We’re fortunate enough to visit some interesting places from time to time, but the trip to Renault’s F1 headquarters in Enstone, Oxfordshire to see the latest Marin 2011 range last week easily ranks near the top of the list of cool venues.
Set against a backdrop of Formula 1 cars from the past 40 years, including such highlights as Michael Schumacher’s 1995 championship winning car and the 2006 car that carried Fernando Alonso to his second championship, the Marin 2011 collection was laid out.
While it was easy to be distracted by the cars (more of that in a future blog) it made for an impressive setting in which to present the new bikes. Marin has clearly been busy, with updates to every bike in the range.
We’ll start with the Rift Zone. A name that has long been in the Marin range, the Rift Zone has been given more than just a facelift, with a complete overhaul of every tube in the Hydro Light II frame.
A significant change is the Quad Link, it still works exactly as on previous Marin’s but it’s been forced onto a diet to improve knee/leg clearance. The top linkage is a smaller affair and decreases the overall width of the setup, with the swingarm similarly narrower where it passes over the Fox shock. Bearings are triple sealed and easy to service than before.
Travel is 100mm and paired with a Fox 32 F100 RL fork (on the £2499 XC8 model) and angles are 69 head/73 seat which looks spot on for a bike that should be suit the rider seeking a fast handling all-day trail bike versatile enough for a spot of racing. Prices start at £1599, and there’s three models to choose from.
We look forward to giving the Rift Zone a thorough test. The revised frame is a lot more appealing the curvy tubes of recent Marin’s, and the new colourways and bolder graphics hit the spot for us.
Mount Vision: the most recognisable name in the Marin range. It’s probably safe to say that most mountain bikers have probably swung a leg over a Mount Vision somewhere in their cycling career, it’s a bike that has a significant place in the history of the sport in converting people to the advantages of full suspension.
For 2011 the Mount Vision gets a similar makeover to the Rift Zone above. So, there’s the new compact Quad Link, an updated tubeset with straighter lines and plenty of hydroforming and, up front, a tapered headtube. The new swingarm is claimed to be 15% stiffer than last years. Travel out back is 140mm and the head tube is 67.5 degrees.
There’s three models to choose from with prices starting at £1849 and topping out at £2999.
Attack Trail get’s the same updates as we’re seeing throughout the Marin range, with the same Quad Link 2.0 and an updated swingarm. Travel is still 150mm and there’s now a tapered head tube and new bottom bracket – it’s forged as one piece with integral ISCG 05 mounts so you can stick your favourite chain guide on
Two models are available, the £2499 6.8 and the £3399 6.9. The latter comes with a Fox Float 36 RlC 160mm fork, SRAM X7/X9, Fulcrum Red wheels, Avid Elixir R brakes and Maxxis Ardent 2.35in tyres.
Marin will be brining the Team CXR 29 over to the UK. It’s got the same carbon fibre frame as on the 26in CXR, but in the larger wheel incarnation. The frame gets a new CXR-T3 carbon layup manufacturing process which uses a tube-to-tube approach. Prices start from £2299.