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My Marino Bike monopivot builds

Aug 30, 2020 at 14:22
by Chris  

Here is my story and history regarding the deliveries of two monopivot frames from Marino (marinobike.com, @marinobike). My intended use for the first one is primarily at the bike park, as a mullet build with Bontrager Line Elite 30 carbon wheels and Teravail Kessel tires; 2.5” Ultra Durable rear & 2.6” Durable front. The suspension consists of a Cane Creek DB Coil CS shock & Valt Progressive spring (156mm) plus Marzocchi Z1 Coil fork (160mm); I may swap these out for a FOX Float X2 and 38. The brake system is Shimano Saint levers mated to Magura (MT7 Pro) calipers & Storm HC rotors (180/203mm) with Bunnyhop Tribe Gold fluid. Depending on my mood for the day, this will have one of two drivetrains: single speed with Box Components cog and Reverse Colab tensioner or GX 10-speed with 11-28t cassette. The direction I'm leaning with the seatpost is to keep it rigid, but I do have a dropper just in case I change my mind. All of the component options I'm considering for these setups are on hand and have been for quite some time now. I started purchasing parts right off since it initially sounded like there wouldn't be much delay with the frame. Early in the process, due to the response time of inquiries and the messages received, I should have known this was going to be a long process.

Other build details include:
• Ergon GE1 Slim grips
• Chromag Trailmaster LTD saddle
• Whisky No.7 seatpost & stem (40mm)
• OneUp handlebar (35mm rise)
• OneUp Switch carrier & chainring (34t)
• Sram NX DUB crank (165mm)
• Sram DUB BSA bottom bracket
• Cane Creek Hellbender 70 ZS/EC headset

|•| December 22nd, 2019 - order placed for monopivot frame
|•| January 2nd, 2020 - received first draft of frame
|•| January 16th, 2020 - final draft approved
|•| January 17th, 2020 - deposit made
|•| February 12th, 2020 - status inquiry; told frame production would take 4 weeks

|•| March 9th, 2020 - status inquiry; received pic and told shortage of pivot bearing mounts and my frame would be part of the next production batch
|•| March 20th, 2020 - status inquiry; told no timeline for completion due to COVID shutdown
|•| May 2nd, 2020 - status inquiry; told shipments are being arranged to go out as a batch via air cargo due to postal service closure
|•| June 5th, 2020 - received pic; front triangle started
|•| July 28th, 2020 - status inquiry; told one week for rear triangle to be completed
|•| August 9th, 2020 - status inquiry; no response
|•| August 16th, 2020 - status inquiry; told one week for rear triangle to be completed
|•| August 29th, 2020 - status inquiry; told one week for rear triangle to be completed

|•| September 4th, 2020 - received pic (sorry for the poor quality); rear triangle done and weld completion up next. Also notified the postal service was open again with direct shipment a possibility.

|•| September 12th, 2020 - received pic (again, poor quality); welding completed. Confirmed paint & decal colors.

|•| September 14th, 2020 - received pic; front triangle - matte grey.

|•| September 17th, 2020 - received pic; paint & decals completed. The decal placement was unexpected but I like it. I’m guessing the DVO shock (display purpose only) is 200x57 while the frame spec calls for 216x63. Ready to ship, final payment made and tracking number pending.
|•| September 19th, 2020 - received tracking info via Instagram DM; EMS shows as "Posted"
|•| September 24th, 2020 - EMS tracking shows “arrived at” and “departed from export office" in Lima
|•| October 1st, 2020 - no updates with EMS; USPS tracking shows “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment”
|•| October 6th, 2020 - USPS update; the frame hit California and is due to be delivered on the 8th

|•| October 7th, 2020 - it showed up "early"

|•| October 8th, 2020 - single-speed build for park use. For driveside chainstay protection, 3M 2228 mastic tape was applied. On the underside of the downtube, a strip of Xpel Armor was added. Other areas of wear are protected by clear film, also from Xpel. During the build I noticed an issue with the driveside dropout; it wasn't allowing the derailleur hanger to fully seat. I managed to correct it with use of a needle file and much patience. Other than that, the quality is very nice. One spec surprise was the IS brake mount; for my 180mm rotor I used a 160mm adaptor. I had purchased a Magura 180 adaptor for this project and fortunately I also had a Shimano 160 adaptor on hand, leftover from another build.
|•| October 9th, 2020 - added OneUp Bash Guide and Composite Pedals
|•| October 11th, 2020 - the bridge for the two sides of the swingarm, between the pivot and shock mount, is aluminum with stainless steel bolts. The threads of the aluminum piece seemed loose; one set failed before reaching 7Nm. F*CK.
|•| October 12th, 2020 - drilled, tapped and installed a stainless steel 6mm x 1.0 2D thread repair insert (aka Helicoil) on each side of the bridge. Reused original bolts; torqued to 9Nm with 100% confidence.

