Tough and rider reactive, the Marin gets a more surefooted feel for 2010 and the lightweight kit masks the weight of the alloy frame. The suspension performance won’t suit everyone though, and the price is well off the pace.
Ride & handling: Gives a confident and surefooted ride
Marin has deliberately toned the MV down for 2010; putting bodyweight forwards and lower sticks the previously wheelie-prone front wheel to the ﬂoor. Add better mid-stroke control of the new Fox FIT fork and Boost Valve shock, and this is a bike that loves to be ploughed into rocky, rooty situations just to prove how well it can handle them. The broad bar means there’s plenty of wrestling leverage when the trail gets lairy – it’s not as ‘pop and hop’ agile as before but the more conﬁdent, surefooted feel will suit less dynamic riders better.
The Boost Valve shock also means less bob when you’re pedalling. It’s still got a distinct ‘dig in’ direct drive feel in higher gears, which is great as long as traction lasts, but it can spin out suddenly on loose surfaces.
Granny ring response is really mushy though so this is deﬁnitely a bike that suits power riders better than spindly spinners, and there’s noticeable twist and slur from the back end in off-camber sections or on big landings. The skinny tyres are also prone to skating rather than sticking on hard surfaces and can burst due to the Marin’s sudden bottom-out, and you have to haul noticeably harder on the small rotor brakes to stop too.
Frame: Some improvements but still a little heavy
While it looks very similar, Marin has made some signiﬁcant changes to the Mount Vision chassis for 2010. The ﬁlled and ﬁled front end has been made longer and 0.5° slacker with a lower integrated head tube, and the bottom bracket has been dropped and the seat tube steepened. Narrower curved linkages give better shock access and knee clearance and the stays lose 200g weight.
Frame changes might not be dramatic but they make a big difference to the Marin. Basically you’re sitting lower and further forward for a more settled, surefooted feel on the trail.
Marin has always been big on frame practicality. The interchangeable modular QR or Maxle drop-out system and masses of mud room are joined by cable guides for a height adjustable seat post. However, bottle placement is belly only though, and the frame is heavy for its category which limits upgrade potential. While the bearings come with a lifetime warranty, it was the ﬁrst bike on test to rattle loose and need tightening.
Equipment: Lightweight kit
Despite getting an alloy frame at a carbon bike price, you only get an XTR rear mech rather than a full transmission on this top of the range Marin. Fulcrum’s 15mm tubeless-ready wheels and an Easton bar reduce weight, though, and Thomson kit adds class. The weight saved by running relatively skinny 2.1in tyres and a small 160mm front brake rotor comes at the cost of control, however.
The 2010 MV still loves to be ridden hard, but the price is high compared with much lighter framed, more upgradeable carbon bikes though.