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Bike Check: Matt Jones' Marin DH Prototype

Jun 4, 2024 at 4:22
by Nick Bentley  



Matt Jones's Marin is one of only a few prototype frames currently in existence. Constructed from the tubing designed for the Alpine Trail, the DH bike is not built to be an out-and-out race bike, but more of a fun-focused park bike. There are some compromises in the design to accommodate that, such as the 180mm of rear-wheel travel, as opposed to the typical 200mm. This hasn't posed much issue for Matt as he's still comfortable hitting the massive features and even jumped his house on the very same bike.

When the DH bike formally launches later this year, the frame will have its own bespoke tube set, but for now it's elegantly slim thanks to the Alpine Trail tubing. From the sounds of it, the launch is expected to hit sometime around Crankworx Whistler, so keep an eye out for that as we get closer to late July.
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Matt Jones // Marin Bikes
Age:29
Hometown: Milton Keynes, UK
Instagram: @mattjonesmtb

When it comes to bike setup, Matt is pretty relaxed. He has a sense for his preferred setup, but he's happy to try changes and feels comfortable on most bike setups. However, Hardline isn't the place to experiment too much with so many changes all at once.

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Marin DH Prototype
Frame:Marin DH Prototype
Shock: Öhlins TTX 22 M
Fork: Öhlins DH38 M1
Wheelset: Halo Prototype
Tires: Goodyear Prototype
Drivetrain: Shimano Saint
Brakes: Shimano Saint
Stem: Gusset S2 Direct Mount Stem
Handlebar: Gusset Matt Jones Signature
Size: Medium

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Matt's alloy mule has a reach adjust headset, with Matt running things 5mm longer than the centerline. The bike also has a wheelbase adjustment, which Matt has set in the long setting. There is a wheel-size flip chip, but Matt typically runs things in full 27.5" orientation. The frame size Matt is using is what Marin calls "Short," with a 445mm reach. It has a 63-degree head angle, but the headset adjustment allows for 0.75° of tweaking in either direction. This bike was painted just for Hardline in a rush by the team at Marin, so it went out to an agricultural powder coater who had never done a bike before. The guys had three options: John Deere green, black, or this red. I think they made the right call; it goes well with the 1994 Marin decals fitted to it too.

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As mentioned above, Matt has typically been running his bike in a full 27.5 setup. To allow him to do that, Marin made some adapters to bring the bottom bracket up and restore the bike's geometry. He changed things up for Hardline though, running the Marin in a mixed-wheel orientation with a 29" wheel up front. His mechanic really wanted him to go to a full 29" to deal with the rocks and try to keep out of the holes in the track, but Matt is keen to keep running the bike as close to what he knows as he can.

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The rear shock at the heart of Marin’s rear suspension is Öhlins' TTX22 shock, which Matt has fitted with a 525lb spring. This is a lighter spring for Matt at Hardline - he normally uses a 550lb spring but went for a bit more grip here. With his background, Matt really likes a firm bike, the TTX is set in mode 3, with the compression 3 clicks from closed and the rebound all the way open.

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The Öhlins DH38 M1 fork on the front of Matt's Marin is running its top crown pretty much as high as it can go, with a flat top crown. There is 195 psi in the lower air chamber of Matt’s DH38 and then 130 psi in the upper. When it comes to compression, he has it all the way closed, and the rebound is 5 clicks from fully open.

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The Halo wheels he’s using are prototypes, and Halo is staying very tight-lipped about them. However, I can tell you that Matt is running a mullet set of wheels. The tires on Matt's bike come from Goodyear, and once again, they are a mixed set. The rear is a Newton, which has 27 psi in it and no insert installed. The front is an unknown pattern, and they didn't want to share too much other than that is has a DH casing and Matt has 25 psi in it.


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A classic DH groupset is fitted to Matt's bike. The Shimano Saint groupset might be getting old, but it does the job. Matt uses 170mm long cranks and a cut-down Shimano cassette to 7 speeds.

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More Matt Jones signature Gusset parts this time his grips.

