Pine Mountain & San Quentin 3, two of Bike Magazine's Best Hardtails Under $2000

Another nice hit from our friends at Bike, this time with the Pine Mountain and San Quentin 3 getting some love. Here's what they had to say:

PINE MOUNTAIN - Bare Bones Fun

"Spit in any direction inside a WalMart sporting goods department and you’ll hit a bike that comes with a suspension fork and costs a quarter the price of Marin’s fully rigid Pine Mountain. Spit inside a bike shop, and you might even hit a front-suspended offering from a trustworthy brand like Specialized or Trek for as low as $500. But you shouldn’t be doing so much spitting. And more importantly, those forks are generally crap. They don’t perform well enough on the trail to justify their excess weight or poor reliability. You’re better off either going used or looking for a fully rigid rig shod with plus-size tires if $1,000 is the top of your budget.

Marin’s Pine Mountain is one such plus-size trail stomper. Those big tires add cushion and give you more traction, which means less falling. The Pine Mountain’s steel frame and fork are paired with a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain and Shimano MT-400 hydraulic disc brakes for unwavering reliability. We wish it had the 148×12 rear-end spacing used on the higher-end Pine Mountain 2 instead of the strange 141×9 quick-release that pops up on bikes at lower price-points—like the Norco Fluid and Giant Fathom below—but you can't be too choosy at this price."

SAN QUENTIN 3 - Long, Slack, and Looking for a Fight

"If it weren’t for the paint job, dropper post and lack of skin wall tires, it’d be easy to mistake the San Quentin for the Commencal Meta HT. Just by looking at the frame you can see how slack the headtube angle (65 degrees) is and with a low standover, it’s apparent the San Quentin is meant to rally.

Marin does take a slightly different approach than Commencal, and really all of the other plus-size bikes listed so far, in that it combines progressive geometry with a shorter-travel fork and big tires to accomplish its goal. The San Quentin’s RockShox Revelation RC only has 130 millimeters of travel, which is nearly unheard of on a bike with such a slack headtube angle. However, we’d wager that with those 2.6-inch Vee Tire Co. Flow Snaps, the San Quentin is as much at home on big jump trails as it is on an all-day epic."

Read the full article here

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