Is Marin DSX FS A Perfect Selection? – [Marin DSX FS Review]

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Marin DSX FS Review

  • Price: $1,599
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Front fork: Suntour GVX
  • Wheels: 700c Aluminum
  • Drivetrain: 1×12

What we like about it: The 1x shifting system accomplishes an efficient shifting ride with less mass.

What we don’t like about it: There are no other color models available except for the classic black model.

Rating: (4.8/5)

Marin DSX FS
Marin DSX FS

With its vintage aesthetics, sleek lines, and harmonious proportions, the Marin DSX FS is a force to be reckoned with in the mid-to-high-end gravel bike category.

Marin is a California-based bike brand with a history spanning nearly four decades, and it is well-known for its mountain bikes.

As a former downhill champion, Marin has a high level of expertise in mountain biking. However, the brand also consistently explores fresh and experimental approaches across its other bike models.

The Marin DSX FS is one of its mid-to-high-end gravel bikes. Its linear geometry design gives it a remarkably smooth and comfortable appearance.

The perfect combination of black paint and brown rims enhances its vintage style, making it impossible not to admire its aesthetic appeal. At the same time, its modern components further highlight its high-end and stylish nature.

In the following sections, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, and specifications, as well as other versions of the Marin DSX FS.

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.

Riding Experience

I thoroughly enjoy riding a gravel bike through the streets. Gravel bikes offer a broader range of uses compared to regular commuter road bikes. I not only use them for commuting but also choose them as my travel companions when exploring and sightseeing.

To test the performance of the newly purchased Marin DSX FS gravel bike, I booked a hotel through Skyscanner and arrived at Angle Lake Park in Seattle.

Here, I can ride through the shade of trees, experience the coolness, and take breaks to meditate on the grass by the lake.

Without further ado, let’s explore the charm of Angle Lake Park together with the Marin DSX FS.

LongDistance Riding

For this ride, I prepared plenty of luggage, and the multiple mounting points on the bike allowed me to carry everything I needed without worries.

It took me nearly an hour to ride to the entrance of Angle Lake Park, but thanks to the excellent endurance of the Marin DSX FS, it was a breeze. As I rode on the gravel road, I could feel the outstanding grip provided by the WTB Riddle tires.

The surface particles not only enhance friction but also strengthen the reactive force during pedaling.

I appreciate the sleek design of the Marin DSX FS, especially the internal cable routing, which adds to the visual enjoyment.

The moderate seat tube height was just right for me, providing extra comfort for this ride.

After a while of riding, I still felt full of energy. This is thanks to the 1×12 Shimano drivetrain, which allows me to maintain a consistent pace at different speeds.

The high-performance SLX and Deore components further contribute to an excellent riding experience.

Unconsciously, I reached the entrance of Angle Lake Park, yet I still had the energy to ride a few more laps. I believe this is undoubtedly due to the Marin DSX FS’s exceptional endurance.

Gravel Road Riding

Finally, I reached the entrance of Angle Lake Park, the gravel haven I had been looking forward to. Riding on the gravel path provided me with a comfortable experience.

This is thanks to the 60mm of suspension travel, which effectively cushions the bumps on the uneven gravel road. The Vee Tire Co. Rocket Man, 700Cx44mm tires offer excellent grip and traction, preventing me from slipping around on the gravel.

During my ride, I encountered many pedestrians, which made me concerned about safety.

However, I was relieved to have the powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, which provided outstanding braking performance, allowing me to maintain a safe distance from pedestrians at all times.

After an hour-long ride, I finally completed this journey. It was a delightful trip, and I’m proud of the impressive performance of the Marin DSX FS.

If you’re looking to buy your first bike, I think the Marin DSX FS would be a great choice.


The Marin DSX series consists of four models, and the Marin DSX FS, being the highest-performance bike in the series, has garnered widespread attention due to its vintage aesthetics, sleek lines, and harmonious proportions.