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What’s not normal DH stuff is these Gusset pedals Matt is running. His CNC Slim Jim Stealth pedals are normally used on his jump bike. They have been giving him some issues with his feet bouncing on the big rocks and holes on the Hardline track, but then this is a pedal designed for slopestyle, not for the world's toughest DH track. Matt is running them to once again give him some familiarity and make him feel a bit more at home on his bike.

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A little note for Matt from his mechanic, "smooth is fast." True, but being smooth isn't easy at Hardline. It's written on Matt’s new Gusset handlebar that isn't out just yet. The aluminum bar is cut to 790mm with a 20mm rise. It will be available in other rises too, but Matt likes the feel of the 20mm rise on his DH bike..

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Matt is running Gusset’s S2 Direct Mount Stem, which he has set in the 45mm long setting.

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When it comes to brakes, Matt has gone for a DH classic in the Shimano Saints.

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Matt's Saints have finned pads fitted front and rear along with Shimano's 203mm Ice Tech rotors.

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Matt's bar roll is pretty much as far back as you can go; however, his brake levers are a bit more neutral in their positioning. When it comes to lever pull, there's nothing crazy there either, with the bite point coming around 25mm from the bar.

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More gusset parts here the seat post and Matt Jones signature Stealth Pivotal saddle finish off the build.

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Marin have built this bike for fun - it even says so on the top cap.

Author Info:
Mandownmedia avatar

Member since Nov 28, 2019
300 articles

64 Comments
  • 63 0
 Bike check: it is red, it is a prototype.
Ok, what about the wheels?: they are prototype.
Can you tell me about the tires?: they are prototype.
What can you tell me?: it says Marin and it is red.
  • 44 0
 Can you tell me about the drailleur and brakes?: They are almost the same age as some of the Junior DH racers.
  • 7 0
 And all the prototypes have failed except for the frame… but thats a crazy course to test stuff on
  • 38 0
 One of two bikes to successfully jump the Hardline River Gap....not a bad accomplishment I'd say
  • 19 0
 The atherton bike surviving that little fall wasn't too shabby either
  • 24 0
 I like how RB invites Matt to ride in this event.... It is quite the contrast between his pace & approach to the trail compared to the actual RACERS. And no, it isn't "rude" to point this out, because Matt says so himself. It really shows how insane the racers are, and how much they charge the bike down the trail.
  • 14 0
 Yeah he's a fun addition for sure. Plus we get to watch his own coverage of it on YT.
  • 25 1
 Looks like his tires didn't make for a good year at hardline
  • 4 0
 Knew it was gonna blow as soon as he went into that corner.
  • 7 11
flag Jakubnemec (Jun 6, 2024 at 19:01) (Below Threshold)
 Tubeless is not a way to go for such a track IMHO
  • 4 0
 @WildboiBen: It's not a good look when you have to retyre from a race...
  • 1 0
 ba dum tsss
  • 14 1
 “ The guys had three options: John Deere green, black, or this red.”

If you’re gonna drop tractor color bs like “John Deere Green”, then at least do a bit of research to know this bike is International(Case) Red.
  • 2 0
 I thought I recognized the color...
  • 9 0
 god damn I want a downhill bike even though I don't have the terrain around me to use it. Glad to see more options popping up though.
  • 4 0
 Same! Hard to justify for a couple of days per year in the bike park for me though...
  • 4 0
 I don’t think pinkbike can talk about or do a review of Marin without saying it’s “Made for Fun”. That’s a win for Marin’s slogan.
  • 5 1
 His "small" 445 reach bike is the same size as my XL '13 V-10. I am so happy that we have evolved to the long, the low, and the slack.
  • 1 0
 445 reach for an XL back in 2013 is still pretty impressive. An XL Turner DHR with the 63.5 HA and the DW-link during that same period had a 424mm reach. My med frame was 391. Doh.
  • 2 1
 "Constructed from the tubing designed for the Alpine Trail ... some compromises in the design to accommodate that, such as the 180mm of rear-wheel travel, as opposed to the typical 200mm"

So it's basically an overstroked and overforked Alpine Trail, or is the new/current Alpine Trail an understroked and underforked version of this

