Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Marin Pine Mountain has arrived

Posted by Matt | April 10, 2016 | 29 comments so far

2016 Marin Pine Mountain 1

2016 Marin Pine Mountain 1

Some readers may care to cast their mind back to Autumn of last year when I publicised the release of Marin’s new Pine Mountain, an entry-level introduction to the world of semi-fat mountain bikes.

More properly of course we’re talking about 27.5+ (or Plus size) mountain bikes as this niche is being called. I’m not sure it’s a genuine niche per se as it’s an obvious creation of the bike industry rather than a roots-up adoption of a different way of building bikes, as with the 29er thing. Anecdotally I hear 29ers currently are not selling as well as they used to, so maybe Plus bikes are the next big thing. Certainly they make sense to me; basically roughly 29er diameter wheels with greater volume – for good or ill – in the tyres.

Whichever way you view it, you can’t deny that 27.5+ bikes have a certain appeal. Normally you need to invest in wheels, tyres and forks to get in to this game which is why when Marin announced a complete 27.5+ hardtail – albeit with a rigid fork – for £750 I looked at it and thought this might be a bit of a sleeper hit for this year. So, unusually for me, I bought one on spec, sight unseen and it’s taken until this past couple of weeks for it to arrive.

What a sight it’s turned out to be. The photos don’t really do much for the slightly smoke grey paintwork with the retro style orange transfers neatly applied under a layer of lacquer (they’re not just stickers). The orange fork and stem are really orange and there’s even a bit of orange on the Marin branded but very comfy saddle. All said, I’m pretty impressed.

Marin Pine Mountain 1 fork bridge

Marin Pine Mountain 1 fork bridge

Marin Pine Mountain 1 seatstay clearance

Marin Pine Mountain 1 seatstay clearance

I’m less impressed with how it arrived though from Charlie the Bikemonger, a retailer I chose from one of many mail order options because he has a very good reputation. The bike arrived needing a bit of minor assembly as you’d expect, but with the brakes and shifters already attached to the handlebars. As you can see in the pictures, the cable routing is messy and illogical. Having put the bike together I then realised it needed some adjustment to get the cables correct i.e. passing equally both sides of the head tube, not cramped around one side.

The problem was that I needed to remove the handlebar grips to move things around which is when I discovered the bolts have been rounded off on the right hand grip! Which really disappointed me – to get the gear cable moved I had to disconnect from the derailleur end and slide the outer out of the cable tie retainers. At this point I also found the gear cable had some frayed strands where it had been clamped. So, before I’ve used the bike I’ve had to buy and replace a new gear cable and will have to drill out the handlebar bolts before I can replace the grips in the future.

It’s all a bit disappointing considering I don’t often buy new bikes and I made a point of using Charlie because I’ve heard good things about him – certainly in terms of service he was great. I haven’t raised these issues with him as I’m not sure there’s much he can do about it but I will get in touch with him in the next day or so.

The rest of the bike seems fine with the gears properly indexed – my first impressions of the 11-42 Sunrace cassette seems promising as it drops into bottom gear very easily. To keep the bike looking good I’ve invested in some clear helicopter tape applied to strategic positions on the frame and some Marshguard Slapper Tape to protect against chainslap, so we’ll see how that fares.

Marin Pine Mountain 1 chainstay clearance

Marin Pine Mountain 1 chainstay clearance

I’ll review the bike more fully once I’ve got some miles in.

