The middle bike of Marin's incredible Quad 140 range is great value for money and a fantastic all-rounder built to shred places like Glentress.
The design team behind the Quad linkage Marin bikes had their work cut out with the brief to build a 'new school' range for trail park hammering, but they succeeded brilliantly.
The £1,500 Rock Springs foots the range and the MBUK Bike Test winning Attack Trail heads the range at £2,299. The Wolf Ridge sits neatly in the middle at £1,899, and represents the best value for money with its great spec.
Ride & handling: rolling thunder
The Wolf Ridge is an odd bike – the 140mm (5.5in) travel and low slung feel could fool you into thinking it’s a trail bike like most others, but it’s far from it.
The Pike fork combined with the slack head angle and low bottom bracket instantly puts you in an attack position. This feels amazing through singletrack and downhill, but also works well on the climbs.
It’s not just the sorted geometry and ride position that make this rig batter through singletrack – it’s the incredibly active and plush Quad 140 suspension. I hate the term, but this bike really feels bottomless, and doesn't even bother to acknowledge square-edged hits.
The faster you ride this bike, the more it wants to go. You find yourself on the limit of your ability, but the Wolf always has a little extra reserved for you.
And when you dare to allow yourself to get in that reserve, your eyes will be watering, your elbows will be skimming trees and you’ll be surging along the trails like rolling thunder.
Frame: looks wrong, feels right
Made from 6061 aluminium, the Wolf Ridge has a hydroformed front triangle and rear swingarm. This, combined with excellent Maxle dropouts, keeps rigidity high and weight down.
Up front is a burly head tube with a reinforcing gusset joining top and down tubes, and a slack 67 degree head angle that makes high speed manoeuvring a cinch.
The low 13.6in bottom bracket height, slack head angle and fairly short 17.2in chainstays make the bike look low and aggressive – this looks a little wrong for cross-country use, but sit on the bike and it feels right.
Equipment: a lot of bike for the money
For £1,899 you get a lot of bike – RockShox Pike 426 U-Turn fork, Hayes Stroker Trail brakes, Hope Pro 2 hubs on Syncros rims and a custom Fox shock. The spec has been chosen to meet the bike’s target of being able to climb technical trails while descending and jumping like a freeride bike.
When developing the frame, the test riders used Maxxis Super Tacky tyres and found they could treat the bike like a small DH rig, but faster and lighter tyres made the bike fare better on the hills. Some people may turn their noses up at the wide 2.35 Kenda Nevegal tyres, but they roll fairly quickly and their soft compound shoulders are grippy enough.
Huge mud clearance on the frame shows that it’s meant to deliver the goods in foul UK weather, and the choice of quality hubs from Hope prove that every detail has been thought of.