New Year...new build details
|•| January 1st, 2021 - I decided to change things up and will only have one suspension setup going forward. The final decision is a Float 38 Performance Elite with GRIP2 damper at 160mm of travel and a Float X2 Factory shock with 2-position adjust lever. This swap was also the timing for a brake setup change. The SHIgura wasn't to my liking since I prefer more lever pull before initial pad contact; the full Magura and Shimano sets I have in use each offer a few additional millimeters of travel at the lever compared to the Saint levers matched to MT7 calipers. The new brake setup is the MT5 Fabio Wibmer edition, but with the same Storm HC 180/203mm rotors. I have other sets of MT7 Raceline that would be most similar to the MT7 Pro I'm already familiar with, but I chose the Fabio brakes primarily for aesthetic reasons. This update will have the bike looking a bit more subtle and not as much of a talking point now. I'll have a pic up soon. And I'm sure the steel, monopivot, Peruvian-made frame will still be a subject of conversation at the park this year...unless social distancing due to the continuation of COVID has people not talking to strangers for most of 2021.

I previously called this out before, but figure I’ll mention it again now since I purchased a Magura adaptor to put in place instead of the Shimano I had thrown on from the spare parts bin. The frame spec for the 51mm IS brake mount is not the traditional type that I’m most familiar with for the rear but is actually that of a fork. So when shopping for a caliper adaptor, look for one that is the correct rotor size for the front and not the rear. In this case, I have a 180mm rotor and the adaptor is actually that of a fork. Also, I swapped out the Storm HC rotors in favor of this newly released pair of MDR-P, still from Magura, and in the same sizes as originally specified.

Marino 156 Mullet - 38 Float GRIP2 single-speed MT5 Fabio Line Elite 30 park build
|•| July 12, 2021 - I'll be hitting the bike park later this week...looking factory as F*CK!

|•| July 17, 2021 - 1st ride done. The frame is great. In the standard chromoly that Marino offer, it is light enough as well as stiff enough. I actually expected it to be less laterally rigid than it is. My drivetrain needs to be sorted. I think I’ve determined the 34 x 14 combo is a little to big for me, so I have a 15t BOX chromoly cog to give a try. I have plenty of chain to go larger without worry of it being too short. The length of the chain could also be related to the heavy amount of slap the top of the chainstay received. The Reverse tensioner has a strong spring but no clutch so chain length is likely more critical if keeping things quiet as possible is important. Additionally, I had chain to cog engagement issues repeatedly. I’m not sure if it’s chainline that needs to be further refined or if I’ll need a 9-speed chain (instead of the current Sram 10-speed) to remedy the situation. Overall, I’m happy and it was a blast getting in some park laps at Mt. Hood SkiBowl.

|•| July 30, 2021 - I installed the 15t cog, changed the orientation of the spacers on the freehub body and removed one section of chain. The chain was also cleaned and lubed since the first ride was in moondust conditions. Much better now with the drivetrain sounding more quiet and no engagement issues. It appears the 10-speed chain is fine with the system and my problems were related to chainline. I adjusted the cog and tensioner about 2mm in board from where things were originally, so currently the SB One tensioner is mounted without any shims. Chainslap is still an issue so I'll likely revise the 3M mastic tape that is currently in place.

|•| September 2, 2021 - A few days ago I installed a replacement pulley set for the Reverse chain tensioner, since the stock Shimano pair was of the lowest quality. My initial thought was to go with a simple sealed cartridge bearing set, most likely from SRAM. However, it's reported that X0 pulleys from 10 years ago feature ceramic bearings, are still available today and not much more expensive. All that was needed to make them work was 1mm longer pulley bolts, available at my local hardware store...so simple. Since I decided to go with this upgrade, I started looking at what other things I could take to excess. This lead me to the following:
• OneUp Switch 34t oval chainring
• Box One DLC-coated chain
• Hex Lab titanium 15t cog

I'll see how this all works out tomorrow at the Timberline bike park.

