Have you seen Bicycles Online’s newest addition to their online store? We’re very excited to bring you a review the Marin B 17 3 27.5+ dual suspension!
Item: 2018 Marin B 17 3 27.5+ dual suspension (see it here)
From: Bicycles Online
Purchase Price (approx): $3,499 (was$4,799) with free freight included in the Australian metro areas
Product outline: The first thing I love about this bike is the finish. Everyone has wanted a raw alloy frame with minimal decals and branding and this thing kicks that goal, it looks fantastic with a gloss clear coat over the brushed alloy. Its intension is to satisfy you as a trail rider that can tackle basically any ride where you’ll where you’ll comfortably enjoy the up’s and holler on the downs. The plus size tyres add some extra appeal for the folks sourcing some more grip and the well balanced 130mm of travel make this a total buzz to ride.
More appealing than the great finish and the amazing spec list is the price that you pay for it, it’s only $3500! You’d be very hard pressed to find a bike with this component list for anywhere near that money.
Stand outs: -Yep, the price. It’s so cheap for a brand new bike of this calibre and is stacked with great parts.
-The suspension package is amazing; Rockshox Pike 130mm travel paired with a RockShox Super Deluxe RCT3 Debonair rear shock.
-The Deity bar and stem combo suits the finish of the bike very nicely.
-SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain means you can basically climb anything as long as your legs and lungs go through with the deal.
-Stans No Tubes 38mm tubeless ready rims rolling around on WTB 2.8 inch wide tubeless plus size tyres
Warranty and support: The Marin B 17 3 comes with a five year factory warranty on the frame plus the full manufacturer’s warranty on the parts attached.
Delivery: As always, this can vary and relies heavily on the delivery company’s scheduling. For me, the decision was made on a Friday to send the bike 600km north of the warehouse, it left the warehouse on the Tuesday after a long weekend and I had it the next morning so let’s just say it was overnight, that unreal!
Assembly: I’ve touched on this in previous reviews of bikes coming from Bicycles Online and it really is a breeze. The Marin arrives in a branded box with an almost fully assembled bike. The only initial assembly before fine tuning your setup is remove the protective strapping and padding, put the front wheel in the forks, fit the handlebars to the stem and attach the dropper post cable to the bottom actuator of the post before you slide it in and bolt it up. Boom, thats it. Even a first timer at assembling this bike will have it standing on the floor within thirty minutes but a seasoned veteran will have it done before the second song starts on your playlist. Some don’t know it but the bikes that land at Bicycles Online are removed from the box, checked over and prepared for minimal assembly by you the buyer before they leave the warehouse. Why is that good? Well, it’s primarily to get you on the trails quicker and it’s satisfaction knowing the fiddley stuff is done and ready to roll.
First impression: I’m not gonna bang on about how good the finish is again, not much anyway. The brushed raw alloy finish is beautiful, it really stands out at a crowded trail head full of carbon frames painted like kid’s pyjamas. Matched with black components, it’ll grab the attention of anyone near it.
Size wise, I have the large frame for the review and it fit nicely even though I own XL frames. It’s 14.5kg and as an alloy frame with bigger tyres, thats pretty ace! After setting the sag to 30%, I noticed straight away that the bottom bracket felt lower than what I am used to on other hardtails and dual suspension frames. That small fact dictated some of the ride but I’ll get to that later.
In the car park before the ride, I rubbed my hands together at the temptation of running lower than normal pressures in the Plus sized tyres. They are a 27.5 inch wheel but have a 2.8 inch wide WTB Ranger tyre which means you’ll have more tyre on the ground across the tyre face plus you’ve got the higher sidewalls meaning the actual diameter of the tyre is 29 inches. The bike comes with tubes installed and thats how I ran it for the duration but I did run pressures around 23 PSI. Typically I run nearly 30 PSI but I really intended to lay this thing into the turns.
The start of the trail that I spent three hours on is a fun yet short descent with some natural rollers and a couple of roots to chuck it off. Being excited about riding something new, I took off with a grin and realised in the blink of an eye at the bottom of the gully that I hadn’t bed the brakes in. Ouch I thought, this was going to be a bad start to the ride and I scared myself even more when I remembered I didn’t have my tuned SRAM brakes but was about to grab hold of a Shimano lever. It doesn’t matter if you love SRAM or Hope or Shimano brakes; if you haven’t paired the rotor and pads before you ride it then you’re gonna have some butt cheek tension. Luckily for me, the trail was loaded with grip on the cold but damp surface and I had to throw it into the turn and hope the much preached extra grip of a Plus sized tyre worked and you know what? It bloody did! I’d made it through to the following flat section, flicked the KS LEV dropper remote and rode it out. Did I learn instantly that a Plus size tyre can give you more grip? YEP!
The next ten minutes of the ride were spent dialling the brakes in and making any adjustments to the Eagle drivetrain. I only had to do one eighth of a turn on the barrel adjuster of the shifter to reduce a small tick from the rear derailleur and flicked the rear shock to firm for the next few uphills.
Adjustments: I had rushed the assembly at home a little so I had to make some adjustments on the trail. All of it was done with a multi tool and a shock pump. I only needed to roll the bars back a little, raise the seatpost one centimetre and add some air to the rear shock to improve the small bob on the climbs.
Suspension wise, the Pike forks have the Charger Damper which allows you to adjust the compression on the go after you’ve set your air pressure. You can also turn the dial on the lower leg to vary your rebound speed. There’s nothing confusing or too scientific about adjusting a Rockshox fork, they keep it simple so you enjoy the ride.
As for the rear shock, you’re again using an air sprung device which has a small lever for two functions; soft and firm. I’m a big fan of running it firm almost everywhere on a trail ride and only flick it to soft for some of the higher speed compressions and the faster parts of the trail. A bloody magnificent feature of the Super Deluxe rear shock is the rebound adjustment is done by a collar around the top of the air canister meaning you’ll get a more definitive click to your adjustment and it just looks good.
Another added bonus? You can run 29 inch tyres on this frame, it’ll clear the arch of the frame giving you some serious options and potentially adding life to an old wheelset you have.
Longer term: I’ve had the bike for long enough to know it is something that I could get settled on. I’ve chucked all sorts of terrain at it and it’s very comfortable to ride. I ride most days of the week but didn’t manage a rainy day ride on this thing so can’t talk about it’s capability on loose wet dirt. I can say that my confidence in the parts on it mean it’s a bike you’ll love for a good amount of time.
Pros: Very accessible via the Bicycles Online website, amazing finish, excellent handling, very good part list that won’t need upgrading.
Cons: The extra tyre surface means you’ll need to push a little harder on the up’s, initially feels a little heavy with the bigger tyres, the brakes need upgrading to match what they bike can do on descents.
Do I recommend this bike?: Yep, I’m actually astounded by this bike. The price is easily $1500 less than that of it’s competitors plus you will not need to change any components to make it sing.
Would I change anything?: Only the brakes but out of the box, the Shimano Deore’s will get you rolling.
Summary: I wasn’t sold on the Plus size tyres before I had a good chance to swing it around but have totally enjoyed it. It isn’t vastly different to what we’re used to riding across our range of varied tyre and wheel sizes but pushing it into the turns a little harder does have it’s rewards. If you’re after something that you can interchange wheel sizes then this is it. I’d love to see how it feels with a 29 inch wheel and normal sized tyres, I reckon it’d be the true do-it-all trailbike.
The suspension linkage feels so plush on the initial stroke then doesn’t seem to ramp up to any noticeable point, it’s very seamless and not notchy. Matched with the right fork and tyre pressure and you’re up for a good time.
The fork and rear spacing is boost. If you haven’t found the benefit of boost yet then it’s probably time to believe the science, it is pretty noticeable and does alloy us to push things a little harder or at least with some confidence.
The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is becoming a lot more common and does serve it’s purpose; a huge range of gearing on a 12 speed cassette that can allow you to climb almost anything that gravity will hold. I’m a big fan of Eagle but I always tell new users of the drivetrain to play nice and concentrate on smooth shifting, it helps the lifespan of the components.
Bicycles Online is an Australian owned online store that offers mountain bikes, roadies, parts, bike accessories and gear you can wear. Being an online store, they offer an experience that is specially designed to ensure you get the best knowledge on the products you’re sourcing. The fun part of this review is I get to partake and demonstrate to you what the experience involves by sourcing a bike online, having it show up in a box, assembling it and hitting the trails!