Is Marin Rift Zone 29 3 Splendid – [Marin Rift Zone 29 3 Review]

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Marin Rift Zone 29 3 Review

  • Price: $2,849
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Tires: 29 inches
  • Gear: 1×12

What we like about it: High-performance full-suspension mountain bike with a reasonable price, making it more accessible to a wider range of budgets.

What we don’t like about it: Due to factors such as frame material, it has a relatively heavier weight, which may not be appealing to everyone.

Rating: (4.9/5)

 Marin Rift Zone 29 3
Marin Rift Zone 29 3

The Marin Rift Zone 29 3 features a relaxed geometry frame and carefully selected components, offering powerful off-road performance at a competitive price point. It’s a bike that stands out among its peers.

In this article, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and compare it with other models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, feel free to follow us.

Riding Experience

The Marin Rift Zone 29 3 is an aluminum-framed full-suspension mountain bike. Despite its slightly heavier weight, the excellent geometry, component pairing, and reasonable price make it a versatile bike suitable for all riders.

To test it, I took this bike to the Deer Valley Resort mountain bike park. Before setting off, I booked a nearby hotel using IHG.

The park offers various trails of different difficulties, and I chose a woodland trail. It featured natural drop-offs, winding descents, and long stretches of rocky downhill sections.


I found this bike to perform well during climbs. The excellent suspension design prevented any noticeable loss of power during pedaling.

When faced with steeper inclines, the 32T chainring and SHIMANO SLX 10-51 cassette with a 1×12-speed drivetrain on this bike allowed me to easily shift into larger gears, making climbing more manageable with minimal effort.

Notably, the exceptional frame geometry of this bike, combined with a steep seat tube angle, kept my balance intact.

The weight distribution between the front and rear of the bike was even, allowing the front wheel to stay firmly planted on the ground, resulting in smoother power transfer while climbing.


This bike displayed quick and agile performance during descents.

With Marzocchi front fork and FOX rear shock, it offered 130mm and 125mm of suspension travel respectively. While not as long-travel as endurance race bikes, the excellent suspension support ensured stable landings even during significant drops.

When descending at high speeds, the excellent geometry, paired with 29-inch wheels, provided stability, making my descents smooth and fast. The Vee Tire Co, Flow Snap, 29×2.35 knobby tires also offered excellent traction.

When navigating winding trails that required braking, the Shimano MT420 brakes with SHIMANO 203/SHIMANO 180 rotors proved to be responsive and powerful. I could quickly reduce speed and safely maneuver through every turn.

In summary, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 is an all-around excellent full-suspension mountain bike. Considering its reasonable price, I believe it is a great investment for riders on a limited budget.


The Marin Rift Zone 29 3 comes in four sizes (S-XL) with internal cable routing in an aluminum alloy frame. The internal cable routing design gives it a cleaner and neater appearance, making it easier to clean after daily rides. The combination of silent line guides reduces noise during intense downhill rides.

It features a long wheelbase, low center of gravity, and relaxed geometry. Combined with the 29-inch wheels and 2.35″ wide tires, the bike offers higher stability and traction at high speeds and provides more possibilities on challenging terrains.

The X-Fusion Manic dropper post allows for seamless weight shifting between uphill and downhill sections, ensuring a rhythmic riding experience and stable balance.


Other Versions

While the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 offers excellent geometry and well-selected components, it may not meet the requirements of riders with ample budgets and advanced riding skills.

To cater to such riders, we offer another full-suspension mountain bike from the same brand and series, but with better components and a carbon fiber frame, providing an enhanced riding experience that is more suitable for skilled riders with higher budgets.

Marin Rift Zone 29″ Carbon XR

Marin Rift Zone 29" Carbon XR

The Marin Rift Zone 29″ Carbon XR and Marin Rift Zone 29 3 are both full-suspension mountain bikes from the same series.

However, the former offers superior performance and is designed for riders with higher budgets and advanced riding skills.

The Marin Rift Zone 29″ Carbon XR features a Fox 36 Performance Elite Float suspension fork that provides excellent support and absorbs more vibrations during landings on large drops.

