Is Marin San Rafael DS2 A Perfect Selection? – [Marin San Rafael DS2 Review]

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Marin San Rafael DS2 Review

  • Price: $699
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: Suntour NEX
  • Wheels: 700c Aluminum
  • Drivetrain: 2×8

What we like about it: Wallet-friendly price, smooth linear design and a high-performance hydraulic disc.

What we don’t like about it: The external alignment design is easy to remove and replace, but it may hide dirt and grime.

Rating: (4.8/5)

Marin San Rafael DS2
Marin San Rafael DS2

Do you want a commuter bike with great shock absorbency?

Do you want the company of a fast and effortless bike?

The Marin San Rafael DS2 may be the one you’ve been looking for.

With its smooth lines, simple appearance and practical functions, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is always surprising us.

Below, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, and specifications as well as other versions of this bike.

Additionally, at the end of the review, we will also compare several best bike models. If you want to know more about bike reviews, don’t hesitate to follow us.

Riding Experience

As someone who can’t stand not riding a bike, I couldn’t resist starting my ride to Florida Keys, Florida a week after my last bike ride.

The island trails around the water offer steep, snake-like slopes and flat, sweeping terrain.

I had booked a hotel in Florida on Skyscanner and was all set to go!

Steep and winding slopes

The islands surrounding the sea are full of beautiful scenery and steep, winding hills.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to test the performance of the Marin San Rafael DS2.

I wasn’t expecting much at first, thinking that with such an affordable car, the chances of it having superb performance would be slim.

The reality was the opposite, and the Marin San Rafael DS2 really surprised me.

The aluminum frame didn’t put too much weight on the bike, which didn’t take much effort to start it up.

The 2×8 Shimano drivetrain gave me a wide range of speed options and didn’t forget to consolidate the grip and stability of the bike while maintaining a certain speed.

Besides, the 63mm of fork travel gave the front end of the Marin San Rafael DS2 a good amount of cushioning, which didn’t make me feel like I was going up a steep hill. I haven’t felt this happy in a long time!

A thousand miles of flat land

The most dreaded thing about riding long hours on the flats was boredom.

Thanks to the different speed options of the 2×8 Shimano drivetrain, I could experience an abundance of speed on the endless island lanes.

Sometimes I would speed up and feel the charm of sprinting; when I got tired of riding I wanted to slow down to make a cushion.

Not only that, but the hydraulic disc brakes made my braking quick and responsive when I encountered cars going in the opposite direction from me, so I didn’t have to worry about making “zero contact” with them.

The smooth body and clean lines made this bike look very uncluttered, and I felt very comfortable taking it on a tour around the ocean.

On top of that, the 1.5+ Stack/Reach Ratio suggested a more comfortable riding position, which was important for a bike used for commuting and daily riding, and for me on a tour around the ocean.

Although it was a long ride, I didn’t feel much strain as I kept a more upright stance.

For me, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is not only convenient on the road, but also gives me a glimpse of the Marin commuter bike’s charm.


The Marin San Rafael DS2 is a mid-range commuter bike.

It features a silver paint body and blue lettering color scheme, and its smooth linear geometric design gives it a very crisp look. 

So what any other features does it have? Let’s take a look.

The Marin San Rafael DS2 comes with 63mm of fork travel compared to a typical commuter bike.

This has the advantage of opening up the market for bikes rich in stability and grip in the quest for everyday speed in commuting bikes.

The aluminum body and wheels bring lighter weight, and the Vee Tire Co. Rail, 700×40, Wire Bead tires strike a perfect balance between speed and stability.

Besides, the Shimano 2×8 drivetrain offers a wide range of speeds to meet the rider’s need for speed.

Not only that, the excellent geometric design guarantees a comfortable ride without the need to bend over.

The design of the external alignment makes the pulse construction of the whole bike clear at a glance, which is convenient for later maintenance and repair.

Marin San Rafael DS2 is available in a variety of sizes from 148cm to 193cm, so different people can find the right one for themselves.


What do we like about it?

  • Outstanding disc brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc brakes greatly improve the braking braking performance and efficiency of the whole model.
  • Wonderful fork shock: 63mm fork shock helps riders not lose control when riding steep hills.
  • Excellent geometric design: The rider does not need to reach the handlebars excessively during the ride, while the more upright riding position can effectively protect the rider’s lumbar muscles and lumbar spine.
  • Wallet-friendly price: It’s very good value for money, and you can get a well-equipped bike for a fraction of the price.
  • Large diameter tires: It can go over obstacles and potholes in the road more smoothly and maintain a faster speed.

What don’t we like about it?

  • The design of the external alignment is easy to remove and replace, but it may hide dirt and grime.


  • Who is Marin San Rafael DS2 for?

Daily passage cyclists; people who like better braking performance; people who love long-distance travel; people who often ride on complicated roads; multi-speed enthusiasts.

  • What sizes are available for the Marin San Rafael DS2?

  The Marin DSX 1 is available in five sizes for people of different heights.

Rider heightSIZE
  • What other versions of the Marin San Rafael DS2 series are available?

   Here we provide you with a comparison of other versions. You do not necessarily have to follow this standard. The best way to find the most suitable model is to test ride.

