2021 Marin Alpine Trail - Across the Pond Beaver

Sep 2, 2020
by Dan Roberts  
2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd
Updated for 2021, the Alpine Trail is an aggressive 29er with 160mm travel up front and 150mm at the rear.

The aluminium frame uses Marin's Series 4 aluminum frame, the fourth level meaning that they've really given some good development and attention to all the forging, tube shapes and frame details. This does warrant a higher price tag than the lower aluminium frame levels, but you can see the difference in the final product.

Alpine Trail Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Aluminum frame
• Travel: 150mm rear / 160mm fork
• 63.5° head angle
• 430mm chainstays
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: $2,499 - $3,499 USD
marinbikes.com


2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd
2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd
Trunnion mount shock and short chainstays mean a sturdy one-piece rocker link is used to have good stiffness and tolerance control.

2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd

2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd
2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd
A single pivot suspension layout is used, with the seat stay and rocker as links to drive the shock. The underside of the down tube is protected, along with the chainstay and seat stay.

It uses a single pivot suspension design, with the seat stay and rocker link acting as the linkage to drive the shock. The frame has a one piece rocker link, which is needed for having good stiffness, especially without a seat stay bridge, and for also controlling the tolerances around the trunnion mount shock.

There's full internal cable routing, with rubber push-in grommets at all entry and exit points. A threaded BB is a mechanic's choice and there's ISCG tabs too. Rear hub spacing is 148 x 12mm and the Alpine Trail uses a 205 x 65mm shock.

Marin Alpine Trail Geometry Table

The geometry is fully modern, with a properly slack head angle of 63.5°, and the reaches range from 430mm for the S up to 515mm for the XL. Combined with that long reach is a steep seat tube angle at 78° effective, and there's also a low bottom bracket at 35mm drop. In comparison to the long front center, the chainstays are 430mm across all the sizes.

All bikes come specced with 35mm long stems, 170mm cranks and 780mm wide bars. S comes with a 125mm dropper, M and L with a 150mm and XL with a 170mm. Seat tubes lengths are pretty short, so there should be room to run a longer drop post if you prefer.

Available in two build options, the top spec Alpine Trail XR spec features a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork and Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate shock with a climb switch, Shimano XT and SLX 12-speed drivetrain and MT4100 / 420 four piston brakes, Marin 29mm inner rims on Shimano hubs and Maxxis Assegai 2.5" EXO+/DD tyres. It retails for $3,499 USD.

The Alpine Trail 7 uses a RockShox Yari RC fork and Deluxe Select+ RT shock, Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain and MT4100 / 420 four piston brakes, Marin 29mm inner rims on Shimano hubs and Vee Tire Flow Snap 2.6" tyres. It retails for $2,499.

2021 Marin Alpine Trail XR. Photographer Andy Lloyd




Across the Pond Beaver 2020






137 Comments

  • 75 4
 As someone who prefers shorter chainstays (and doesn’t mind getting further forward to compensate) this geomtery is pretty much bang on. Slack HA, steep SA, not crazy high BB like most 29ers, longish reach, short seat tube, short chainstays.... BANG ON
  • 10 61
flag donpinpon29 (Sep 2, 2020 at 1:28) (Below Threshold)
 It would be bang.on if not a single pivot. Pitty...
  • 69 3
 @donpinpon29:
Single pivot with linkage. Seems to work for Evil, Focus, etc

