Calibre’s Bossnut has redefined the full-sus fun that can be enjoyed on a relative shoestring. Marin’s answer, the Hawk Hill, has respectable trail geometry, a highly upgradeable frame and well-chosen kit at a great price, but how does it ride?
Hawk Hill spec overview
- Frame: Series 3 6061 aluminum frame
- Front fork: RockShox Recon Silver RL 27.5
- Rear suspension: X Fusion O2 Pro R, 190mm x 50mm, Tube-B
- Crankset: Marin Forged Alloy 1x10, hollow spindle, steel narrow-wide 32T chainring, 76mm BCD
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore Shadow Plus Direct Mount
- Shift lever: Shimano Deore 1x10-speed
- Cassette: Sunrace 10-speed, 11-42T
- Bottom bracket: External sealed cartridge bearings
- Chain: KMC X10
- Rims: Marin, double wall alloy, 27mm inner, tubeless compatible
- Brakes: Shimano BR-M315 hydraulic disc, 180mm rotor
- Bar: Marin Mini-Riser, 6061 double butted aluminum
- Stem: Marin 3D forged alloy
- Headset: FSA Orbit, sealed cartridge bearings
- Seatpost: Marin, two bolt alloy
- Saddle: Marin Speed Concept
Marin Hawk Hill ride impression
After quickly setting the air suspension to my personal taste, I hit the trails. It’s a joy to be greeted with a sturdy 780mm bar and a short-ish 60mm stem. The 1x10 gearing with a wide-ranging SunRace 11-42t cassette means continuous shifting and plenty of gears for all but the steepest climbs, despite the 14.33kg (31.6lb) weight in XL.
I would’ve preferred a much steeper seat angle, as I found myself fighting to keep the front wheel down on steep pitches, so I’d swap out the laid-back post to help remedy this. Downsizing to a 30t chainring would reduce the subtle pedalling bob too.
When descending, the RockShox Recon fork does a great job of smoothing trail chatter thanks to its 15mm axle, air spring and Motion control damper.
The rear suspension system is simple but effective, though the compression damping on the X-Fusion shock is on the firm side. For me at 85kg this worked well, especially when running 30-35% sag, but this amplified the laid-back seat tube. Lighter riders will find the shock tune overly firm.
Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres are pop-prone and slippery in the cheaper PaceStar compound here, though the wide 27mm internal rims help them to bite into corners.
The QR rear wheel can be vague and flexy if you fire it into a corner, but Marin has made the frame compatible with 12x142mm rear hubs so you can upgrade. Similarly, there’s routing for an internally-routed dropper post.
Overall, the ride is pretty surefooted and fun, inspiring levels of confidence and speed that I’d rarely experience for less than £1,500.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.