So, what are its key features? Let’s take a look together.

Firstly, I believe the designers of the Marin DSX series have a good understanding of color philosophy, particularly evident in the color schemes of the Marin DSX 2 and Marin DSX FS, which beautifully showcase a sense of color coordination and proportion.

The linear geometry design of the Marin DSX FS gives it a remarkably smooth and comfortable appearance. The harmonious combination of black paint and brown rims sparks endless imagination, matching the vintage style.

Secondly, the highlights of the Marin DSX lie in its SLX and Deore components and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

As we all know, the SLX and Deore groupsets are of high quality, and hydraulic disc brakes provide superior braking performance compared to traditional rim brakes.

The 1×12 Shimano drivetrain is also a notable feature. This gear combination allows the bike to maximize the efficiency of the drivetrain while keeping the weight light.

Moreover, the 60mm of suspension travel provides better rebound sensitivity, and the mounting points on the frame enhance the convenience of carrying belongings during travel.


What do we like about it?

  • Excellent disc brakes: The hydraulic disc brakes greatly improve the braking performance and efficiency of the entire bike.
  • Beautiful aesthetics: Vintage aesthetics, sleek lines, and harmonious proportions provide the bike with an endless visual appeal.
  • High-quality components: The use of SLX and Deore components enhances the bike’s practicality.
  • Ample front suspension travel: In a gravel bike, the 60mm front suspension travel effectively reduces shock.
  • Grippy tires: The 44mm tire size and the raised particles on the tire surface provide excellent traction.

What don’t we like about it?

  • Limited color options, as there are no choices other than the classic black model. The selection is somewhat narrow.


  • Which people is this bike suitable for?

This bike is suitable for individuals who prioritize both daily commuting and weekend rides. It appeals to those who appreciate the vintage and beautiful design of the bike, seek high riding comfort, value superior braking performance, and have a preference for high-quality components.

  • What sizes does this bike come in?

It is available in four sizes for people of different heights.

Rider heightSIZE
  • What other versions of Marin DSX 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 DSX$899AluminumAluminumHydraulic Disc1 × 9
Marin DSX 1$1,149AluminumCarbonHydraulic Disc1 × 11
Marin DSX 2$1,289AluminumCarbonHydraulic Disc1 × 12
Marin DSX FS$1,599AluminumSuntour GVXHydraulic Disc1 × 12



FrameSeries 3 DSX, Supension Adjusted Geometry, 6061 Aluminum, Tapered Head Tube, Relieved BB, Internal Cable Routing, Mudguard and Rack Mounts, Flat Mount Disc, 142x12mm Thru-Axle 
Color: Gloss Black / Grey
ForkSR/Suntour GVX LOR, 60mm Travel, Air Spring, Rebound Adjust, Lockout, Integrated Fender Mounts
Bottom BracketSealed Outboard Bearing
HeadsetFSA No.42 ACB, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 1 1/8″ x 1 1/2″
StemMarin 3D Forged Alloy
HandlebarMarin Mini Riser
SaddleMarin DSX
SeatpostMarin Alloy
PedalsCommute Platform
GripsMarin MTB


Rear DerailleurShimano SLX 12-Speed
Front Derailleur
CrankForged Aluminum, 42T Steel Narrow Wide Chainring
ShiftersShimano Deore 12-Speed
CassetteSunRace 12-speed, 11-51
ChainKMC X12
BrakesHydraulic Disc
Brake LeversShimao Hydraulic


RimsMarin Aluminum Double Wall, 21mm Inner, Disc Specific, Tubeless Compatible
Front HubForged Aluminum, 100x12mm, Disc, 32H
Rear HubForged Aluminum Alloy, 142x12mm, Disc, 32H
TiresVee Tire Co. Rocket Man, 700Cx44mm

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick to viewTiresDrivetrainFrame materialGroupset
Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVOClick to View700c Aluminum1 × 12AluminumGX Eagle, Rival
Norco Search XR A SuspensionClick to View700c Aluminum1 × 11AluminumGRX 800, GRX 600
Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT ApexClick to View650b Aluminum1 × 11AluminumSRAM Apex

Marin DSX FS vs Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO

Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO
Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO

The biggest difference between the two bikes lies in their front suspension travel, and we need to consider this issue separately.

The Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO is equipped with a 20mm front suspension travel.

This is advantageous for riding on flat terrain as it doesn’t frequently cause the front end of the bike to sink.

However, on steep or highly sloped terrain, the 20mm front suspension travel may not provide sufficient shock absorption.

On the other hand, the Marin DSX FS with 60mm front suspension travel has a significant advantage compared to similarly priced gravel bikes.

It offers excellent shock absorption when riding on steep slopes. However, on flat terrain, there may be a slight sinking sensation.

To summarize, if you primarily ride daily, the Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO may be your best match. If you prioritize better front suspension performance, the Marin DSX FS is likely to surprise you.

Marin DSX FS vs Norco Search XR A Suspension

Norco Search XR A Suspension
Norco Search XR A Suspension

The Norco Search XR A Suspension is a vibrant and high-performance mid-to-high-end gravel bike.

Its purple color makes it highly noticeable and exudes a sense of passion, while the design of the drop handlebars easily catches people’s attention.

The design of the dropper seat post enhances riding comfort, and the 50mm front suspension travel provides excellent shock absorption. The use of Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brakes ensures efficient braking performance.

The black paint body and brown rims of the Marin DSX FS create an excellent combination, showcasing a harmonious aesthetic in terms of color and proportion.

The 1×12 drivetrain system delivers powerful driving force, and the SLX, Deore groupset provides strong quality support. The 60mm front suspension travel ensures maximum safety on rough roads and steep slopes.

However, black is considered more versatile, while the target audience for the purple color may be more limited.

Therefore, if you particularly love the passionate purple color, you should consider the Norco Search XR A Suspension. If you prefer a bike whose color matches well with your daily outfits without any conflicts, take a look at the Marin DSX FS.

Learn More: Is Norco Search XR C 700c Splendid? – [Norco Search XR C 700c Review]

Marin DSX FS vs Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex

Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex
Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex

The greatest advantage of the Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex lies in its dropper post. It allows for easy adjustment of the saddle height, maximizing riding comfort.

Additionally, the bike comes in six different sizes to cater to various individuals, ensuring that everyone can find their ideal fit. The design of the Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex’s drop handlebars also aligns well with aerodynamics.

In stable road conditions without many obstacles ahead, drop handlebars provide better acceleration compared to flat handlebars. Those who prioritize speed will appreciate this feature.

The benefit of the Marin DSX FS is that it comes with 700c wheel diameter, which is larger than the 650b wheel diameter equipped on the Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex.

The longer circumference of 700c wheels reduces rolling resistance, resulting in faster rolling speeds on hard and non-technical surfaces.

These larger wheels have a longer and narrower contact patch between the tire and the ground, allowing the wheels to maintain momentum and speed more effectively.

The increased circumference of 700c wheels enables smoother navigation over obstacles or road potholes.

Therefore, if you prefer the better traction provided by 650b wheel diameter, you can choose the Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex. If you appreciate the faster rolling speed brought by 700c wheel diameter, the Marin DSX FS would be a great option for you.

Learn more : Is Vitus Sentier 29 VRX Splendid? – [ Vitus Sentier 29 VRX Review ]


Above is our review of the Marin DSX FS, a mid-to-high-end gravel bike. The combination of a black paint body and brown rims enhances its vintage appeal and sparks the imagination.

In our opinion, the Marin DSX FS is a bike worth purchasing. Considering all the factors mentioned above, we give it a high rating of 4.8.

Of course, if you are interested in other gravel bikes, we also evaluate a wide range of bikes at different price points, making it an exciting selection. Feel free to check out our other reviews as well.

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