Versatility is a key component of our Four Corners models, we boast that these bikes are perfectly suited for today’s commute, and tomorrow's touring adventures. Our developers thoughtfully design the geometry on these steel frames to have your back during long touring adventures, providing stability and comfort when fully loaded with panniers and packs. However being a fabulous touring bike isn't quite enough for our product developers. We believe bikes shouldn't be good at just one thing, so we balance the stability in the frame with snappy handling for the smaller adventures, like commuting from your front door and back again. Red Kite Prayer, a bike blog dedicated to the soul of cycling, put our Four Corners Elite model to the test. Read on to see if our bike passed the test and delivered on the promise we built into it...
The words that follows are by Paidrag (Patrick Brady), one of the founders of RKP.
I’ve got an abiding love for bike touring. I dig it as a concept. I love where it takes you. I swoon for how it opens the self. I revel in it as an exercise in strategy, the route planning, the what of packing, the where of weight distribution and access. So naturally, I love a great touring bike.
But unless you’re buying a bike ahead of a big tour, a touring bike needs to do more than just haul packs. It ought to be a rig that makes for enjoyable riding closer to home. Or, at least, that’s my view, given that most miles people will put on a bike will be ridden closer to home, wanderlust notwithstanding.
When I spied the Marin Four Corners Elite at Interbike I was intrigued. It is, in many ways, a classic touring bike. It’s got braze-ons like my three-year-old has stuffed animals. It’s welded from a tube set stiffer than some English upper lips. It uses an out-swept bar. But it has some very modern touches. It features a 1x drivetrain with a 38×42 low gear. And, no surprise, disc brakes bring it to a stop. What is a surprise? It rolls on the WTB Riddler tire, a 45mm tubeless wonder.
So the Four Corners Elite is a drop-bar bike-packing bike, not your traditional road touring model. Were I striking out on a tour that was going to take in unpaved roads, maybe even a bit of singletrack, I’d choose this over a mountain bike. More hand positions has always been an advantage for long days in the saddle.
As I mentioned in my opening, a touring bike is, on most days, just a bike. It may get ridden to work or the store, or taken out on a group ride and so its important that it be enjoyable even when there’s not 80 pounds of gear hanging on it. The big question on my mind was whether this was a bike that would capably function as an adventure bike. So I took it out on some of my favorite dirt roads near me.
Touring bike handling has always been relaxed, even-tempered. What you don’t want is a bike that’s nervous under load. Any body English can cause a bike with too-quick-handling to shimmy, and that’s roughly zero fun. At low speeds the Four Corners Elite was still nimble enough that I could maneuver around rocks, but with the Riddler tires, I could also choose to go over them, and I often did. A 45mm tire is as big as my first mountain bike’s tires!
I don’t usually spend much time focusing on the parts spec of a bike, but in this instance, given that this bike is so reasonably priced—just $2249!—it’s worth discussing the parts pick some. The bike is built around a SRAM Rival 1x group with an 11-speed 10-42 cassette. I’ve got some concerns about having enough low end for either long or steep climbs when this bike is loaded, but for tackling the fire roads around me it was just fine. The Rival discs had great stopping power.
Check out the full post here.