Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

The return of the Wool Fridge (Marin Wolf Ridge 2017)

Posted by Matt | June 6, 2017 | 6 comments so far

Marin Wolf Ridge ProLong-time readers will know our association with Marin bikes.

Back in the dawn of MTB time, Marin were the bikes the founding molefathers aspired to. Partly because we knew no better, partly because the local bike shop sold them and partly because they really weren’t that bad. Dave had an East Peak way back when, while I was very attached to my Muirwoods.

However, the object of our desires was the Wolf Ridge, or Wool Fridge as it was soon memorably dubbed.

That was then. A lot of water and much mud has flowed beneath our wheels since then and it’s fair to say – my detour into semi-fat nothwithstanding – Marin has not been on our radar at all. Too humdrum, too ugly (really, really ugly) and certainly free of the sweet tang of aspiration.

2017 sees a possible change. Marin have just announced the re-introduction of the Wolf Ridge complete with a radical new suspension system. The claim is a 29er that climbs like a 120mm bike and descends like a 160mm bike. When I say ‘like a 160mm bike’ I should really point out it is a 160mm travel bike. It’s just the platform is so efficient climbing that it feels much more like a short travel bike… so I’ve read.

How does it do this? Well, with quite a clever bit of suspension tech first used on the recently launched Polygon Square One and licenced from Naild. Basically, it has a sliding base to the swingarm (like a fork stanchion) which compresses passively as the swingarm moves upward, keeping the chain length constant and providing strong anti-squat characteristics through the bike’s travel. So climbing comes without the usual penalty of energy-wasting bobbing (even out of the saddle), while downhill the bike can benefit from the nice low damping levels needed on the rear shock to gobble up the terrain, without needing to use lockout levers (which we all forget to turn off) or fussy shock damping.

With the bike also sporting a headangle of 66.5° and a long 1174mm wheelbase in size M, it sounds like a great ride on those big 29er wheels.

Design-wise, the connection to the Polygon is clear, with the design using a short lower link and a longer upper link bridge to connect to the shock. All in carbon, as is the swingarm and front triangle, and with a neat built in mudguard.

The only downside for me is the same for all the latest technology. The Wolf Ridge hits the market at £5750 for the ‘base’ model which comes with a Rock Shox Lyric fork and Monarch R rear shock with SRAM Eagle X01 x 12 gearing. Stump up another £2000 and at £7750 the Wolf Ridge Pro comes with Fox Float 36 forkage and a Float X2 rear shock, while the drivetrain moves up to SRAM Eagle XX1 territory. That’s money I don’t have to spend on bikes… sadly.

Anyway, this bike looks good. If you can afford one, check it out as the pricing is in-line with chi-chi brands that don’t have this kind of tech built in. And let me know how it goes!

Filed under 2017, News in June 2017


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 6 comments on ‘The return of the Wool Fridge (Marin Wolf Ridge 2017)’

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  1. Andrew AKAK says:

    I have to disagree on the looks Matt! Similar suspension idea to the Yeti SB bikes and they are actually cheaper!

  2. Elliot says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Andrew, minger! I should point out I occasionally ride mingers 😉 and could get over the looks.

    Interesting concept for the suspension but it doesn’t seem like the bike to turn around Marin’s fortunes. Price, unproven and potentially difficult to source suspension parts are off putting. No bottle mount by the looks of it. Also there’s a big difference between effective and real (very slack) seat tube angles, not good.

    More importantly though Matt, when are you coming out for a Sunday ride? There was rumour circulating that you got abducted by aliens…

    • Matt says:

      You guys are a harsh audience. You’re right, it’s no looker, but the concept looks good surely? Or at least interesting.

      As for Sunday riding, the past few weeks have seen me almost but not quite make it. I’m not sure I’ve got the miles in my legs despite mid week commutes, but it’s more a question of time – been lots of things on and when I have had time in the morning I couldn’t afford the inevitable post-ride slump on the sofa…

      I’ll try and make an effort this week though…

  3. Jemster says:

    Actually saw one at Fort William this week at the downhill champs.
    The Wolf ridge was my first full suspension bike back in 2006, I liked the look back then, thought it was quite radical. The look today though, not so good. Looks a little unbalanced.

    On a close inspection, there are plenty of places for the mud to collect in the lower linkage. Also the price is a little steep, but that seems to be the norm for many top end bikes now.
    Personally I feel Marin have been left behind by other leading brands and some newer less known European bikes too.
    Perhaps they may catch up again in the future, but for now they need to lower their prices for me to be interested.

    • Matt says:

      You are absolutely right Jem, put a Marin up against a YT and it’s no competition for looks or value.

      I think the concept here is interesting and think the system might work quite well as the slider will tend to push mud away from the seal. The rest of the set up is simple linkages and bearings so no problem there.

      But, as I was trying to say in the write up, I am not about to stump up nearly £8K on any bike, let alone this!

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