Marin's Comeback Story - Interbike 2013

Sep 17, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Marin bicycles is a storied name in mountain bike history, but its popularity faded after the heyday of cross-country peaked and the freeride movement became the predominant force of mountain bike development. Marin fielded a number of promising models, but it seemed to struggle with its identity during the freeride years - something that you'd never guess, however, if you visited them at Dirt Demo. I met up with Steve 'Gravy' Gravenites - a pro mechanic who's history dates back to the powerful Volvo/Cannondale team, when mid-pack athletes pulled six-figure incomes and the sport was growing so rapidly that we thought the party would never end. Gravy said I ought to check out Marin's new bikes. So, I did.

  Marin's Mount Vision XM Pro is its 140-millimeter-travel, top-drawer enduro-style trailbike. It's carbon chassis is based upon mid-diameter, 27.5-inch wheels and features Marin's latest Iso Trac rear suspension that uses flexible seat stays to eliminate the dropout pivot. The internal cable routing incorporates a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost and ISCG tabs at the bottom bracket are a welcome addition. The head angle is just right for technical trails at 67.5 degrees and the drivetrain is all SRAM XX1. Weight? Marin says 25 pounds

bigquotesThe geometry is right, the component selection is on the money and the bikes bristle with up-to-the-moment details - the stuff that can only come from a design team who ride regularly and hard.
Gravy works for Marin now, and to see his face light up the way it did during racing's glory days was a sure indicator that the new Marin is committed to making a run for the top. He's worked for the best, been the technical arm of world champions, heard a lot of promises and watched some of the sport's largest players come and go. A walk through Marin's lineup reveals where Gravy's (and the whole crew at Marin's) good vibes originate from. The designers there have been working double time - especially on Marin's new carbon fiber trailbikes. The geometry is right, the component selection is on the money and the bikes bristle with up-to-the-moment details - the stuff that can only come from a design team who ride regularly and hard - and are backed by new management, lead by Matt VanEnkevort (Ten years at FSA), who give them the freedom to make good things happen.
Steve Gravy Gravenites Marin Team Wrench King of good karma and quality inspector
Steve 'Gravy' Gravenites is Marin's Team Mechanic and also does quality control inspections at Marin's California headquarters.

  (Clockwise) Marin's Mount Vision XM Pro debuts Iso Trac rear suspension with flex-pivot seat stays. The shock is the Fox Float X - a popular choice among endure racers. The rear brake caliper is tucked inside the frame to protect the Avid X0 Trail caliper. While SRAM XX1 drivetrains rarely toss a chain, the XOX guide is welcome insurance for competitors. A look at the one-piece chain and seat stay junction, its 142/12-millimeter rear axle and the internal cable ports lined up on the Mount Vision's head tube.


We showcased the 2014 Mount Vision Trail XM Pro because it is the bike we would most want in our stable - and because its carbon chassis, sleek, internal cable routing and and simple, flex-pivot rear suspension are representative of Marin's new direction. While some may argue that the 25-pound, 140-millimeter-travel trailbike with 650B wheels should not be classed in the Enduro category, it is exactly the type of machine that most competitors use to campaign with at Enduro events in North America, where Marin's core customer base resides. The Mount Vision XM Pro retails for $7800 and there are two all-carbon-framed models below that price point ($4099 XM 7 and the $2999 XM 6)), one all-carbon Women's version for $4899, and three base models with aluminum front ends and carbon rear sections. All told, the cost of experiencing Marin's latest trail shredder should fit the budgets of both elite competitors and enthusiast-level riders. We look forward to testing a Mount Vision XM Pro this fall.

Marin Bikes

Marin Mount Vision XM Pro 2014 Geometry
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75 Comments

