Marin’s Nicasio singlespeed is another entry in to the growing market that sees manufacturers forging bikes that are equally as comfortable taming city streets as they are chunks of off-road terrain.
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Marin has coined the phrase ‘Beyond Road’ for these versatile machines with the Nicasio following in the slipstream of Marin’s existing Gestalt series. With Marin’s off-road heritage, we expected the Nicasio to perform well on the mud but we pondered, while adjusting its saddle height, would it do the same on tarmac?
First up, geometry. The Nicasio comes in an impressive seven sizes, from 47cm to 60cm, each resulting in a pretty steep set-up. Our 56cm test version featured 72.5-degree headtube and 73-degree seattube angles that, combined with a relatively short stem, resulted in a ride that’s reliable rather than exciting. Comfort’s adequate, though the chromoly steel fork doesn’t absorb tree-rooted bike paths to the same degree as carbon numbers, its cause not helped by Marin’s passable own-brand saddle.
The single crankset is a forged alloy 42-teeth effort that stretches back to a single 17-teeth sprocket at the rear. For stop-start sojourns this is perfect, but longer stretches saw us spinning out more than fixie rider Patrick Seabase on a descent; in fact, so much so the chain intermittently began to rattle. This came and went and came and went… but did become a minor irritation.
Tyre clearance is wide enough for 700c x 40 tyres. Coupled with the sliding dropouts for disc-brake chain tensioning, it means you can apply your choice of wheel sizes and tyres. As it is, the Nicasio again employs Marin’s own-brand componentry, this time its aluminium double-wall wheels adorned with Schwalbe Spicer 700c x 30 tyres. Both add a bulletproof feel to the bike, though sacrifice excitement. That voluminous clearance also means you can fit a rear derailleur and cassette if you so wish.
Marin’s flared drops draw on the bike’s gravel foundations, the gentle 12-degree angle offering a good variety of hand positions for negotiating city streets, and when you need to bring it all to a stop, reliable Promax Render mechanical disc brakes perform just as a good disc brake should. There are also bosses for mudguards and panniers.
All in all, this is one versatile bike that’ll proficiently consume many a city mile.