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Marin Mount Vision XM8 – first ride

Marin Mount Vision XM8 – first ride

Marin has reworked its venerable Mount Vision for 2012, with a new Quad Link 3.0 suspension system, slacker geometry and lighter build, making it a serious contender for the perfect UK all-round trail bike.

Improved suspension and frame

Visually the new Mount Vision is a radical step forward. That’s because of the all-new Quad Link 3.0 suspension, which was designed as a result of needing to overcome problems the previous Quad Link 2.0 imposed when penning their first 29er. The subsequent repackaging of the ‘twin links’ suspension has been rolled out onto the 26in-wheeled bikes too.

As well as allowing Marin to bring a 29er to market, Quad Link 3.0 brings other benefits to the Mount Vision; lighter weight, easier shock access, improved shock tune and space for a water bottle.

The new bike loses the traditional elevated swingarm in favour of a more conventional design. Now that the down tube doesn’t have to mount the shock, it can be lighter. And for those people who prefer water bottles to hydration packs, there’s now enough space inside the front triangle to fit one.

While the suspension looks radically different, it still retains the same dynamics as those that have made the Marin such a popular choice for UK trail riders and racers. That didn’t deter the Marin designers from a little tuning, the two short linkages have been modified to deliver a slightly more linear rate in the early part of the stroke, and a little less progressive later into the travel, changes that make the available suspension more usable, more of the time.

Not only is the suspension changed beyond recognition, so has the frame. The new bike looses the traditional elevated swingarm in favour of a more conventional design. A sleeker and lighter downtube, now that the shock mount has been relocated to the bottom bracket area, connects to a short tapered head tube. The top tube has a generous dip for standover clearance. And for those people who prefer water bottles to hydration packs, there’s now enough space inside the front triangle to fit one.

It’s a good looking bike, though not as distinctive as before, we’ll take the improvements in suspension, lighter weight and provision for a water bottle any day.

A classic ride, made better

Bikemagic has always been fans of the Mount Vision. At one time it was one of the most popular bikes spotted on UK trails and was pivotal in converting many mountain bikers to the benefits of full suspension. With its place in the history books confirmed, the company hasn’t rested on its laurels.
It’s constantly evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of modern riders, gaining more travel, loosing weight and getting more contemporary (slacker) geometry over the years.

Any fears the new design would disappoint were quickly banished after a few short miles around the Surrey Hills, the location for our first ride on this new bike. Climbing a variety of climbs proved the Mount Vision still has that mountain goat ability it always had, the suspension proving very supple and active in the early stage of the travel and providing tons of traction. Point it at a rooty steepy climb and it’ll scrabble up with little fuss.

The difference in the suspension feel is noticeable on the descents. Marin’s used to ramp up quite considerably; the changes seemed to have made a big difference in the mid stroke, the upshot being there’s plenty more traction on tap when the going gets fast and rough. It’s a more bottomless feel than previously, but still with the progressive ramp up as you approach the limits of the suspension.

I felt right at home on the MV. The size large tested had a good stretch with the short 70mm stem and 710mm wide bars, giving a great fit right out of the box and feeling right at home on the trails. The geometry now focuses around a 67.5 degree head angle, putting it right in line with other 140mm bikes on the market.

The XM8 model we rode will cost £2499 and came built with a Fox 32 Float RL FIT fork with 140mm travel, a Fox RP23 shock, SunRingle Black Flag wheels, Maxxis Ardent 2.25in tyres, SRAM X7/X9 2×10 drivetrain, Formula R1-X brakes, a Marin branded stem and bar and a WTB saddle.

First ride impressions

Despite limited ride time on the new Mount Vision, it’s abundantly clear that the changes have all resulted in a bike that is a serious contender for the best UK trail bike. Geometry that works, decent sizing, great specification and improved suspension make it a bike worthy of anyone looking for a competent all-rounder.

Marin Mount Vision XM8  photo gallery

  1. Jez

    After me: loses, loses, loses.

  2. Mountainbike verkopen

    Is it me, or is the saddle really that far at the back of the bike? Seems like a funny weight distribution..

  3. Lee Harding

    It’s a poor copy of a Giant. Having said that Giant probably make it for Marin !

  4. Jamie


  5. Jamie

    I would get this if I was like 12 or something

  6. Dick Barton

    Looks ok but I can’t help but think the new design is going to make a 29er harder to build as all that swingarm/attachments stuff adds space which would push a 29″ wheel even further back…

    Was there not a licencing thing going on as well? The licence agreement with ATB Sales ended and they wanted a new design or somthing? I suspect the 29er thing is a convenient story but probably isn’t that accurate.

    Not that it is a big deal…looks like a copy of a fair number of other full bouncers but personally I think it looks good (but I prefer the older style look).

  7. David Arthur

    Well, we got to ride the new Rift Zone 29er (first ride coming soon) and can say that the new design does get around such problems, and certainly impresses when riding

  8. Adrian Moffat

    Looks like Less Marin, more everybody else.

  9. Ming the Merciless

    That convoluted rear swing arm triangle just screams mud trap! Shame on you Marin.

  10. Mtb4evA

    Marin doesn’t use Giant. Look it up on BicycleRetailer. There are many similar looking designs out there and the axle path and pivot points are what set them apart. Until you ride one you can not make a true comparison and therefore won’t be able to understand how Marin stays competitive with larger brands. This is a move forward for Marin as they became limited by the old design.

  11. grampa

    I was a huge fan of Marin’s previous look and ride quality. I wasn’t a fan of the extra weight, difficulty accessing the rear shock and no water bottle.
    While I won’t be quite as excited to look at this new model, if it delivers that amazing Marin ride quality I’m sure I’ll learn to love the looks. It seems the new design results in better prices for the bikes too which is nice.
    As for comparisons with Giant’s Maestro or DW linkage – that is great company and puts the new design in the same league as the best suspension designs on the market – congrats to Marin for finding a way around those patents.
    I can’t wait to get a 2012 Mount Vision. I’m crossing my fingers that an Attack Trail is on the way with the new design in 2013.

  12. Steve Bather

    Surprised to see this radical change in design, and what I see as a reversion to following the crowd (agree with comment about Giant copy). The thing I love about my Marin MV07 is the unique design, incredible performance and the fact that other bikers nod their appreciation. I had pangs of angst when the MV 08 was released but am now very happy I have an enduring classic that still feels as new (well with annual services and a couple of suspension overhauls!) Shame on you Marin, where’s that Whyte’s dealer’s number?

  13. Benjo

    Hardly a giant rip off, as Giant only launched their twin link suspension in 2005 as I recall. 4 years after I got my first twin link bike. Its a good design that allows for minimal bob and chain length change. Nice to see Marin getting back to basics and not messing about with overly complex designs. Bikes cost too much already without extra unnecessary complexity.

  14. David French

    @Lee Harding… If you think this bike is in any way a ‘copy’ of a Giant then I recommend clicking on the little box that says Maestro on the Giant website and scroll down to the picture of the bare frame.
    Both bikes use the same basic principle of suspension design but the location of their pivots and the length of linkages is anything but similar.

    Sadly to me the only thing I see when looking at this bike is a way to make them more conventional and cheaper. When Marin used the design of twin monocoque, with a weld down the centre they basically had no frame failures. But there’s no doubt it was expensive to make.

    @Benjo… Bikes really don’t cost too much at all. You just have a poor grasp of economics.


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