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Anyone know when the El Roy is due to be released? 2021 El Roy Frame Kit
I’d love to know if you will be able to fit a true 29x2.6” tire in the frame and still have room for mud clearance.
Probably a bit late, but looks like early May in NZ (complete bikes only), which as far as I know uses the same distributor as Aus. I was recommended to reserve one if I wanted one.

If you're lucky though, you might find that some early models made it out (at least that's how it went here in NZ). Took mine home today and very excited to take it to see some dirt tomorrow!

First impressions:
  • Feels weirdly 'normal' and more agile and zippy than I was expecting.
  • Steep seat tube angle is the most noticable difference for me, but again, not as extreme feeling as I was expecting.
  • Seat tube is probably a bit too short - at 6'3" with relatively moderate limb length the stock post is at minimum insertion to get to within an inch of my normal saddle height which means a new dropper straight out of the gate most likely (budgeted for it, but test tomorrow will tell for sure if it's needed)
  • Rear end feels pretty plush (my point of reference is a Honzo, but I've been on a FS bike only for the past 6 months).
  • So far changed out the rear for cushcore (I'm heavy...) & something faster rolling as we don't really do mud here (well, not for a while at least).
 

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Second impressions:
  • Went out for a few quick practice laps for a local race series, and wondered whether it would be bad to shake down my new El Roy at the same time? Answer: definitely not, this thing absolutely rips :) -- ended up riding for 3 hours instead of the 1 I'd planned...
  • It's lighter than expected, or at least probably at least 1-2kg lighter than my (admittedly heavy) trail bike.
  • Climbs better than expected - it's not 'fast', but definitely decent (running 2.5WT DD aggressor with cushcore in the rear and my terrain is dusty/loose over hard/hard at the moment).
  • Flat terrain is again, better than expected. I haven't taken it on a full XC loop or anything, and it does make the trails easier than many bikes, but on flatter trails it didn't fill me with boredom like a big enduro bike might (nor was it a handful).
  • The dropper is too short for me at 6'3" with the seat tube length - going to drop a oneup 210mm in there tomorrow and see how that goes.
  • The seat angle isn't distracting on flatter terrain, and was comfortable on mellow climbs. I didn't get in any really steep climbs to really let it shine.
  • The fork is great, which is not unexpected, but I've not ridden the Z1 before, so it's good to confirm. The handlebar on mine is really decent with trail chatter too, but it's not on the stock specs despite coming stock with my bike, so I'm not sure how relevant that observation is.
  • The rear end is plush. No other word for it. Feels like probably ~40mm (1.5") of travel for the purposes of soaking up impacts? I thought I was going crazy, but a quick test from a friend confirmed it. You still know about drops, cases, etc., but they are very manageable, while trail chatter, small roots and so on are all very pleasantly muted, which really helps when
  • The bike begs you to ride faster when it's pointed down the hill (so far it only lets up when my FS-accustomed body does).
  • Feels especially at home on steep and loose.
  • Despite looking very slack it never felt like a handful up or down the hill. Climbs were composed and I saw no wheel lift even in short pinches. Going down I never felt the front trying to get away from me on flatter trails, even though it's quite loose out.
  • Slightly techy (real tech climbs don't really feature on my trails) climbs were handled easily.
  • Bunny hops perfectly fine. Endo/manual/wheelie definitely took more body movement than I'm used to though.
  • Feels happy and composed getting into the air.
  • It was happy getting a little loose and sideways, playing and jibbing about, but I wouldn't say that it's a strongpoint.
  • Never felt overbiked, even on relatively easy blues.
  • Never felt outgunned, but blacks (maybe... depends on your ratings) were the limit of the riding today.
  • Very quiet.
  • The KMC chain isn't amazing, especially for shifts under load (whoops) and backpedalling (trail bike is XT 12sp, so direct comparison was possible) - I plan to swap it with a shimano one when I get a chance. Update: swapped for a shimano chain and the difference is immediately noticeable. Not only quieter and backpedals properly now, but shifting is smoother both normally and under power (HG+ is great).
  • The paintjob is damn nice.
  • Overall: I like it way more than I expected to and it seems way more versatile than I was expecting!

Happy to answer any specific questions and if my thoughts change or I have updates I'll try to note them here (especially since there seems to be limited discussion about this bike so far).
 

