Strengths: I actually love this bike. It climbs well, it rolls well and it's really fast.
(Its a 2012 Palisades 29'er with SRAM groupset)
Weaknesses: The thing that has let this bike down for me is the terrible way in which failures have been dealt with by the dealer and the distributor.
After 11 months mainly road riding, with some light trail riding the following faults occured:
- headset seized - preventing steering from working.
- creaking and cracking from drivetrain (dealer suspected bottom bracket and replaced it but issue still present. I now suspect rear wheel bearings)
- Shift brackets corroded (the rest of the bike is corrosion free) - indicates poor material and coating spec on the shifter brackets (Please take note SRAM and Marin - please improve the corrosion resistance of X5 shifter brackets to match the rest of the bike).
I took it into dealer for warranty repair to headset and bottom bracket and they charged me for the repair. Both the bike shop (dealer) and UK distributor tried to (falsely) accuse me of poor maintenance saying that corroded shifter brackets indicated that I had not looked after the bike. Even though bike was correctly maintained, I still can't figure out how they were trying to suggest maintenance has an impact on sealed bottom bracket life. UK distributor also made outrageous claim that thousands of Marin Palisades had been sold worldwide 'without any reliability issues' (direct quote from letter). Doubt that this is actually true unless they manage shirk all warranty claims as owner induced faults.
The bike is great, except forn the reliability issues.
Don't expect warranty back up when something breaks, all you seem to get is accusations that the failures are your fault (Marin - please improve customer service!!)
Strengths: This bike has a great frame, handles well and has a decent parts group for the price. The frame looks so good it would easily scale up to a higher price point with better components. It shifts well and the brakes work OK
Weaknesses: You know how it goes-you get the parts you pay for. The bike is a tad heavy, the frame seems a little flexy(at least when you load up the crank without going anywhere), the brakes are very average. At this point any bike without a Fox fork seems kind of cheap, at least to me.
I wanted to try a 29er hardtail for the rumoured slower handling which I prefer . Other reasons for the 29er HT jump would be for the simplicity, the better bump rollover, and the greater momentum thing once you're rolling..
This bike definitely can hold its line better in faster turns which was what I was looking for. Overall it feels a little heavy and the front end is tougher to loft over logs and stuff than my 26er bikes
(Stumpy FSR and Motobecane Superfly HT). It holds speed better than my 26ers which is cool once you get it rolling.
This bike shifts well and the wheels seem OK but a little heavy. The fork makes a clunk sound when rapidly unloaded. The seat and seat post could stand a replacement along with the grips but everyone changes that stuff ! The stock tires are OK but not the best for serious rocky East coast singletrack. Overall it is a good general xc trail bike that works on tougher stuff if you know how to ride
The main things I like about the bike is the well built frame, its handling, bump rollover and the 29er momentum thing. You can wheelie this bike pretty well too which I guess means the chain stays aren't super long.
You don't see too many Marins around at least here on the East coast. As with any bike purchase, you really have to compare what you get at the price point. This bike seems to be on the lower end of decent quality, as opposed to the bikes in the $700-$900 price range that don't seem to be decent quality. So I'll give it 5 flamers because I'm having fun with it and the bike works pretty well!
Similar Products Used: Nothing really that close. A Stumpjumper FSR 29er (which I flipped 2x!) and one of Jay DeJesus' EWRs.
Bike Setup: Large size 19" for my 6'1 1/2 frame. Fits well after lowering the stem .Stock but I replaced the grips with Oury grips. The seat and seat post will get replaced and I'll go to a 2x in the front with a rock ring. I plan to go to 2.35 tires as when the stock ones wear too much. stem/bars.
a Weekend Warrior
from Bend, OR, USA
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2011
Strengths: Great frame, 20.5", I'm 6'2" and replace my Specialized Stumpy 26" with this 29er, and it is much better for my size. Takes rocks and technical sections like no other bike I've had. I downgraded from XTR on the stumpy to SLX on this bike but the SLX has been very responsive.
Weaknesses: The Rock Shock Tora fork could be upgraded to something lighter and more responsive, and more quiet.