Marin San Rafael DS1$599AluminumSuntour NEXMechanical Disc2 × 7
Marin San Rafael DS2$699AluminumSuntour NEXHydraulic Disc2 × 8



FrameSeries 2 Dual Sport, 6061 Aluminum, 700C Wheels, Disc Brake
Color: Gloss Grey / Blue
ForkSR/Suntour NEX Disc HLO, 63mm Travel, Hydraulic Lockout, 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
GripsMarin Ergonomic Locking


Rear DerailleurShimano Acera 8-Speed
Front DerailleurShimano FD-TY710
CrankForged Alloy Crank, 46/30T, Ring Guard
ShiftersmicroSHIFT TS39, 8-Speed
CassetteSunRace 8-Speed, 11-34T
ChainKMC Z8
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
TiresVee Tire Co. Rail, 700×40, Wire Bead

Comparison Table

BicyclesClickViewTiresDrivelineFrame materialComponents
Giant ATXClick View26” / 650b Aluminum3 × 7AluminumTourney, Shimano
Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4Click View700c Aluminum1 × 11AluminumDeore, Shimano
CUBE TOURING, ONEClick View700c Aluminum3 × 8AluminumAcera, Tourney, Shimano
Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G DiamondClick View700c AluminumShimano AluminumDeore, Shimano

Marin San Rafael DS2 vs Giant ATX

2022 Giant ATX
Giant ATX

The Giant ATX is a commuter bike with a 26″/ 650b Aluminum wheelset.

This means it can use a wider outer tire to provide grip.

The 650b outer tire can also make a difference in shock absorption on loose, bumpy steep hills.

When using the same frame and gear ratio, the 650b will feel like it has extra climbing gears compared to the 700c due to the smaller wheel circumference.

Besides, the 3×7 Shimano drivetrain can provide good climbing power without consuming too much speed, and the 80mm front travel of the shock plays a very good role in shock absorption in daily riding.

The Marin San Rafael DS2 has a 700c wheelset, which delivers lower rolling resistance and faster rolling speeds than the 650b of the Giant ATX.

The 2×8 Shimano drivetrain is more efficient than the Giant ATX’s 3×7 drivetrain in terms of speed.

The 63mm fork shocks are not as high as the other bike’s, but they don’t lose as much energy, so you can better channel that energy into speed.

In my opinion, for those seeking stability, try the Giant ATX; for those seeking speed, take a look at the Marin San Rafael DS2.

Learn More: Is Giant ATX Worth Buying? [Giant ATX Review]

Marin San Rafael DS2 VS Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4

Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4
Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4

Both bikes are speed seeking bikes. However, the Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4 is better in performance and more expensive.

It uses the Shimano 1×11 drivetrain, which reduces the weight of the cassette and guarantees a faster ride.

The tubeless design allows the wheelset to maintain vacuum for a long time, which further reduces weight and increases speed.

Besides, the Shimano MT200 hydraulic discs bring good braking effect and improve performance when riding.

The Marin San Rafael DS2’s 2×8 drivetrain strikes a good balance between speed and grip.

Yet purely in terms of speed, the Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4 is the superior.

However, more performance means a trade-off in terms of price. I don’t think a daily commuter needs to be very fast compared to a speedy race bike, and the Marin San Rafael DS2 is perfectly adequate as a commuter bike.

Therefore, guys who seek high performance can take a look at Trek Dual Sport 4 Gen 4; those who seek cost effectiveness can consider Marin San Rafael DS2.



I think the biggest difference between these two bikes is the appearance.

The CUBE TOURING, ONE does away with the traditional geometry of the bike and fuses the top tube and bottom tube into one.

This appearance not only reflects the bike’s fashionable and unconventional features and innovative philosophy, but also facilitates the rider’s straddling motion, so that the rider is less likely to trip over the taller top tube.

Of course, the 63mm fork shock, Shimano shifting drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are all very good.

The Marin San Rafael DS2 is a bike with traditional geometry.

Although not as creative as the new geometry of the CUBE TOURING, ONE, the Marin San Rafael DS2 has excellent geometry proportions, especially the perfect stack and forward reach, creating an upright, comfortable riding position.

At the same time, the aluminum construction delivers a lightweight body, and the 63mm fork shock effectively prevents bumps and jitters.

So, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is a great bike.

If you like a sleek and innovative bike that’s easy to straddle, check out the CUBE TOURING, ONE; if you like great geometry for a more comfortable upright riding position, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is a great choice.

Marin San Rafael DS2 VS Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond

Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond
Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond

The Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond is a versatile commuter bike.

In addition to Shimano’s 3×7 drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for speed and braking power, the Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond boasts a bright 50 lux spotlight on the front of the bike for night riding.

Besides, the rear cleats are very effective in securing large luggage such as backpacks.

It is worth noting that the mudguards on the outside of the wheels keep out most of the mud and reduce the wear and tear on the tires.

The Marin San Rafael DS2 has a relatively minimalist design.

Visually, the linear geometry looks very capable. The silver and blue color scheme has an industrial feel, and the flat handlebar design doesn’t make the whole bike look top-heavy.

Of course, it also enjoys 63mm shock forks, 2×8 Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes all playing their roles in an orderly manner.

So if you prefer a bike that carries a spotlight, rear clip-on and fenders, go for the Kettler TRAVELLER 3.0 30G Diamond; if you prefer a minimalist design, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is very welcoming.


Above is our test of the Marin San Rafael DS2, a mid-range commuter bike. The wallet-friendly price, smooth, straight design and high-performance hydraulic disc make it popular.

In our opinion, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is a bike worth buying. All together we give it a high score of 4.8.

Of course, if you’re interested in exploring other similar bikes, we have reviewed a variety of bikes at different price points that you might find interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews as well.

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