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Third impressions:

  • It kept me engaged on a flowing XC loop, but I wouldn't call it eager or particularly fast in that scenario (it's still efficient of course, but it doesn't urge you on like some bikes might). While you could definitely be more entertained on a smaller bike, it's still a lot of fun however and didn't make the trail boring by any means.
  • Steep climbs are good (even horrible loose or technical ones). Front wheel never felt like wandering even sat down mashing the 51T.
  • The 210mm dropper is a HUGE improvement over the stock 150mm (weird spec on mine again). This shouldn't be a surprise of course, but for me it not only let me get the saddle high enough (seat tube really is 'very' short), but also gain a huge amount of manouverability and importantly bump soaking room for when it wants to go way too fast into the rough stuff...
  • Had a few more opportunities to confirm that it's super happy (and comfortable) on fast, rough, drops, steep, and also technical downhill sections. It's still very much only limited by my legs being able to absorb the bumps.
  • Getting more playful as I get used to it (and being back on a trail HT...).
  • The seat clamp is more fiddly than it needs to be (uses two bolts instead of the normal one).
  • It generates a lot of interest at the trailhead (YMMV -- I guess people mostly ride full squish or XC HTs here...)

Seat clamp update:
  • The seat clamp is not only fiddly, but a bit delicate. I snapped the band on mine at less than 4.5Nm on the bolts as it was slipping slightly at around 4Nm tightened evenly across both bolts.
    • The material that snapped is very thin. The clamp is made of three bands, two of which snapped: one is maybe around 2x2mm and the other is maybe 2x3mm.
    • The size of the clamp is 33.3mm, which is an insanely difficult size to source (unless you're in the US I guess) -- I've got one on the way, but in case anyone is struggling with this issue in the future, a Salsa Lip Lock comes in the correct size (though that size is not available from many distributors, especially ones local to me).
      • A surly 33.1mm clamp should also work, but sourcing both was equally tricky for me and Marin specify a 33.3mm, so I chose the Salsa.
    • I should note that I've not been able to source an OEM clamp from the local distributor/Marin.
 

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Third impressions:

  • It kept me engaged on a flowing XC loop, but I wouldn't call it eager or particularly fast in that scenario (it's still efficient of course, but it doesn't urge you on like some bikes might). While you could definitely be more entertained on a smaller bike, it's still a lot of fun however and didn't make the trail boring by any means.
  • Steep climbs are good (even horrible loose or technical ones). Front wheel never felt like wandering even sat down mashing the 51T.
  • The 210mm dropper is a HUGE improvement over the stock 150mm (weird spec on mine again). This shouldn't be a surprise of course, but for me it not only let me get the saddle high enough (seat tube really is 'very' short), but also gain a huge amount of manouverability and importantly bump soaking room for when it wants to go way too fast into the rough stuff...
  • Had a few more opportunities to confirm that it's super happy (and comfortable) on fast, rough, drops, steep, and also technical downhill sections. It's still very much only limited by my legs being able to absorb the bumps.
  • Getting more playful as I get used to it (and being back on a trail HT...).
  • The seat clamp is more fiddly than it needs to be (uses two bolts instead of the normal one).
  • It generates a lot of interest at the trailhead (YMMV -- I guess people mostly ride full squish or XC HTs here...)

Seat clamp update:
  • The seat clamp is not only fiddly, but a bit delicate. I snapped the band on mine at less than 4.5Nm on the bolts as it was slipping slightly at around 4Nm tightened evenly across both bolts.
    • The material that snapped is very thin. The clamp is made of three bands, two of which snapped: one is maybe around 2x2mm and the other is maybe 2x3mm.
    • The size of the clamp is 33.3mm, which is an insanely difficult size to source (unless you're in the US I guess) -- I've got one on the way, but in case anyone is struggling with this issue in the future, a Salsa Lip Lock comes in the correct size (though that size is not available from many distributors, especially ones local to me).
      • A surly 33.1mm clamp should also work, but sourcing both was equally tricky for me and Marin specify a 33.3mm, so I chose the Salsa.
    • I should note that I've not been able to source an OEM clamp from the local distributor/Marin.
thank you for the detailed updates/review nebuz, i havent seen any others other than hardtail party on youtube. sounds like he got the bike working for him in the end (after some mods) but thought the bike would have a very limited use scenario. Albeit, he is also shorter than yourself and he mentioned in the comments that some of his taller 6'4" mates also had a go on his regular frame and found the wheelbase good but the cockpit small (but that would be an outcome of regular size bike rather than the grande that they should be on). I am suprised to hear that you think the bike climbs fairly well. did you ride the larger grande size? I am 6'2" so similar to yourself. i am not really into jumping (dirt biking) and enjoy more a planted feel going down hill/enduro (mainly because im not ballzy enough), not sure if the right bike for myself, but may push me with confidence. as a one bike, do you think it would be limiting?
 

