Marin San-Anselmo review£879.97

Flat-barred, hub-geared city transport

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The sub-£1,000 city bike market is a crowded and highly competitive one, helped in the UK by the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme. Specialized has its Sirrus models, we recently tried out Trek’s 7.6 and now we’re testing another urban machine with a high spec and components that have been chosen for their comfort.

The US-designed, Taiwanese-made San Anselmo sits at the top of Marin’s six-bike City range, and there was a time when a machine like this would have been all aluminium. Not now though.

The San Anselmo does have a 6061 aluminium frame with very chunky welds, but it comes with a carbon fork. It’s good to see that this has eyelets for mudguards, and there’s plenty of clearance front and rear even with the 28mm Continental Contact tyres that come as standard.

A suspension seatpost provides an inch or so of damping, successfully taking the sting out of those lovely broken road surfaces that seem to be universally popular in urban Britain.

But because of the slight fore and aft flexing of the seatpost in the seat tube, if your weight is too far forward – or more likely too far back – on the saddle, there’s no damping effect at all. This really does make it one to try before you buy to make sure that you’ll be getting the most out of it.

The Marin comes with a hub gear rather than derailleurs, and its eight-speed Shimano Alfine is the highlight of the componentry package. Shifts are smooth and quiet, and the 32-97 inch gear range should be suitable for virtually all but the hilliest cities.

And for more casual, less hardcore bike riders it makes a great deal of sense. It’s not only neater than a derailleur but you can also change gear while you’re standing still, which is handy in stop-start city cycling.

 marin san-anselmo:  marin san-anselmo
marin san-anselmo: marin san-anselmo

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 52
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK
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