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

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Marin DSX Review

  • Price: $899
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Front fork: Aluminum
  • Wheels: 700c Aluminum
  • Drivetrain: 1×9

What we like about it: Hydraulic disc brakes work well and may surprise you.

What we don’t like about it: In addition to the classic blue model there are no other color models available, the choice is a bit narrow.

Rating: (4.8/5)

Marin DSX
Marin DSX

Sleek flat handlebar design, wide tire compatibility, and incredible value make the Marin DSX the bike star.

Marin, a California-based bicycle brand with nearly forty years of history, is widely known for its mountain bikes. As a former downhill champion, it excels in the realm of mountain biking.

However, Marin has always kept things fresh and experimental with its other bike models. Today, we have an incredibly cost-effective gravel bike to showcase—the Marin DSX.

The Marin DSX is the first generation of the Marin DSX series, embodying a pioneering and exploratory spirit. Its innovative design not only allows you to experience the allure of cycling but also commands admiration for its performance.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bike that offers excellent performance while matching your personality, you should check out the Marin DSX.

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

Furthermore, in the latter part of this article, we will compare several top bicycle models. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, feel free to follow us.

Riding Experience

Marin DSX

After receiving the Marin DSX, I was eager to test its performance. Coincidentally, I came across an invitation to participate in the New York City Bike Parade online.

Now, let me share my weekend ride experience with the Marin DSX. Let’s take a look!

LongDistance Riding

Following the pace of the large group, we arrived at Randall’s Island Park in New York after several hours.

During this journey, I encountered various terrains. From suspension bridges over the river to low-visibility tunnels, from busy downtown intersections to bumpy gravel paths in the outskirts.

These terrains presented a significant challenge for my ride. While traversing different bridges, my main concern was whether the narrow surface would hinder me from avoiding oncoming riders.

Fortunately, the Marin DSX’s handlebar proved to be quite nimble. On one hand, its flat design took up minimal space, relieving my worries about potential collisions. On the other hand, its maneuverability was excellent. The microSHIFT shift lever responded promptly, allowing me to control my bike effectively.

As I ventured into the tunnel, I reduced my speed due to the low visibility. Riding in such conditions, prioritizing safety was crucial.

The microSHIFT 1×9 drivetrain equipped on the bike offered a range of speeds, allowing me to seamlessly switch between fast and slow, which was fantastic!

Urban/Cobblestone Riding

The contrast between the bustling downtown and the gravel paths in the suburbs is quite striking. Riding through the busy downtown, I had to frequently stop at traffic lights and dodge vehicles coming and going.

The MicroSHIFT hydraulic disc brake system provided me with an excellent braking experience. It could quickly bring the bike to a halt, ensuring my safety and a pleasant riding experience. On the suburban gravel paths, I paid close attention to the bike’s overall stability.

The Marin DSX has a longer wheelbase and a lower center of gravity, which effectively stabilizes the chassis and prevents accidents in rough road conditions.

Furthermore, I was delighted with the numerous mounting points on the frame. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a sip of water from a securely attached water bottle while taking a rest?


The Marin DSX series offers four models, and the Marin DSX, as the most cost-effective one, stands out with its sleek flat handlebar design, wide tire compatibility, and great value, making it the bicycle star of 2024.

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

Firstly, the WTB Riddler 700Cx45mm wheelset provides a perfect choice for gravel riders seeking speed.

This design allows riders to find a comfortable balance without sacrificing speed and power.

It also means that the bike can be used not only for everyday flat and gravel riding but can also be selected as a professional rider’s companion in certain competitions.

Secondly, the Marin MTB flat handlebar design reduces the weight of the bike while enhancing control over the front end and brakes. It also gives the bike an overall sleek and streamlined appearance.

Additionally, the bike has a relatively large wheelbase. A larger wheelbase helps riders lower their center of gravity, improving balance on steep slopes.

