Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 Review
- Price: $599
- Frame: Aluminum
- Front fork: Suntour XCM
- Wheels: 27.5″ / 29″ Aluminum
- Drivetrain: 3×8
What we like about it: The high-end hydraulic disc configuration delivers a cost-effective brake experience.
What we don’t like about it: The 3×8 conventional system may not be the best choice for partners who prefer a lighter body.
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 is a mid-range hardtail mountain bike. The upright geometry design allows for a comfortable riding position.
The blue or black paint adds a rugged and bold visual effect. The 100mm of front travel provides strong suspension performance for the bike. The 29″ / 27.5″ aluminum wheels offer excellent compatibility.
The 3×8 drivetrain provides better adaptability to different terrains. The application of hydraulic disc brakes maximizes the bike’s braking efficiency.
In the following analysis, we will explore the riding experience, key features, components, and specifications of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2, as well as compare it to other models in the latter part of the article.
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The smooth exterior, stylish design, and excellent braking performance are the highlights of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2.
To experience the bike’s performance firsthand, I booked a hotel and flight to Cape Town, South Africa, on Skyscanner, planning for a city-wide cycling adventure.
Cape Town is known for its multicultural blend and is one of the cycling meccas, often hosting global bike races.
Without further ado, let’s hit the road with the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2!
I vividly remember cycling along the quiet roads of the Cape Peninsula in Cape Town, winding my way up and over the hills of the peninsula. It wasn’t a flat ride, and I needed a bike with good climbing capabilities.
Thanks to the Shimano Altus drivetrain of this bike, I could easily tackle both moderate and steeper slopes at different speeds.
It’s important to note that testing a bike’s climbing performance isn’t just about its gears but also about its endurance and durability.
The 29″ / 27.5″ aluminum tire width of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 provided excellent traction and grip, allowing me to climb with confidence.
Its sturdy frame made it less susceptible to damage and more durable. Riding along the Cape Peninsula coast, feeling the refreshing sea breeze, was pure bliss.
On my way to the Garden Route in Cape Town, there was a slightly challenging downhill section on the road. This presented a significant test for the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2.
To my delight, the hydraulic disc brake offered exceptional braking performance, providing a smooth riding experience, even when encountering steep descents.
However, as the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 is a hardtail bike, it’s worth mentioning that the rear end’s suspension can’t eliminate vibrations and jumps on larger drops.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the Shimano Altus 8-speed rear derailleur has strong tension, meeting my riding demands to a great extent.
It was truly an unforgettable cycling experience, both the scenery of Cape Town and the Bolinas Ridge 2!
The Marin Bolinas series consists of two models. The Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 replaces the mechanical disc brakes of the first series with more efficient hydraulic disc brakes.
After the experiments with the first series, this bike is ready to shine. So, what are the features of this bike? Let’s find out!
The biggest improvement of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 compared to its predecessor is the hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes have less power loss, making them more effective than mechanical disc brakes under the same road conditions.
Especially for mountain bikes, which frequently encounter different terrains, their braking systems have higher requirements compared to everyday road bikes.
In addition, the 100mm of front travel cushions the impact from various road surfaces, adapting to complex terrains.
The hardtail suspension design balances the flexibility and stability of the front and rear of the bike. The agile front end provides great maneuverability, while the hardtail provides sufficient traction to prevent slipping at the rear.
In terms of geometry, it has an excellent design.
The straight-line design creates sleek lines, and the perfect balance of seat tube and head tube angles offers a more comfortable riding position.
The outstanding front fork provides better rebound sensitivity, and the mounting holes on the downtube improve convenience for carrying supplies during travels.
What do we like about it?
- Excellent disc brakes: The hydraulic disc brakes greatly enhance the braking performance and efficiency of the entire bike.
- Smooth geometry design: The straight-line frame design gives a smooth and silky appearance.
- Greater wheel compatibility: It can accommodate 27.5/29×2.25″ tires, providing strong compatibility.
- Various sizes: It offers sizes suitable for both minors and adults to find their perfect fit.
- Wider wheelbase: The wider wheelbase provides a stable chassis, evenly distributing pressure and weight between the front and rear wheels.
What don’t we like about it?
- The 3×8 drivetrain may not be friendly to those who prefer lighter bike setups.
- What kind of people is this bike suitable for riding?
It is suitable for beginners, riders who frequently encounter diverse terrains, those who prioritize riding comfort, and people who appreciate better braking performance.
- What sizes does this bike come in?
