29" wheeled mountain bikes are here to stay. The combination of less rolling resistance, more stability and increased traction make people fall in love with the way they ride. The Salsa Mamasita is a bike that has all the benefits of the big wheels with an amazing frame and awesome build kit. While not an entry level bike, the Mamasita is a great value.
As the heart of any bike is the frame that's where we will start. The main triangle and chain stays are made of Scandium tubing with a wishbone carbon fiber seat stay. Scandium is an element when alloyed with aluminum increases fatigue life, strength and ride quality. This mixed with the carbon fiber makes for a light but strong frame. The front triangle is fairly standard looking with very clean welds. The real magic happens out back. Both the seatstays and chainstays are flattened ovals, much wider than they are tall. The aim is to increase torsional rigidity while allowing a little vertical compliance for a more comfortable ride.
You can get the Mamasita as a frame or a complete bike. The complete package is a very nice build with a full Shimano XT group except the Race Face Deus crankset. The Rock Shox Reba is one of the best cross country forks around. Lots of adjustability and it comes with a handlebar mounted lockout. Handlebar, stem, seatpost and rims are all Salsa. Most companies house brand parts are usually a step down but Salsa is a well respected component maker in their own right. The weight comes in around 25 lbs for the complete bike. With some parts swaps you can make it lighter but it's pretty solid as is.
The ride is classic hard tail combined with big wheels. Snappy and fast the Salsa Mamasita is a fun bike to ride. It likes to be ridden hard. But for all of it's racy feel it's still quite comfortable. The larger diameter wheels do a good job of muting the smaller bumps and the design of the stays seems to take the edge off of sharper hits. Power transfer is solid favoring out of the saddle attacks. The Mamasita is at home on a cross country race course but don't shy away from it if you are looking for an all round mountain bike.
The Salsa Mamasita is a good bike for someone looking for a fast 29"er whether for racing or long trail rides. Compared to the carbon fiber 29"ers on the market the Mamasita is far cheaper, more durable and only slightly heavier.