PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Marin Team Marin 1
Words by Mike Kazimer; photography by Tom Richards
The Marin Team Marin 1 (catchy name, I know) is aimed at aspiring cross-country racers, whether that's a high school NICA athlete, or someone who wants to add the occasional race into their riding schedule. It's a race bike that doesn't take itself too seriously, with modern geometry that allows it to hold its own on trail rides outside of the tape.
The aluminum frame itself is nicely finished, and there's nothing about it that gives it away as being a value priced bike. There's room for two water bottles inside the front triangle, internal cable routing, and a small amount of chainslap protection. The internal cables did rattle a bit – some foam sheathing around the housing would help with that, and the chainslap protection did start to wrinkle a little from heel rub.
Marin Team Marin 1 Details
• Travel: 120mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 67°
• Seat tube angle: 74°
• Reach: 450mm
• Chainstay length: 425mm
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight: 28.1 lb / 12.7 kg
• Price: $1,589 USD
The Team Marin 1 is well spec'd for the price, with a Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain and MT201 brakes, a RockShox Judy Silver TK fork with 120mm of travel, and fast rolling Vee Rail Rocco tires. There's also a 780mm wide bar mounted to a short, 35mm stem, another sign that this isn't your typical purebred race machine.
The one thing that's missing is a dropper post, something that I'd recommend adding on as soon as possible. There's a reason more XC racers are finally using dropper posts – they make descending much, much easier, and while races aren't typically won on the descents, it sure doesn't hurt to be able to stay in control rather than just hanging on for the ride.
As far as geometry goes, the Marin's numbers fall into the new-school XC realm. It has a 67-degree head angle, a 74-degree seat angle, and a reach of 450mm for a size large. The chainstays measure 425mm. Those numbers are more relaxed than what used to be the norm in order to improve the bike's handling on more technical descents.
If you're looking at the reach numbers of the hardtails in this Value Field Test and thinking, “that seems short compared to my full-suspension bike,” don't forget that on a hardtail the reach increases when you're sitting on the bike and the fork sags into its travel. Personally, I've found that comparing top tube lengths can be an easier way to figure out how a bike will feel while sitting down and pedaling. On that note, that Marin's 628mm top tube length is fairly typical for a size large.Climbing
The Team Marin 1 has that classic hardtail feel - stomp on the pedals and it’ll scoot right on up the trail. Its quick handling was an asset on tight, awkward climbs – this is a great option for riders that enjoy picking their way through puzzling sections of trail.
It’s not insanely light, but it was the lightest hardtail on test, and the weight difference between this bike and some of the other test bikes that were two or three pounds heavier was very noticeable. The Vee Rocco tires are quick rolling too, although that does come at the cost of some traction, especially on loose, sandy sections of trail.
I've long been an advocate of wide bars and short stems, but with the Marin I actually found myself wishing for a slightly longer stem in order to slow the steering down slightly. The 780mm wide bars and short stem combined with the steeper head angle make the handling really quick, almost too quick. A 50mm stem would go a long ways to dialing back some of the twitchiness. Descending
The Marin Team 1 shines brighest on the climbs, but it's no slouch on the descents, as long as you remember that it's a cross-country bike, not a hardcore hardtail mean for bashing down the gnarliest trails. Keep those expectations in check and it'll deliver a good time – the sharp handling keeps it entertaining on mellower, rolling terrain, with a quickness that encourages standing up and sprinting whenever possible.
As mentioned earlier, a dropper post will be the first thing to upgrade – that'll immediately expand its descending capabilities. With the seat lowered, the Marin held its own on the chunky downhill portion of our test lap. You'll obviously want to pay a little more attention to line choice, and the 120mm Judy will only do so much when things get rough, but overall I was impressed with its handling.
On some XC race hardtails it can feel like there's a razor thin line between control and disaster, but on the Team Marin 1 there was a little more margin for error - a botched line or a mis-timed corner didn't automatically result in doom.
The Shimano MT201 brakes aren't the absolute strongest, but the 180mm rotors do help, and they're just fine or XC / light trail duty. The Vee Rocco tires did start to show their limits during higher speed cornering – they have a very round profile, and the lack of pronounced shoulder knobs did lead to more than one unplanned two-wheeled drift. The profile isn't all that different from the Maxxis Forekaster tires that were on a different test bike, but I found the Forekasters to be much more predictable and easier to trust in loose terrain.
