I always end up with two mtbs at a time. One with lesser travel for the tamer trails and one with more travel for rougher trails. The Marin at the time of purchase was to compliment the cannondale *at the time i purchased this frame i have not yet acquired the trance x2*. It was a bike, that i felt, changed me the most as a rider technically. The frame was purchased by itself in HK and initially i read up on a couple of reviews that were super positive. Basically they praised the combination of 140mm of travel and a slack 67 head angle which all results in an aggressive yet nimble ride. At the time it was truely new school in terms of geo numbers and i wanted to try it for myself. I had ridden 67 head angle bikes previously with the mongoose khyber and i knew the advantages are real over technical terrain.
Once i came back from holidays i started on the build. I don’t know what came over me but i decided on the newly released saint gruppo. It might have being the gold trimings or maybe the price was good but looking back the groupset was pretty damn overkill but it pleased a few internet critics who thought the groupset suited the bikes personality. The bike came in around the 15kg mark with all toys including a joplin seatpost and to date is one of the heaviest bikes i have ever ridden.
I don’t know when but the Marin was definitely a catalyst of some kind for my riding technically. Previous to riding the Marin i was a fairly conservative rider to be honest. When a bunch of friends stood at a tech section trying different lines out i would be pretty passive to say the least. Thinking back now as i type this i know exactly when this catalyst occurred. It was at my second or third ride at Manly dam with a few friends. I had decided to try spd’s again *this was actually the first bike i tried spd’s on again after my first experience with them failed*. I purchased a set of shimano m647’s and for some reason after a little while they provided me with a greater level of confidence then i thought. I nearly fell a few times but overall i felt “connected”. I did the Manly dam outer lap and the small drops on that loop and i think that was the moment of the catalyst. I realised in typical retrospect style that i was technically capable of trying some of the stuff i had being contemplating. Open the flood gates.
The following ride after that a few of us headed over to Kentlyn and carrying across the momentum of my confidence from manly dam i made a point to push myself to ride everything that my mates was riding. Drops, roll downs, a little north shore, i attempted it all and came away feeling so happy. I grew greedy and soon after was eyeing and attempting the big drop to flat at manly dam. I crashed on my second attempt but got up to seal the deal for my third attempt to tell myself i could do it. It was a moment that had a huge impact on my riding to this day.
After this period of improving technically i was introduced to the trance x2. The trance x2 told me what speed was and truth be told the faster you can go the more fun it will be. This on trails typically meant going downhills AND uphills quickly. The trance x planted a seed into my brain and made me realise how the Marin was over built. A seed which would eventually sprout from the acquisition of a rare 3dv purple chris king headset. The headset itself sparked a purple race and i underwent the complete rebuild of the bike to suit. I wanted my build to be still technically proficient but shave weight efficiently off where possible. I managed to shave the bike down to 12.8kg from 15kg or so. Suddenly i saw a transformation with the Marin. It was turned into a much more efficient trail machine and i was amazed at the speed it gained whilst still remaining technically adpt. Riding kentlyn told me a few things about the marin. It was a very technically proficient bike. To this day i have not ridden a bike that tech climbs as well as the marin. Due to the extremely plush/active rear suspension the bike does not get hung up on square edges and it just plows everything. It allowed me to get up some of the tech climbs at kentlyn without breaking a sweat and in return amaze myself. Unfortunately due to the same plush suspension it never reacted well to standing up and pedalling and it did exhibit bob more so than any other suspension design i have ridden.
So the Marin Wolfridge was sort of a catalyst to my riding. It allowed me to ride with a completely different state of mind, pushing myself to try stuff that i previously thought was unrideable. Definitely one bike that i valued and still value highly.