Last year Marin was hedging its bets with the Mount Vision, it was pitched as a lightweight trail bike/endurance racer but with the introduction of new 100mm Rift Zone the company has been able to shuffle the Mount Vision up the pecking order in terms of travel and intended use. It now gets an additional 20mm front and rear and like most contemporary trail bikes sports a tapered head tube, line guides for a dropper style seat post and a thru axle rear dropout.
The bike is closely related to the Whyte 146 we previewed in the October issue but the geometry is a little bit more conservative due to input from Marin USA. The Mountain Vision has a slightly steeper 67.5-degree head angle, but the same bottom bracket height and wheelbase as the 146. Marin says it has a more European feel to the layout than previous bikes and when compared to last year’s model, the extra length in the wheelbase increases stability on descents and positions the rider in a more effective pedalling position for hammering the climbs.
Weight saving link
Apart from the extra travel and geometry the key change to the chassis is the new Y-Link driving the rear shock. Eliminating one of the pivots/bearings and slimming down the stays has knocked around 15% off the weight of the frame and increased knee clearance but oddly Marin says it’s also boosted lateral stiffness measured at the contact patch by 9%!
The tapered head tube sports a Zero Stack FSA Orbit Z headset, some folk call this semi-integrated but it still uses two (low profile) cups pressed into the frame. The reason is to increase the length of the head tube and weld area. Marin also says riders can fit an ‘angled reducer headset,’ such as a Dia-Compe Angle Set or FSA Orbit Option Nos 67, for further geometry tuning. And while this is also true of all frames with tapered head tubes, it’s a bit of a none feature since you have to downgrade to a narrower 1-1/8th inch steerer and shell out £150 for the headset.
A more usable feature is the modular dropouts, which bolt to the frame using two Allen bolts. The bikes comes stock with standard 135mm QR dropouts but there are several options including SRAM Maxle and the new 12 x 145mm Shimano E-Thru with the extra locating tabs. The dropouts are pricey at £49.99 a set and you may have to lay out for a but the design offers future proofing and the stiffness benefits are significant.
Marin is fitting a mix of FSA and Easton parts and although the EA70 Monkey bar is a quality bit of kit it’s a little narrow at 690mm because 710mm is the minimum requirement on any trail bike and I’d go as far to say 725mm will be the norm before long. Marin’s problem was Easton didn’t make a wider trail bar when this bike was specced a year ago, although I suspect something is planned for 2012.
The Formula R1-X disc brake is a hybrid using the standard RX one-piece calliper but with a R1 brake lever. The latter has a ‘no tool’ reach adjustment, a better lever shape and is a little bit lighter.
The Sun Ringlé Black Flag wheelset uses a tubeless ready rim and the WTB Wolverine TCS (tubeless compatible system) can easily be converted using a Stans No Tubes rim strip and some sealant. The Flags uses a 24mm wide rim and are actually spot on the claimed weight at 1725g. The front wheel is easily converted through the three axle sizes (9, 15 and 20mm) with some plug in end caps but I’d keep an eye on these because they fall out very easily.
To stay competitive Marin has cut back on the components but the new build, geometry and change of focus means you’re not getting short changed. Whether it’s a worthy invest remains to be seen but the Mount Vision is a proper 140mm trail bike in the same vein as a Orange 5 and Lapierre Zesty.
- Frame: 6066 Hydroformed aluminium
- Rear Shock: Fox Float RP23
- Fork: Fox 32 Float RL FIT 140mm, QR15
- Wheelset: Ringle Black Flag Pro
- Tyres: WTB Wolverine Race TCS 2.2in
- Crankset: SRAM X9
- Front Derailleur: SRAM X9
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM X0
- Shifters: SRAM X9
- Brakes: Formula R1-X
- Handlebar: Easton EA70
- Stem: FSA OS150LX
- Seatpost: FSA SL-250
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
- Contact: www.marinbikes.co.uk