Such a ugly machine
No Time To Dry, a fast setting glue that is ready as soon as it’s applied
Liscene To Chill, a stronger glue that is stronger but takes longer to dry.
the review probably should have mentioned this. flat mount limits the opportunity for upgrades, you are locked into 2-piston calipers and max of 160mm rotor size.
Learn your MTB history, please! Google is there to help! Gotta love Marin!
When I was looking for a XC hardtail if I had found this for sale where I live it would be a no brainer,I eventually went for a custom build on a BC Podsol frame.
Some other brands are also offering these "NICA special" hardtails-and they're great!! A kid with a part-time job might actually be able to buy and maintain one of these.
The stock rubber and wheels are crap, still goes like stink.
Want a forever bike? Get the team Marin 2, upgrade the wheels.
I'm old and salivate over it.
If you can't ride this bike on anything, it ain't the bike.
For the price of this bike I would just look at yhe used market and get something better, yea it doesn't cost the same as some 12k hyper carbon ebike...but it's still not worth 1.7k either imo...
On a full suspension the front and rear both compress so you dont get the same effect (assume same travel front/rear and that they actually compress equally)
The fork is 120mm, and 25% sag is 36mm.
When the fork is compressed that far, the frame moves down 1.802 degrees.
Now, after leaning forward 1.802 degrees, the reach jumps from 430.00000 millimeters, all the way to 430.21276 millimeters!
Now, Levy has to go find a 49.78724 stem to compensate to satisfy PinkBike Engineer Squad.
All work has been calculated to 8 sig figs. Now go ride your bike.
Based on the stack and reach numbers from Marin, the angle of the imaginary line between the BB and top of head tube is 55.17 degrees, measured from the horizontal. (I assume this is measured in the un-sagged state. Stack is 618mm, reach is 430mm.)
When you sag the fork by 36 mm, this angle falls by about 1.8 degrees, as you correctly calculated. So the new angle is 53.37 degrees.
Simple trigonometry shows that this lowers the stack from 618 to 604, and increases the reach from 430 to 449.
The angle of sagging the fork can only rotate around the rear axle. 25% or 30% sag math in head notwithstanding.
Thanks for triple checking me.
Other bikes were 2 or 3 pounds lighter? There are 26 pound budget full suspensions?
(Downvotes for doing the editors' job for them... This placed is f*cked.)
@VtVolk @DaveRobinson81 I wanted a steeper STA and slacker HTA on my 2017 Honzo too! I but a longer fork on it and slammed my seat forward but it still wasn't quite right. Close. Newest Honzo Steel has better angles, but not the fit is off for me. Large a bit too small, XL a bit too long. The ESD Geo is too far for most.
Anyway, don't get the downvotes. They really liked the bike and it was very competitive, but a slight geo tweek and it would have been even better on the DH sections. Who doesn't like better DH?
But I wouldn't say that there are cheap TS, just that the racing HT XC doesn't exist anymore. Of course there are HT XC bikes that are used in racing, but they are not XC race bikes.
Joking aside. Nice review! Cool bike. I wouldn't call it XC unless you put a 100mm fork on there and lowered the HTA to about 68.5-deg... but this thing seems like a fun and stylish way to rip around on dirt.
i think it should just be called a budget do it all bike no xc bike
if you wanted a xc bike on the cheap go for a chinese direct frame with used stans crests and a cheap drivetrain and brakes (everything else just go for whats cheap used)
it should be advertised as a budget do it all
Do you just argue on the internet for the sake of arguing?
I use trail bikes that are lighter than this "xc race bike"
and for nica you can do everything on a rigid bike with 9 speeds (although its not optimal)
so yeah there is no point to ride a bike with 120mm of travel for a nica race just go with a Chinese direct build
It's all about the rider
also no they can not do it on a steel schwinn it will break on modern xc courses
So you are Elite with elitist attitudes regarding what the other kids ride.
Dm me your name - I'll be sure to contact bear about you.
I'm sure they would love to know about one of their team members stirring it up on the internet.
I'm not an elitist lol
That's elitist, child
You still haven't dmed me your name, child. Afraid of what the coaches might think?
Nica coaches regularly place group orders for this exact bike. If you don't know that you are an imposter
I said that the bike is built too heavy to be considered an xc race bike especially for the non technical nica race courses.
I have no reason to give you my name and I don't care what my coaches think about me because I very rarely ride with them due to me being on my own training schedule.
just because nica coaches order them does not mean theat they are a good bike.