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Review: A Killer Mountain Bike That Does Everything, Affordably

Marin celebrates 30 years with a rock-solid, affordable bike.

Not every day is race day when it comes to bikes. At their core, these two­-wheeled marvels of ingenuity and design are made for efficient, functional transportation across diverse landscapes and having fun outside. Few bikes encompass this central tenet of bicycle recreation better than Marin’s Pine Mountain series.

As a part of their 30th-anniversary collection, Marin’s 27.5+ Pine Mountain platform was designed to do just about anything, from shredding technical singletrack to loaded, multi-day cross­country adventures. Notable features common to the Pine Mountain 1 and 2 include sturdy and reliable CroMoly frame construction, stable and efficient 1x drivetrains, and tubeless­ ready plus sized rims prepared to roll over any obstacle. The fully rigid Pine Mountain 1 sacrifices some of the features of the Pine Mountain 2 hardtail but can be had for under $1,000.

Vital Specs


Price: $2,749
Wheel Size: 27.5+
Suspension Travel: 120mm Front
Frame Material: Columbus Thron Butted and Formed CrMo
Weight: 29.6 pounds
Test Location: Bend, OR

At a slightly higher price point ($2,749), the Pine Mountain 2 comes fully equipped. A Columbus Thron CrMo frameset, Fox Float suspension fork, Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes, Nalid through­axle dropouts, and a Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain ensure this bike is ready for high­-level riding straight out of the box. Pine Mountain 2’s no-frills aesthetic, including a satin clear coat over the Columbus tubing and the classically sparse look of CroMoly tubes, is nicely complemented by partially internal cable routing, exposed brazes and a variety of emblems containing the numbers 86 and 16, a tribute to Marin’s 30­-year history. According to Marin’s brand director, Chris Holmes, “The Pine Mountain was a stalwart in the Marin’s lineup for many years,” and this anniversary edition of the bike remains true to its roots, while taking advantage of some of the highest-quality components the modern market has to offer.

I had the opportunity to put the Pine Mountain 2 through its paces in Phil’s Trail, a complex in Bend, Oregon, over the last couple of months, and several things stood out. First and foremost, the 27.5+ platform is decadent. Squishy 2.8-inch tires on wide 27.5-inch rims make for a plush ride that is both confident and playful. Larger tires create a rolling diameter similar to that of a standard 29-inch wheel, which kept me rolling fast even on technical descents. But perhaps most surprising of all was how snappily this bike handled over varied terrain, thanks to its well-balanced frame geometry. Meaty 27.5×2.8-inch WTB Trailblazer tires may not be as nimble as your 26×2.0s, but I felt as comfortable picking my way through rock gardens on local­ favorite trails Grand Slam and VooDoo as I did bombing the flowy downhills of Phil’s Canyon. And with the stock dropper post that comes on the Pine Mountain 2, transitioning from slogging up steep grades to accelerating down epic descents is a snap. Additionally, its multitude of rack- and fender-mounting options make the Pine Mountain a viable option for loading up the bike with a tent and sleeping bag for overnight adventures. Simple and reliable in design, you’re unlikely to find yourself stranded on this bike should you choose to embark on such a journey.

Don’t let it’s straightforward design, classic look, and sturdy tubeset fool you: The Pine Mountain 2 is an all­-trail beast that can truly ride anywhere. And 30 years on, it’s an authentic reflection of the Marin’s heritage and is sure to provide a fun ride, no matter the destination.

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