Marin's Performance Hardtails - Which One Is Best For You?
We LOVE hardtail mountain bikes here at Marin.
There are lots of reasons to choose the humble hardtail. They need less time in the workshop changing bearings and servicing shocks, which means more time on the trails. They're easier to keep clean, and there's less stuff to go wrong. Most of all, they're fun to ride.
If you're a rider on a budget, hardtails give you more bang for your buck. That raw and unassisted ride offers an experience that full suspension just can't touch. They're great for beginners to learn the basics. They're great for experts to test their skills.
They also look badass, right?
What is a hardtail mountain bike?
So, what is a hardtail mountain bike?
Simply, it's a mountain bike without rear suspension. It has a 'rigid' frame, with no rear shock to smooth out the bumps on the trail.
Once upon a time, all mountain bikes were hardtails. When suspension technology appeared, the mountain bike evolved but riders never fully lost their love for the humble hardtail.
What's the difference between a 'hardtail' and a 'rigid' mountain bike? 'Rigid' means no suspension at all, whereas 'hardtail' would usually refer to a bike with a suspension fork but no rear shock.
Which Marin Performance Hardtail is Right For You?
Planning a new bike and got your eyes set on hardtail?
It's good to start by thinking about the type of riding you're planning.
Do you want to race?
Do you want to hit the jumps or the pump track?
Do you want to throw yourself down some steep and gnarly tracks and arrive at the bottom grinning like a loon?
Mellow and flowy trails or steep and gnarly tracks?
For all of these and more, there's a hardtail for you in Marin's range.
The Racer Snake and Singletrack Slayer
If speed is your goal, the Team Marin hardtail mountain bike is for you.
The Team Marin is a cross-country mountain bike that's perfect for duking it out between the tapes. But it's not just for racing. The Team' is also light, fast and fun through the singletrack and can be ridden all day in the backcountry.
Built around a lightweight alloy frame with responsive geometry, and decked out with fast-rolling tyres and lightweight suspension forks, the Team Marin will flatter your fitness and stamina. It'll make you ride further and faster.
The Team Marin 1 is a budget performer with a RockShox fork and Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain. The Team Marin 2 adds a super light and stiff Fox 34 StepCast fork, a Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain and a dropper post for added confidence on more technical trails.
Add a bar roll and a seat pack and you could have yourself a speedy bike-packing bike that'll allow you to go beyond the road and onto the trails. It'll also handle regular trail riding or fast gravel rides with no drama at all.
The High-Flying Dirt Jumper
If you've got your eyes on the skies and the dirt jumps are your home, you'll love the Marin Alcatraz dirt jump bike.
Designed and ridden by dirt jump god Matt Jones, the Marin Alcatraz is built for big air. It has a light and stiff alloy frame, tough 26-inch wheels, a 100mm travel suspension fork and geometry that's dialled-in for the jump spot. The Alcatraz is tough enough for the streets and the skateparks too.
It's also single-speed to keep things simple, and if you run a single brake the cable routing means you can run it on the left or right of your handlebar. There's a choice of two sizes, and the option to buy frame-only so you can swap the bits from your old bike.
The technical trail-fiend
No rear suspension? No problem! Riding tech trails on a hardtail MTB is part of the challenge for many riders.
If you're set on the most fearsome trails, the Marin El Roy has you covered. It's one of the very best hardtail mountain bikes around.
Long reach keeps your weight over the front wheel and that steel frame, slack head angle and 29" wheels make for a hardtail that can hang with the full sussers on ugly terrain. It'll spin back up to the trailhead more easily than a big enduro rig and that steel 'feel' has a lively and forgiving 'flex' through rough ground.
The El Roy complete bike features carefully picked components that are ready to shred, including a 140mm Marzocchi Z1 fork, powerful 4-piston Shimano brakes and tubeless compatible Maxxis Assegai tires.
The El Roy is also available as a frame only. It's ED coated inside to prevent corrosion, and as a steel frame, it's relatively straightforward to repair should the worst happen. Build it up right, and it could be your forever hardtail.
Tech Note: 'Reach' is the horizontal distance between the centre of your bottom bracket axle and the centre of the top of the head tube. You can use it to get a feel for the size of a bike, and you can find it on the geometry charts for all of our bikes.
The bikepacking buddy
Bike touring used to mean heavy panniers and tarmac miles.
But the new school of bike packing is here and, guess what? It's rad! You can now tackle anything and everything you'd normally shred on a mountain bike, while carrying everything you'd need to sleep out under the stars.
The Marin Pine Mountain is built for exactly that, with a comfortable CroMo steel frame at its heart. There are rack and water bottle mounts, plus extra gear mounts on the frame which can be used to fix a frame bag securely.
The Marin Bedroll handlebar is designed to work perfectly with a front bag, while chunky 2.6 inch 29er tires will give you traction even in soft and loose terrain. You can read more about the Bedroll bar here.
Bikepacking rigs can sometimes take the fun out of rougher terrain, but the Pine Mountain features front suspension and trail-ready geometry. You also get a dropper post on the Pine Mountain 2 to let you really enjoy the descents.
All of this means that the Pine Mountain is more than a one-trick pony. It'll rip singletrack, gravel grinding or even do commuter duty. It's as versatile as mountain bikes used to be.
The Go-Everywhere, Ride Everything Mountain Bike
We've gone through the lineup of specialist machines, but maybe you want a hardtail for a bit of everything. Good old-fashioned, all-round mountain biking. Something that's light and agile for fast singletrack, but is tough enough to cope with tracks built with long travel enduro bikes in mind.
The Marin San Quentin is designed for modern mountain bike trail riding, with an alloy frame that's light but strong in all the right places. 27.5-inch wheels with wide rims and big tires make it chuckable enough for tight twisty sections but with plenty of comfort and grip.
Wide-range gears make climbing a breeze and the bikes in the range feature either 130mm or 140mm travel suspension forks - enough to get you out of trouble, not so much that the bike feels unbalanced.
The Marin San Quentin will take on any section of trail, whether it's steep downhills or big jumps. It's also one of the best value bikes in the Marin range, and the frame features internal cabling and room for a dropper post, meaning it's ready to upgrade when your bank balance allows.
Choose your weapon
Hardtails are often seen as an affordable route into mountain biking. There's definitely something in that, but they can also be great bikes in their own right. From dirt jumping to off-grid adventures, a hardtail is often the perfect tool for the job.
But don't take our word for it: head down to your local Marin dealer and check out the Marin mountain bikes range.
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