Marin Quake AL7 review

At the end of last year we rode the prototype of Marin's Quake AL7 freeride bike and we were mightily impressed. Now we've got the eagerly awaited production version to thrash.

Our rating 
4.3 out of 5 star rating 4.3
GBP £2,995.00 RRP
Marin Quake AL7

Our review

A fantastic freerider, despite the air shock niggles
Skip to view product specifications

At the end of last year we rode the prototype of Marin’s Quake AL7 freeride bike and we were mightily impressed. Now we’ve got the eagerly awaited production version to thrash.

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The frame

The Quake AL7 is surprisingly light (18.1kg/39.9lb) for a bigtravel rig with so much metal on the frame. The front end features a 1.5in head tube, a roomy top tube and an uninterrupted seat tube – handy for keeping the long, climbing-friendly seatpost out of the way on the downs.

The AL7 uses the same Quad- Link suspension system as the other bikes in the Quad range but the design is slightly different to make the bike more freeride orientated. The pivots are inboard on the mainframe to keep them out of harm’s way and, as on the prototype, there are removable pivot caps that can be filled with grease to protect the pivots from the elements. There’s also plenty of mud clearance, so this is a great bike for UK conditions. The swingarm area has been slimmed down too.

The rear end features two shock mounting positions, which alter both the bottom bracket height and the head angle. Just like on the prototype, the action of the rear suspension is slick and, combined with the great spec, this makes for a fun bike.

The detail

The build is based around the air suspension platform of a Fox DHX Air 5.0 shock controlling 175mm (6.9in) travel and a 2007 Fox 36 TALAS fork with 120-150mm (4.7-5.9in) travel. The cranks and chain guide come courtesy of Truvativ and the brakes are awesome Avid Juicy 7 models. The gearing is no-nonsense Shimano XT kit while the Crank Brothers 5050 pedals and WTB finishing parts are also worthy of a mention.

The ride

The AL7 has a slack head angle so it’s instantly capable of hitting the hardest terrain and tanking down hills. It’s also good through turns thanks to its low centre of gravity and bottom bracket.

The AL7 isn’t as much fun on the ups though – it will get you up the hills fine, but don’t expect XC-level climbing from a bike with such slack and low angles; it’s made for hard, fast riding.

There were problems with our Fox DHX Air shock though – we had a case of ‘suck down’, with all the air escaping, so it had to be stripped down and retuned. We also had a few scary moments where the rebound stopped working and turned the rear into a catapult. Running a coil shock instead transforms the bike so it corners and takes hits better and the damping stays consistent.

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As an all-out freeriding tool the AL7 is great, although we’d be inclined to run a coil shock.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Quake AL7
Brand Marin

Spokes Brand DT Swiss
Rear Hub Laserdisc Lite
Min. Fork Travel 120mm
Rear Tyre Size 26x2.3
Rear Tyre Timberwolf
Front Tyre Size 26x2.3
Front Tyre Timberwolf
Available Sizes M S
Available Colours Black Anodised
Stem FR200
Shifters Shimano XT
Seat Tube (in) 16.9
Saddle Pure V Race
Rear Shock DHX 5.0
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Bottom Bracket Howitzer
Pedals Crank Bros 50/50
Headset Type 1 1/8 Inch Threadless
Handlebar Holzfeller
Grips/Tape WTB Weirwolf
Front Hub Laserdisc Super Duty
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Frame Material 6061 Aluminium
Fork TALAS 36 RC2
Chainstays (in) 17.3
Chain Shimano HG-73
Cassette SRAM PG-980 Power Glide II 9-Speed 11-32
Brakes El Camino Trail
Max. Fork Travel 150mm