We must also mention its outstanding microSHIFT Advent 1×9 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brake system.

The 1x drivetrain provides chain retention with lightweight and multiple gearing options, reducing the chances of chain damage and the need for repairs.

The microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes maximize the braking performance of the Marin DSX. Hydraulic disc brakes are widely recognized as the best braking system in the industry.


What do we like about it?

  • Impressive disc brakes: The microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes greatly enhance the bike’s braking performance and efficiency.
  • Wallet-friendly price: Among all gravel bikes, it offers good quality and excellent value for the money.
  • Superior drivetrain: The microSHIFT 1×9 drivetrain provides a different speed experience and enjoyment while maintaining a lightweight build.
  • Strong brand support: Marin is a globally renowned bike brand with top-notch customer service.
  • Large-diameter tires: They provide smoother navigation over obstacles and road potholes.

What don’t we like about it?

  • Limited color options, with only the classic blue model available, reducing the choices.


  • Which people is this bike suitable for?

It’s suitable for people who commute on bicycles, those who appreciate better braking performance, long-distance travelers, and those who frequently ride on challenging road surfaces.

  • What are the dimensions of this bike?

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

Rider heightSIZE
  • What other versions of the Marin DSX series 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 2 DSX, 6061 Aluminum, Internal Cable Routing, Mudguard and Rack Mounts, IS Disc Mount
Color: Gloss Blue / Orange
Fork6061 Aluminum, Straight-Blade, Disc Mount, Fender and Rack Eyelets
Bottom BracketSealed Cartridge Bearings, Square Taper
HeadsetFSA, Orbit CE No.8B
StemMarin 3D Forged Alloy
HandlebarMarin Mini Riser
SaddleMarin DSX
SeatpostMarin Alloy
PedalsCommute Platform
GripsMarin MTB


Rear DerailleurmicroSHIFT Advent 9, Clutch
Front Derailleur
CrankAlloy Crank, Steel Narrow-Wide Chainring, 38T
ShiftersmicroSHIFT Advent 9 Trail
CassetteSunRace 9-Speed, 11-46T
ChainKMC X9
BrakesHydraulic Disc
Brake LeversClark’s Clout Hydraulic


RimsMarin Aluminum Double Wall, Disc Specific
Front HubForged Aluminum Alloy, Disc, 32H
Rear HubForged Aluminum Alloy, Disc, 32H
TiresWTB Riddler, 700Cx45mm

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick viewTiresDrivetrainFrame materialGroupset
Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700cClick View700c Aluminum2 × 9AluminumAltus, Acera, Shimano
Trek 520Click View700c Aluminum3 × 9AluminumAlivio, Sora, Shimano
Poseidon Dropbar XClick View700c Aluminum1 × 10AluminummicroSHIFT Advent X
Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700cClick View700c Aluminum1 × 11AluminumApex, NX, SRAM

Marin DSX vs Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c

Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c
Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c

To be honest, there isn’t much noticeable difference in appearance between the two bikes. The Marin DSX comes in a Gloss Blue color with Orange accents, while the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c features a sky blue paint job.

Furthermore, the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c utilizes a 2×9 drivetrain. As a general gravel bike rather than a mountain bike, I think this 2x drivetrain is perfectly fine. On the contrary, the 2x drivetrain also has its unique advantages in gravel road bikes.

The double chainring setup provides more speed options, offering a richer riding experience and more versatility. Additionally, on flat road surfaces, a double chainring setup allows for higher speeds compared to a single chainring.

As a gravel bike that employs a single chainring drivetrain, the Marin DSX utilizes the microSHIFT 1×9 drivetrain. This simple yet high-performing setup provides a lighter weight and improved maneuverability.

Moreover, this type of drivetrain keeps the chain in a consistent position over the long term. It offers greater stability and durability compared to 2x or even 3x drivetrain systems.

