Strengths: Frame is fantastic, rear derailleur is deore.
Weaknesses: The brakes and pedals. I'm regretfully looking for another mtb ht with disc brakes as the brakes on this model are a little soft. The pedals were swapped over for SPDs straight out of the shop.
This bike has stolen my heart and made me a huge fan of Marin. Purchased new in 2001, it's still my main ride (2012). The most impressive part of this bike is it's ability to intuitively move around a track. I've often compared it to a good horse cause it seems to know its way through without much guidance from me at all!!
I bought the bike in the summer of 2002 as a 2001 model. Because it was a year behind Marin had added a couple of nice upgrades - mainly the Deore LX rear derailleur and the manitou magnum shock. So the components were kind of a mixed bag - LX for the rear derailleur, Alivio for the front one and the shifters, no-name brake levers and crankcase. It was more than you'd usually get for a $500 bike though so I thought it was a good deal - the treks and fishers I was trying would give you deore at best for the rear derailleur and usually the RockShox Judy fork which is heavy and stiff. The best thing about the bike is the frame - its able to handle anything you can throw at it. Climbing is a breeze, and the handling is very intuitive. I like the bare metal look as well, its very distinctive. Overall the bike is a very nice package - light, fast, and relatively maintenance free (so far). There are only a couple of problems worth mentioning. The seat, as others have said, may as well be made of wood. Also it may just be a preference thing, but I hated the pedals with toe clips on the bike - great for road biking, not so much for on the trails. I remember one time I had to brake suddenly as the rider in front of me wiped out - just as i stopped, the bike started tipping over to the right. Sure enough my feet got caught in the clips and I tumbled down the very steep hill/cliff just to the side of the trail. Painful and embarrasing to say the least. Oh well i guess its not marins fault - i could have seen that one coming. A great bike for the money if you can still find one.
Similar Products Used: fisher tasajarra, trek 4900
Bike Setup: stock with new pedals and seat
a Weekend Warrior
from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2002
Strengths: Frame, components.
Weaknesses: Seat, which I replaced.
Wicked bike, first bike I've ridden in years. I love it and ride it every day. The seat sucked but once that was replaced, the bike rocks! I recommend it. I'm definately a rookie in the world of mountain biking and love this bike. It was worth spending a few extra bucks to get something that is good quality. If your a rookie like me and looking for a new bike, check this one out.
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Fusion, Kona Fire Mountain
Bike Setup: shimano deore front and back derailleurs, manitou mangum front forks.
a Cross Country Rider
from mountain view, CA USA
Date Reviewed: April 1, 2002
Strengths: Components, suspension, tires, shift smoothness, pedals, levers are comfortable of moved toward stem, crankset feels solid, rims.
Weaknesses: seat hard as a rock without post upgrade, some bolts and screws have rusted after cleaning.
Great bike for intermediate and XC riders who won't be dropping off 50' cliffs just to get their picture in a magazine. This bike has been a great buy ride after ride, especially when he seat post was upgraded to suspension.
It handles great, lands softly off most jumps (even when operator error tests the engineering of the front suspension!), hardly a scratch after the first wipeout, light, very fast downhill, great on climbs, doesn't need to be serviced after every ride.
I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't ready for full suspension, doesn't have $8,000,000 dollars to spend on the F/S bikes the magazines say are cool, wants a great ride each time out, AND KNOWS HOW TO USE THEIR ELBOWS AND KNEES to help absorb impact.
NOT a good bike for lazy-poser-image conscious-trendy-wannabe-spandex geeks who have to spend at least $3000 on a bike so it will look cool on the rack of the German sports car waiting for them in the parking lot. If they knew how to ride, they'd high-tale it for a hard-tail at the local bike shop!
Similar Products Used: Specialized Expedition Sport/Rockhopper, Giant Warp DS3 (PIECE OF GARBAGE!)
Bike Setup: Deore drivetrain, IRC Mythos XC tires, Ovation hubs, Alex Rims, Post Modern Suspension seat post, Cateye Computer
a Cross Country Rider
from Brighton, UK
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2001
Strengths: The frame. I got the impression when I was looking around at different brands that Marin put quite a lot of effort and money into their frames, and to me this bike bears that out. It seems to me to be stiff, quick, climbs better than anything I've ridden, in fact I'm usually pleasantly surprised every time I ride it. It even looks good, a bit different and I like the bare-metal look.
Weaknesses: Some of the components are not up to the standard of the frame. To me the biggest problem here is that the bike seems to be made for warm-and-dry riding, and the copious mud, rain, puddles etc. of a British winter/spring/summer/autumn... I found the tyres no good in the mud (wheel-spinning my way up even gentle hills sometimes), the headset let in half Sussex and all but seized, and some small nuts and bolts are rusting. Also, the brake levers I don't much like, they have a lot of lateral play and seem to be cheap no-name, the sort of thing you'd find in a bike half the price. I'm also having problems with the seatpost, which is the cheapo and has started to burr and shift. This is being maybe over-critical, but its as well to know wht you may have to swap.
The only bike I've ridden that made me grin like this does was the 650 Honda I had a couple of years back, but since I wrote that off after a week it doesn't quite match the Palisades for value-for-money. A lovely frame will made every ride faster and more fun than (I at least) expected, and though I had problems with some components I'd still definately have gone for this bike. Very good value-for-money, since you get a fine frame and good all-round setup that'll be a top ride, but you might not be short of things to upgrade. Luckily, the bike's worth it. I demo'd the equivalent Specialized, and it was the Marin that had me back in the shop with a grin on my face.
Similar Products Used: Demo'd Specialized at similar price range, owned old Kona Fire Mountain and very, very old Marin Muirwoods.
Bike Setup: Stock except replaced tyres and bar grips.
a Weekend Warrior
from Boston, MA
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2001
Strengths: Overall it's a good solid unit. Most of the accessories are as notable as being good as the big stuff. The cranks have been updated from the 2000 to Shimano as have the derailers. The frame and the forks will handle alot more than what'd you'd typically get in the price range. You may blow out components over time, as will happen with most bikes, but both the frame and fork are good enough to really keep around and build upon.
Weaknesses: It's the little things that are easy to find fault with this bike. The first one is the saddle: it's junk. Way too uncomfortable for any length of time on it. Even lighter riders that have tried it faulted it pretty quickly as being cruel and unusual The grips are also pretty cheesy as well. Very little cushion. If I didn't wear gloves religiously I'd of replaced these within the first week.
Marin learned their lesson with the 2000 models; don't skimp on the little things. A good solid base is a good starting point for making a good bike and adding good components consistentyly is what will attract a good number of riders. A cheap pair of grips and saddle can be forgiven considering what they went with for everything else
I would say this is a good bike for the beginner to intermediate rider. It has alot of things going for it that a beginner will grow into and a more advanced rider will appreciate. For the price tag it's a good investment. I was a large mammal (6 foot 255 punds) when I purchased this bike 6 months ago and was worried about giving the bike the "Lumpy Rutherford" treatment right off the bat. It's managed to hold up to some pretty serious abuse doled out by a now fanatical rider through some pretty hellish situations.
I'm impressed with the quality and price of the bike. Marin earned themselves a dedicated rider with this one.
Similar Products Used: Sheepishly I admit that this is my first actual mountain bike I've owned. I've borrowed and rented numerous models over the years from Univegas with no suspension to full-suspension top of the line Gary Fishers. When it came time to get a bike I knew I wanted something that wouldn't break the bank but would grow with me as a rider. I could see keeping this bike for a long long while. Any desire to upgrade is simply fanaticism and is NOT as a result of actual need.....well...aside from the saddle. That's gone out the window for good reason.