 2006.  He said they were the last decals he had.  They all went on ok except for one of the down tube decals.  The backing just wouldn’t release from the transfer, even with some heat.  Luckily I found some decals on Ebay that were cheap and really, really close to the original design and they were the same size.  Game on.  With the final decal in place, it was time to figure out how to build it.

I had wanted to use a set of White Industries Tracker hubs built into Bontrager BCX-1/BCX-2 rims that I ran on my Ibis when it was new.  A really sweet, light wheelset.  But.  There’s always a but.  But, the design of the Bontrager fork doesn’t permit hubs with wide flanges or wide spaced, large diameter bearings like the White Industries hubs have.  This was when I recalled the same issues we had in the shop during this era.  Folks wanted Bontrager forks, but couldn’t run them with WTB hubs or White Industries.  Only hubs with a similar design to Shimano XT or Suntour XC Pro would fit.  Luckily I had a set of XC Pro wheels.  What went from a Shimano XTR M900/Ritchey Logic build morphed into a Suntour XC Pro build.  And it turned out really freakin’ cool.  Couldn’t be happier.  And it rides great too.  All the parts for the build came from parts bins of stuff I already had.  The only thing I needed to buy was the decal set for that one drive side, down tube decal.

(What’s playing:  Ike & Tina Turner It Ain’t Right (Lovin’ To Be Lovin’))

6 responses to “Salsa Ala Carte SM609”

  1. John Berton-Reilly says:

    Wow! Very nice!!!! Enjoy it

  2. Flavio Colker says:

    Do you still ride your old 26in MTBs? I do… like it’s still 1993.

    • blackmountaincycles says:

      Hi Flavio – Hope all is well in Brasil. I actually rarely ride a mountain bike these days. But when I do, I ride something vintage because that’s all I have. I ride my monster cross bike with 45mm tires and it really feels more like a 26″ wheel vintage mountain bike than a cross bike. Cheers.

      • Flavio Colker says:

        Your moster cross bike is really good and a rare breed these days: a bike that’s built to do what you want to do w/it and nothing else…. no techno BS. Geometry seems spot on and handling should be perfect.

  3. Tim says:

    Really frikkin’ cool indeed!

  4. mstateglfr says:

    Wow that turned out absolutely perfect! The splatter paint and splotch paint(not sure what to call this, but it was on a lot of Univega, Diamondbacks, etc back in the early 90s) schemes are so cool. Yes they identify a specific period of the bike industry, but that’s partly why I love it.- the history and evolution is always fascinating to learn about.

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