160mm travel 29er with woah-inducing R3ACT-2 Play suspension design.

Five years in development the bold-looking Marin Wolf Ridge is a 160mm travel 29er trail-enduro bike that has a whole lot riding on it.

>>> Marin Mount Vision 5 (2017) review

Marin Wolf Ridge need-to-know

  • 160mm travel 29er
  • Carbon fibre
  • Patent-pending Naild R3ACT-2 Play suspension design
  • 66.5° head angle, “low” BB, 435mm chainstays
  • 1x drivetrain only
  • Prices from £5,750

The new Wolf Ridge has been a long time coming. It’s a joint project between Marin and the Naild design team. It’s Naild’s patent-pending ‘R3ACT-2 Play’ system that gives the bike its distinctive and unusual profile and aesthetic.

(It’s not an entirely unique-looking bike. Take a look at the similarly R3ACT-2 Play wielding Polygon Square One)

marin wolf ridge

Cool bolt-on mudguard

The Holy Grail

The R3ACT-2 Play system’s main goal appears to be the removal of chain forces from the suspension action. AKA The Holy Grail.

Now then, the accompanying press release is deliberately a bit scant of precise explanation of how the system works.

It’s what’s inside this extending shaft that is the intriguing thing. There is apparently no damping inside this slider. The shaft somehow dishes out a certain amount of anti-squat throughout the suspension stroke and it’s somehow matched to the mass forces of the rider. Each size frame is based on biometrically assessed and averaged stats of where the key mass points of human bodies are. The slider is there as a structural ‘guide’ and to add stiffness to the system. It also appears as though it reduces the side-loads places upon the rear shock.

marin wolf ridge

What’s in ‘ere?

All we have to go on at the moment is that the R3ACT-2 Play involves “unique core kinematics which manage the inertia of acceleration loads”. Which isn’t very illuminating. But you can understand Marin/Naild being protective of their design.

The chainstays appear to effectively lengthen as the suspension compresses. And the floating pivot changes its location during the compression too. It’s all really rather curious and very, very interesting.

If you watch the animation above you can see what happens with the R3ACT-2 Play suspension system. It’s a fascinating idea and one that we can’t wait to have a go on.

In the meantime here’s what the Marin folk are saying…

Matt VanEnkevort, CEO of Marin Bikes: “I’ve been riding mountain bikes since my first rigid bike in 1983, while the folks at Naild have been in the sport since before aluminum became a frame choice. Those of us that have been around this long have watched the evolution from rigid, to front suspension, to full suspension. If you could have more travel, without a lot of extra weight, or negative pedaling effect, why wouldn’t you? Marin and Naild have combined forces, so that you can have it all – without tricky damping, lockout levers and such. All it takes is superior kinematics and vision. I believe the Naild system will forever change the way we look at travel, and the Wolf Ridge is about to become your new favourite bike. With the Wolf Ridge and the Naild system, a 160mm travel 29er bike can be your everyday ride, and I predict you are going to love it.”

Darrell Voss, founder of Naild: “Naild is honored to be working with a legendary brand like Marin. Marin has literally been at the forefront from the onset of the new age of mountain bikes. The technology that Naild is bringing to market after a decade of solitude development has many symbiotic aspects that are in harmony with the passion of Marin’s core values. It’s with much gratitude that Naild was able to work so closely with Marin as we brought the R3ACT – 2 Play technology to life within Marin’s flagship line of bikes.”

marin wolf ridge


A return to suspension

We haven’t seen such a radically different looking suspension design for an awful long time. The bike industry’s been focussed on wheel and tyre sizes and longer/slacker geometry in recent years. Kudos to Marin (and Naild) for bringing suspension system back into the debate again.