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thank you for the detailed updates/review nebuz, i havent seen any others other than hardtail party on youtube.
Yeah, I saw there was a bit of a dearth of info online and thought it was worth trying to put my experience up to add to it! (plus I'm still super excited about the bike and it's fun to share to save my friendships...)


sounds like he got the bike working for him in the end (after some mods) but thought the bike would have a very limited use scenario. Albeit, he is also shorter than yourself and he mentioned in the comments that some of his taller 6'4" mates also had a go on his regular frame and found the wheelbase good but the cockpit small (but that would be an outcome of regular size bike rather than the grande that they should be on).
Yeah, it was an interesting review (well 1.5 reviews), and one of the ones I watched a few times before buying as I really value his opinion. I can definitely see how he came to the conclusions he did now that I own the thing.

From my perspective though, as someone 6'4" I wouldn't go any shorter than 500mm for a trail or enduro bike these days, so the 'extreme' grande sizing is pretty much bang on where I'd be looking in that regard anyway. Even my FS, which I consider 'short' and very playful has a 500mm reach! (true, it's not all about reach, but it's a helpful metric to discuss). Wheelbase wise, it's comparable to other bikes (FS and HT) in my riding group (somehow we're all giants).

As far as the steep seat tube goes, that's actually more contentious for me, and if anything it would have been what stopped me buying the bike. I think it's 'just' not too steep, and I'd probably have it 1-2 deg slacker if I were choosing. With that said, if I slam the saddle back it gets me to a similar seated reach as my FS with the seat slammed forwards. The position over the top of the BB hasn't bothered me much yet and didn't take much getting used to either.
I actually had talked myself out of buying it on the way to try it based on the seat position and perceived lack of versatility. Sitting on it and pedalling up and down the street pretty much immediately changed my mind though.

As far as modifications go:
I've already added a faster rear tire, which I may change back come winter, but so far it seems like a good choice.
I've also added a longer dropper -- I feel like a 210mm should fit for almost anyone who fits the grande
I think a lighter wheelset would help a lot in the zippiness stakes as well as with throwing the bike around, finding and getting up onto side hits, moving the bike in the air, etc., though I haven't found budget for that yet xD
I've found the 35mm stem to be a good length for the bike (FS has 50mm).


I am suprised to hear that you think the bike climbs fairly well.
So was I! To be clear, it's not an urgent or zippy climber like an XC or downcountry bike, and I haven't tried it on any massive days -- I suspect that it might get tiresome after 4 or 5 hours though.

However, comparing it to my FS bike it's a good amount faster for the same effort and doesn't give up anything that I can tell in terms of technical climbing. Sure it's long, but I haven't found an unclearable switchback on my local trails yet :)
Mellow trails are probably a weakness, but way way better than I expected -- definitely still fun and engaging.

In the spec. I have it's also a good deal lighter than my FS, which helps (even with heavy tires, rear insert and the heavy stock wheels!).


i am not really into jumping (dirt biking) and enjoy more a planted feel going down hill/enduro (mainly because im not ballzy enough), not sure if the right bike for myself, but may push me with confidence. as a one bike, do you think it would be limiting?
Yes, I have the L / grande size. It's worth noting that I'm quite evenly proportioned limbs-to-torso and 193 / 6'4".

It ends up being pretty comparable seated and standing reach-wise to my FS bike (XL Knolly Fugitive LT v1).


i am not really into jumping (dirt biking) and enjoy more a planted feel going down hill/enduro (mainly because im not ballzy enough), not sure if the right bike for myself, but may push me with confidence.
For a hardtail, the bike is relatively stable and feels safe on scary terrain.

