At A Glance
When I opened the box from California, I instantly got delusions of grandeur; I’ve raced to a high level in several disciplines, so with a shiny white carbon steed, surely I could add another to that list!Buy XC Bikes on
Lightweight, stiff, bolt thru front and rear and a tapered head tube, the CXR 29er certainly looked like it would fit my delusions well! It was also great to be able to climb back onboard a Marin; my first real mountain bike that started this journey of mine was an old Marin Nail Trail, where would this one take me?!
The build kit is solid and lightweight, with a SRAM XO1 11-speed drivetrain, Guide brakes and FOX Float 32 forks, even the Marin branded components look and feel spot on, with it being hard to justify any upgrades out of the box, unless you really must have some extra branding on your stead.
On The Trail
On the hills the CXR out-performed my fitness and ability, making it obvious that although the bike may be ready, I wasn’t prepared to hit the start line…yet!
The stiffness of the carbon frame and bolt thru axles front and rear transferred every ounce of power into the ground, propelling me ever higher up the climbs and faster out of each corner. The Marin’s cross-county race pedigree is evident from the start, whilst my strong suit, the downhill sections, weren't held back by the Californian brands descending prowess.
With the bars slammed as low as the large FSA C-40 headset would allow, the CXR can be set up to feel more like a trail bike than the traditional twitchy race bike that you would expect, which suits my more gravity orientated background.
The kind guys at Marin clearly packed a little bit of that Californian sunshine with the bike, as every time it’s been wheeled out of the garage, the sun has been shining and the trails dry, which suited the Schwalbe tyres that came as stock on the CXR. Extremely fast rolling and light, they are great for smooth, dry conditions, but that lightness of the Racing Ralphs can come back and bite you when the trail gets rocky, it’s a fine balancing act between weight and strength. If you are looking to race at the sharp end, which this bike will inspire you to do, then a selection of tyres should be in your arsenal anyway to optimise the bike for each track. These would be one of three pairs that we would bring with us, along with some with heavier casing and a pair for when the going gets muddy.
I can’t testify on the bikes mud clearing abilities, thanks to the glorious weather I’ve ridden in since the bike arrived, but I’ve been told Marin won’t guarantee that!
Marin Team CXR 29er
Seat tube: 431.8mm
Effective top tube: 597mm
Head tube: 110mm
Chain stay: 445mm
BB height: 317mm
Head angle: 71.5°
Seat angle: 73.5°
Weight: 22lbs 3oz
This review was in Issue 37 of IMB.For more information visit Marin Bikes
By Rou ChaterRou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.