The Shimano XT and Shimano SLX drivetrain combination ensures smooth shifting. The XT rear derailleur provides strong tension, preventing chain drops during rides.

Lastly, the Shimano XT braking components offer top-level braking power and responsive brake reaction speed. They are reliable, powerful brakes that are easy and comfortable to operate.

Below, we will provide detailed specifications of the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 and list some other full-suspension mountain bikes from different brands with similar prices for your reference.

What do we like about it?

  • Available in four sizes (S-XL), providing more options for riders ranging from 5’2″ to 6’4″ in height.
  • The bike features internal cable routing, resulting in a cleaner appearance and easier maintenance.
  • The dropper post allows for adjusting the riding position between climbing and descending, maintaining a stable center of gravity.
  • The relaxed geometry combined with 29-inch wheels provides a smooth and fast descent.
  • Excellent performance of a full-suspension mountain bike at a suitable price, accommodating a wider range of budgets.
  • The bike is equipped with silent line guides and rear chainstay protection, reducing noise during intense rides.

What don’t we like about it?

  • The weight of this bike is relatively heavy due to frame materials, which may not be suitable for everyone.


  • What wheelsets does this bike use?

It uses a Forged Alloy, 110x15mm, 32H front wheel and a Forged Alloy, 148x12mm, Quad Sealed Bearings, 32H, Standard Freehub Body rear wheel.

  • What kind of riders is this bike suitable for?

With its excellent geometry and well-selected components at an affordable price, it is suitable for various types of riders.

  • How to choose the right size?

We provide a sizing chart for your reference. However, the best way to find the perfect fit is to try it out yourself.

Rider heightSIZE
5’2″ – 5’7″S
5’5″ – 5’11”M
5’9″ – 6’2″L
6’0″ – 6’4″XL



Frame Series 3 6061 Aluminum Frame, 29″ Wheels, 125mm Travel, MultiTrac Suspension Platform, 148x12mm Boost Thru-Axle, 73mm Threaded BB w/ ISCG05 Tabs
BB Standard: BSA, 73mm, Threaded
Color: Gloss Black / Roarange/red
ForkMarzocchi Bomber Z2 29″, Rail Damper with Sweep Adjustment, 130mm Travel, Kabolt Bolt-On Axle, 44mm Offset
Bottom BracketMego EXO 73mm BSA
HeadsetFSA No 57E, Semi-Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 1 1/8″ x 1 1/2″
StemMarin 3D Forged Alloy, 35mm
HandlebarMarin Mini-Riser, 6061 Double Butted Aluminum, 780mm Width, 28mm Rise, 5º Up, 9º Back
SaddleMarin Speed Concept
SeatpostX-Fusion Manic, 1x Composite Remote, Size S 125mm Travel, Size M and L 150mm Travel, Size XL 175mm Travel, 30.9mm
GripsMarin Single Clamp Locking


Rear DerailleurShimano SLX SGS, Direct Attachment, 12-Speed
Front Derailleur
CrankFSA GRID, Modular 1x, 32T Direct Mount Chainring, MegaTooth Technology, Mego EXO Spindle, Boost Spacing
ShiftersShimano SLX, 12-Speed, SL-6100IR
CassetteSunRace, 12-Speed, 11-51T, ED Black
ChainKMC X-12 Silver and Black
BrakesHydraulic Disc
Brake LeversShimano MT4100 Hydraulic Lever, I-Spec EV Compatible


RimsMarin Aluminum Double Wall, 29mm Inner, Sleeved Joint, Disc Specific, Tubeless Compatible
Front HubForged Alloy, 110x15mm, 32H
Rear HubForged Alloy, 148x12mm, Quad Sealed Bearings, 32H, Standard Freehub Body
TiresVee Tire Co, Flow Snap, 29×2.35, Tackee Compound, 72 TPI, Tubeless Compatible

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick viewTravelFrame materialBrake TypeDrivetrain
Canyon Neuron CF 9Click View130mm rear, 140mm frontCarbonShimano DEORE XT M8120 Hydraulic Disc1 × 12
Cannondale Habit 5Click View120mm rear, 130mm frontAluminumTektro M275 Hydraulic Disc1 × 11  
Scott Spark 950Click View120mm rear, 130mm frontAluminumShimano MT501 Hydraulic Disc1 × 12
Norco Fluid FS A3Click View130mm rear, 140mm frontAluminumTektro HD-745 Hydraulic Disc1 × 12

Marin Rift Zone 29 3 vs Canyon Neuron CF 9

Canyon Neuron CF 9
Canyon Neuron CF 9

These two bikes have different suspension travel. The latter has longer suspension travel than the former, with 140mm in the front and 130mm in the rear. Both bikes offer excellent support in their respective suspension systems from FOX and Marzocchi.