  • + 97
 Am I weird or did anyone else notice that guys outstanding lycra kit in the background?
  • + 21
 Are there two guys, or is one looking in a mirror? I hate to think there are two of those outfits.
  • - 1
 i did. and its kinda tripy
  • + 1
 I think its 2...
  • + 46
 In all that excitement, did I shoot that guy by accident?
  • + 20
 That is what mods should be like xD^
  • + 6
 I wear lycra for road training rides and XC races because it has undeniable performance- but I would never be seen dead at a show like this in it.
  • - 21
 it is two because look at they're hands...... the bike looks a lot like a debaged enduro with Marin stickers
  • + 18
 ......do you know what an enduro looks like?
  • + 4
 Lolol @ slc-ripper......Hahaaaaa. That made my evening. (yea, that's right, I'm simple)
  • - 1
 I think he meant the previous Enduro design not the current
  • + 1
 Bell's bike shop marketing strategy, photobomb RC with flashy lycra, a success?
  • + 1
 Wait wait Richard, you made the shot in the USA right? So how could this happen???
  • + 1
 Ya ur weird, cuz I only noticed the girl!
  • + 0
 Heck Yeah Bell's! Philly represent!
  • - 1
 Me too. Was there a bike in that photo?
[Reply]
  • + 20
 Love the way that caliper is tucked inside the rear triangle.. nice!
  • + 11
 makes it a pain to center tho
  • + 2
 "The rear brake caliper is tucked inside the frame to protect the Avid X0 Trail caliper." -RC

Protected from what?
  • + 2
 exactly, the protection of your caliper has never been a problem since the invention of disk brakes, not sure why companies are doing this, Scott does it too
  • - 1
 Chainstay mounting for calipers is usually because of the different forces when breaking. Something along the line of combating brake jack. Scott, KTM and many more use this kind of mount.
  • + 2
 Be good to see Marin put a big name on one of there bikes and see them back on the scene, maybe even enter the DH market agin now there bikes look and sound very impressive unlike that quad dh they had for years that never really took off
  • + 2
 Technical aptitude aside.... The bike is rather ugly and clunky looking.
  • + 0
 8k to buy a carbon bike from a washed up brand? That is how they reinvent themselve? The bike industry is hellbent on pricing themselve out of buisness. How can Ibis produce a sub 5k carbon complete and it seem no one else can? Or would it be better to say "want too".
This bike just dropped the off the list. 7 or so months ago they were saying in the 4k range. I'll hold out a little hope for their alloy HT, but most likely they won't see my money.
  • + 0
 The reason for tucking the caliper in there is its stronger, and tends to make less noise due to vibrations.. ever heard a Wilson? Noisiest bikes in the planet cause of the long arm the caliper is mounted on... tucking it in is annoying to centre but makes way more sense from a strength/ performance perspective.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 Tis actually not that bad.
  • + 2
 Yes, yes, she looks and sounds quite nice.
  • - 7
 sooo bad rjs bike is better
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Flex-pivot you say? Are they insinuating that compliance in the seat stays helps eliminate brake jack the way a split pivot design would?
  • + 5
 I think "mitigates" the worst of it is closer to reality. Salsa and Felt have done this sort of thing, Cannondale also. However the problem with flexing stays is that its hard to tune the flex to only happen in one plane, and only at the dropouts. All the pivotless dropout scandium suspension frames exhibit lateral flex also (enough to induce tire rub if you run bigger rubber). My Dos Niner does it something fierce, my Spearfish less so but its still there.
  • + 7
 Replacing a pivot with flexible stays kinda terrifies me. I'm sure it must work fine but I would not be able to get over it.
  • + 2
 Dee - difference is with carbon, you can control the flex with the layup.
  • + 2
 You can try to control it with the layup, cannondale scalpels have flattened out carbon stays that are very thick when you look from the side but wide looking down from above (just as my Salsa's scandium stays do), but not every brand gets it right. They still tend to twist under load enough to buzz the tire if you're running tires at the limit of the rated clearance. The horst-patent has expired and they could have easily just used that.
  • + 2
 Yes, I get really nervous when I hear "flex stays". Even Salsa mentioned flex problems in their previous rear ends after going with the Split Pivot on their new bikes. I liked the looks of the new Marin bikes until I read that and examined them more carefully. Deeeight is exactly right. It's really hard to not have those same stays not flex laterally as well. Personally I like my rear triangles as stiff as possible on a full suspension bike. They do have a pretty bangin' component selection on their bikes though.
  • + 2
 Would rather have the Attack Trail. Uses their Quad Link suspension instead of single pivot and no flex stays. Plus it has an amazing component selection. Too bad you'll never see a Marin in a local bike shop to actually test ride or look at (at least not where I live). They sell the lower end Marins at REI though. =/