It's also balanced enough to remain quite fun, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it playful.

It also doesn't need super steep terrain to be fun. Was great fun on a mellow light blue trail with some baby jumps today (was also fun on the steep techy blacks :p).

I should note that it needs a modern riding style to ride safely and properly. That means good position, heels down, lean the bike to steer, all that good stuff. If you don't ride it like that I fully expect that it will spit you off really fast or at the least not be very fun to ride.


as a one bike, do you think it would be limiting?
I mean, it depends what you want. It's still a hardtail at the end of the day, so some things are just plain worse or more difficult.

With that said, if we assume that you want a HT as a one bike (and assuming all of the caveats that come with that):
  • It's a very capable trail/enduro HT, which don't think is a bad choice at all, and potentially even a great choice.
  • I don't think it's likely to hold you back when the trail points down.
  • You won't be the first to the top of the hill and it won't be the best if you're going out on big days on rolling/mellow terrain (though it's likely to still be fun)
  • It won't be the best for progressing your jumping or jibbing (it's a decent jumper, but it's no dirt jumper)
  • It needs a modern riding style and probably an advanced/intermediate rider at least or else it won't be much fun or even dangerous.

If that all fits, then it might be the right choice.

For me with my local terrain, I think it could be a one bike if I was willing to have that be a HT. (Living near a bunch of uplift that's not really ideal for me though)



Ok, so that turned into a super long post. Whoops.
 

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Ok, so that turned into a super long post. Whoops.
Nebuz, that was an epic reply.

You have firmly planted the el roy in my shortlist, the other hardtail on the shortlist is a merida big trail 600 lined up which is at the opposite end of the spectrum with an Xl coming with 475mm reach (which is smaller than the regular sized el roy), 65.5 hta and 75.5 sta. I wish bikes were available to test ride, but nothing around.

Im 187cm (6'2") with a longer torso than average but shorter legs, 90-95kg so im worried the reach may be too short on the merida, especially with your consideration that the minimum you would go is 500mm these days for trail/enduro riding. I feel the merida may be the better all day, all rounder bike but my head is wanting to give something a lil different and 'extreme' a go and the paint job looks amazing.

From a value, rational perspective, the el roy comes in at $3000 aud vs the merida at approx $1900 aud (second hand and a 18hour return trip to pickup) and with the whole steel vs alloy and z1 vs z2 fork so I am also trying to weigh it all up to make a decision. My friend has the z1 on a nukeproof scout and it feels so nice, even better than the pike I had. not sure if the z2 would give me that exact plush, stiff feel with the 34mm stanchions and my weight.


there are also norco torrents but none availabe in XL until end of the year for the steel model and its a more $$$ althought with better spec again.

I'll have to make a decision this weekend, did you have a chance to ride other hardtails or anything that made you choose the El roy in the end?

thanks again in advance.
 

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Nebuz, that was an epic reply.
Quite. It definitely got out of hand...


You have firmly planted the el roy in my shortlist, the other hardtail on the shortlist is a merida big trail 600 lined up which is at the opposite end of the spectrum with an Xl coming with 475mm reach (which is smaller than the regular sized el roy), 65.5 hta and 75.5 sta. I wish bikes were available to test ride, but nothing around.

Im 187cm (6'2") with a longer torso than average but shorter legs, 90-95kg so im worried the reach may be too short on the merida, especially with your consideration that the minimum you would go is 500mm these days for trail/enduro riding. I feel the merida may be the better all day, all rounder bike but my head is wanting to give something a lil different and 'extreme' a go and the paint job looks amazing.

From a value, rational perspective, the el roy comes in at $3000 aud vs the merida at approx $1900 aud (second hand and a 18hour return trip to pickup) and with the whole steel vs alloy and z1 vs z2 fork so I am also trying to weigh it all up to make a decision. My friend has the z1 on a nukeproof scout and it feels so nice, even better than the pike I had. not sure if the z2 would give me that exact plush, stiff feel with the 34mm stanchions and my weight.

