First ride: Marin Quake XLT180 7.9 review

Slick gravity demon

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £3,999.99 RRP | USD $6,655.13

Our review

If big travel hacking is your thing, the Quake’s great geometry and suspension platform will serve you well
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Marin’s big-travel freeride frame – the Quake XLT – has been revised for 2010, and it’s a slick-looking machine. With travel increased to 180mm (7.1in), a relaxed 64.5-degree head angle and half a pound dropped off the frame weight, it could be a capable downhill bike, but is equally happy as a freerider.


Ride & handling: Descends like a demon and climbs well too

Setting up the suspension on the Quake was a bit of a pain – the beginning stroke rebound adjuster on the RockShox Vivid shock was barely useable due to its position inside the linkages. But the new slimmer rear end is a much better design and we didn’t foul our knees half as much as the previous setup.

With 33 percent sag dialled in, we liked the feel of the linear suspension with slightly rearward axle path – it helps the bike lurch forward on smaller square bumps. The Quake wants to pull away – it doesn’t feel sluggish like its freeride tag may suggest.

This Marin doesn’t just descend like a demon, it climbs well too. The roomy top tube and steep seat tube angle, combined with an uninterrupted seat tube, allow for a decent saddle position. And although very active, the rear end doesn’t bob when you put the hammer down.

We’ve always thought the Quake’s rear end looked a little long, but the proof is always in the pudding. The Quake carves along happily, letting you pick the front end up at will, and makes the most of a stable wheelbase.

The new quake’s frame is lighter and narrower: the new quake’s frame is lighter and narrower
Russell Burton

Frame: Lighter and improved design for 2010

Up front, the 2010 Quake frame has a far more organic appearance and weight has been lost through the hydroformed tubes. The crude strut between the top and down tubes is a smoother shape, and the formed tubes are neat with large contact areas for welding. The 1.5in head tube can house 1.5in internal, tapered and 1.125in headsets, and offers scope for a super-low front end.

Out back, replaceable dropouts take a 150mm Maxle through-axle, and the whole rear end has been slimmed down to improve knee clearance. The Quad Link 2.0 linkages are also narrower and use flush-fit bearing caps to avoid catching your shorts and legs.

Equipment: Solid Saint groupset and plush RockShox suspension

We tested the flagship model, which comes with a Shimano Saint drivetrain and RockShox suspension front and rear. Up front is the Totem coil fork, with a 1.5in steerer tube and 180mm (7.1in) of travel. Out back is a Vivid shock, which offers compression plus beginning and end stroke rebound adjustment, so you can get the ride just right.


Rolling it along are trusty Kenda Nevegal tyres on strong but light Mavic EX-325 rims, and the Saint hubs also proved reliable. Syncros bars, stem, seatpost and pedals serve well, and the WTB saddle is a welcome comfort. Obscenely powerful Shimano Saint brakes feel like having a stick rammed through the spokes and a trusty e.thirteen DRS chainguide does the job.

The fully adjustable rockshox vivid shock allows you to tune the perfect ride : the fully adjustable rockshox vivid shock allows you to tune the perfect ride
Russell Burton

Product Specifications


Name Quake XLT180 7.9 (10)
Brand Marin

Available Sizes L M S
Headset Type FSA Orbit E 1.5" Internal, Cromo Cups, 1/8" Ball Bearing
Stem Syncros FR, Threadless, with 31.8mm Bar Clamp
Shifters Shimano Saint, 2 Way and Instant Release, 9 Speed
Seatpost Syncros Derived, 25mm Offset, 2014, 31.6mm x 400mm
Seat Angle 76
Saddle WTB Pure V Race with Love Channel and Comfort Zone, Cromoly Rails
Rims Mavic EX-325, 32 Hole Disc
Rear Tyre Size 26x2.5
Rear Tyre Nevegal
Rear Shock Rock Shox Vivid with Coil Spring Preload, Drop Stop Bottom Out System, External High Speed and Low Speed Rebound and Compression Damping Adjustment
Rear Hub Shimano Saint, 32 Hole Disc with Centerlock
Rear Derailleur Shimano Saint Shadow
Pedals Syncros Meat Hook
Head Angle 64.5
Bottom Bracket Shimano with HollowTech II Arms Big Pipe Billet Integrated with Crankset
Handlebar Syncros FR, Double Butted 2014 Alloy, OS-31.8, 20mm Rise
Grips/Tape Marin Double Locking with Drop Guard End Cap
Front Tyre Size 26x2.5
Front Tyre Nevegal
Front Hub Shimano Saint 20mm with Centerlock
Front Derailleur Shimano SLX
Frame Material 6061 Aluminum with Edge II Plus Top Tube and Hydroformed Down Tube, 6061 QUAD-Link 2.0 180mm Suspension System, 150mm x 12mm Maxle Dropouts
Fork RockShox Totem Coil, 180mm of Travel, with External Rebound and Compression Adjustment, Mission Control Damping, with Maxle 360 20mm Axle and 1.5" Steerer
Cranks Shimano Saint, 36/22, with E-13 Shift Guide Dual Ring Security and Saint Bashguard
Chain Shimano HG73
Cassette Shimano SLX, 11-34, 9 Speed
Brakes Shimano Saint Hydraulic Disc
Spoke Type DT 14 Gauge Black Stainless