Marin has become adept at forging no-nonsense bikes that don’t cost the earth. The Presidio, however, isn’t aimed at Marin’s usual hunting grounds of mountain biking or gravel: this one’s for commuters.
The Series 1 aluminium frame is third on the hierarchy of Marin’s alloy offerings, and is neatly finished with tidy welds and quality paint; it doesn’t look like a bike that costs less than £500 / $500.
The frame is also well-appointed with a full complement of traditional mudguard mounts – so it’ll take any number of standard ’guards – plus mounts for front and rear racks, not to mention internal cable routing.
All good so far, though it’s a surprise to find post-mount disc-brake fittings, rather than the latest flat-mounts. Post-mount are bulkier and heavier than their younger siblings, especially when you add in adaptors. The Tektro disc calipers also have to be fitted via an adaptor.
In contrast, the disc brakes themselves are a welcome addition because they’re full hydraulic units that are rarely seen at this price point.
They have a smooth, progressive feel at the lever, plenty of power and no rotor rub, even when sprinting out of the saddle from lights.
The drivetrain is simplicity itself with a single 38-tooth chainring paired with an 8-speed (11-34) cassette. The combination of a single rapid-fire shifter (with gear window) and Altus rear mech is silky smooth with crisp, quiet shifts both up and down.
The forged alloy chainset runs on an old-school, square-taper bottom bracket that has a bit of flex but nothing undue. The chainring features an integrated chain protector to keep stray clothing from catching or attracting oil marks. Marin has even included a chain guide to keep the chain in place when riding over rougher ground.
The Presidio’s ride position is fairly upright, but isn’t too short; in fact, the reach on the frame is long at 412mm (for a size large), but this is countered by Marin speccing a short stem.
The short stem keeps handling swift, making the Presidio a great bike for slow-speed manoeuvres, such as threading through gateways without having to dismount.
Marin Presidio 1 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||73.5||73.5||73.5||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5|
|Seat tube (cm)||38.1||43.18||48.26||52.07||55.88|
|Top tube (cm)||55||56.5||58||60||62|
|Head tube (cm)||13.5||15.5||17.5||19.5||22.5|
|Fork offset (cm)||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||6.5||6.5||6.5||6.5||6.5|
|Bottom bracket height (cm)||28||28||28||28||28|
The slender unicrown (U-shaped) steel fork has plenty of spring in it, making for a slick front end. The bar’s well-shaped with a nice backward sweep but its diameter is narrow, tapering down from the stem.
It’s good for front-end comfort but it did mean me having to search around for a light that had a small enough clamp. In the end, I clamped the front light to the bar by fashioning a shim out of an old inner tube.
The wheels are simple box-section double-walled alloy rims on cartridge-bearing hubs and built up with 32 spokes front and rear, making for a wheelset that’ll take the knocks and bumps of daily commutes.
The Marin-branded tyres come up wider than their nominal 32mm width and roll fairly well on tarmac. The heavyweight levels of puncture protection slow down acceleration, but they’re fairly compliant in the sidewalls, while the tread’s soft enough to grip on damp corners.
Marin has chosen Schrader valves for the inner tubes, which means you can top up tyre pressures on a garage forecourt. But generally these types of tubes are a little weightier. Also, if you upgrade the tyres, you’re still tied in with Schrader because the rim drillings for the valves are larger than slimline Prestas.
Outdoor parking left no hint of corrosion, with black bottle-boss bolts and a rust-proof chain, along with full internal cable routing, keeping rust at bay.
The wheels connect via quick-release skewers – great for roadside puncture repairs but a worry when leaving the bike locked up outside. You’d certainly want to add a cable lock to secure the wheels alongside your standard bike lock.
My only other niggle is the saddle. Branded ‘Marin fitness plush’, it feels luxurious, but the padding’s soft and compresses all too easily, which leaves you sitting on the firm base, the foam pad squishing and taking you with it.
How we tested
We tested four bargain-priced flat-bar hybrid commuter bikes on typical commuter routes in towns and cities, up and down hills and along bike paths and towpaths.
We also locked them up outside in all weathers to see if any tell-tale browning occurred to fixtures and fittings with the onset of rust.
Also on test
- Ridgeback Speed
- Orbea Carpe 40
- Giant Escape 1 Disc
|Price||AUD $899.00EUR €599.00GBP £465.00USD $499.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Tyres||Marin Fitness 700 x 35mm|
|Seatpost||Marin alloy 27.2mm|
|Saddle||Marin Fitness Plush|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Altus|
|Handlebar||Marin alloy flat|
|Bottom bracket||Square taper, sealed cartridge bearings|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Altus|
|Frame||Series 1 Fitness, 6061 aluminium|
|Fork||CroMo steel, straight blade, disc mount, fender and rack eyelets|
|Cranks||Marin forged alloy 39t chainring|
|Chain||KMC anti-corrosion 8-speed|
|Cassette||SunRace 8-speed 11-32|
|Brakes||Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc with 160mm rotors|
|Wheels||Marin double wall alloy disc specific rims on forged alloy 32h hubs|