www.dirtragmag.com/webrag/first-look-all-new-2014-marin-bikes
[Reply]
  • + 4
 That is on the top 3 for me for next year. Such a nice bike. Actually, I like the Attack Trail better (160mm). Damn, Marin has got a winner here.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Its the best looking Marin in a while, but there are still a few bits that don't look quite right, the brace on the seat tube/top tube and the kink in the frame next to the shock look a bit off to me. Also doesn't help that they've got it on the homepage next to a Yeti SB66, possibily the best looking enduro bike available at the moment!
However its not all about looks and all the Marins I've ridden in the past have ridden really well so would love to have a go on this.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I find it odd that Mountain Bikings 'glory' days were back in the mid 90's. I mean the sport was new and there was much less coverage, yet people were earning mega bucks compared to today it seems. You'd think as a sport gets more popular it would be paying better not the other way around. It's kind of sad, but true. 90's race events were huge compared to the measley turn out to most events now. The stages were bigger, it was all just, well, more. The big question is WHY? I never really got it.

But I digress, Marin never went away in my opinion. There AXC models like the Rocky Ridge were/are great bikes. They just seem to assume that nobody over about 6' ride seeing as they only go up to 19" frames!? I always fanciied a Wolf Ridge, those 140mm bikes were getting highly regarded reviews a few years back as one f the best do it all bikes yet, again, I couldn't buy one because they only made 19" sizes. I tried one, felt like I was on a BMX!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 It's just me or the axle in the fork is kinda lower and forward, not stock I mean?
  • + 5
 27,5 inch wheels require more fork offset to get the same amount of trail. Good eyes, Mister Facchia
[Reply]
  • + 1
 GRAVY! What happened to tha Jerry Garcia pink tinted aviators? Nice to see him still adding value to the 415 crew. Now no more bitching out rangers on the Tour De La ya hear?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Looks amazing and all but I'm always skeptical about long term durability of flexible anything...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hahah, good article Pinkbike! Although I do admit, I saw it first time got excited and read it as "Martin's Comeback" as in Martin Soderstrom...
  • + 8
 Yeah, harsh accident. Hope he makes a quick and strong return. RC
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Props to RC for what he bring to the table: hard to find the winning combo of rich experience coupled with expertise in the current currents. Btw RC, what wheelset does this roll on?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i wouldnt ride any bike that requires the carbon seat stays to bend for the suspension to work, if it works thats great but id rather have pivots.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So they ditched that wack design they used for the last 8 years and made a modified 4 bar linkage. I see nothing that really stands out here...
  • + 3
 That wacked design actually worked well. Until one has to replace the bearings on it. Such a pain!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hmmmm, I was a die hard Marin fan back in the 90's but all I see here is a red and black version of my Giant Reign avec Marin decals.
  • + 1
 Less the flex stays and floating pivot, which helps significantly reduce brake induced effects on suspension, like jack. Oh, and you can get a handful of Reigns for the same price. I'll stick with my Reign too.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 just looks very homemade, the seat tube/top tube brace looks terrible and spoils the whole bike.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Avid XX1 Trail caliper?? Is that right or a misprint?
  • + 1
 Misprint. That is an X0 Trail brake. There is no XX level Trail brake at this time.
  • + 3
 Thanks, Rechecked and fixed. RC
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Good looking, light, top drawer bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 And I thought Gravy only made wheels.... I have seen him make a wheelset for someone and it was so instructive.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 perfect step towards a full on DH rig. It would almost look better with more travel and a dh fork already!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Finally a Marin dual suspension that doesn't look like absolute trash. That being said, the lines and the colour scheme look awfully familiar. Intense Carbine anyone?
  • + 3
 Thanks to idiotic comments like yours, people like me can still find Quakes and Attack trails at ridiculously cheap prices. Here's a positive prop for your effort
  • - 1
 Considering there were photos of this bike before the Intense, maybe Intense copied them.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wouldn't call it a comeback at all!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "a popular choice among endure racers?"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 U G L Y YOU AINT GOT NO ALABY YOU UGLY HEY HEY YOU UGLY WWWWWOOOOOOOOOOO
[Reply]
  • + 0
 internal routing is ugly and a pain in the ass. it needs to go away forever
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This bike is ruining the legend is ugly
[Reply]
  • + 1
 definitely one of the coolest pain jobs out there
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Urgh, Bell's bike shop lycra!!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 F**k the price, I'm getting one!
It's sick, the bike shop I work for carries Marins,
and I get discounts....SO...
  • + 3
 get me one too. i'll pay you back with bamboo sticks. they are worth $2000 a piece.
  • - 1
 uuummmm.....no good deal...my pet panda would be happy though!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Find the hidden image cross your eyes!
[Reply]

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