Hell, Orange are still doing ok charging megabucks for the 1990s farmers gate hinge design!
  • 7 0
 @Richt2000: I love Orange bikes but their pricing is straight up insane, this bike looks amazing
  • 39 0
 Haven't noticed that lack of pivots holds back Commencal
  • 2 0
 @Richt2000: hey, it's on sealed berings!
  • 2 1
 Can someone explain how this is a single pivot? I thought a solid rear triangle was a feature of all single pivots, yet there's clearly a pivot on the seatstay.
  • 20 0
 @mnorris122: This is what's called a linkage driven single pivot, meaning the rear wheel's motion is determined by a single pivot, even though there is a linkage driving the shock.
  • 1 0
 @ctd07: aren't they making the frames in house? That would both explain the price and be a big selling point for me
  • 4 0
 @mnorris122: any time there is not an additional pivot between the rear axle And the main pivot point the bike is considered a single pivot
  • 2 0
 @mnorris122: single pivot is when there is no pivot between the rear axle and the main pivot by the BB. In this case, because the seatstays are not operating the shock directly, it's a linkage actuated single pivot
  • 5 0
 To add to all the other explanations, there is a single solid, uninterrupted member connecting the axle to the front triangle and the wheel path is therefore a simple arc around the pivot point.
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: it is a single pivot because the axle path rotates around the pivot point at a fixed radius - since there is no pivot point on the chain stay.
  • 2 0
 I should have scrolled down first! I'm a bit late to the party!
  • 7 0
 @BurningBeard: OH MER GERD, BERINGS!
  • 2 0
 Gt and so many more, take notice.
  • 2 3
 @cb7: technically there are several pivots here, so the original query was valid. Orange is the only brand mentioned that is a pure single pivot (takes balls to keep at it like they do, I have to admit). The others are "faux bars".
  • 3 0
 Cheers for the education gents Smile
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: it’s a faux bar linkage, rather than a four bar, because the link is on the seat stay instead of the chain stay. It’s still essentially a single pivot though because the rear axle moves around the main pivot in a circle.
  • 1 0
 @jrocksdh: nope, GTs are FSR now. And the old iDrive stuff was it's own design. However you're right that there are so many more. Kona, Commencal, Cannondale, Pyga; specialized and transition on their flex stay models, Trek, DeVinci with the split pivot. And, I'm sure a million more international brands that we dont see a lot of in N. America.
  • 2 1
 Short chainstays don't make you ride further forward but rather the opposite on descents. Saying that the geo is pretty decent with super low seat tube length even on the XL, decent reach, HA and SA. Chainstays could be longer but hey everything else is awesome!
  • 33 0
 Am I seeing a Bomber fork on that last picture?

Marin are killing it right now, both in price and spec, everything really well thought out and challenging direct sales companies price wise.

I am really looking the look of the Le Roy right now, haven't seen it on these pages - steel hardtail 29er with bang up to date geo, a Marz fork, Deore groupset and proper Maxxis tyres specced as standard. Looks mint.
  • 20 0
 That‘s Martha Gill from the Marin EWS Team, she’s sponsored by Marzocchi.
  • 2 0
 I guess those Marin bikes are made by Polygon in Indonesia.
  • 1 0
 @Upduro: ah that explains it.

The Le Roy has a Marz fork I think, so I thought it might be pre-production spec or something.
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2: yes, some of them are.
  • 3 3
 Marzocchi forks are great until you get bushing knock 15 minutes into ownership.
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: presumably the same with Fox then?
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: glad that's not just me.
  • 4 0
 @zoobab2: More accurately, the company that owns Marin also owns Polygon.
  • 3 0
 Just looked on website. MaxTerra up front and MaxGrip in the back? To me I'd want the grippy rubber up front. Am I missing something? Maybe it has to do with Maxxis' casing options.
  • 21 0
 Pretty good prices, for pretty decent builds. I love seeing deore 12 speed on build kits this year.

While this frame isn't my cup of tea (I'm on team "proportional chainstay lengths" myself), I'm kind of curious why Marin doesn't sell these frames. With prices like this, and looks like that, they'd be competitive.
  • 2 0
 48.5% Anti-Circumvention import tax is the reason why frame only is difficult for bigger brands...
  • 4 3
 Yeah, at least on the XL this bike will be pretty unbalanced. A 515mm reach, 63.5° HTA and 430mm chainstays will cause the front end to get light easily. Having to shift your weight around to compensate means less stability. It's like if you're carrying a heavy duffel bag on one side...you can lean the other way to correct the static weight imbalance but that doesn't mean you're equally stable while you're moving. This is why on both of my XXL Santa Cruzes I run the chainstays in the long setting. Also owning a slack hardtail with super short stays, nothing trumps having a balanced bike. I've found even tight corners are easier (up and down) with the longer wheebase if that means the bike is more balanced.
  • 2 1
 @jeremy3220: 100%. My XL Process 153 feels like there is no weight on the front wheel ever. 515 reach and 425 chainstays.
  • 1 1
 @schwaaa31:

I’m on a size Large Process 153 29’er myself. And that’s the entire reason I’m on team “proportional chainstay lengths”.