For now, the starting spec of the bike is:

Component Specification
ComponentFrame SpecificationDouble butted 4130 CroMoly
ComponentFork SpecificationCroMoly rigid with tapered steerer
ComponentCranks SpecificationForged alloy with 32T narrow/wide chainring and hollow spindle
ComponentCassette SpecificationSunrace 11-42T
ComponentRear derailleur SpecificationSRAM X7 Type 2
ComponentShifter SpecificationSRAM X5 10 speed
ComponentBottom bracket SpecificationExternal cartridge
ComponentChain SpecificationKMC X10
ComponentHubs SpecificationFormula 32 hole cartridge for Centrelock discs – non Boost
ComponentRims SpecificationMaddux DD40 27.5+, 40mm internal width, Tubeless Ready
ComponentTyres SpecificationKenda Havoc 2.8
ComponentBrakes SpecificationShimano BR-M445 hydraulic
ComponentDiscs Specification180mm front, 160mm rear
ComponentHandlebar Specification740mm Marin lo-rise (10mm) alloy
ComponentStem SpecificationMarin 3d forged alloy
ComponentHeadset SpecificationFSA Orbit
ComponentSeatpost SpecificationMarin 27mm with integral frame clamp

Visit the Marin website to read more about the Marin Pine Mountain 1.

Filed under Bikes in April 2016


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 29 comments on ‘Marin Pine Mountain has arrived’

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  1. Tony says:

    It looks like a nice bike in a retro sort of way. It’s like being back in the early nineties with that paint job.

    It will be interesting to see how it rides. Oddly I could more see myself riding without a suspension fork compared to riding without a dropper post!

    • Elliot says:

      Yep, my last couple of rigid bikes have had dropper posts. Compulsory equipment!

      Bike looks nice Matt. Looking forward to seeing it on the trails 🙂

      I do like that these Plus bikes have more tyre clearance relative to the tyre size than ‘normal’ bikes. Was the only bike that didn’t block up with mud pie in my local woods.

    • Matt says:

      The only dropper-related issue is I’d need a 27.2mm version – not impossible but I’ll see how it goes.

      The bike has barely turned a wheel at present but feels like it will be a rather enjoyable mileage gobbler rather than an out and out trail ripper. We’ll see.

      I’m waiting for a Neoguard for the rigid fork (remembering Elliot praising his on the Kona) and am wondering if I need a downtube guard as well. If it would sodding well dry out I wouldn’t need either!

  2. Tony says:

    I’ve got a KS Lev 27.2 on my Orange Four and it’s very good if you need a dropper.

    I look forward to seeing the bike out on the (mud free??) trails

  3. Andrew akak says:

    I thought that you might have changed your mind and gone for a Sonder…look forward to hearing how you get on with it.

    • Matt says:

      In the end Andrew I was drawn to the retro-irony of running a Marin again.

      I’ll have to see how it goes, the Sonder Transmitter has a lot going for it in terms of spec and compatibility but is probably more gnarr-oriented than I was looking for and at this stage it is untried. I’m sure it will be good though, I was very impressed by it at the Cycle Show.

      To a certain extent it’s all a bit of an experiment at the moment!

  4. tony says:

    you’ll have to get dirty. Are we set for your reappearance on the trails??

    • Matt says:

      Tony it’s only been three weeks since I last rode! Hoping to be back out this week, have been fixing my Five and building this bike up, plus the house has been getting some attention.

      Lots going on… unlike D’Andy I don’t have the endless holidays to explain my absence 🙂

  5. Kev says:

    Looks nice Matt. Looking forward to seeing it out on some dry n dusty trails soon!! :-/

  6. Jamboy says:

    Getting mine on Wednesday. Should be out giving it a quick test on the day too. I’ll post my first impressions.

  7. Izzy says:

    I’m seriously considering this as my next bike. Very much looking forward to the review.

  8. Israel Magalit says:

    I noticed that the downtube says “made in Indonesia.” Do you have any idea who made the frame?

  9. Mo says:

    Very much looking forward to your review as well Matt. Quite excited about its potential as an adventure bike for dirt road/off road expeditions, providing suspension without the anxiety of suspension fork reliability.

    Could this be the bike for my long planned expedition trips along the Silk route/Pamir highway and the 1000km Carretera Austral?

    Is packing a spare 650b+ tyre for these trips doable?

  10. Jamboy says:

    Just got my quick review wiped ffs!

