October 13, 2020

top marin bikes

For the past three decades, Marin has been at the forefront of developing reliable mountain bikes. While their fame is mostly in MTB’s, they recently expanded across the line.

They now produce some of the most exciting commuter bikes, city, gravel, adventure, and hybrid bikes, including new mountain e-bike options, as well as a growing line of touring, adventure, touring, and “beyond road” bikes like the Gestalt X11.

Where Are Marin Bikes Made?

Marin bicycles are made in Novato, a city in northern Marin County, California. The hilly countryside, dotted with classic offroad biking trails like the Muirwoods, Bolinas Ridge, and Pine Mountain, is considered the birthplace of mountain biking.

Is Marin bike a good brand?

Since 1986, Marin has designed and built a wide range of bikes that have gone on to win awards in various biking competitions. They’ve gone further to found a cycling culture and innovation like no other, revolutionizing the whole industry.

Their skills, experience, and knowledge are honed outside on the rough trails, making sure that they learn, improve, and evolve, constantly striving to build the perfect bike.

Who Owns Marin Bikes?

After his doctors’ advice (probably on health & fitness), Bob Buckley took up mountain biking and soon found himself fully immersed in the sport. He dreamt of a better bicycle that would suit the scenic and rugged ever-expanding trail network in the surrounding hills.

Since then, 1986, Marin laid the groundwork for performance-oriented mountain bikes that still turn heads to date.

According to Marins website's entry, Bob sold control of the privately held bike company in 2013 to the new owners, Minestone Limited.

What are the top 10 Marin Bikes?

With the novel Coronavirus restrictions forcing us all to stay inside, most bikers everywhere were looking for any chance to escape from the streets of Perth… or Melbourne… or wherever they’ve been holed up.

but…it’s time!

With the restrictions slowly easing up, you should get ready to kick ass, eat dirt (literally :D), and explore more.

The following top ten Marin bikes are some of the meanest 2-wheelers that will take you anywhere you want to be.

 

best marin bikes

 

—MOST-BALANCED TRAIL BIKE—

Alpine 8 Trail Bike.

Is your bike model restricting you to only one activity? Get the Alpine 8 Trail bike! It’s a fun, versatile bike that lets you rip those gnarly trails and ride back up to do it, over and over again. The Alpine comes from the factory MTB race-ready with Fox 36 (160mm), and Fox Float DPX2 (150mm) Performance suspension, SRAM NX Eagle 12 Speed drivetrain, and the grippy vee tires which keep you firmly planted on the trail. It’s a 29er, which helps it to roll or pop over just about anything flawlessly.

While it is deemed as heavy, it does come with its advantages. You’ll be shooting down chunky, rocky trails with incredible speed and control.

 

trail bike alpine 8

 

Pros

  • It is made of durable and rust-free aluminium.
  • Perfect for mountains but still looks great in the streets or bike park.
  • Comes with the super-essential water bottle mount in the front triangle.

Cons

  • The stock Vee tires suck on the highway, and uphill. They are just too slow, huge & heavy.
  • Overall, it could be heavier for some -it weighs over 15kgs.

 

—PERFECT ALL-ROUNDER BIKE—

 

Marin Hawk Hill 3

Whether a new rider or an expert, this bike’s handling, suspension, and performance lets you charge lines, hit jumps, and take risks. It’s built around a Series 3, 6061 butted and hydroformed aluminium frame with 120mm of Multi-Trac suspension.

The Marin Hawk model comes with a neat and simple Shimano drive train and a massive direct mount chainring, further improving the bike’s performance and reducing the chain slap on rougher trails. If you are looking for a bike that can handle designed to handle it all, the Marin Hawk Hill should be your next bike.

 

hawk hill 3 mtb

 

Pros

  • Playful handling & agile performance. You can race, do a few stunts in bike parks or try out the local trails with your mates.
  • Compatible with internally routed dropper posts and internal rear derailleur for a sleek snag-free ride.
  • Made with the durable Series 3 6061 butted and hydroformed aluminium frame.
  • Fitted with top performance gears, suspension, and brakes.

