Marin's Mount Visions were always designed to be the lightest, fastest A-to-B bikes possible. Now though, they're focused on making the journey more fun than you thought possible.
From the outside, nothing much has changed from last year's radical Mount Vision frame. However, new alloys and hydroforming tweaks mean that nearly 200g has dropped out of the frame, while stiffness is increased through the use of modular dropouts. These chunky swingarm terminals fix into place with standard chainring bolts (much easier to replace than a specific model derailleur hanger). They can also be switched for the bolt-thru 'Maxle' dropouts of their Quad 140 cousins for even more rear-end rigidity. The Fox shock gets a larger XV air sleeve for greater linear action, too. Mud clearance is massive, and the short, tight 'H' linkages run on bearings with a lifetime warranty.
Despite being an expensive bike, the Mount Vision is heavy. However, in terms of trail authority, it feels in a totally different league to its competitors, thanks to suspension that's more reactive to body position than most. At first, the front end feels slightly remote and slow into corners, but start to work your weight round the bike and it goes ballistic. The wide bar and mid-length stem give power assistance for burying the front into stuff. Lean back, though, and the rear end squats to totally nail traction and lift the front wheel out of the exit. There's no trace of any lateral flex, either, giving the bike a phenomenal working edge for really carving trails. The result is one of the best bikes we've ridden for ripping through the belly of turns like a pro slalom racer. The ease with which you can pop up and manual the front end adds 3D agility that had even our least experienced tester raving about the Marin's technical and descending appetite. The XV can on the shock also gives a smoother and more consistent suspension response over big stuff without ugly ramp-up at full compression. Apart from occasional 'chain tug', it has lost the old 'tidal' feel when you're just pedalling through over rough trails, and ground clearance isn't an issue. It still stiffens up and bites down under power for an impressive power snap and better climbing than its weight suggests, though.
It's an expensive bike, but it still represents great value. Fox suspension shines, and you won't believe that's only a 120mm travel fork on the front. Hope Pro II hubbed wheels are a fantastic spec choice, especially as they can easily be converted to a Maxle rear axle, just like the frame. WTB's new Prowler MX Race tyres are an ideal aggressive turn-and-burn match. Otherwise full XT transmission is a long-held Mount Vision baseline, and it shifts even sharper than usual on such a stiff frame. Juicy carbon brakes are the best-feeling trail stoppers around, and despite small rotors we never struggled to stop. Easton bars gave us total confidence, and the FSA carbon seat post is a nice touch.
A heavy frame with a mobile, non-neutral suspension doesn't sound like a recipe for success. However, the Mount Vision's overwhelming trail authority, razor-sharp working edge and outstanding 3D agility made it the bike every tester was desperate not to give back. Add superb UK-proof features and great spec detailing, and you've got a truly phenomenal trail bike.
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