Marin Mount Vision XM8 review£2,499.00

Reworked trail bike

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Marin’s reworked Mount Vision is an enthusiastically responsive all-rounder with a great complete kit package. It’s not the stiffest bike and it doesn’t like being slammed into really big stuff but its smooth suspension, confident handling and comparatively low weight meant it was highly rated by the all-rounder riders in our test team.

Ride & handling: Very smooth, rider-reactive suspension with confident ‘slack attack’ handling

The Mount Vision's swaggering front end with its assured self-centring and easy stability makes steep or fast technical trails less threatening. Progressive suspension sucks up small bumps like a vacuum cleaner if you stay off the power and it sweeps through fast corners confidently if you drop your shoulder and trust it. 

Press on the pedals, though, and the suspension stiffens, the bike lifts and the light weight lunges forward encouragingly. The smooth initial stroke helps sustain momentum over little steps and chatter bumps, and there’s plenty of traction feedback to feather power against the shallow tread of the Maxxis Ardent tyres

The easy initial shock compression makes lofting the front wheel up steps or off drops a cinch too, encouraging you to get dynamic. Even with multiple bob reducing levels on the shock, the naturally pedal reactive suspension won’t suit everyone, though. 

If you really start driving the Marin hard into bigger flat-faced rocks or off drops, suspension ramp-up and reduced control is obvious. The thin tubing and skinny offside, offset lower linkage mean noticeable pedalling flex when you’re really cranking, and the front end can twist in corners.

Frame & equipment: Not the stiffest chassis, but kit package is weak-link-free

The all-new Mount Vision frame features a seriously slack 67.5-degree steering angle on the tapered head tube to give long front-centre stability. The Quad Link 3 suspension uses ‘lifetime warrantied’ (Marin replace them free if they wear out) bearings, tyre clearance is generous and there’s space for a down tube bottle cage.

Marin were one of the first companies to offer modular screw-through dropouts on the previous generation Mount Vision but lack of demand means they’re missing from the new frame. The Fox fork gets a QR15 screw-through axle and 140mm travel limit for increased stiffness, while the RP23 shock gets the latest ‘Adaptive Logic’ ride tune settings.

A SRAM 2x10 transmission helps keep weight low for its category, while powerful Formula brakes do the stopping. The Maxxis tyres offer a great balance of rolling speed and trail centre grip, while the Sun Ringle wheels are tubeless compatible for increased survivability. Marin have got the bar width and stem length spot-on to make the most of the handling, too.

This bike was tested as part of What Mountain Bike magazine's Bike of the Year shootout. You can read the full feature in this month's mag, in shops now, and available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Trail Bike of the Year preview

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The testers reflect on this year's crop of bikes

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Marin Mount Vision XM8 first ride

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Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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