The second version of my custom slapper tape is a success. This one has already out lived the previous, and doesn't have many signs of it wearing out anytime soon.

|•| September 3, 2021 - The drivetrain upgrades are great and the single speed setup is improved by the oval ring, since all of my pedalling efferts are very stompy on this one. I had to install the largest (36t MAX) bash plate on the OneUp guide to properly protect the new ring.

|•| October 25, 2021 - It's time for the second frame. I’ve got the next frame designed with the sign off on the geometry completed and down payment submitted. The wait has begun and I promise to remain patient. Elijah's email indicated the order will take around 14 weeks. We'll see what the actual turnaround time is for the production on this one. My hope is that it has no where near the delays of the first frame. The should arrive well before the park opens for 2022 and that’s all that really matters. The new design remains mixed wheel size and has minimal geometry adjustments but is set to be single speed only, so no cable routing for derailleur or dropper. I guess AXS will still be an option, if I choose to go that way. However, I doubt that will happen as I’ve decided to make my current Marino build a multi speed and might even add a dropper. Slowly the parts have been coming in for this one and I believe I have everything on hand at the moment. Or I at least have the stuff to get it rolling until the ideal item(s) are available. Here are the specs:
• FOX Factory 38 fork (170mm) and Float X2 230x65mm shock (165mm rear wheel travel)
• Wolftooth ZS/EC headset and QR seatpost clamp
• Praxis Girder HD crank (165mm) and BSA BB (73mm)
• Praxis DM Wave Tech chainring (0 offset, 36t)
• MRP AMg alloy chainguide
• Hex Lab Ti cog (16t) and BOX One Prime 9 DLC chain
• Magura MT7 Raceline brakes with MDR-P 220mm (front) and 203mm (rear) rotors
• Onyx Boost hubs laced to Bontrager Line Pro 30 rims with Sapim Laser (front) and Race (rear) spokes in a 2X pattern
• Bontrager SE6 Team Issue TLR tire (front, 2.5") and SE5 Team Issue TLR tire (rear, 2.5")
• Bontrager RSL integrated handlebar/stem combo and rigid seatpost
• DMR DeathGrip Thin and OiOi saddle
• SB One G3 chain tensioner*

* currently unavailable - will use Shimano ZEE DH derailleur as a tensioner, if needed, until the SB One device can be sourced in North America

|•| December 31, 2021 - To bring in the New Year, I decided to celebrate with a small shock modification. Due to availability, I purchased a shock with 60mm stroke, even though my design calls for 65mm. It's a simple fix with the correct tools. If the travel spacers are removed completely, like in this case, two shorter screws are required. I chose to source the replacement 8mm length hardware in titanium, for that extra bit of custom.

|•| January 24, 2022 - It’s been 13 weeks since my deposit was paid. There have been no updates yet so I’m already anticipating my frame will take many more weeks before completion. In the meantime, I decided to try a ZEE derailleur hack to make it a single speed tensioner. If it functions well, I might not even bother with the SB One G3C. But I REEEALLY want the G3C!

|•| February 7, 2022 - I'm at the 15 week mark and reached out to Elijah. He said the wait for Marino to be in touch is the usual communication but since I haven't heard anything at this point, he said he'd inquire about an update.

|•| February 21, 2022 - As a response, at the 17th week, they say I need to wait for Marino to provide the update.

|•| March 7, 2022 - Week 19 and not a word about the frame since approving the draft. I had expected to already receive confirmation of the rear tire clearance at full travel at this point, similar to my first frame order, with the sharing of the design entry in the Linkage program. I’m becoming really curious of the progress and actual timing on this one.

|•| March 21, 2022 - After week 21, and reaching out via Instagram, I was provided the pic of the frame production. Yeah, it’s just the front triangle tacked at this point. Disappointing that it has taken nearly 5 months for the frame to get started. Oh well, it shouldn’t be too long now before completion. Maybe.

|•| April 2, 2022 - Progress.

|•| April 12, 2022 - It's Week 24 and I’ll call this no progress. I had indicated as part of the original design to not have cable routing for rear derailleur or dropper post. It looks like he added them and then reached out if I was absolutely sure I only wanted routing for the rear brake. He’ll remove before paint, so I’m good with that, but this is another setback on completion.

He did machine the headtube as requested. If not, that’d be difficult to make happen post weld.

|•| April 25, 2022 - Today is the 26th week since making my deposit and approval of the final draft. I was told it's in the coating process so maybe I'll have it before the end of May.

