What are Marin Mountain Bikes?
Marin mountain bikes have been around since 1986 when the Marin Bikes company was founded by Bob Buckley. Buckley still runs the company today and is an avid cyclist who is passionate about mountain biking. Most of the Marin employees are also mountain bikers.
The Marin Bikes company is located in Marin County, California near Mount Tamalpais, often referred to as Mt. Tam. Mt. Tam is believed by many to be the birthplace of mountain biking because in the 1970s a group of riders converted old cruiser bikes into mountain bikes by adding balloon tires, flat handlebars, and cantilever brakes. These bikes, affectionately known as klunkers, were raced down trails of Mount Tam.
Today, Mount Tam is well known among mountain bikers. The design of Marin mountain bikes is inspired by the riding trails of Mount Tam and the lines of bikes are named after the trails, towns, or areas in that area. For example, the Nail Trail 29er was named after a trail called the Nail Trail. It was named the Nail Trail because some dudes growing pot were trying to deter mountain bikers and dumped nails all over the trail.
Bike Construction and Technology
Marin Bikes company takes great pride in their frame design. They focus a lot on frame technology and use 3D modeling software to design their frames. Using this type of technology, they are able to measure things like distances and forces so they can fine tune the frames for optimal performance.
The aluminum alloy Marin mountain bikes are made using a tube forming process called hydroforming. Using this process, they can vary the diameter of the tube. At welded junctions, they can make the tube larger, stiffer, and stronger, while the tube can be thinner in the middle sections, which allows for some flex.
Marin mountain bikes also have custom butting, where the tube is thicker in some areas where greater strength is needed and thinner in middle sections of tube. This helps reduce the weight of the frame without compromising strength.
The full suspension Marin mountain bikes are built with Marin's own Quad-Link suspension system, which consists of a 4-bar linkage system. Reviews and test rides of these Marin bikes have been positive, often commenting on how the bike is able to roll over sharp, square-edged obstacles rather than slam into them. This Quad-Link suspension also provides very little pedal bob.
Full Suspension Marin Bikes
Marin full suspension mountain bikes include the Mount Vision trail xc series, the Attack Trail series, an all mountain series that was previously named the Wolf Ridge, and the Quake, which is Marin's freeride mountain bike. Marin previously had the Alchemist, which was a 100 mm race xc series, but this model is not in their 2010 line-up.
Mount Vision: Trail XC
The Mount Vision series includes a 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, and 5.9 model. They include 120 mm of front and rear travel. Frames are hydroformed 6066 aluminum alloy and the 5.9 model has a carbon swingarm for reduced weight. This series has received the 2008 Mountain Bike of the Year award from Mountain Bike magazine and the 2007 All Mountain Bike of the Year by Mountain Bike Magazine.
Attack Trail: All Mountain
The Attack Trail series includes a 6.7, 6.8, and 6.9 model. This Marin all mountain bike was previously called the Wolf Ridge series.
The 2010 Marin Attack Trail mountain bike has updated its frame geometry and suspension system and upped its suspension from 140 to 150 mm of adjustable travel. Its one-piece bottom bracket is compatible with chain guides and SRAM Hammerschmidt components. The frame is 6061 aluminum.
The Quake series includes a 7.8 and 7.9 model. This is Marin's freeride mountain bike. The 2010 Quake mountain bikes have updated their tubeset, suspension, bottom bracket, and linkage arrangement. Suspension has been upped from 170 mm to 180 mm of travel. The Quake is Hammerschmidt compatible.
The Quake 7.8 model has been the chosen bike of two time Masters World Champion Shaums March.
Hardtail Marin Mountain Bikes
The Team HT series has several models ranging in price, frame materials, and components. The Team Titanium model has a titanium frame and the CXR model is carbon. The Indian Fire Trail, Team Marin, and Team Issue are aluminum alloy.
The Hydro HT series has a couple of women specific mountain bikes in their Women's Fit Geometry (WFG) line, which include the Juniper Trail and the Bear Valley. These models feature shorter top tubes, smaller diameter handlebars, custom tuned suspension to fit the difference in a woman's body weight distribution, and woman specific saddles.
The 29er series has 4 different models, including the Nail Trail, Pine Mountain, Palisades Trail, and Alpine Trail. The Pine Mountain 29er is a single speed. The Nail Trail has gotten very good reviews in Mountain Bike Action magazine test rides.
The Alloy HT series is a lower priced option that still has a great lightweight aluminum frame. This series includes the Bolinas Ridge and Pioneer Trail models offering several different options.
Here is a great deal on the 2011 hardtail Bolinas Ridge 29er
Overall, Marin Bikes offers a wide range of mountain bikes and price options. They have a few hardtail 29ers, including a single-speed. They do not offer a downhill mountain bike, but they have a couple of freeride mountain bike models. Although they do offer a couple of women specific hardtail mountain bikes, it would be nice if they had some women specific full suspension models.
Although they are a relatively small company, Marin Bikes is reputable and takes pride in its products. They especially take pride in their frame design.
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