Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 Review
- Price: $499
- Frame: Aluminum
- Front fork: Suntour XCE28
- Wheels: 27.5″ / 29″ Aluminum
- Drivetrain: 3×7
What we like about it: The 3×7 drivetrain delivers a great shifting experience.
What we don’t like about it: The mechanical disc brake system is not friendly to the pros who like high-end brake setups.
Marin is a California-based bicycle brand with nearly forty years of history, and it is well-known for its mountain bikes. As a former downhill champion, Marin excels in the mountain bike category. Today, we bring you a highly cost-effective hardtail mountain bike – the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 is a cross-country bike with a hardtail suspension. With 100mm of front travel, it offers improved shock absorption. The 3×7 drivetrain provides optimal speed options for different road conditions. The 27.5” tires deliver sufficient traction. Moreover, the wide tire design and irregular knobs effectively increase friction.
In the following sections, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1. In the latter part of this article, we will also compare it to several other top bike models. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, feel free to follow us.
Smooth lines, seamless maneuverability, and impressive skills—my love for the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 was instant. To experience the bike’s performance firsthand, I headed to Red Rock, located in Las Vegas. It’s a desert landscape characterized by red rocks.
Over a 13-mile route, as the road twisted and turned, I could deeply appreciate the allure of Red Rock and the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1. I booked my flight to Red Rock through Skyscanner, which was very convenient.
Without further ado, let’s embark on the journey with the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1!
Venturing through Red Rock Canyon
To fully enjoy the beauty of Red Rock Canyon, I traveled to Las Vegas. It’s worth mentioning that the roads in Red Rock Canyon are not flat. That’s precisely why I chose the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 as my off-road mountain biking companion.
Starting from Charleston Street, I occasionally encountered fellow adventurers along the way. I was glad that I wouldn’t be alone on this journey, but I would brake whenever I approached them to avoid collisions.
The braking performance of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 was quite good, and I appreciated its responsive and efficient disc brakes. They met my braking needs to a great extent.
Furthermore, as I entered the entrance of Red Rock Canyon, I was amazed by the undulating terrain.
The 3×7 gearing system provided a diverse range of speeds, giving me an exhilarating sensation as I faced different road conditions. The color scheme of Gloss Grey/Black/Roarange exuded vibrancy and turned heads.
I also appreciated the multiple mounting points on this bike. Keep in mind that Las Vegas has a dry climate. Although my riding time was only a few hours, I brought sunscreen and an ample water supply.
These mounting points provided convenient storage options for my supplies. Additionally, their positioning didn’t interfere with mounting and dismounting, so I didn’t have to worry about tripping over them.
Cruising through Spring Mountain Ranch
After leaving Red Rock Canyon, riding a distance will take you to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. It’s an excellent photography spot where you can explore the beauty of the desert oasis along the slightly uneven paths alongside the creek.
As I rode along the creek, encountering gravel and puddles on the roadside, the excellent front suspension travel of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 absorbed the bumps I could feel on the bike, providing greater stability through substantial cushioning.
Moreover, I started my ride in the early afternoon and continued until sunset, and I didn’t experience any discomfort in my lower back. This is due to the excellent frame shape of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1, which gave me tremendous comfort and a sense of safety.
Lastly, the notable straight handlebar design of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 means it has a wider grip. This improved maneuverability. Riding on the rugged mountain paths alongside the creek, I didn’t feel any insecurity.
It truly was an unforgettable riding experience!
The Marin Bolinas series consists of two models, with the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 featuring innovative and experimental design. It comes in three color options: Gloss Grey/ Black/ Roarange, giving it a youthful and handsome look.
The sleek geometric lines and sturdy frame structure effectively reduce road vibrations. The straight handlebar design gives the bike a more minimalist appearance.
Compared to a curved handlebar, the straight handlebar provides a wider grip, enhancing control and stability.
Furthermore, the external cable routing design gives it a rugged visual appeal that matches the character of a hardtail mountain bike.
