2009 looks like being a fantastic year for mountain bikes, with some very interesting designs or tweaks coming out from a whole load of the big names. These days it’s very hard to make a bad bike and even the most basic bikes are so much more advanced than those of a few years ago. Marin used to be seen in the UK as the Ford Mondeo of mountain bikes, with reliability and efficiency the name of the game rather than out and out performance or glamour. In the past couple of years though they’ve produced some really well received downhill and freeride rigs and the Mount Vision has been picking up awards left, right and centre for its stunning handling and suspension action.
Unfortunately for us as adventure racers, the MV was putting on the pounds with the increase in suspension travel and the tube angles were all getting a bit too relaxed for racing purposed. Thankfully though Marin have pulled a new design out of the bag and it fits our bill perfectly. The new Alchemist bike features 100mm of travel and a more race ready specification and geometry which looks ideal for adventure racing. There are no bikes in the UK yet so we have to wait and see how it performs.
Sneaking into their range with no press is this rather sexy looking carbon framed CXR Team, which takes obvious design and manufacturing cues from sister brand Whyte but at a much reduced price. This complete bike setup with SID forks and SLX groupset retails for £1850 which looks pretty tidy to me.