It comes in five sizes, catering to different height ranges.
- 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 Black / Green/silver; Gloss Blue / Black/grey
|SR/Suntour XCM DS, 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 Altus, 8-Speed
|Alloy Crank, Steel Chainrings, 42/34/24T
|Shimano Altus 3×8-Speed
|SunRace 8-Speed, 11-34T
|Clark’s Clout Hydraulic
|Marin, Double Wall Alloy
|Forged Alloy, Disc, 32H
|Forged Alloy, Disc, 32H
|Click to view
|Trek X-Caliber 8
|Click to View
|1 × 12
|Click to View
|1 × 12
|Liv Tempt 5
|Click to View
|2 × 7
|Norco Storm 5 27.5
|Click to View
|3 × 7
|Tourney, Altus, Shimano
Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 vs Trek X-Caliber 8
As a hardtail mountain bike, the standout feature of the Trek X-Caliber 8 is its 1×12 Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain. The 1x setup provides it with lighter weight and more convenient operation.
It performs well when tackling both uphill and downhill terrain. Additionally, the Maxxis Ardent Race tires deliver excellent performance on rugged roads.
In comparison, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 may not appear as outstanding. However, it is designed for beginners. It offers the best performance within its limited price range.
The application of hydraulic disc brakes ensures the safety of novice riders, and the 100mm front fork travel effectively absorbs impacts from the road.
In summary, if you are a professional rider seeking a highly professional and high-end drivetrain system, the Trek X-Caliber 8 might be your best choice. If you are looking for the best value bike for daily riding, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 is likely to surprise you.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 vs Specialized Chisel
The Specialized Chisel is a relatively excellent hardtail mountain bike. Its standout feature is the use of the SRAM SX groupset.
In my opinion, when it comes to mountain bikes, the SRAM SX groupset offers better performance and higher quality compared to the Shimano Altus groupset.
The SRAM SX Eagle trigger, 12-speed shifter, rear derailleur, and SRAM SX Eagle Powerspline crank provide the Specialized Chisel with better carbon fiber construction, stronger rear tension, and more precise and responsive shifting.
The Shimano Altus groupset, on the other hand, being the entry-level Shimano groupset, falls far behind the SRAM SX in terms of quality.
However, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 has greater tire compatibility. The Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 uses 29″ / 27.5″ tires, which means it is compatible with two different sizes.
In contrast, the Specialized Chisel only offers compatibility with one tire size, providing fewer options and being less friendly for those who prefer narrower tires.
If you are seeking higher-quality components, you may consider the Specialized Chisel. If you prefer greater tire compatibility, take a look at the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 vs Liv Tempt 5
The Liv Tempt 5 is a hardtail mountain bike designed specifically for women that I like.
In terms of geometry, the Liv Tempt 5 has a lower standover height compared to the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2.
This takes into consideration the height characteristics of women.
Additionally, the top tube of the Liv Tempt 5 is more sloped, making it easier for women to mount and dismount without tripping over.
The saddle is designed to be softer, providing more comfort for women during rides.
On the other hand, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 has its advantages.
Its hydraulic disc brake system offers excellent braking performance, and compared to the mechanical disc brakes of the Liv Tempt 5, the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 provides less brake power loss.
If both bikes are at a similar price, the model with hydraulic disc brakes is more competitive.
Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 vs Norco Storm 5 27.5
The Norco Storm 5 27.5 is a hardtail mountain bike designed with smaller riders in mind. It offers sizes ranging from 137cm to 174cm, ensuring that individuals with smaller frames can find the right fit.
The more sloped top tube and lower standover height are both considerations made with this in mind.
However, the standout feature of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 is its professional-grade performance. The use of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, 100mm front travel, and the option for 29″ / 27.5″ tire sizes truly showcase its unmatched appeal.
The Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 perfectly blends performance, value, and fun, making it an excellent choice for beginners just getting into mountain biking or riders who want a high-value bike that requires less frequent maintenance.
To summarize, if you’re in the market for a smaller-sized bike, the Norco Storm 5 27.5 is worth considering. If you’re looking for a high-value bike that requires less maintenance, I highly recommend the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2.
Above is our review of the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2. It is a solid mid-range hardtail mountain bike. Its sleek appearance, stylish design, and excellent braking make it a standout option.
We believe that the Marin Bolinas Ridge 2 is a bike worth purchasing.
Of course, if you’re interested in other hardtail mountain bikes, we also review a wide range of bikes at various price points, and we cover some exciting options. Feel free to check out our other reviews.
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