Furthermore, the Marin DSX’s microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes offer stronger braking performance and less operational loss compared to the mechanical disc brakes of the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Altus 700c.

Learn More: Is Salsa Journeyman Sora 700 Worth Buying? [Salsa Journeyman Sora 700 Review]

Marin DSX vs Trek 520

Trek 520
Trek 520

The biggest advantage of the Trek 520 lies in its front and rear rack configurations. Especially for those who enjoy long-distance traveling, sometimes the frame’s mounting points may not meet their needs for carrying heavy loads.

Such a setup is convenient for riders to attach backpacks or even a portable grill for picnics. Moreover, the Anthracite color gives it an industrial feel, making it a stylish and distinctive gravel bike.

However, we should not underestimate the Marin DSX either. Its microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes perform better than those of the Trek 520.

Additionally, the microSHIFT 1×9 drivetrain is lighter and easier to maintain compared to the Shimano 3×9 drivetrain equipped on the Trek 520.

Furthermore, in certain scenarios such as short trips or daily commuting, the Marin DSX eliminates the need for unnecessary racks and clamps, resulting in a lighter weight, a simpler visual aesthetic, and enhanced comfort.

So, if you’re someone who enjoys carrying a lot of gear for long-distance travel, the Trek 520 is the perfect choice for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a bike with a simpler design and decent performance for your everyday rides, you should consider the Marin DSX.

Learn More: What Makes The Trek 520 Such A Powerful Gravel Road Bike

Marin DSX vs Poseidon Dropbar X

Poseidon Dropbar X
Poseidon Dropbar X

The Poseidon Dropbar X is a gravel bike with a geometric design that catches the eye. Unlike most bikes with a straight-line geometry, it features a tapered dropper-shaped top tube, with a thicker front and a narrower rear. This gives it a more innovative and creative appearance.

What’s even more exciting is that the Poseidon Dropbar X comes with a lifetime warranty for its aluminum frame. This is undoubtedly great news for people who regularly maintain their bikes.

On the other hand, the Marin DSX is equally impressive, particularly in terms of performance. The Marin DSX is equipped with microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes, which have outstanding advantages in terms of braking performance.

The flat bar design of the Marin DSX allows riders to exert less effort while gripping the handlebars. Additionally, the straight bar construction simplifies maintenance, reduces costs, and makes disassembly more convenient.

Therefore, the Poseidon Dropbar X offers a more experimental and creative geometry, along with perfect lifetime maintenance services. Of course, I also highly recommend the Marin DSX because it features the superior microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes and a simpler flat bar design.

Learn more : Is Poseidon Dropbar X A Good Choice? – [Poseidon Dropbar X Review]

Marin DSX vs Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700c

Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700c
Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700c

Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700c features a larger seat tube angle and head tube angle.

This results in a shorter wheelbase, allowing you to effectively lower your center of gravity while riding and achieve greater speed with less effort.

It’s worth noting that this bike has a significant rise in the flat handlebar angle. This allows riders to maintain a more upright posture during cycling, providing a more comfortable riding experience. Additionally, the SRAM 1×11 drivetrain offers a wide range of speed options.

One of the most commendable aspects of the Marin DSX is its affordability. It’s important to know that the price of the Framed Basswood Alloy Flat Bar Gravel Bike 700c is more than double that of the Marin DSX.

Despite being competitively priced, the Marin DSX maintains a high level of craftsmanship, which is truly remarkable.

The WTB Riddler 700Cx45mm aluminum frame wheels, and microSHIFT hydraulic disc brakes all serve as evidence of its excellent performance.


Above is our review of the Marin DSX, a premium gravel bike with innovative design features that not only enhance your riding experience but also leave you impressed with its performance.

In our opinion, the Marin DSX is a bike worth purchasing, which is why we give it a high rating of 4.8.

Of course, if you’re interested in learning about other gravel bikes, we also review a variety of bikes with different price points that are equally fascinating. Feel free to explore our other reviews.

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