Marin Rift Zone 3 review

New frame puts the Rift Zone into the ‘fast but fun’ zone

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,300.00 RRP | USD $2,650.00

Our review

Reshaped for rioting but still naturally efficient, the Rift Zone is now a real trail contender
Buy if, You want an all-round bike for trail riding fun
Pros: Sorted all-round trail geometry and ride; good value, high-control kit package to match; still efficient enough for big days out
Cons: Tight shock feel can make it choke and clatter in rougher sections
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Marin’s Rift Zone gets an all-new frame this year. The result is a progressively shaped trail ripper with kit to match, plus it’s priced to impress.


The redesigned Rift Zone has bigger tubes, straighter lines, and a kinked seat tube in place of the S-bend design. Marin sticks with a linkage-actuated single-pivot rear end, but seatstay pivots are now used in place of the old flex-stays.

Travel has gone up by 10mm, the shock mounts directly onto the frame, not a bridge, and the linkage has been beefed up. The back end is now Boost width (148x12mm).

There’s internal routing for the gear and dropper cables, and the bottom bracket is a screw-in unit. Geometry is all-new too, with a slacker 67.5-degree head angle, steeper 75-degree seat angle and generous 460mm reach (large).

Marin’s sorted cockpit from last year now syncs perfectly with the updated geometry. While my sample had a RockShox Pike fork, you can still expect impressive control from the Revelation on production bikes.

There’ll be a TranzX dropper in place of the Reverb on my bike too. The Shimano SLX and Deore go and stop gear works fine. The wheels pair top-spec Onza Ibex all-rounder tyres with 29mm (internal) rims to give a super-surefooted trail connection.

Marin Rift Zone 3 ride

The net result is a bike that feels confident and ready for anything. It’s not crazy slack, but steering is predictable rather than twitchy.

The long reach and relatively low bottom bracket make it stable at speed, while the balanced head angle and seat tube ensure it climbs well.

Grippy but not too draggy, the tyres deal well with most terrain, and they’re tough enough that you can drop the pressures to offset the firm rear shock feel. That same feel keeps the Marin keen to push on under power, and means it hides its weight well.


I’d be tempted to retune the shock to make it softer, then rely on the ‘pedal’ setting for XC action, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker on what’s otherwise a great value, fun to ride all-rounder.

Product Specifications


Name Rift Zone 3
Brand Marin

Available Sizes S M L XL
Seat Angle 67.4
Wheelbase (in) 46.38
Standover Height (in) 28.54
Seat Tube (in) 17.72
Chainstays (in) 17.13
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.29
Wheelset Marin rims on Formula hubs
Weight (kg) 13.99
Stem Marin, 45mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb dropper
Saddle Marin
Brakes Shimano Deore M6000, 180/160mm rotors
Rear Tyre Onza Ibex FRC120 RC255a 29x2.25in
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe RT DebonAir
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX M7000
Head Angle 67.5
Handlebar Marin, 780mm
Front Tyre Onza Ibex FRC120 RC255a 29x2.25in
Frame Material 6061 aluminium
Fork RockShox Pike RC, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Cranks FSA V-Drive cranks (1x11)
Frame size tested L