  11. Jamboy says:

    A speedy review then:

    Overall: Rigid Riding Revelation.
    Gears: Plenty.
    Tyres: Traction, Comfort, Punctureless (OEM too. A first!).
    Weight: Irrelevant.
    Geometry: Balanced.
    Brakes: Faultless.
    Maintenance: Minimal.
    Speed: Surprisingly fast (beat my hardtail 29er PBs already on Strava – even rocky descents!).
    Price: Bargain and 1/2.
    Shite: X5 shifter, of course.
    Missing: Dropper post.

    Recommend: Absolutely.

    • Matt says:

      Jamboy, I’m not sure what happened to anything you wrote earlier – there was no evidence in my list of spam comments so it’s not as if it was shunted off anywhere by the software; the most likely issue is the connection between you and us got interrupted somewhere down the line, too many failure points to count really.

      Thanks for your comments in the PM, I agree with your broad comments (I’ve tidied your comments slightly for readability btw). I’ll expand on them soon with a review but have experienced a puncture on the front from the rim tape pinching the value seat – just bad luck which could happen to anyone.

      • Jamboy says:

        Thx for the tidy. Don’t worry about the wipe. Puncture report – still none. I might drop the pressure a bit from 17psi to 15psi to see how I go. I’m 85kg. Still riding the pine needle trails with great puncture free success. It is a Pine Mountain after all ha. Those top tube frame bag bosses though? Are they for custom frame bags? Can’t find anything online for them and the shop said it was future proof or something. How far into the future are we talking here. Anyone any ideas?

  12. Jamboy says:

    Matt, I take it that you are having too much fun riding your Pine Mountain to review it lol. I’m still falling deeper in love with mine. No punctures still which has resulted in me pushing the bike further. Great for getting my skills improved! I found out from bike that those bosses are for custom bags only which ain’t cheap. Strange for budget bike. I’m gonna just buy a budget top tube bag and doctor it. All I want it for is a bit more room for food and gear for day trips. I’ve very little storage available in my hydration pack but I think it’s logical to put the weight on the bike instead of a new pack.

  13. Darren says:

    I ordered mine today and it should be here in a week. I was torn between this and an on one fatty, decided on the pine mountain in the end as a full fat bike may be too much for what I want. Ill be trying it out in Snowdonia if it gets here in time, ill write a bit of a review when it comes

  14. rbmusica says:

    I’m considering buying the fork only, to replace my 100mm 29er suspension fork (49cm a-c)….this is one of the 2 only tapered steel fork on the market, AFAIK (the other steel tapered fork is the singular rooster fork)

    does the fork fit 29er wheel, too? What’s the max 29er wheel that will fit on this fork, and what’s the weight of the fork? Offset/rake?

    Can’t find any info on the web and marine website…. any help appreciated!

  15. Baz says:

    Just sold my Pine Mountain One (30th anniversary edition) 17 inch, it was too heavy for me and a bit too large on the geometry. Very noticeable if your spending a whole day out and carrying bike too!
    Having said that it is a fun ride with a nice bounce over pretty much anything, but as with nostalgia though it’s best left behind and move on.

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  17. Bud says:

    Hey I’ve just come across this article after trying to find out if there’s a compression cap on this Marin Pine Mountain. I bought a pre-loved one recently and wondered why there’s no cap on the spindle to assist in securing the cranks. Should there be?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Bud, I have to confess I can’t really help!

      I have now moved this bike on and never paid any close attention to the crank as it worked fine for me. It is definitely a hollow spindle type, but not like a Shimano one which normally has the pre-tensioner on the non-driveside and a couple of cinch bolts on the crank arm.

      These probably use a hollow crank bolt to compress the crankarm onto the spindle, these usually take a 8 or 10mm allen key. The bolts are usually pretty cheap to source but Marin might be your first port of call as I think the crankset was unbranded/own brand stuff.

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