Had to mess around with the geometry as I'm 6'2" and long legged, but I found my sweet spot on this Marin. Retail was $1300 and the LBS blew it out (2010 model) at $975 and I couldn't be happier. Very rare to get SLX components or higher at this price. Not the lightest bike at about 30lbs with my TIME pedals, but it's a far better climber than I thought, top speed is easier to maintain, and the technical capabilities are impressive. I would buy this bike again hands down, even if it was full retail you just get a package than other more heavily marketed brands. I may look to upgrade the front fork and wheels/tires (tubeless and better tread on sand) down the road, but that's about it. Five chilis. Compare to Gary Fisher/Trek X-Caliber(a close 2ndplace) and Specialized Rockhopper.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Stumpjumper 26" hardtail was my previous bike. While that bike was spec'd higher when I bought it, it is now 10 years old and the Palisades as a better buy for the dollar.
Bike Setup: Rock Shock Tora, Juicy 3.5 disc brakes, WTB stock wheel and tire setup, Deore front derailer.
a Weekend Warrior
from Annandale, VA
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2010
Strengths: Good frame, good components; geometry fits me well
Weaknesses: Still think Marin's are a bit expensive at full retail...
I use it for a lot of local XC riding, and it works very well. All of the usual 29er accolades apply. The frame has a good fit and finish and it relatively flex-free. The geometry fits me well (long legs, shorter torso). The cockpit is fairly compact; effective top-tube is in the shorter range for most 29er hardtails. I like this - it does not stretch me out too much but I can still effectively shift weight forward and back. However, a couple of people who have tried the bike have said it feels cramped, so make sure the fit is ok. No issues with toe overlap despite the more compact frame.
Bakes (Juicy 3): this is the first set of hydraulic brakes I've had, and I like them. I guess the Juicy 3's are not everyone's favorites but work will for XC and are way better than the mechanical discs I've had. My set are free of the usual Avid squeeks/gobbles but do rub on occassion.
Deore FD: works very well unless you try to crush it. The Deore FD on my GF did not work well, so I was surprised that the one on the Marin was so smooth and reliable. They are the same model. Go figure.
SLX RD: disappointing. It is excellent right after a bike shop adjustment, but seems to get off a touch after the first big root I go over. It then functions at about 80%-reliable but a bit slow and loud. Maybe I got a bad one.
Tora fork: typical Tora, works well. It is a 100mm (as opposed to the typical 29er 80mm). I didn't think I would notice the extra inch, but it makes things a lot cushier. A definite plus.
Other misc: I put on 2" risers to help me get the front end off the ground and it helped. The top tube shape makes it tricky to get on a car rack. I hated the stock seat initially but it grew on me. The WTB laserdisc wheels have been very solid.
Price: as noted above, try not to pay full retail. I still think Marin's at that level are a bit overpriced.
Weaknesses: Grips need adjusted every two hours of riding as they slip a little. Five D Cranks are heavier and not as responsive as Fire X, Prowler tires on bike are not big volume and roll poorly and are not smooth on hard pack.
This is the smoothest riding 29er hard tail I ever rode.I thought you had to have a steel frame for this comfy of a ride, not so! I had been riding a Haro Mary XC steel frame. I really liked the Haro but there was a huge difference in ride quality (smoothness and comfort) handling is a tad better on the Marin Palisades on Fire Roads and long winding trails, it steers a tad wide on tight switchy trails, I believe due to the 27 inch wide handle bars, each ride I trust the bike more and more and am railing corners and improving on tight switchbacks. Despite having lower end forks and cranks compared to the Haro Mary XC, I feel this bike is faster, more responsive and much more comfortable for those all day marathon rides. The bikes wheels are heavy and EXIwolfs are not light tires but the Exiwolfs improve ride quality with Stans no tube conversion immensely over the skinny profile Prowler 2.1 tires plus they don't roll near as smooth as the Exiwolfs. This bike is quite a surprise as I was only looking at Steel framed bikes (29ers). The geometry puts the rider in a more upright position without compromising performance and power. This bike isn't light but feels quick out of the hole and reaches speeds I have not obtained on other 29ers, it tracks beautifully and I can ride it with no hands for short stretches on fire roads, something I couldn't do with other bikes. The bike instills confidence and I feel the frame and forks are strong enough for agressive trail riding and small 2 foot jumps are a breeze on this bike. I forgot to mention that it is an attractive bike and deserving of a custom wheelset some day in the near future!