Big trail looks good, but for my money 475 is potentially a bit short. Not sure what others think, but that'd be my thought. The XXL looks good, but it sounds like it's not an option given that the one you're looking at is second hand. Can you maybe find another bike to try with similar geometry to get a feel for the sizing? The bike in general seems like a very good all rounder as you say though (and would have been on my list if they sold the 600 spec. here / there were ever going to be any in stock...).

The 600 spec. looks good I'd say, especially for the money. I've ridden alloy and steel HTs (though no agro alloy ones recently) -- the steel HTs have been great, and the El Roy especially feels like it has rear suspension a lot of the time. That said, I imagine the design of the rear end is what ultimately determines the compliance far more than the material.

The z2 is a really good fork by all accounts, and I've not had problems with 34s (similar chassis) I've had in the past even at 95-105kg. Might be a problem depending on your riding though I guess - I'd say I generally ride quite light on the bike.
That said, the Z1 has really impressed me (FS fork is a last-model 36 GRIP 2). You can tell that the damper isn't as good as the best and I'd say it tends to use its midstroke too eagerly, but it's good enough that I wouldn't really think about changing it out unless money was no object.

I also definitely get the appeal of the 'extreme' and 'different' bike (and the paint does look awesome). As far as whether it makes sense, I'd say if you're planning on mostly winch-and-plummet riding it's unlikely to feel extreme. I even think that you could probably have a really good time on it at harder trails at an uplifted bike park if you get hardtail-fit enough (so many squats...) -- it slays the flow obviously. If you're planning on long XC or undulating days it might get tiresome if you're not getting value from it elsewhere in your riding. If you want to progress the more playful side of your riding it's not the best either, but it'll definitely do it -- you'll just have to work a bit harder. Basically to sum up: for my riding it works as an all-rounder trail bike, but most of my riding is uplifted or winch-and-plummet at a trail centre or up a weird mountain somewhere :)

(also, just btw 3k for the El Roy seems like a great price vs the RRP!)


there are also norco torrents but none availabe in XL until end of the year for the steel model and its a more $$$ althought with better spec again.
Torrent S1 was a close #1 choice on my list (unridden, but based on some favourable feedback I found round the place) for me due to the spec., looks and possibly slightly better versatility, but availability killed it ultimately. Price here was similar enough that I could for sure have justified the small increase for the nicer componentry. I thought it was probably a less controversial choice than the El Roy too, though way less 'cool on account of being a bit weird'.


I'll have to make a decision this weekend, did you have a chance to ride other hardtails or anything that made you choose the El roy in the end?

thanks again in advance.
I'd had quite a bit of time on a friends Honzo ST (XL also has 510 reach, but it's a good amount less slack), but my time on other more agro HTs has been limited to a run at most, so they didn't really factor in. Basically it was a bit of guessing based on my FS preference (my bikes and friends' bikes I've spent time on) and time on the Honzo...

The impetus for the purchase was to get a bike for when my FS is broken/being serviced, having something else to ride in winter so I don't wreck bearings and pivots so much, and also having something a bit different to help consolidate skills and just mix it up. For me that meant ideally a bike that wouldn't try to have me killed on trails that I would normally ride, but other than that the criteria were relatively broad. I considered shorter more trail or XC focused bikes as well as something like the Marin San Quentin. All would have been good for me in different ways, but my situation is a little different because it was a second bike.
In the end I was like you intrigued by the El Roy and it was #2 on my list. Basically sitting on it and taking it around the carpark dispelled my concerns and I picked it up later that day! I was just crazy lucky that the only (or one of the only) El Roys in the country happened to be only an hours drive away, built up and in stock, and I could get on and try it!
 

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Ok, so that turned into a super long post. Whoops.
well, just when you had me convinced that the El-roy is the one for me and i should order, the sale has ended. But im sure there will be a sale again in a couple months, just need to be patient.........
 

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well, just when you had me convinced that the El-roy is the one for me and i should order, the sale has ended. But im sure there will be a sale again in a couple months, just need to be patient.........
Always the way :\
 

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Always the way :\
haha, i have managed to convince the online bike shop (the only Marin supplier in Aus) to sell me the bike at the sale price. probably get delivered early next week. I think this is going to be a learning curve for me, definently not a skilled rider but keen to stick with a hardtail and wont have any excuses.
 

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finally the bike arrived, just putting it together and noticed a big gap under the downtube gusset. is this normal?

1930532
 
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