Additionally, the 3×7 gearing system allows for faster speeds, and with 21 speeds, it offers a greater variety of speed combinations to meet diverse riding demands.
The longer wheelbase provides stability for the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1, resulting in a more controlled ride. The design of the 27.5”/29” tires showcases enhanced traction.
The protruding knobs on the tires effectively absorb road bumps, providing a better riding experience while minimizing the risk of tire punctures.
Notably, the 100mm front suspension travel plays a significant role in cushioning the impact from various road surfaces and adapting to complex terrains.
Professional riders who enjoy aggressive riding will surely appreciate this feature. Another notable characteristic is that the hardtail suspension design balances the flexibility and stability between the front and rear of the bike.
The agile front end offers great convenience for steering, while the hardtail ensures the bike remains stable and avoids slipping.
What do we like about it?
- Stylish color options: Gloss Grey/Black/Roarange or Gloss Blue/Off-White/Roarange, resembling a young and handsome rider.
- Multiple mounting points on the frame: Convenient for securely attaching equipment for long-distance journeys.
- Fantastic tire design: The wider tires and pronounced tread knobs provide increased traction and stability.
- Versatile gearing system: The 3×7 gearing system ensures speed while offering more possibilities for riding on different terrains.
- Wider wheelbase: The wider wheelbase provides a more stable frame, distributing pressure and weight evenly between the front and rear wheels.
What don’t we like about it?
- The mechanical disc brake system may not be as friendly for those who frequently ride downhill.
- Which audience is this bike suitable for?
Novice riders, those who ride frequently over diverse terrain, and those who demand high levels of riding comfort.
- What sizes are available for this bike?
This bike comes in four sizes to accommodate different rider heights.
- What other versions of Marin Bolinas are available?
Here we have provided you with a version comparison. Of course, it doesn’t have to be according to this standard, and the best way to find the most suitable model is to try it out.
|Marin Bolinas Ridge 1
|3 × 7
|Marin Bolinas Ridge 2
|3 × 8
|Series 1 6061 Aluminum, 27.5″/29″ Wheels, Low Standover, 68mm BB shell, 135mm Forged Dropouts, Chainstay Mounted Disc Brakes
Colors: Gloss Grey / Black/roarange; Gloss Blue / Off-White/roarange
|SR/Suntour XCE Disc, 100mm Travel, Preload Adjustment, 46mm Offset
|Sealed Cartridge Bearings, Square Taper
|Marin Alloy, 31.8mm, 45mm
|Marin 31.8 Riser, 12mm Rise, 780mm Width
|Marin Alloy, 27.2mm
|Marin MTB, Closed End
|Shimano Tourney, 7-Speed
|Alloy Crank, Steel Chainrings, 42/34/24T
|Shimano Tourney 3×7-Speed
|SunRace 7-Speed, 11-34T
|Shimano w/ Integrated Shifters
|Marin, Double Wall Alloy
|Forged Alloy, Disc, 32H
|Forged Alloy, Disc, 32H
|Click to view
|Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2
|Click to View
|1 × 12
|SRAM SX Eagle
|Polygon CASCADE 2
|Click to View
|3 × 7
|Orbea ALMA H30
|Click to View
|1 × 12
|2024 KHS ALITE 50
|Click to View
|3 × 7
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 vs Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2
These are two bikes that are very similar in terms of geometric and tire design. Their frames have a more inclined top tube.
Moreover, the straight handlebar design provides riders with a safer and more maneuverable riding experience.
It should also be noted that the wide tires and the pronounced tread provide greater efficiency in terms of ground traction.
Their biggest difference lies in the drivetrain system. The Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 features a 3×7 drivetrain system, where 3x is commonly used in more affordable bikes.
The benefit of this setup is that it ensures a certain level of riding quality without incurring high costs, making it suitable for everyday use.
On the other hand, the Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 features a 1×12 drivetrain system. Its advantage lies in eliminating the front derailleur, which provides better chain retention on rough roads.
At the same time, the latter has a simpler gear ratio, which is advantageous for climbing steep terrain or carrying luggage.
