Marin Attack Trail 8 review£2,500.00

Aggressive all-mountain dog with a bark bigger than its bite

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The Attack Trail is Marin's creation firmly targeted at the 650b, aggressive trail bike market. Featuring Marin's Quad Link 3 suspension platform taking care of the 150mm rear suspension, RockShox Pike dealing with 160mm of travel up front, and some progressive kit in the build, Marin says the Attack Trail is a bike built for rough backcountry runs that will keep you coming back for more.

Geometry that can cramp your style

At first sight the Attack Trail is striking, with a lovely straight line from the head tube through to rear axle. In the metal though, it sizes up pretty small with a disproportionately long seat tube highlighting the relatively short reach (412.5mm on the medium) compared with other bikes in its class.

Compact geometry is a defining feature:
Compact geometry is a defining feature:

Compact geometry is a defining feature

This 150mm travel mid-range alloy model has a comparatively short wheelbase and effective top tube for an 'enduro' bike at 1151mm and 592mm respectively, as well as a steeper head angle than many at 66.5 degrees.

The short nature of the bike does mean it loves being chucked from corner to corner, changing direction on a sixpence. Its climbing ability is affected by the short front centre though, as the bike wants to pivot around the tight centre point, meaning the front wheel tends to lift on steep climbs.

On high-speed descents the attack trail felt disappointingly twitchy:
On high-speed descents the attack trail felt disappointingly twitchy:

On high-speed descents the Attack Trail felt disappointingly twitchy

This problem is compounded by a slackish seat angle (73.5 degrees), and perching on the nose of the saddle to climb doesn’t help matters much. The Attack Trail’s compact geometry is seemingly better suited to slower, more technical riding as opposed to speeding down motorway trails – at high speeds the bike feels unstable and twitchy.

Sorted suspension

The Attack Trail is decked out with 160mm RockShox Pike RC Solo Air, a Monarch RT Debonair shock providing 150mm of rear travel through the Quad Link 3 suspension platform. The suspension is active and supple, sensitive over small bumps while remaining progressive for big hits. There is a little pedal bob, so to maximise efficiency the lockout feature on the shock was utilised.

The suspension is good for small bumps and big hits

The Pike fork performs as well as ever – predictable, supportive, and dealing with rough terrain well despite the ‘over the front’ riding position you may find yourself in due to the geometry. The bike runs Shimano SLX brakes with 180mm rotors ensuring effective stopping power. These brakes are a value for money favourite of ours, providing great performance with minimal maintenance. The drivetrain is comprised of own brand cranks with a 32 tooth narrow wide chain ring, a SunRace 1x11 cassette and SRAM X1 rear derailleur.

The chainring and rear derailleur combo has resulted in a few dropped chains over rough terrain, so a chain guide will need to be on the upgrade list. The combination of the 11-42 tooth cassette with other components has however been faultless. The cockpit houses Kore Durox 780mm wide bars with a diameter of 35mm, larger than the usual 31.9mm for increased stiffness.

Saddle sore point

The stem is a 50mm Kore Cubix with a 35mm clamp to correspond with the larger diameter bars. The Attack Trail comes as standard with a KS Lev Integra 100mm dropper post, a length which isn’t quite adequate for the aggressive trail riding this bike is destined for. When descending, the saddle interferes with riding position, which is disconcerting to say the least.

A chain guide will help prevent dropped chains:
A chain guide will help prevent dropped chains:

A guide will help prevent dropped chains

The 650b wheelset is comprised of Maddux rims with Formula hubs. The rims have a 27mm internal diameter, wider than the average trail wheel, providing all the associated benefits such as more grip and ability to run lower pressures. The supplied tyres are a Maxxis Minion DHF on the front and Ardent on the rear.

The Minion left a little to be desired where cornering grip in the wet was concerned – Maxxis’ softer 3C version of the Minion would help matters here. The Ardent didn’t provide enough braking grip on steep terrain; to be fair though this setup is well-enough suited to dryer conditions.

Unfortunately, the Marin Attack Trail has been left standing at the start gate while its rivals are away at the gun with more up to date geometry. While the suspension platform of this bike performs well, it looks like it may be due an overhaul to bring it more in line with today's longer, lower, and slacker bikes.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Rachael has been biking since being introduced to it by her boyfriend as his good idea for a 'date'! MTB'ing quickly grew into a hobby and a passion. Rachael's competitive nature and strive to improve her riding has led her to race national and world enduro series races.
  • Age: 31
  • Height: 161cm / 5'4
  • Weight: 57kg / 132lb
  • Waist: 28in / 71cm
  • Chest: 32in / 81cm
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains, long descents and contrastingly fast, local, loamy, forest trails
  • Current Bikes: Marin Attack Trail
  • Dream Bike: The list is endless and ever changing! Currently she wants to try out a Mondraker Dune and a Yeti Beti!
  • Beer of Choice: A fruity cider!
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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