Cons

  • Requires a grippier front tire for riding in wet trails.
  • The SLX cassette has a nasty gap between the upper two cogs.
  • The seat tube and chainstays are shorter, compromising it’s climbing ability.

 

—DUAL SUSPENSION MOUNTAIN BIKE—

 

Marin Mount Vision 9.

The all-new Mount Vision 9 embodies the true spirit of mountain biking. The SRAM X01 and GX Eagle drivetrain allow for effortless climbs, and the Shimano XT M8020 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes are sensational and brilliant for descents.

With a full unidirectional carbon frame, it is built to shred any trail without fear. The bike is equipped with the R3act 2 Play suspension system to keep your wheels to the ground unless you decide to hit a jump or drop.

dual suspension marin

 

Pros

  • Durable WTB Trail Boss tires offer plenty of traction.
  • Fitted with the reliable and lightweight SRAM’s Eagle X01 drivetrain for great pedalling efficiency.

Cons

  • Very slack seat tube angle.

 

—CITY COMMUTER BIKE—

 

Marin Presidio 1

The quick-handling feature of this dedicated commuting bike makes it fun to ride as it is utilitarian. It’s designed with low maintenance and street adaptability in mind to help you go to work, run errands across town, or for adventure anytime without breaking the bank

Fitted with Marin Fitness 35mm puncture-resistant tires, it’s fast and manoeuvrable on tough roads, pavements and gravel.

 

presidio marin 1

 

Pros

  • It feels lively under pedalling as you hop between bike lanes.
  • The corrosion-resistant chain is built tough for city streets.
  • Attachment points that commuters demand.
  • Durable Tektro Disc Brakes to bring you to a predictable stop every time.
  • An internal-gear hub cuts down on drivetrain maintenance.
  • Puncture-resistant tires.

Cons

  • The 3-speed drivetrain is not quite adequate for a commuter bike.
  • It’s a bit skittish downhills and on an uneven surface.

 

—ADVENTURE ON AND OFF-ROAD —

 

Marin Nicasio Plus

Designed to take you beyond the tarmac.

This enduro model lets you take any path you’d like, whether it’s on trail, pavement, or gravel road. Being a steel bike, it can survive anything you throw at it (dings, rough handling, bends, and scratches) and still be ridden safely for years to come…making it the perfect frame for long & challenging adventures, and to carry you and your gear through your best-hiking adventure moments.

Rack, mudguard mounts and a wide range of other gearing are fitted for offroading helping you go for longer.

Whether you’re looking for an enduro bike that climbs like a goat or a trail bike that throws down with the best, the Nicasio Plus has created a force to be reckoned with. You will love it!

It’s the perfect choice for both multi-day trips and day adventures.

 

gravel bike marin

 

Pros

  • Specifically designed for comfortable and relaxed casual rides and commutes.
  • The seats provide you with an upright comfy sitting position for ample navigation when riding.
  • Its 38mm tires will give you a cushioned feel on the move.
  • Has a wide range triple chainring set up (21 gears), perfect to smoothly glide up hills and downhills.

Cons

  • Weight – it’s heavy. In most cases, weight doesn’t matter, but going uphill in this bike will really push you to the limit.
  • The MicroSHIFT derailleur requires a little extra skill to get it to play nice.
  • You can ‘feel’ the road through your handlebars— this is somewhat mixed. Sometimes it’s fun to feel how granular the asphalt, or how chunky the gravel stones are, sometimes you just want a smooth ride.

Want to replace your handlebar? Check out our recent mountain bike handlebar buyers guide here.

 

—BEST TRAIL HARDTAIL—

Gestalt X11

The Gestalt X11 is all about fun, simplicity, and adventure. Fitted with a 1x drivetrain, it is the most two-wheeled blissful way down and the fastest way back up a hill. If you spend your days on trails, looking for the perfect opportunities to go fast, this is your bike.

