Is Marin Sky Trail a Good Choice? -[Marin Sky Trail Review]

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Marin Sky Trail Review

  • Price: $399
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Tires: MTB, 27.5 x 2.1″
  • Gears: 3×8

What we like about it: The agile 27.5″ wheels and 69° head tube angle make for a nimble riding experience.

What we don’t like about it: The aesthetics may not appeal to some riders.

Rating: (4.6/5)

Marin Sky Trail
Marin Sky Trail

More and more people are looking for a bike that goes beyond smooth road riding. They want to use their riding experience to find a bike that challenges and conquers nature, providing a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

That’s where the Marin Sky Trail comes in. With a price tag of just $399, I initially had my doubts about this bike. However, after putting it to the test, I believe it is an excellent hardtail mountain bike that is perfect for beginners.

In this article, we will analyze the riding experience, main features, components, and specifications of the Pivot Shuttle Ride SLX/XT.

Additionally, we will compare it with several other top bicycle models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, feel free to follow us.

Riding Experience

The Marin Sky Trail is a hardtail mountain bike, and I expected it to perform well in off-road riding. So, I bought a plane ticket on Skyscanner and made a hotel reservation. Then, I headed to the Stinky Black trail at Killington Bike Park.

Stinky Black is a very narrow dirt trail, with many sections only allowing passage for one bike at a time. Furthermore, the sides of the trail are lined with trees, and there are fallen branches and loose gravel on the path. Many sections are steep, posing obstacles for my ride, whether uphill or downhill.

Off-Road Riding

I must admit, the Shimano RD-TX800 8-Speed rear derailleur and Shimano Altus front derailleur on the Marin Sky Trail work seamlessly together. Faced with multiple climbs and descents, I could quickly adjust the gear ratio to find the optimal speed to overcome these obstacles.

During descents, as an experienced rider, I shifted my weight backward and constantly adjusted the braking force of the hydraulic disc brakes, performing impressively in various braking situations.

Then came the uphill sections and jumps, truly testing my balance. I accelerated steadily, conquered the uphill sections, and in the air, the Entity MTB pedals helped me grip the Alloy. Shifting my weight backward and immediately adjusting myself and the bike, the 100mm suspension travel alleviated a lot of pressure, allowing me to execute jumps flawlessly.

On the corners, the 69.0° head tube angle assisted me in maneuvering smoothly. With one hand on the brakes, I avoided any potential danger. Additionally, this bike has MTB tires, and I can feel their impressive traction. The puncture resistance feature ensures I don’t have to worry about flat tires. Moreover, the 27.5″ wheel size provides excellent agility, allowing me to ride with great flexibility.


Considering Stinky Black is predominantly a downhill trail, I had to grip the handlebars tightly. The Entity MTB grips have comfortable patterns, allowing me to firmly hold onto them without slipping or getting injured due to friction.

Additionally, it is equipped with the Suntour XCE28 fork, featuring 100mm of spring travel for effective shock absorption. I could also adjust the steel spring’s preload using the adjustable preload feature to find the perfect balance for my preferences. The fork crown with a light mount enabled me to attach a front light, ensuring safer riding in low-light conditions.


The Marin Sky Trail is an exceptional hardtail mountain bike. It features a Series 1 6061 Aluminum frame, providing excellent durability. With 100mm of travel, it offers impressive shock absorption. Furthermore, it is equipped with a Shimano RD-TX800 rear derailleur and Shimano Altus front derailleur, delivering reliable gear-shifting performance.

Moreover, the Marin Sky Trail is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, offering excellent braking power. The 69.0° head tube angle provides the bike with exceptional maneuverability, allowing riders to navigate corners with agility.

What we like about it

  • The agile 27.5″ wheels and 69° head tube angle make for a nimble riding experience.
  • It has two bottle cage mounts, allowing riders to stay hydrated.
  • The price is only $399, offering great value for the money.
  • Compared to similar bikes, it excels in both uphill and downhill capabilities.

What we don’t like about it

  • The aesthetics may not appeal to some riders.


  • Is this bike suitable for beginners?

Yes, it is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.

  • How much travel does this bike have?

It is equipped with 100mm of travel.

  • What braking system does this bike have?

It is equipped with the Alhonga HJ-OD07 Hydraulic Disc brakes.

  • How do I choose the right size?

Please refer to the size chart below:

Rider heightSIZE
5’2″ – 5’6″SM
  5’4″ – 5’8″MD
5’5″ – 6’1″LG

These sizes serve as general guidelines, and the best way to determine the right size is to try it out for yourself.



