|Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
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Occasionally I get to demo high end bicycles. I lucked out when Marin bikes hand delivered me a brand spanking new 2009 Mount Vision 5.8. Much to my surprise, Marin offered up the bike to me for a few weeks! To say I was flattered is an understatement. From the get go Marin knew, with utmost confidence, that I’d love their bike and the Quad Link suspension.
What attracts a buyer to consider purchasing a particular bicycle? In my opinion the look of the bike/ first impressions are most important. I would think the name brand weighs in next, then, I feel that positive reviews certainly help, good warranty, price/value may also seal the deal.
Marin bikes resemble no other suspension design in the industry. Marin takes an unconventional approach to suspension perfection by combining a true four bar link with a high forward pivot. This design creates a bike with a longish swing arm. This look is unconventional and invokes strange and sometimes annoying comments.
Obvious to me, the Mount Vision is an XC bike. With a steep head angle of 69 degrees and 4.7” of rear travel, this bike shouts XC. Funny thing, other riders (even experienced riders) would ask me if I was riding a DH bike. To some, the huge swing arm resembles that of a long travel DH bike. This scenario played out many times in my shop and out on the trail. Some people love the look; others think the frame looks odd and is too bizarre for their liking.
I like the look of this bike. Maybe the DH rider in me could care less how robust the swing arm is. I feel the bike has a well balanced, artist look to it. I can appreciate the attention to detail and I’ve always sided on “form follows function”.
Simply put, the Quad Link suspension does everything a suspension bike is supposed to do. I did not feel one bit of pedal feedback. The suspension is unaffected when braking and remains neutral. Small to medium bumps are gobbled up and the suspension ramps aggressively towards bottom out. Sag is easy to set (and also very important to set properly). The FOX rear shock "Pro Pedal" lever is easy to reach if you choose to use it. I used Pro Pedal on fire roads, but the Marin climbs well even in active mode.
The Mount Vision ride is smooth and the bike is a blast to ride. A bike that inspires me to ride again and again is always a winner in my book. Speaking of suspension, the Marin may be too good for XC riding! As good as the FOX Float works up front, it struggles to keep up with this bikes rear suspension. Some riders may become overly confident in their ability to downhill on this bike. A word to the wise, the Mount Vision will pitch you if you over ride her. The BB height is good for clearing rocks and the head angle is responsive and gives the bike a snappy feel, but these geometry specs are not DH friendly.
Negatives: Well nothing is perfect and I have a couple gripes. For one, the Devo WTB saddle was not comfortable and the edges are sharp. I have more than a few black and blues on the inside of my thighs to support this claim. The WTB grips are too fat and squirmy and they’re not lock on. Under extreme g outs, I could feel some swing arm flex. Please keep in mind that I’m a Pro downhiller and I’m riding down very steep terrain that most XC riders would not ride. I’m also spoiled with my King rear hub and can never get used to a Shimano XT. The XT hub has a lot of play/slop to engage forward momentum.
This bike would completely rule the trails with the rear drop outs (and 12mm Maxel axle kit installed) from the Wolf Ridge (Marin’s 5.5” travel bike). These drop outs will fit the Mount Vision, but you would need a new rear hub that is 135mm x 12mm. Why not slap on a King? With this modification, the Mount Vision would be unstoppable!
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