2010 Marin Mount Vision 5.8 Review

2010 Marin Mount Vision 5.8 Review

The trails of the Comox Valley have changed over the last three years and now offer more “all-mountain” trails for all levels of riders. The all-in-one bike search has been frantic throughout the valley and the Quad XC has been a very hot bike in the valley, competing with bikes such as the Norco Fluid, Specialized Stumpjumper, Giant Trance and Trek Fuel bikes.

Near the start of this website we had a first ride on the 2007 MarinRift Zone Quad XC. Three years have brought forth quite a few upgrades and changes and the 2010 model eclipses it’s older brother in many ways. Now delineated as the Mount Vision series, each model is numbered from 5.6 to 5.9. A one piece carbon fiber swingarm on the 5.9 model and alloy on the rest. Pricing Ranges from $2299 right up to $6699 but this 5.8 fits in at $3799. The Quad XC 120 series provides 120mm and fits in the Mountain FRS series below the Attack Trail 150mm series.

2010 Marin Mount Vision 5.9

Out of the box

Sweeping lines and new linkage changes

Working with their award winning Quad-Link 2.0 design, Marin took the hydroformed tubing, adjusted the head tube angle to 68.5 degrees, dropped the bottom bracket height and adjusted the seat tube steeper to keep an efficient location for pedalling. A new set of narrower links and new swingarm design to create more clearance for ankle and foot keeps the rear end solid but trimmed 200 grams from the swingarm alone. New use of smooth weld construction provides for increased frame strength.

Keeping the linkage in check is a Fox Float RP2 and front end squish come from a 15mm through axle Fox Float RL 120 32mm fork with lockout. The 5.9 model sees an RLC and RP23 combo and it would have been nice to see the same here to provide a choice of carbon or aluminum swingarms.

Shifting duties come from Shimano XT drivetrain throughout with Shadow rear and 2-way instant release levers providing crisp shifts. Braking duties come from Hayes Stroker Carbon hydraulic brakes on a 7″ rotor in the front and 6″ in the rear. FSA stem, Easton Monkey Bar and FSA integrated headset, FSA seatpost and WTB Devo Saddle provide the cockpit duties. The bike rolls on WTB Moto Raptor tires wrapped around Mavic 317’s. Mounting of the rear wheel is via a modular dropout which can be upgraded for stiffness to a Maxle if desired. Full specifications for all models can be found on the Marin website.

Initial Impressions

Smooth welds at Head Tube

Previous bikes were monochromatic, but for 2010 Marin has gone for two tone colour schemes including this one in Gray/White. The sweeping lines and smooth welds make the front triangle look more like carbon fiber. Paint quality was high with clear coat over all decals. Cable routing was well thought out including mounts for an add-on remote seat adjuster cable.

Dropouts were well positioned and the upward curve created lots of room for easy removal and replacement of the rear wheel.

The 15mm front axle was definitely a breeze, something I hadn’t yet used, but the system in its second year was effective.

One challenge I had was the proximity of the upper left linkage arm to the air preload on the Fox rear shock. While not impossible to attach thea pump hose to, the choice of pump adapter could make it easier.

Previously many local owners of the Quad XC line of bikes upgraded their front suspension to 140mm through axle forks and added a stronger wheelset. With the new geometry changes this step can easily be avoided while providing a very stable bike for up or down. This left me ready for a solid test on our local trails.

On The Trail

Descending with confidence

We’ve been spending a number of recent rides on our local Forbidden Plateau trails so what better way to compare to my regular ride than hitting up some of the same trails. Our warm February weather left us with many options so we thought we’d start with Two Shieks, and then head towards Cabin Fever before returning to Nymph Falls. The terrain included logging roads, tight singletrack through rooty forest, some open rock and rough rocky creekbeds.

Riding in on the access logging road, the Pro Pedal kept the rear swingarm in check. The trail begins with a section of trail which twists and turns through rooty trails, short bridges, and punchy short climbs. Out of the saddle pedaling was consistent with minimal bob and the slack head angle kept the bike stable and running true over bridges and skinny log rides. Even though the bottom bracket was lowered in this newest version, chainring and pedal clearance was fine.

Nimble climbing

When the trail dropped down over some steep slabs and loose rocks, the stability of the new geometry and 15mm through axle fork became apparent. On my personal ride I have a 130mm Marathon SL with a standard 9mm quick release  and Mavic 317’s. Over the same trails I notice more lateral deflection as I carry speed through the roughness or try to pick my way down the steep rock section, but in each case I found more confidence to point and shoot my line. I did notice quite a bit of flex in the stock FSA stem, and would suggest finding a good replacement stem as part of your bike fit.

One nice feature of the Quad Link 2.0 suspension design is the ability for the bike to ramp up as your riding becomes more aggressive. When riding the roots and square edge bumps, the suspension is quite active in the first portion of the travel but even as I came down hard on bigger drop off ledges, faster sections of the trail and deep compressions, the rear suspension didn’t bottom out. This comes from the changing (falling) leverage ratio on the shock, the further into the travel you are. It really does inspire more confidence as the 120mm feels much like a whole lot more.

Shifting was crisp and I was happy with the feel of the Hayes Stroker carbon levers. One complaint was the rough sound as the brakes were first applied. It’s probably a design of the pad to clear the mud cutter rotors, but it was not as confidence inspiring as recent Avid Elixir brakes I’ve ridden. Hayes is working on a new floating rotor and new design called the Prime, so I’ll have to check them out later this year.

We headed up the next day for another ride with a few minor tweaks to the air pressure and really found the balance point of the bike. Nice to be able to throw a leg over a bike and within a very short while have it well setup for your riding style.

Conclusions

Many riders look for a solid bicycle to offer them joy on a large selection of trails. The All-Mountain category of bikes provide climbing prowess and descending stability. Lighter bikes were often limited in their range of riding ability, but new computer designs, construction processes and materials are making solid effective bikes capable of many years of trail riding pleasure.

Who is this bike best for?

The Marin Quad XC 120 series of bikes are very capable and would be a great choice for riders who prefer to climb to their riding destinations, keep the wheels mostly on the ground and enjoy exploring greater distances by bike. The lighter weight, solid suspension design and good looks should put this bike high on your test ride list. Marin Bikes are available in the Comox Valley at Dodge City Cycles.

Comparison to similar bikes

Giant Trance X1 – $4099  X2 -$2799

Trek Fuel EX 9 -$4099  EX 8 – $2799

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR XC – $3700 – $3100

Norco Fluid 1 / Faze 1 $3400

About the author

Colin has been riding mountain bikes since the mid 80’s. Through the years he has been an avid racer, rider, advocate and more. Currently a chiropractor in Cumberland, he enjoys the varied trails of Vancouver Island. Colin is a lead organizer for the 2010 Island Cup Mountain Bike Series and works with the BC Bike Race on the medical team.

Recent bikes I’ve ridden lately include the 2009 Norco Fluid 1, 2006 Specialized Rockhopper and 2009 Giant Trance 1.

%d bloggers like this: