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The Marin Larkspur - A New School Mixte Bike That's Ready For Anything

There’s no doubt the Marin Larkspur is a bit of an enigma, but for all of us here at Marin, it makes perfect sense. To understand the riddle of the mysterious modern step-through Mixte, we started right at the source with Marin Product Director Aaron Abrams.

Man sitting on stairs, next to a Marin Larkspur 2 bike.

In a world of sporty carbon racers and bad-ass off-road bikes you’d be forgiven for saying you didn’t really ‘get’ the Marin Bikes Larkspur. You're probably asking yourself "what even is a mixte bike?" right?

On first glance it’s a bike for rolling down to the store or your local cafe, cutting the silhouette of a classic ‘Mixte’ step-through.

But aren’t those sorts of bikes supposed to be square, functional, dry and dull? The safe and stable day-in-day-out workhorse that we all have in the back of our sheds, long since replaced with something sportier?

Marin Larkspur 2 bike detail.

The Marin Larkspur has the initial appearance of an old-school step-through bike. But at the same time, someone added chunky tan-wall tires, wide rims, powerful disk brakes and the option of a dropper seat post. Beneath those old-school looks is a super modern Marin Bikes-made steel frame and plenty of modern standards to keep it right up to date.

It just seems to be daring you to go a bit further and faster. Spurring you on to launch a kerb or pull a skid that would blow your 10-year-old self’s socks off.

Why just roll to the deli or ride to work when you can take a detour down your favourite dirt track on the way? It's an adventure bike, it's a gravel bike, it's a mountain bike, it's a commuter bike... it's whatever you want it to be.

Marin Larkspur 2 bike leaning up a road closed gate, Occidental CA

“We took inspiration from the old school” Aaron told us. “It was inspired by all sorts of bikes but has the same spirit as those early mountain bikes that many of us rode in the 80’s or 90’s."

"Those bikes gave you the ability to have adventures beyond your expectations. They could take you places you wanted to go and when the route changed, they were ready for whatever came your way. They were great urban bikes and were great adventure buddies”.

Aaron, who describes his job as “making cool, fun, and attainable bikes that make people want to go and ride” clearly has a soft spot for the Larkspur. It’s his bike to ride to work whenever a deli stop or a mini-adventure is required and one of his most frequently ridden in his collection.

Considering riding your bike to work? We've compiled Marin's Top Tips for commuting to work by bike here.

The word “adventure” appears often when he talks about the Marin Larkspur. It’s hard to tell if those adventures are pre-planned or form on the fly, egged on by the Marin Larkspur. It's a bike that hints at the early history of mountain biking and conjures up images of the Rough Stuff Fellowship, Repack, those early pioneering Klunkers, Repack, Mt Tamalpais and so much more.

“The Larkspur is for riders of all ages and all genders to do all kinds of things on” Aaron explained slightly mischievously.

“You don’t need to pigeonhole the experience into ‘road cycling’ ‘gravel riding’ or ‘mountain biking’, it’s a real ‘choose your own adventure’ scenario every time you get on the bike.

The bike is also great on all sorts of surfaces and it’ll take you anywhere from a cruise through the neighbourhood to a ride to the grocery store to shredding singletrack and escaping the city into the outdoors as an adventure bike. It'll even take a luggage rack, a basket and bags and turn into a cargo bike if you need it to".

Rider taking a Marin Larkspur 2 through a wooded park.

That’s where that strange-looking frame and coming-together of old school and new starts to make sense.

It’s not just a steel commuter bike or a hybrid bike. It's not just a bike for riding to the local cafe and it’s not just a bike for surfing your favourite dirt trail. It’s both. Or none of them. Or whatever you want it to be.

So what is a mixte bike? Mixte refers to a style of bike frame that replaces the traditional ‘double diamond’ that we all know with a low-slung, step-through style and those recognizable extra tubes that connect the seat stays to the top tube.

Mixte bikes are loved by many for being comfortable, easy to ride, super strong and, of course, super eye-catching.

Like those classic Mixte bikes, the Marin Larkspur is a steel bike, built around a Marin Bikes Series 2 Butted CrMo steel frame. “Steel is the only way to build this bike” Aaron told us “it’s all about comfort, durability and a healthy dose of style. We never even considered another material”.

The Larkspur is also what's called a 'step through' bike, meaning that the frame swoops down low and is easy to swing your leg over or 'step through'. Step-through bike frames are easy to hop on and off, great for riders of all abilities, great if you're carrying shopping and no hassle for those stop-start trips in the city. "Are step-through bikes unisex" you ask...? The answer is a definite 'hell yeah'. They most definitely are.

Marin Larkspur 2 frame detail.

Surely a bike like this is all about compromise though? After all, a city bike will never shred in the dirt as well as a proper mountain bike and vice versa?

Chatting to Aaron, he was careful to bake that go-anywhere approach into the Larkspur from day one, designing it to be both fun and functional all the way from the drawing board to the trails.

“I wanted a cool-looking bike that you could casually ride trails and buzz around town and one that would be great to hang a basket or a bar bag on. It had to be steel and it had to have great geometry that felt comfortable in town and on the trails”.

That process also extended to the components, he explained, “We took all the modern components that we knew we just had to have to ride off-road and made sure to include them.

That means a super modern 1x drive train, wide rims, top-quality disc brakes, a dropper post on the top-spec model and tires that could rough it on dirt tracks”.

Marin Larkspur 2 bike leaning up against a log.

And so, whilst a rigid bike with a basket might not set award-winning times down the gnarliest of trails, perhaps that’s not the point. Perhaps it’s more the freedom to know that wherever your ride takes you, be it to the deli or the dirt track, your only limit is how much fun you’re willing to have.

“Riding and having fun is the point” Aaron told us. “You can call it whatever you want, but you’re guaranteed to enjoy it once you’re on it. We want riding the Larkspur to be fun, whimsical and adventurous”.

No arguments here. Presenting the Marin Larkspur, a modern Mixte bike that'll do just about anything.

You can learn more about the Larkspur here on

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