Looking at the ‘new’ TARA Rage bikes, you’d easily be forgiven for thinking not much had changed on Marin’s long-travel all rounders. Detailed suspension and geometry changes for 07 make a massive difference, however, and there’s some smart kit choices as well.
Marins are always relatively tall in the saddle bikes to keep ‘pedal over’ ground clearance high, but you soon drop into a fluid ride height zone. The Wolf Ridge is not as pedal influenced as previous Marins but it still communicates traction levels very well. Suspension stiffens nicely when you stamp down the power and then relaxes to suck up the hits. This makes it an easy bike to manual or wheelie. The shorter rear end and easy rear squish means you can fire out of tight situations with a real flourish, encouraging you to really work your weight on techy trails.
In the taller shock setting it’s a natural long day XC bike, but move the shock and it hunkers down for proper pull-on-your-pads-and-play attitude. You can slam into the end of travel and overwhelm the forks pretty quickly though unless you’re smooth, so don’t do DH everyday.
The new Wolf Ridge is an absolute howl on the trail. ‘3D’ agile and great fun to thrash hard on techy singletrack, man-made trails or even the occasional DH run, it’s an immediately likeable UK all-rounder that’s definitely worth a much closer look.