Gusset should have a version of the signature bar with the "smooth is fast" on it
  • 3 0
 "Matt is pretty relaxed. He has a sense for his preferred setup"
He's relaxed, but I'm sure he's the set and forget type.
Anyone remember his 'marin-sult'
  • 4 0
 If Marin releases this DH bike with ohlins suspension I will probably buy this
  • 1 0
 They probably won't. MJ puts Öhlins on all his bikes but I don't think Marin has sold any with it.
  • 3 0
 @barp: I don't need this negativity here
  • 5 0
 Looks like a…Marin
  • 2 0
 Chromag dagga pins would up the grip of those pedals exactly the right amount.
  • 1 0
 Can you imagine getting shinned by those pedals mid air on the river jump...
  • 3 0
 ..."Unknown" Front Tire looks like a Sharpie'D out Assegai
  • 3 0
 john deere green was the obvious choice!
  • 1 2
 I literally contacted Marin about this bike this week saying I'm looking to buy a dh/park bike asap & asking if this bike would be out anytime soon - I'd wait.

Marin rep said "this is prototype only so go ahead and buy whatever bike you like because this won't be out until 2025 at least".

If the bike industry is hurting as badly as we hear, you would think Marin would want to snatch up potential buyers asap & keep them interested vs. pushing them to other brands - and only finding out about this 7 articles down tucked into whatever paragraph. I get that not everyone is in the know in a biz, even some rando asking if they can buy this bike anytime soon - Marin would be like chomping at the bit to send out emails, keep me / us on the line. But nope. I guess that would be too 2011 or something.

Meanwhile ya can't even get a Propain within 6 weeks of ordering (and literally emailing / contacting Propain for almost 4 weeks about an MX bike question - vague replies followed by nothing) and YT is August delivery. Unreal... so many new dh bikes not even ready til 1/2 through park season... seems like why even bother. No one is prepared to sell any bikes.
  • 15 1
 It's literally horrible when people are honest and direct
  • 1 1
 Except we don't know if Marin Rep knows, doesn't know, or if Marin is even dropping the bike in July. Either way, why wouldn't ya wanna be sure to bring a rider along & keep 'em interested. Otherwise why even be in the biz.
  • 1 0
 I think the last time Marin made a DH bike it took 3 or 4 years of them teasing with prototypes and spy shots and lots of soon, very soon type comments. By the time it was ready people were so sick of waiting it withered on the vine, which was too bad because it was super cool.
  • 2 1
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Main character syndrome.
  • 1 0
 @barp: no clue what you mean, do explain
  • 2 0
 The rotors are Ice Tech Freeza .
  • 1 0
 Does anyone run Halo wheels? Everytime ive seen anything about them its people complaining theyve smashed anther one
  • 7 0
 @HeatedRotor: I have not smashed them.
  • 1 0
 Had 2 vortex rims - Ding and out of true within a few trails rides. Can't comment for the other models in their lineup - But vortex are not the one.
  • 1 0
 @thatguy404: I ride the Vortex on one of my bikes. Had the rear on there for maybe 3 years without so much as taking a spoke key to it.
  • 2 0
 Perfect bike for popping round to your neighbour's horsbox.
  • 2 0
 I'll be curious to see the price point on this bad boy.
  • 1 0
 It's a little disappointing that it's only 180mm of travel at the back… but for a park bike it can work.
  • 1 0
 That stem is in the short position isn't it? Or is there a longer option as well?
  • 1 0
 Someone please make a nascar themed bike with good year tires. I'm no fan of nascar, but it could make a sweet themed build.
  • 1 0
 @blcpdx: We were too late! All sold out....
Now I feel bad for the kids forced to ride those 'round the trailer park
  • 2 0
 That is a fine-looking bike. I don't usually go for Marin bikes.
  • 1 0
 Simple, clean, beautiful bike at his essence
  • 1 0
 Now we know why the new Alpine Trail XR weights so much Wink
  • 1 0
 They have... Wrangled... a prototype tyre...
  • 1 0
 Okay, okay, okay. This really does look like a Session.
  • 1 2
 Looks like a Session
  • 1 0
 but it' a RAAW
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