Is Marin San Rafael DS1 A Perfect Selection? – [Marin San Rafael DS1 Review]

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Marin San Rafael DS1 Review

  • Price: $599
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Tires: 700c Aluminum
  • Gear: 2 x 7

What we like about it: The 6061 aluminum alloy frame provides durability and strength.

What we didn’t like about it: The weight is not as lightweight as some riders might prefer.

Rating: (4.7/5)

 Marin San Rafael DS1
Marin San Rafael DS1

The Marin San Rafael DS1 is designed for riders looking to explore mixed surfaces and terrains. This bike performs admirably on both paved and gravel roads, making it a great choice for adventurous riders.

Next, we’ll analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Marin San Rafael DS1. In the latter part of this article, we’ve also compared it to several other bikes. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, please follow us.

Riding Experience

The Marin San Rafael DS1 features a robust aluminum alloy frame and front suspension, and I was eager to experience how it performs. I wanted to find out if it’s a comfortable ride with strong overall performance on mildly bumpy surfaces or just an average bike.

To do this, I found a route that combined well-paved asphalt and unpaved gravel roads with some slopes and long descents. I thought this route would be suitable for the Marin San Rafael DS1, so I drove there with the bike.

Paved Road Riding

I started riding the Marin San Rafael DS1 on paved roads. The bike’s geometry is excellent, leaning toward the geometry of a mountain bike. This design made my riding experience less strenuous, without any pressure on my lower back. Additionally, the rigid frame allowed for direct power transfer when pedaling, resulting in increased riding speed.

During uphill climbs with inclines, the bike’s ample range of gears gave me more options. As a result, I was able to conserve energy during uphill rides. On downhill sections, the Marin San Rafael DS1’s mechanical disc brakes provided reliable braking performance. It didn’t require excessive hand pressure to engage the brakes, yet it delivered strong stopping power. This enhanced safety and stability during downhill rides.

Gravel Road Riding

The Marin San Rafael DS1 provided a comfortable ride on unpaved gravel roads. The 63mm suspension travel of the Suntour NEX front fork absorbed all the vibrations and bumps on this route, allowing me to maintain a stable riding position.

Moreover, the 700c large wheelset, combined with 40c tires, demonstrated impressive traction. I could roll over small pits and irregularities on the road without the need to slow down, ensuring a smooth ride. The ample tire width also reduced the risk of flat tires on unpaved surfaces.

In conclusion, the Marin San Rafael DS1 delivered its best riding experience, whether on well-paved asphalt roads or gravel-covered routes. I believe this bike is a worthwhile choice for riders looking for a bike that can handle flat road riding with mild off-road capabilities.


The Marin San Rafael DS1 comes in 5 different frame sizes, catering to riders with heights ranging from 5’5″ to 6’6″. It offers wide versatility, making it suitable for almost all riders.

Equipped with a Suntour NEX suspension fork, this bike provides 63mm of travel, ensuring a smoother ride by filtering out more bumps and enhancing stability during daily rides.

The Shimano 2×7 drivetrain offers smooth and precise shifting. With high-quality components, it’s dependable. The mechanical disc brakes deliver strong braking performance, giving you control over the bike’s speed for a safer ride.


Other Versions

The Marin San Rafael DS1 features a durable aluminum frame that minimizes weight while maintaining reliable components, making it a cost-effective commuter bike. However, there are other versions of this bike available at a slightly higher price, offering superior drivetrain and brake components.

2023 Marin San Rafael DS2

Marin San Rafael DS2

The 2023 Marin San Rafael DS2 shares the same aluminum frame and Suntour NEX suspension fork as the DS1. However, it offers a 2×8-speed drivetrain, providing a wider range of speeds for an improved riding experience. In terms of brakes, the Marin San Rafael DS2 features Clark’s Clout hydraulic disc brakes, offering better braking performance and maintaining it even after extended use.

Between these two bikes, I recommend allocating a slightly higher budget and choosing the 2023 Marin San Rafael DS2.

What do we like about it?

  • The Suntour NEX suspension fork absorbs road vibrations, providing a more comfortable ride.
  • The 700c wheelset offers excellent riding versatility, and the larger wheels provide faster speeds on flat terrain.
  • Kenda Kahn, 700Cx40mm tires, not only provide some shock absorption but also excellent traction.
  • The mechanical disc brakes offer powerful and reliable braking for daily commuting.
  • Supports fender and rear rack installation, enhancing commuter convenience.
  • Ergonomic handlebars provide agile handling, improving riding comfort.

What don’t we like about it?

  • The weight is not as lightweight as some riders might prefer.


  • What type of wheelset does this bike use?

It uses a Forged Aluminum Alloy, 32H wheelset.

  • Can I replace the mechanical disc brakes with hydraulic disc brakes?

Certainly, it supports the installation of hydraulic disc brake components.

  • How do I choose the right size?

We provide a size chart to assist you. However, the best way to find the perfect size is to test ride the bike.