The aluminium drop bar is suited for increased navigation on descents and a comfortable posture on the highway. The generous frame clearance means that 700Cx45 or 650Bx47 wheels perfectly fit to provide you with the much-needed traction.

 

 

gestalt X11 2021

 

Pros

  • All-terrain excellent handling, but especially off-road.
  • Large tire clearance.
  • Beyond Road Geometry for maximum charge on technical terrain.

Cons

  • The dropper post might not offer the best riding positions.
  • Wider stock tires would have been better.

 

— BEST 2021 SUSPENSION BIKE —

 

2021 Marin Rift Zone 2

Marin slots the Rift Zone 2 in as a pure trail bike, and it’s easy to see why. With 125mm of travel, this trail crusher has all the suspension you need to take on the most challenging courses across the world.

The frame is built for technical terrain, providing you with a reliable level of strength that can even stand up to the demands of light-duty racing.

The 1x drivetrain, dropper post, hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels play a huge part in how this bike can conquer terrain like no other.

 

rift zone 2 bike

 

Pros

  • Aggressive long, low, and slack trail structure.
  • Made of lightweight carbon and alloy frames.

Cons

  • SRAM SX shifting isn’t as refined as higher-level SRAM groupsets.

 

 

—FASTEST TRAIL BIKE—

 

Marin Bobcat Trail 3

This newly re-designed trail MTB is a classy, lightweight bike made for maximum performance on single tracks or dirt paths. For its price, it’s one of the latest mountain bike for under $1000 that every novice should have!

While there might be some apparent compromises in the drivetrain (it uses a Shimano Altus drivetrain) to get it on a budget, it’s still a solid bike that delivers a lot of fun for not so much cash.

If you’re on a tight budget but want to rip around in dirt trails & hills, get the Bobcat Trail 3.

 

2021 Marin Bobcat Trail 4 - Mountain Bike

 

Pros

  • Really well-sorted trail bike structure.
  • Sturdy and sleek frame.
  • Well worth upgrading over time.

Cons

  • The Shimano eight-speed drivetrain is a bit basic and clunky.
  • Needs grippier tires for wet natural trails.
  • Basic, coil-sprung fork doesn’t allow a detailed setup.

 

―BEST NEW XC BIKE―

2021 Marin San Rafael DS1

Marin’s folks understand that it’s impossible to create a single bike that excels in aggressive elements, but that sure didn’t stop them from trying. The Marin San Rafael DS1 might not be the best bike for every situation, but it certainly is for most.

It’s been built for fitness riding, mixed surfaces and terrain, and town and country commuting. With the San Rafael DS1, Marin has introduced a mid-travel trail destroyer that holds its own no matter where you are on the mountain.

Fit a bikepacking bag and tour Australia on this bike!

 

san rafael dual sport

 

Pros

  • The bike features a 63mm travel suspension fork, 700C wheels, the durable Shimano Tourney 2×7-Speed Drive train, Power CX7 Mechanical Disc Brakes, and an upright geometry to maximize comfort, speed, and handling.

Cons

  • Needs grippier tires if you want to ride natural wet trails.

 

—BEST BUDGET COMMUTER—

 

Marin Kentfield CS1 – Hybrid Bike

Closing our top ten Marin bikes is the Marin’s Hybrid CS1. It’s the perfect mix of performance, comfort, and efficiency. The sleek geometry provides an upright ride, perfect for commuting, fitness and leisure rides.

Whether it will be for meandering on streets or bike paths, these model features rack and fender mounts, and puncture-resistant tires to keep up with your adventure.

 

best marin commuter bike

 

Pros

  • The frame is specially designed for comfort and efficient pedalling.
  • Adjustable bike components.
  • Spinner Odesa LX suspension fork absorbs vibrations.

About the author 

Beastie Bikes Pete

Hi I'm Pete. I'm a passionate mountain biker in Australia. I enjoy writing about biking as much as doing it......almost!

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