Marin are a big name in cross-country and all-mountain rigs. Can they roll with the big guys when it comes to longer-travel bikes? We swung a leg over the new 180mm-travel (7in) Quake Quad XLT to ﬁnd out.
Ride & handling: Odd mix of downhill and freeride that works best when pointed downhill
The Quake feels confused, as if it’s stuck in a no-man’s-land between freeride and downhill. It has the long wheelbase (47.5in) and slack front end (64.5-degree head angle) of a World Cup race bike, yet the steep seat tube and dual ring gearing setup of a more pedalling-friendly ride. Get your leg over it though, and you can begin to see how things might one day make sense.
The Marin weighs in at 19.1kg (42lb) – more than many modern downhill bikes – so you won’t want to be spinning up hills. This means the dual ring setup becomes almost redundant. We’d switch to a single ring and save weight. The generic Marin branded bar is high, and isn’t the most comfortable to hold. A lower, zero rise stem and low rise – or even ﬂat – bar would sort the front end out.
The steep seat tube angle can cause problems, to the point where a seatpost with a good amount of layback is a good idea when it comes to hanging-off-the-back downhill duties, otherwise the back of the saddle is just that bit too far forward that it tends to catch on your knees.
When it comes to sucking up the bumps, Marin have specced the right stuff. The 170mm-travel (6.7in) RockShox Vivid 4.1 rear shock handles most situations with conﬁdence but feels a little harsh on sharp, square-edged hits. The 180mm (7.1in) RockShox Domain 318 fork may be heavy and basic, but it works incredibly well and stays composed in every situation. It’s great to get a fork that works well and is really easy for anyone to set up.
Frame & equipment: Hard-hitting chassis and components, but spec isn't great for the price
The Quake XLT 180 7.8 sticks with Marin’s Quad-Link suspension system and has been updated from previous versions of the frame – it has different Quad Links and is compatible with Truvativ's HammerSchmidt planetary gearing system.
This is the lower-specced version of the Quake, and the drive to keep the price down quickly surfaces. SRAM X5 shifters and Truvativ Hussefelt cranks are obvious cost-cutters, and a basic cassette helps with the economy drive too.
E*thirteen supply a DRS backplate and roller, mated to Truvativ’s Rockguard bash to keep the chain in check. They may be basic, and deﬁnitely not light, but everything works. The SRAM X9 rear mech and Avid Code 5 brakes do soften the blow somewhat, but at £2,899, we feel we should be getting a bit more.