Rider heightSIZE
4’11” – 5’3″XS
5’2″ – 5’7″S
5’5″ – 5’11”M
5’9″ – 6’3″L
6’1″ – 6’4″XL



Frame Series 2 Dual Sport, 6061 Aluminum, 700C Wheels, Disc BrakeColor: Gloss Black / Silver
ForkSR/Suntour NEX, 63mm Travel, Preload Adjustment
Bottom BracketSealed Cartridge Bearings, Square Taper
HeadsetFSA No. 10-P
StemMarin Alloy, 31.8mm Clamp
HandlebarMarin Alloy Riser
SaddleMarin Fitness Plush
SeatpostMarin Alloy, 27.2mm
PedalsDual Sport Platform
GripsDual Density Ergonomic


Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney, 7-Speed
Front DerailleurShimano TY710
CrankForged Alloy Crank, 46/30T, Ring Guard
ShiftersShimano EF500 Shifter/Brake Lever Combo, 2×7-Speed
CassetteSunRace 7-Speed, 11-34T
ChainKMC Z8
BrakesMechanical Disc
Brake LeversShimano w/ Integrated Shifters


RimsMarin Aluminum Double Wall
Front HubForged Aluminum Alloy, 32H
Rear HubForged Aluminum Alloy, 32H
TiresKenda Kahn, 700Cx40mm

Comparison Table

BikesClick viewWheelsetFrame MaterialBrake TypeDrivetrain
Marin Stinson ST 1Click View650b AluminumAluminumShimano w1 x 7
Marin Kentfield 1Click View700c AluminumAluminumMechanical Disc1 x 7
2022 Schwinn SierraClick View700c AluminumAluminumRadius V9933 x 7
2022 Liv Rove 4 DiscClick View650b AluminumAluminumTektro HD-TKB 1722 x 7

Marin San Rafael DS1 vs. Marin Stinson ST 1

Marin Stinson ST 1
Marin Stinson ST 1

Both of them are excellent commuter bikes. However, the former’s frame design and more aggressive riding posture make it a great choice for male riders. On the other hand, the latter’s frame shape is more suitable for female riders.

Furthermore, the former features 700c wheels, which are larger and result in higher speeds during rides. The latter is equipped with 650b wheels, providing a more agile handling experience.

In terms of drivetrains, both bikes use Shimano components, but the former offers more speed options. The latter’s 1x design simplifies gear changes and helps maintain focus during rides.

So, between these two commuter bikes, the Marin San Rafael DS1 is a better fit for male riders. If you’re a female rider, I would highly recommend the Marin Stinson ST 1.

Learn More: Is Marin Stinson 1 Splendid? – [Marin Stinson 1 Review]

Marin San Rafael DS1 vs. Marin Kentfield 1

Marin Kentfield 1

While both of them feature aluminum alloy frames, the former is equipped with a suspension fork, providing better shock absorption compared to the latter’s steel fork.

In terms of drivetrains, the former uses a 2×7-speed Shimano setup, offering a wider range of speeds compared to the Shimano 1×7-speed drivetrain found on the latter. However, the latter’s 1x drivetrain design makes gear shifting simpler.

Furthermore, both bikes use mechanical disc brakes, which are reliable and suitable for everyday commuting, without any issues.

Ultimately, the former provides a more comfortable commuting experience with excellent shock absorption, while the latter delivers a more agile riding feel.

Learn More: Is Marin Kentfield 1 A Good Bike?[Marin Kentfield 1 Review]

Marin San Rafael DS1 vs. 2022 Schwinn Sierra

Schwinn Sierra
Schwinn Sierra

They are both commuter bikes equipped with suspension forks, but the latter has a longer suspension travel, capable of absorbing more road bumps, providing a more comfortable ride.

Furthermore, in terms of drivetrains, both of these bikes feature Shimano drivetrain components. However, the latter has a 3×7-speed setup, offering a wider range of speeds compared to the former’s 2×7-speed components.

Regarding the braking system, the former uses mechanical disc brakes, which deliver stronger braking performance compared to the latter’s rim brakes, ensuring more reliable stopping power.

In conclusion, when considering two commuter bikes with similar prices, I would highly recommend the Marin San Rafael DS1 due to its disc brakes, which offer more reliable braking performance.

Learn More: Is Schwinn Sierra Worth Buying?[2022 Schwinn Sierra Review ]

Marin San Rafael DS1 vs. 2022 Liv Rove 4 Disc

Liv Rove 4 Disc
Liv Rove 4 Disc

These two bikes are quite similar. They both feature aluminum alloy frames and 63mm suspension travel Suntour NEX suspension forks, ensuring a sturdy frame and excellent shock absorption for a more comfortable ride.

In terms of drivetrains, these two bikes also use the same Shimano 2×7 components. The gearing is reliable, and shifting is smooth and precise. As for the braking system, the mechanical disc brakes on both bikes consistently deliver dependable braking performance, making them suitable for daily commuting.

In summary, both of these commuter bikes are good choices. However, the latter may be more suitable for female riders.

Learn More: Is Liv Rove 4 Disc A Good Bike? [Liv Rove 4 Disc Review]


Above is my review of the Marin San Rafael DS1. In our opinion, this is a robust and dependable commuter bike that meets the requirements of daily riding. That’s why we’ve given it a rating of 4.7.

Of course, if you’re interested in other commuter bikes, we regularly review a wide range of bikes at various price points, all of which are quite interesting. Please feel free to explore our other reviews.

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