Last time we spoke in depth to Marin, the brand’s representatives proudly declared “we’re on our way back to the top of the mountain bike market tree.”
Shortly after the February 2012 takeover and subsequent investment by European investors Minestone Limited, Marin began to evolve. First of all came investment in human resources and with that, naturally came the product innovation in which the brand has a long history, particularly when it comes to the off-road machines on which the brand became known as a leader.
“With absolutely no disrespect to former staff who too have been great, Marin has never been so strong in terms of the strength and depth of our people across the board,” says Tom Brown, the brand’s international sales and marketing man.
“Our key brand management positions have some seriously talented people and our pavement segment designer, for example, is one of the best. He’s totally focused and passionate about this area and it shows in the finished product.”
And Brown has some kind words for those representing the label in the UK too, which has become a strategically big market for the brand.
“We’ve been really impressed with our distributors, particularly Paligap in the UK. In fact, I find the UK market to be an extremely switched on place when compared to some other territories. The dealers we’ve met aren’t stuck discussing how things used to be. Their hands are out of their pockets, they’re leading the way when it comes to IT, click and collect and new ideas to drive footfall.”
When it comes to the fresh 2016 bikes, Marin has some interesting builds that’ll offer the rider plenty of versatility. One example is the Pine Mountain One 27.5+, which has been created to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary and tackle any terrain with its large 2.9 tyres.
“I’ve had to update my stock forecasts twice. It’s incredibly difficult to predict stock and sales, especially on new and perhaps niche products, but these bikes have been very well received by our distributors. Steel bike trends come and go, but we think we’ve hit the nail on the head with the Pine Mountain.”
Then there’s the Gestalt, a new gravel bike. Built around an alloy frame, it’s sporting Sram’s 1x11 Rival single ring, with a super-wide XD Drive cassette. It’s subtle details like an oversized cooling fin on the front caliper, totally unique to Marin’s fork, that make the difference in handling and consistent performance (even when loaded with luggage). Also of note on this and other builds, is a new 90-degree twist quick release axle, dubbed Naild and adopted by Marin to make mechanic’s lives easier and the bike’s feedback stiffer.
Traditional territory, though evolving in terms of wheel size and geometry, is well covered too.
Pro level off-road builds are now, to the delight of many, specced with BOS Suspension, in a partnership that sees the fork manufacturer explore OEM avenues further. “There’s great acceptance for the BOS brand in the UK,” says Brown. “We’ve had a lot of positive comments from riders.”
On the 29-inch wheel front, the Rift Zone features 110mm of travel at the back, with 120mm up front. Frame wise you’ve a choice of two alloy (beginning £1,500) and four carbon builds (ranging £2,500 to £5,500), the latter of which has internal cable routing and 1x11.
If it’s a trail bike your customer is after it’ll be the Mount Vision Pro catching their eye. Based around the IsoTrac suspension platform, there are alloy buids between £1,500 and £2,400, as well as a carbon line spanning £3,500 to £5,500.
Finally, the braver riders out there will have eyes for the 150mm Attack Trail Pro. Perfect for enduro, among other things, all models carry 1x11, downtube protection, a direct mount rear mech and plenty more.
All three of these off-road platforms offer a frameset at £2,200. Paligap: 01454 332110