FrameSeries 1 6061 Aluminum, 27.5 Wheels, 68mm BB shell, 135mm Forged Dropouts, Disc BrakeColor: Charcoal Metallic / Red
ForkSR Suntour XCE, 100mm Travel, Preload Adjustment
Bottom BracketSealed Cartridge Bearings, Square Taper
HeadsetZero Stack (ZS) Threadless, ZS 44/28.6 | 44/30
StemAlloy, 45mm
HandlebarAlloy, 20mm rise, 740mm wide
SaddleEntity MTB
SeatpostAlloy, 27.2mm
PedalsNylon Platform
GripsEntity MTB


Rear DerailleurShimano RD-TX800, 8-Speed
Front DerailleurShimano Altus
CrankForged Aluminum, 42x34x24T, 170mm
ShiftersShimano Altus, 3×8 Speed
CassetteShimano Altus CS-HG200, 11—32T, 8 Speed
ChainKMC Z-7
BrakesHydraulic Disc
Brake LeversAlhonga Hydraulic


RimsDouble-Wall Alloy Rims, 32H
Front HubQR Alloy, 6-bolt
Rear HubQR Alloy, 6-bolt
TiresMTB, 27.5 x 2.1″

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick ViewTiresDrivetrainFrame MaterialGroupset
Scott Aspect 970Click ViewKenda Booster 2.4″3×7AluminumShimano Tourney,microSHIFT
Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26Click ViewFast Trak Sport,26×2.35″2×9AluminummicroSHIFT Marvo
Polygon CASCADE 2Click ViewPERFORMANCE TIRE 27.5″ X2.13×7AluminumShimano Tourney
Diamondback Lux 1Click ViewVee Tire Crown Gem 27.5×2.353×8AluminumShimano Altus

Marin Sky Trail vs Scott Aspect 970

Scott Aspect 970
Scott Aspect 970

Both of these bikes feature aluminum frames, Suntour XCE28 forks, and aluminum wheels. They also have 100mm of travel, providing good shock absorption. They offer a decent riding experience on uneven terrain.

Additionally, the Marin Sky Trail has 27.5″ wheels, which offer greater agility. On the other hand, the Scott Aspect 970 has larger 29″ wheels, providing better rollover capability. Moreover, the Marin Sky Trail is equipped with a 3×8 drivetrain, offering a wider gear range and smoother shifting compared to the Scott Aspect 970’s 3×7 drivetrain.

So, if you prioritize more agile wheels and superior gearing, the Marin Sky Trail is an excellent choice for you. If you prefer wheels with better rollover capability, the Scott Aspect 970 would better suit your needs.

Marin Sky Trail vs Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26

Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26
Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26

The Marin Sky Trail features a Series 1 6061 Aluminum frame and an SR Suntour XCE fork. On the other hand, the Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26 is equipped with a Specialized A1 premium butted alloy frame and an SR Suntour XCM fork.

The latter has only 80mm of travel, while the former offers 100mm of travel. The Marin Sky Trail’s suspension is better able to absorb and minimize vibrations on rough terrain, providing excellent shock absorption without causing significant disturbances for the rider.

Additionally, the Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26 has highly agile 26″ wheels, whereas the Marin Sky Trail’s 27.5″ wheels offer better rollover capability. Furthermore, the Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26 features a smoother 2×9 drivetrain.

So, if you prioritize a smoother shifting experience and more agile wheels, I would recommend the Specialized Rockhopper Sport 26. If you desire better shock absorption, the Marin Sky Trail would be your ideal choice.

Marin Sky Trail vs Polygon CASCADE 2

Polygon CASCADE 2
Polygon CASCADE 2

Both of these bikes feature aluminum frames and Suntour XCE28 forks. Additionally, they have the same 100mm of travel, providing similar shock absorption capabilities.

However, the Polygon CASCADE 2 is equipped with TEKTRO MD-M280 DISC BRAKES. These are Mechanical Disc brakes, which are lighter than the Marin Sky Trail’s Hydraulic Disc brakes. However, hydraulic disc brakes offer slightly better braking performance, providing timely and precise stopping power.

On the other hand, Mechanical Disc brakes have an advantage in terms of maintainability. Hydraulic Disc brakes can be more complex to maintain and repair, which may cause some inconvenience.

So, if you prefer lighter brakes, the Polygon CASCADE 2 would be more suitable for you. If you prioritize superior braking performance, the Marin Sky Trail would be the better choice.

Marin Sky Trail vs Diamondback Lux 1

Diamondback Lux 1
Diamondback Lux 1

The Diamondback Lux 1 is equipped with Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc brakes and has 80mm of travel. It doesn’t offer the same level of braking performance as the Marin Sky Trail with its hydraulic disc brakes, nor does it provide the same level of suspension as the Marin Sky Trail’s 100mm of travel.

Moreover, the Marin Sky Trail has a Stack/Reach Ratio of 1.53, providing a more comfortable riding experience. Additionally, its larger head tube angle (69°) offers better maneuverability, especially when combined with the 27.5″ wheels, allowing for greater agility.

Considering that the Diamondback Lux 1 is $350 more expensive than the Marin Sky Trail, I would still recommend riders choose the Marin Sky Trail.


In summary, the Marin Sky Trail has been thoroughly evaluated and proven to be an outstanding hardtail mountain bike, offering both comfort and excitement during off-road riding. Based on our assessment, it receives a high rating of 4.6. If you’re interested in more bicycle information, feel free to explore our other reviews.

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