Marin Bikes Mount Vision 5.8  2010 Mountain Bike Review

Marin Bikes Mount Vision 5.8 2010

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Marin Bikes 43,315

At A Glance

Straight away it is clear that something has changed on the new Mount Vision, there is a touch of finesse about it, the almost industrial business like looks have not gone completely but the bike just looks that bit classier than previous incarnations.

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The changes are not just cosmetic, this years Mount Vision has received something of an overhaul with several changes all adding up to what is a similar bike to last years but yet a very different one.

So has all the tweaking been in vain or is this bike a better ride as well as a better looker…

Tech Heads

The Marin now comes with an integrated headset dropping the front end, the headtube is beefed up adding stiffness to the front end. The welds have been smoothed down giving the frame a clean sculpted look.

By extending the top tube length by 10mm and dropping the bottom bracket combined with a slacker head angle of 68.5º and a steepened seat tube angle of 72.5º Marin are looking to make the Mount Vision a more stable and relaxed ride.

Cable guides on the top tube are provided ready for remote lever cabling should you choose to fit a dropper seat post.

There are further changes at the back end too, the rear swingarm has been revamped and is now lighter and sports replaceable rear dropouts so that you have the option to fit whatever axle system takes your fancy.

The Quad Link rocker links have been slimmed down eliminating the previous problem of hitting your knees on them.

Fox provide 120mm of suspension front and back with an RP23 Boost Valve with pro pedal at the back and a Fox 32 F120RL 15mm through axle up front with rebound adjustment and lock out.

Shifters and rear mech are Sram’s efficient X-9, a Shimano SLX front mech does its job and Truvativ Stylo 3.3 crankset round things out.

Avid Elixir R give good stopping power and Mavic XM-317 rims on Shimano XT hubs make for a reliable wheelset shod with 2.1 Maxxis High Rollers.

Finishing kit is a combination of Marin’s own bars and lock on grips with a WTB saddle and a FSA stem. Our test bike came with a 100mm stem, this is not what will be specced on stock bikes, a 6º rise 80mm stem will come on the 17.5 inch model.

Our test bike is a 17.5 inch frame size and weighs in at 27.8lbs.

On The Trail

Last years Mount Vision had a tendency to feel quite short with your weight bias towards the rear which meant the front end was easy to pop up and gave it a sense of fun, this years bike is that little bit longer and centres your weight more centrally between the wheels. This does take some of the playful nature away but makes the bike ride better across the board.

On the trail the tweaks to the frame and geometry make themselves felt as does the new Boost Valve rear shock.

The overall position on the bike feels more suited to speed than previous models and the bike pedalled better than before. The more relaxed front end and tighter rear combine to give a confidence inspiring ride when things get gnarly yet give a better pedalling position for when the trail turns upwards.

Out back the rear end feels smooth and controlled, this is aided by the new Boost Valve shock which gives better control mid stroke and eliminates the harsh ramp up at the end of the stroke when taking big hits.

Up front there were times when the bike felt a little twitchy, this was mostly in wet, slippery conditions and was a combination of a lively feeling fork and a lack of confidence in the High Rollers abilities in these conditions, a change of rubber helped restore confidence and the fork improved as it seemed to settle in over a few rides.

Climbing is an area where there has been major improvement as the front end stays down better and the seat tube angle positions you better for getting up those hills. The nature of the Quad Link suspension means the back wheel digs in searching out traction too, that said the bike felt better being pushed hard in the middle ring than spinning in the granny ring but overall the climbing performance is good.

Once on the singletrack we found that whilst this bike is not a race whippet it got up to pace well and was able to maintain speed due to the fact it held its lines meaning we could carry speed through the corners.

Heading downhill the Mount Vision has a reputation for being fun and it still is, through in a different way from before, rather than popping off everything and anything it is now a more composed confident descender that feels a little more sophisticated. Some liked this and others felt that the old bully boy attitude was somehow more endearing, opinions are still split.

For

This years bike is about 300 grams lighter the last years model and that finally brings it inline with the competition at just under 28lbs, this added to the changes in geometry and the longer top tube all add up to make a bike that can carve singletrack, climb and descend in equal measure.

Much better looking than before, yes I know it is shallow but looks do matter…

For those that live in areas that get boggy there is significant mud clearance and the shock is nicely tucked away from the worst of the grime.

Still a fun bike to ride, one that will encourage you to push harder and is capable enough in all areas to keep you company anywhere from the local woods to big back country trails.

Against

The main gripe here is one that is very much down to personal preference.

Whilst some of the testers like the fact that the bad boy of 120mm travel bikes has grown up others feel a little sad that the outright aggressiveness has been watered down.

Maxxis High Rollers are a hugely popular tyre but we would have liked to have seen a larger volume. It maybe that a 2.1 was specced in order to give better mud clearance but that would seem strange on a bike with plenty anyway.

Overall

This bike has been around a long time and is the product of many years of evolution rather than revolution, as such it has been moulded into a very capable bike that can do pretty much everything well.

What the Mount Vision has lost in outright aggression it has gained in overall performance, lighter, faster, better handling and a more balanced ride.

Marin has always had a strong following and the new Mount Vision will no doubt win many more admirers.

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This review was in Issue 3 of IMB.

For more information visit Marin Bikes

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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