I’m 6’1”, and I’m split between being sad that I didn’t pick up an XL for the extra reach, and relieved that I got the L, because it’s slightly more balanced.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: haha. Yeah, I wish I went with a large at 6’2”. It’s for sale!
  • 3 0
 @schwaaa31: just want to chime in because we're all entitled to our own opinions!

I'm a big fan on the short chainstays on my Large Process 153. Granted, it's no XL and I'm sure it would've handled differently with longer reach, but the deliberate body positioning required to really feel comfortable on the thing is something I'm all-in with. Plus, it makes turns and trail-jibs that much more fun.

That being said I went from racing DH with long CS a decade ago to spending most of my time on a BMX bike until a year and a half ago, so that's definitely influenced my appreciation for short rear ends. Tested out a handful of 29ers and settled with the Process specifically because of the shorter rear end. With all that in mind, bikes that don't have proportional rear ends could really benefit from using flip-chips to choose your own adventure and it's a shame we aren't seeing more of that.

Anyways, I'm only saying this in case someone less familiar with bikes happens upon the comments and takes everything they read as the golden word: different strokes (or cs lengths) for different folks!
  • 1 0
 @happycatbasket: yeah man, I appreciate that input! I was in the same boat. I rode a lot of DH and raced for years. I wanted a bike that would be more playful on the local trails. I’m in New England where our trails are tight and technical. I definitely should have gone with a large. To me, it just feels way to light and long up front. I want to love this bike, but I’m just not after 3-4 months on it. The new Process geo numbers look spot on of course!
  • 17 0
 I think the Deleted comment> goes well with the Deleted comment> don't you? What about the Deleted comment> in Deleted photo>?
  • 17 1
 Companies, pleaaase add the 27,5" option for the small sizes #shortguylife
  • 26 4
 Or just 27.5 for every size because it's the best. I guess I can just wait 5 more years for manufacturers to come back to it.
  • 6 0
 #mulletlife?
  • 10 2
 @friendlyfoe: you mean 26 right?

(Shit eating grin emoji)
  • 1 1
 @tremeer023: Putting a 27.5 in the rear of this bike will probably leave you with a ~62° head angle, not ideal.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: the "jib" bikes are coming.
  • 3 0
 @A1990ToyotaHilux: yeh maybe. Could go with a 150mm fork as long as the bb isn't too low.

I think going forward wheel size flexibility is something more companies should be thinking about.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: could put offset bushings back to front...til they slip round then your BB is even lower...
  • 1 0
 @A1990ToyotaHilux: can change that with 2.6 275 tire; bushing swaps; headset...headache for mfgs but almost need another column for mullet per bike as its so popular.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: Yes, absolutely!
  • 15 0
 good build for money
  • 13 0
 Marin is killing it lately. Clean looking aluminum frames, smart spec, and modern geometry is a winning combo.
  • 8 0
 F*ck yes Marin!!!!!!!

I just wanted to add, I rarely comment on here because I hate the trolling and some of the negativity. I regularly read the comments but I'm not interested in having an argument with somebody I've never met.
  • 13 4
 sounds like something an e-bike riding Trump supporter would say.
  • 4 2
 @gtill9000: comment gold
  • 2 1
 @gtill9000: does it really.? Have you met many of these stereotypes down your local boozer or something?
What is your exact problem with E bikes?
Donald Trump is a Chunt. End off
  • 3 0
 @gtill9000: haha top job
  • 4 0
 @jiminthestix: LOL! I took his comment with humourous intent. I believe he was just messing with you.
  • 6 2
 I see now that both Marin and Norco use Shimano drivetrains and brakes that are far more reliable and better performers than their Sram equivalents in basic and middle builts. I choose new 12-speed Deore any day over NX or tragic SX mistake.
  • 3 2
 I'm sorry that I can't give you about 100 upvotes.
  • 2 0
 I really like MARIN bikes. Before this Corona thing, i was planing to buy Alpine trail 8, but unfortunately didnt managed...

