Marin Indian Fire Trail review

When does old-school become old-fashioned?

Our rating 
2.5 out of 5 star rating 2.5
GBP £1,899.00 RRP | AUD $2,599.00 | USD $2,399.00

Our review

Lively and fast-steering despite big hoops, but throw caution to the wind and it’ll throw you off
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Marin describes this as its ‘workhorse privateer XC race bike’ – and if you look between those lines to read ‘traditional, conservative hardtail,’ you won’t be far wrong.

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  • Highs: Long, light and lively, with a great drivetrain and fork
  • Lows: Flexy wheels and steep steering make it nervous on tricky trails
  • Buy if: You love steep, hard climbs and smooth descents

Frame and equipment:

Despite the big wheels it’s a handy 11.6kg (25.6lb) and acceleration over smooth ground is rapid and direct through its stiff, if slightly unforgiving seatstays.

It’s 6061 alloy throughout, with triple-butted top and downtubes and a double-butted rear triangle. Varying the tube wall-thicknesses like this is a good way to lose mass, but the Indian Fire Trail still feels plenty tough enough for daily use. It’s only subtly hydroformed and is otherwise a hard, serious, ‘give me triangles or give me death’ sort of old-school frame.

There’s a lot of flex in Mavic’s Crossrides, however, despite the extra strengthening in the 19mm rims of these 29in versions. And while that can help with traction and comfort on rougher ground, it doesn’t help with steering accuracy.

The 100mm Fox Float 32 up front is capable of more, thanks to a tapered steerer and 15mm axle, than the bendy, 2000g-plus Mavics can ask of it. A wheel upgrade could do wonders here. Fox’s Performance damping assembly is a useful upgrade over the basic Evolution design, too, but Schwalbe’s hard compound 2.25in Rocket Rons undermine cornering further, as they can break away very suddenly.

Ride and handling: quick reactions mandatory

When the front goes, the 71.5-degree head angle, 90mm stem and flexy front wheel mean you need lightning reactions to stop it tucking under. The 710mm bars don’t give much leverage for your efforts either.

The upside of the Marin is steering that remains effortlessly light and accurate no matter how steep the climb, and it’s a lively, ride wherever grip is consistent. Minimal standover from that lofty, straight top tube is no help for anything but preventing you reproducing, and it’s a tall, steep bike that can be nerve-wracking on sketchier trails.

If the fork is a highlight, the Shimano SLX drivetrain – with XT rear derailleur – is a less visible bonus, with its performance and weight being very close to an all-XT setup. It’s not much of a downgrade in the real world, and reliability is also excellent.

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Ultimately though, this is a machine that’s all about the geometry. Push on and the Marin’s steep, narrow nature is something you’ve got to ride around: you help it, rather than it helping you.

Product Specifications


Name Name, 0, 10, Name, Indian Fire Trail (15)
Brand Brand, 0, 20, Brand, Marin

Description Description, 2, 0, Description, Geometry based on 19" bike
Bottom Bracket Bottom Bracket, 2, 0, Bottom Bracket, Shimano HollowTech II Integrated
Brakes Brakes, 2, 0, Brakes, Front: Avid Elixir 7 Hydraulic Disc, 7" Rotor - Rear: Avid Elixir 7 Hydraulic Disc, 6" Rotor
Cassette Cassette, 2, 0, Cassette, Shimano SLX, 11-36, 10-Speed
Chain Chain, 2, 0, Chain, Shimano HG54
Cranks Cranks, 2, 0, Cranks, Shimano SLX Compact Triple, 40/30/22T
Fork Fork, 2, 0, Fork, Fox 32 Float Performance CTD 29er, 100mm Travel, Tapered Steer Tube and 15QR Through Axle Dropouts with 3 Position Compression Damper Adjustment and Rebound Damping Adjustment
Fork Offset Fork Offset, 2, 0, Fork Offset, 3.8
Frame Material Frame Material, 2, 0, Frame Material, 6066 Aluminum 29er, Triple Butted Hydro-Edge II Top and Down Tubes with Double Butted Seat and Chain Stays, Disc Specifc
Front Derailleur Front Derailleur, 2, 0, Front Derailleur, Shimano SLX, 3x10
Front Hub Front Hub, 2, 0, Front Hub, Mavic Crossride
Front Tyre Front Tyre, 2, 0, Front Tyre, Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance, 29 x 2.25, Folding Bead
Grips/Tape Grips/Tape, 2, 0, Grips/Tape, Marin Micro-Knurl Double Locking
Handlebar Handlebar, 2, 0, Handlebar, Double Butted 2014 Alloy Flatbar, 710mm Wide with 9 Deg
Head Angle Head Angle, 2, 0, Head Angle, 71.5
Headset Type Headset Type, 2, 0, Headset Type, FSA Orbit 1.5 ZSE, 1 1/8" Top, 1.5" Bottom
Rear Derailleur Rear Derailleur, 2, 0, Rear Derailleur, Shimano XT Shadow Plus
Rear Hub Rear Hub, 2, 0, Rear Hub, Mavic Crossride
Rear Tyre Rear Tyre, 2, 0, Rear Tyre, Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance, 29 x 2.25, Folding Bead
Rims Rims, 2, 0, Rims, Mavic Cross Ride Disc 29er Wheelset
Saddle Saddle, 2, 0, Saddle, Fizik Nisene
Seat Angle Seat Angle, 2, 0, Seat Angle, 73.5
Seatpost Seatpost, 2, 0, Seatpost, Marin 3D Forged 7050 Alloy Micro Adjust, 15mm Offset, 400mm
Shifters Shifters, 2, 0, Shifters, Shimano SLX, 2 Way Release, 10-Speed
Stem Stem, 2, 0, Stem, Marin OS Alloy Threadless, 31.8mm Bar Clamp
Brake Levers Brake Levers, 2, 0, Brake Levers, Avid Hydraulic
Spoke Type Spoke Type, 2, 0, Spoke Type, Mavic Crossride
Bottom Bracket Height (in) Bottom Bracket Height (in), 2, 0, Bottom Bracket Height (in), 12.5
Chainstays (in) Chainstays (in), 2, 0, Chainstays (in), 17.7
Seat Tube (in) Seat Tube (in), 2, 0, Seat Tube (in), 19
Standover Height (in) Standover Height (in), 2, 0, Standover Height (in), 32.7
Top Tube (in) Top Tube (in), 2, 0, Top Tube (in), 23.3
Wheelbase (in) Wheelbase (in), 2, 0, Wheelbase (in), 43.9