In terms of drivetrain components, the Canyon Neuron CF 9 uses the Shimano XT M8100, which is one level higher than the Shimano SLX M7100 equipped on the Marin Rift Zone 29 3. The Canyon Neuron CF 9 also supports shifting up to four gears at once.

However, in terms of frame geometry, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 has a more relaxed head tube angle, providing greater stability during descents. Conversely, the Canyon Neuron CF 9 offers better climbing performance.

In conclusion, if you require extended uphill rides, the Canyon Neuron CF 9 is the better choice. However, if you have a limited budget, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 is the best option.

Marin Rift Zone 29 3 vs Cannondale Habit 5

Cannondale Habit 5
Cannondale Habit 5

Both the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 and Cannondale Habit 5 feature aluminum alloy frames with internal cable routing. However, I prefer the components of the former.

Marin utilizes Marzocchi suspension forks, which offer better support compared to Cannondale’s RockShox forks. However, RockShox provides better sensitivity in the initial stages of suspension travel.

In terms of drivetrain components, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 features the Shimano SLX M7100 level, which is higher than the Shimano Deore M5100 level on the Cannondale. This translates to superior transmission efficiency.

When it comes to brakes, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3’s Shimano MT4100 brakes outperform the Tektro M275 brakes on the Cannondale, offering better braking power.

Overall, I would prefer the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 because it has better components and is better suited for riding on more challenging terrain.

Learn More: Is Cannondale Habit 5 A Good Bike?[Cannondale Habit 5 Review]

Marin Rift Zone 29 3 vs Scott Spark 950

Scott Spark 950
Scott Spark 950

When comparing the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 and the Scott Spark 950, the latter’s hidden rear shock gives the bike a cleaner and more streamlined appearance. However, it also makes maintenance and upkeep more convenient.

In terms of suspension, both bikes feature excellent forks, with the Marin using the Marzocchi RL3 and the Scott using the RockShox Pike. These are reputable and reliable brands known for their performance.

Regarding drivetrain components, the Shimano SLX M7100 on the Marin provides a smoother shifting experience. On the other hand, the SRAM GX and SRAM NX components on the Scott offer crisp and precise shifting.

In terms of brakes, both bikes utilize similarly performing brake components, offering excellent braking power during descents.

Ultimately, if you have a sufficient budget and prefer the design of the Scott Spark 950, you can choose it. However, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 offers the best value for money and is suitable for a wider range of riders.

Marin Rift Zone 29 3 vs Norco Fluid FS A3

Norco Fluid FS A3
Norco Fluid FS A3

These two bikes are both favorites of mine and have similar price ranges.

In terms of suspension, the former is equipped with the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork, which offers better support. The latter, with the RockShox 35 Silver TK fork, provides a smoother ride by effectively filtering out small vibrations.

As for the drivetrain components, the Marin Rift Zone 29 3 comes with the Shimano SLX M7100, which is of a higher level than the SRAM SX Eagle on the Norco Fluid FS A3. This results in smoother operation.

Both bikes have excellent brake components, offering reliable stopping power.

Overall, these two full-suspension mountain bikes are outstanding. You can choose based on your personal preference. Trust me, you won’t regret either choice.

Learn More: Is Norco Fluid FS A4 Splendid? – [Norco Fluid FS A4 Review]


Above is my review of the Marin Rift Zone 29 3. In our opinion, it boasts excellent geometry and carefully selected components. That’s why we gave it a rating of 4.9.

Of course, if you’re interested in other full-suspension mountain bikes, we have reviews for a wide range of bikes at different price points. Feel free to explore our other reviews.

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