2020 Marino 156 Mullet - 38 Float GRIP2 GX 10-speed MT5 Fabio Line Elite 30 park build
|•| May 1, 2022 - Being that it is now week 27, I should be receiving the new frame soon (by June?!) and it only took twice as long as originally estimated. I finally converted the first one to be a 10-speed build.

|•| May 5, 2022 - I just received notice that the frame is complete. However, no next steps were included. I'm guessing an invoice is coming. Maybe I'll have it in my hands the last week of May?!

|•| May 6, 2022 - All paid. I added two jerseys to the total. I wasn't charged for the headtube machining. That makes me feel a little better since they didn't follow a previously confirmed request with the paint. Black paint was applied under the clear coat to the machined area; I wanted it left with just the base frame color. Marino offered to strip and recoat. That seemed excessive so I told him to just leave it as is. This issue is not a major one so it didn't warrant to rework. My guess is the frame will ship on Monday. If so, that will make it 28 weeks since the depost was paid.

|•| May 9, 2022 - Week 28 is here. I got a bit of a surprise today. The email from Elijah stated that it's currently 1-2 weeks for packaging and dropoff at the post office. WOW. Also, he mentioned 3-4 weeks for the actual shipping. DAAANG. Another month or even month and a half until the second frame arrives. Until then, I guess I have the build kit parts to look at.








|•| May 23, 2022 - 2 weeks after being told it’s be 1-2 weeks for shipping, Marino tells me the frame will go out at the end of this week. Just to recap, that will equal 3 weeks for packing and dropping off at the shipper. This is becoming comical, however, I’m not laughing.

|•| May 31, 2022 - It’s now over 3 weeks since the frame was completed and it still hasn’t shipped. So lame.

|•| June 4, 2022 - One month later and I finally have a tracking number. Fingers crossed for a speedy transit. The bike park will open soon enough and I’d like to have this build sorted prior to then.

|•| June 13, 2022 - 10 days total in transit. Not bad.

2022 STACKED MX 165 - 38 Float GRIP2 G3C Hex Lab singlespeed MT7 Raceline Onyx Line Pro 30 park build
|•| June 18, 2022 - Minor things still to get sorted but otherwise it's assembled. It'll be interesting to get this one on trail to see if the small geometry adjustments are noticed and to find out if the ZEEngle speed chain tensioner is going to be a long-term solution.

|•| September 24, 2022 - The ZEEngle speed chain tensioner was a dud. I have a few days on the SB One G3C and cannot believe I waited so long to order one. With that said, it was a bit of a chore. I really didn't want to spend close to $300US. After much internet searching, I found a shop in Italy that had a few on hand and with the exchange rate plus shipping involved, it ended up being just under $200US and arrived in a matter of days. That is still a lot of money for a chain tensioner. However, it is SO nice to have and really completes this project. I'm happy. Except I think the Timberline Bike Park closed a bit premature in order to prep for "winter" operations. Anyway, there's always next season.

Author Info:
coregrind avatar

Member since Jul 14, 2009
1 articles

  • 2 0
 The ride for each of the frames is great. Alignment is spot on and the geometry matches the specifications. Marino does a great job of assembly. In standard double-butted chromoly the frames are plenty stiff. Not too stiff but stiffer than I was anticipating. My guess is the different tube sets offered at higher cost will provide the characteristics of steel I’m most familiar with in my experience on MTB. It’s like it’s a street or dirt BMX frame, but for bigger wheels and with suspension. It’s great fun to ride all day. These were both built with gravity in mind but the pedal efficiency with the monopivot design is adequate. I’d consider having a frame made for general trail use. Maybe someday I’ll give that a shot.
  • 1 0
 Appreciate the time you spent documenting all this... I just ordered a Marino frame... one question that i can't find an answer to, is what shock hardware you need? bushings and bolt size etc? I've heard the bolts to mount shock aren't great..

how was your experience with this?
  • 2 0
 I found the bolts provide are satisfactory; they’re not elegant but get the job done. For mount hardware, they provide this info when I inquired:
“You will need this:

Front 22-22.2*8mm
Rear 38.1-38.2*8mm”

For my shocks, I was able to get the necessary kits from FOX in 22.2mm X 8mm & 38.1mm X 8mm.
  • 1 0
 so uh.... how's it ride? also, whats that frame weigh?
  • 3 0
 The ride for each of the frames is great. Alignment is spot on and the geometry matches the specifications. Marino does a great job of assembly. In standard double-butted chromoly the frames are plenty stiff. Not too stiff but stiffer than I was anticipating. My guess is the different tube sets offered at higher cost will provide the characteristics of steel I’m most familiar with in my experience on MTB. It’s like it’s a street or dirt BMX frame, but for bigger wheels and with suspension. It’s great fun to ride all day. These were both built with gravity in mind but the pedal efficiency with the monopivot design is adequate. I’d consider having a frame made for general trail use. Maybe someday I’ll give that a shot.

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