In conclusion, if you don’t have a preference for the higher-cost 1x drivetrain system and are looking for a relatively inexpensive bike for daily use, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 might be your best match.
If you’re seeking a more speed-oriented experience and better chain retention, the Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 is likely to surprise you.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 vs Polygon CASCADE 2
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 and Polygon CASCADE 2 have many similarities. Both bikes are equipped with 100mm front travel.
Additionally, they both feature a 3×7 drivetrain system and utilize mechanical disc brake systems. Even in terms of price, the two bikes are quite similar.
However, their appearances may evoke different visual experiences. Polygon CASCADE 2 has a blue main frame with yellow accents, giving it a very aggressive and vibrant look.
If we were to compare it to a person, it would be like a lively, agile, and mischievous teenager. On the other hand, Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 is quite different.
It comes in colors like Gloss Grey or Gloss Blue, creating a harmonious combination. It resembles a courteous, resourceful, and handsome young man.
In conclusion, if you’re seeking a bold and striking color scheme, you may consider Polygon CASCADE 2. If you prefer a stylish and eye-catching color combination, take a look at Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 vs Orbea ALMA H30
In terms of performance and specifications, the Orbea ALMA H30 has a superior factory configuration compared to the other bike.
It features 29″ Aluminum rims, a 1×12 drivetrain system, and 100mm front suspension travel.
However, its biggest advantage lies in its hydraulic disc brake system, which offers better braking power and less brake loss compared to the mechanical disc brakes on the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
Additionally, the ALMA H30 has another highlight: its internal cable routing design, which is less prone to dirt accumulation compared to the external cable routing design of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1, making it more convenient for disassembly and maintenance.
Due to the better performance of the Orbea ALMA H30, it also comes with a higher price tag compared to the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
The former is nearly three times the price of the latter. So, if you have a limited budget, the more expensive option may not be suitable.
In such cases, if you are looking for a budget-friendly everyday hardtail mountain bike, you can consider the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
Its SR/Suntour XCE Disc fork and Shimano Tourney 3×7-Speed Shifters will adequately meet your daily riding needs.
Therefore, if you have a sufficient budget and prioritize better braking performance and internal cable routing design, you can choose the Orbea ALMA H30.
If you are looking for a bike with good value for money and suitable for everyday riding, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 warmly welcomes you.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 vs 2024 KHS ALITE 50
The KHS ALITE 50 and Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 have two major differences: the tires and front suspension travel.
The KHS ALITE 50 features 26″ aluminum tires, which are narrower compared to the 27.5/29×2.25″ tires on the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1.
The advantage of narrower tires is that they are lighter, provide a more agile bike, and have better acceleration. However, there are drawbacks to narrow tires as well.
They may have less traction and can be prone to slipping on excessively smooth terrain.
On the other hand, wider tires have their benefits. They offer excellent traction and comfort, especially on muddy or rough surfaces.
The trade-off is a potential reduction in speed. Fortunately, tires can be replaced later on, so if you don’t prefer wide tires, you can switch to regular road bike tires.
Another difference lies in the front suspension travel. The KHS ALITE 50 has a 60mm front travel, which may have slightly lower adaptability.
For everyday riding, this amount of front travel is sufficient, providing good support without significant bottoming out.
However, for professional riders who are passionate about competitive racing, this value may not meet their requirements.
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 1, with its 100mm front travel, can handle a wider range of terrains, but it may experience fork compression during flat ground riding.
In conclusion, if you prefer wider tires and higher front travel values, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 is worth considering.
If you think wider tires and larger front travel would be troublesome for your flat-ground riding, I recommend the KHS ALITE 50.
Above is our test of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 1, which is a worthy mid-range hardtail mountain bike. Its sleek lines, smooth frame, and impressive capabilities make it highly attractive.
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 1 is a bike worth purchasing. Considering the factors mentioned above, we have given it a high rating of 4.7.
Of course, if you’re interested in other hardtail mountain bikes, we also review a variety of bikes at different price ranges, all of which are interesting in their own right. Feel free to check out our related tests.
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