Now with this new model I like it even more. It looks really good.
Only "problematic" thing which Im facing is that Marin as brand is not very widespread in Europe, which is pity.

If anyone know some bike shop in Swiss who is dealing with Marin, please send me msg.

Thanks
  • 6 1
 Looks like a rad charger of a bike. Too bad you can't actually ride it in Marin like it was made for.
  • 3 0
 Quite the irony isn't it?
  • 3 1
 2500$ for four pot slx brakes. Sweet package.
Then there's the trunion mounted shock. Why? I have never had issues with old school eyelet s.
63.5 degree HTA . Wow that's what DH bikes use. I would prefer a slightly faster steering response.
  • 3 1
 "Trunnion mount shock and short chainstays mean a sturdy one-piece rocker link is used to have good stiffness and tolerance control."

Many frames without trunnion mount shocks and/or short chainstays use a "sturdy one-piece rocker link", so I'm not sure how having those "means" that kind of link is used.

What is "tolerance control" in this context?
  • 3 0
 Controlling our tolerance for marketing gibberish
  • 4 0
 Short chainstays means they couldn't fit a seatstay bridge, as it would crash into the seat tube. With trunnion mount, there's no bolt tying the left and right sides of the rocker together through the shock eyelet. So they had to make a one-piece rocker to keep the system from being flexy as all get-out. It's not so much a feature as an explanation of the design trade-offs. No idea on the tolerance control, though.
  • 5 0
 I’m really digging these prices
  • 4 0
 We have entered a new era where trail bikes are absolutely amazing and actually affordable.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if Marin is gonna get sued again and makes yet another change to their bike design and another linkage implementation. The first version of the Mount Vision Pro with the monocoque frame with no chainstay or high chainstay was their best ever implementation for a full suspension bike.
  • 5 0
 RAD AF!!
  • 1 1
 Based on reviews of the 2018/19 AT8, I’m really interested in these. However, the ETT is shorter than last year’s model despite the reach being longer (due to the much steeper seat angle I assume). Just worried the net result will be a more cramped feel. I rode a large slash recently and that felt too short, and I’m only 180 cms. I’d demo if I could but that’s not possible where I live. The bike looks so good though...
  • 4 0
 Marin definitely have their S together. Another killer bike from them.
  • 2 0
 Looks great for the money, iv got a 2017 mount vision isotrac, it's been abused for years and still doesn't need linkage bearings, and no cracks on the flexing stays.
  • 1 0
 Currently have the 2020 trail 7 and love it, new one looks even better without the tektro brakes / x fusion shock. Any pics of the new colors for the trail 7 anywhere?
  • 2 0
 Standover height in the geo table is showing the option of a carbon frame? Now that I want to see!
  • 1 0
 Motor-land.pl have it listed on their site. Pre-production image though I think.
  • 3 1
 Looking at the Geo table, it mentions the carbon version has a lower stand over....

Could we see a carbon verison next?
  • 2 0
 That suspension, drivetrain, and brake combo is pretty impressive for under $4K!
  • 2 0
 That’s be my next bike if the chainstays grew with the bigger sizes. Other than that, it looks mint.
  • 2 0
 Seems a no-nonsense, solid bike. Legit geo, nice honest build... I like it.
  • 2 0
 Dang this is a pretty sick bike for the price! Geo looks excellent as does the build spec.
  • 1 0
 How does this bike compare to the Wolf Ridge?
I find it confusing that that they have 2 completely different bikes with the same amount of travel.
  • 3 0
 So I've ridden both. I doubt you're going to see the WR in the 21 lineup.

That all said, the Geo on this is much much better than the WR, and so while the WR was an amazing all round bike (probably the best I've ridden (it was very much held back by dated Geo that made not the best in some situations, up and down.

