First Ride: Marin CXR Team SLX review

Carbon race ride

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
£2,299.00 RRP

Our review

Expensive but enjoyable race-ready hardtail that can still tackle the trail
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Marin’s CXR is their top-line, high-speed hardtail and it’s a cracking ride for race or trail use. Unlike with other brands, the SLX entry-level model is the only complete bike available, and it’s not cheap.

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Ride & handling: Quick acceleration with trail attitude

While it might come in full team livery, the CXR is a capable all-rounder rather than a race-day rig. A 70-degree head angle and 72.5-degree seat angle give a more relaxed feel than the benchmark 71/73 angles, and slightly more stability at speed.

With less fretting about going over the front on steep or technical sections, you’re encouraged to sling the bike through singletrack, rather than mince along like a roadie.

Despite the massive monocoque carbon chassis it’s a relatively quiet and calmly controlled ride. There’s a noticeably decent amount of shock absorption to take the sting out of rocks or long days in the saddle alike.

That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of speed as soon as you hammer the pedals though, and the 11.3kg (25lb) weight is a massive bonus out of corners or up climbs. For a couple of hundred quid more though you’re looking at seriously light sub-23lb (10.4kg) bikes, which is where overall value comes into question.

Light enough to race, but controlled enough to take the fight to the trails on your terms rather than its, the CXR is great fun to ride. But there are similar bikes for a lot less, or lighter, better equipped options for only slightly more.

The massively swooping lines are reminiscent of an old school Corratec
The massively swooping lines are reminiscent of an old school corratec: the massively swooping lines are reminiscent of an old school corratec
Russell Burton

Frame: Smooth riding carbon race frame

For those who remember Marin’s skinny steel race bikes, this massive monocoque frame is going to be a shock. The head tube is a conventional diameter on the inside but beefed up with wrap reinforcing that blends into the main tubes.

The ‘S’ curved, flattened polygon down tube is huge, and it switches from vertically ovalised to horizontally ovalised between the head and bottom bracket. The rectangular top tube has moulded ramp braces where it meets the head and seat tubes.

The curved lines flow into a parallel ‘H’ seatstay bridge, and continue through tapering rectangular-to-square seatstays. Super-deep rectangular to square chainstays get the same twin-stay bridge behind the bottom bracket shell, with chunky CNC-machined dropouts at the hub end.

Equipment: Relatively low spec value

Marin have kept this realists’ racer cost-effective. The RockShox Reba fork is stiff, tough and dependable with remote control Poploc lockout on the bars. Mavic rims and Shimano SLX hubs provide a durable, if not light, wheelset and the Maxxis Ignitor tyres are reasonable all-weather all-rounders.

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Durable, dependable SLX provides the stop/go equipment apart from the XT rear mech. Low-rise bars give enough leverage for technical work and a stiff FSA stem keeps feedback clear.

The cables are routed inside the humungous down tube
The cables are routed inside the humungous down tube: the cables are routed inside the humungous down tube
Russell Burton

Product Specifications

Product

Name CXR Team SLX (10)
Brand Marin

Available Sizes 17" 19" 20.5"
Rear Derailleur Shimano Shadow XT
Wheelbase (in) 41.6
Top Tube (in) 22.2
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.6
Spoke Type WTB 15 Gauge Black Stainless
Stem FSA OS150LX Threadless, with Alloy Face Plate and 31.8mm Bar Clamp
Shifters SLX, 2 Way Release, 9 Speed
Seatpost FSA SL-280, 6061, 30.9mm x 350mm
Seat Angle 72.5
Saddle WTB Devo Team
Rims Mavic XM-117, 32 Hole Disc
Rear Hub Shimano SLX, Centerlock 32 Hole Disc
Pedals Shimano M520 Clipless
Bottom Bracket Shimano with HollowTech II Arms Big Pipe Billet Integrated with Crankset
Headset Type FSA Orbit Z, Internal Headset Cartridge Type, Alloy Cup Alloy Top Cover, 12.5mm Stack Height, Black, 1 1/8" Threadless
Head Angle 70
Handlebar Double Butted 6061 Alloy, OS-31.8mm, 25.4mm Rise
Grips/Tape Marin Locking with Open End
Front Hub Shimano SLX, 32 Hole Disc
Front Derailleur SLX
Frame Material Full CXR 7 Carbon Monocoque, Oversized Downtube, Disc Specific
Fork RockShox Reba SL with Poplock, 100mm with Dual Air Preload Adjustment, Rebound Adjustment and Motion Control, Lockout
Cranks Shimano SLX, 44/32/22, HollowTech II Arms
Chain Shimano HG73
Cassette Shimano HG61, 11-34, 9 Speed
Brakes SLX Hydraulic Disc
Tyres Maxxis Ignitor, 26" X 2.1" Kevlar Bead