Ride and handling: Awesomely smooth with neutral, confidence-inspiring handling
That’s backed up by Marin’s excellent Quad-Link suspension. The rear end is still more steeply progressive than pretty much anything else you’ll find, but the trade-off for the hard-to-find last few millimetres of travel is unparalleled smoothness over the kind of small and medium bumps that make up most of most trails.
Frame: A little lighter and better looking for 2010
At a glance the 2010
At the back, an all-new swingarm is lighter than the old one, while the Quad-Link linkages have been narrowed for better leg clearance. In between, the geometry’s been tweaked too – slacker at the front, steeper at the back and a lower bottom bracket. The new frame also features filled and smoothed welds – it adds a tiny bit of weight, but looks great.
Equipment: Apart from stout RockShox Reba fork, parts spec doesn't excite
Marin have usually managed to deliver better value than you might expect for a relatively small company, but the Mount Vision 5.7 doesn’t shine too brightly here. The stout RockShox Reba fork with Maxle Lite 20mm through-axle is a highlight,
However, the SRAM X-5/X-7 transmission mix, Truvativ Firex cranks and Hayes Stroker Trail brakes are all a notch down from what we’d like to see at this price. It all works, but the spec contributes to a bit more heft than the competition and you may feel the need to upgrade earlier.
Despite the dialled ride, all our testers marked the Marin down on value grounds – when other bikes can manage full Shimano XT for just a little more money, X-5 and X-7 just doesn't cut it.