The AT (including last years) is got all the descending pedigree you need. It hauls, and Marin has done an amazing job with their faux-bar stuff. The value is insane, and you're going to have a bike that your can thrash.
  • 2 0
 Marin and Polygon have been killing it recently with the value side of things.
  • 1 0
 Not exactly my kind of bike, but looks like quite decent value for money. Great to see that there are entry level options out there for Enduro racers on a budget.
  • 2 0
 I am so getting one of these
  • 2 0
 Damn this thing looks proper.
  • 1 0
 That is sort of Spesh Status territory but probably a better general putpose bike and the spec is great.
  • 1 0
 We killed 3RACT system or however is called... sad to not have this option anymore... last day polygon now marin.
  • 2 0
 Nailed the geo! Proper reaches; steep seat angle!
  • 1 0
 when will it be realsed to marin dealers across the uk as i cant even find it on there website
  • 1 0
 Very cool bike, but with that rad spec you had to spec it with crappy MT420 2 finger lever brakes! FAIL!
  • 1 0
 Glad you highlighted this! Wonder if this spec list is final, or if they'll realise nobody wants commuter brakes on an enduro bike!
  • 1 0
 Otherwise a great looking bike for the money.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if these specs match my 2019 Alpine Trail 8? I'm 6'1 riding an XL and loving it
  • 2 1
 Good price? Well it comes from the same factory making Polygon...

(^_^)
  • 1 1
 This feels like a little less extreme Fuji Auric LT with a steeper seat angle tbh.
  • 1 1
 And being very much into my Auric LT, I also dig this!
  • 2 0
 Well done Marin!!
  • 1 0
 Anyone know when this will be on the Bicycles online website?
  • 1 0
 Wonder when we'll start setting some reviews on these?
  • 6 8
 The lack of a seat stay bridge is concerning. Also not sure we need 63.5 degree head angles on trail bikes. Otherwise it looks great.
  • 3 4
 yea fork flex is real.
  • 2 0
 I wouldn't worry about the lack of a seatstay bridge. I have a Lapierre Zesty that i've ridden hard for 3 years that doesn't have one and it's plenty stif anyway.
  • 23 2
 Since when is a 150/160 29er a trail bike?
  • 5 0
 It's always nice to have a seatstay bridge, but at least Marin had the sense to use double-shear clevises at the rocker. It's possible to compensate for the lack of a bridge, just requires sound design and more material elsewhere.
  • 6 0
 İts more like a enduro bike
  • 2 1
 @Noeserd: which is marketing speak for 'longer travel trail bike'
  • 3 2
 @hmstuna: not an xc bike, not a DH bike: trail bike of longer or shorter travel.
  • 1 0
 Yep. Marin's Rift Zone has a seat stay bridge and an eyelet shock....why change that on their longer travel Alpine??

BTW, they are fantastic bikes...my RZ geo is excellent and linkage driven single pivot works a charm for a fun, poppy ride.
  • 1 0
 @copylatte: More travel creates more packaging challenges.
  • 1 0
 I 100% agree. For super steep riding here (cypress, squamish, non-park whistler) I find 63.5 it is not responsive enough when things get really tricky.....it is a nice bike though (Im of the opinion its impossible to buy a bad bike) and the spec/price is bang on.
  • 1 0
 @lastminutetech: I bought a v3 bronson this year which hasn't had an update yet. For tight janky North shore tech I love the 455mm reach in size L.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Do you have a sense of how you would feel about longer reach and a steeper head-tube angle? i.e. Put the front wheel in the same location, but get there via a slightly different route?
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: Not a sense in terms of demoing anything like that. I definitely have limited experience and generally speaking need to demo more bikes.

As a non engineer it's hard to conceptualize how much of the stability over really rough stuff comes from the head angle and how much from the wheelbase. Steeper head angle seems like it would be twitchy on really gnarly double black sections where you're already getting pin balled around a bit.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Just wondering if it's something you've explored. Thanks for the feedback.
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