Marin Teases New Steel E-Bike At Sea Otter 2019

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Hidden (in plain sight) at the Marin booth at this year’s Sea Otter was a muddy-looking Marin adventure bike. Look closer though and it proved to be an e-bike hardtail. Look even closer and it was obviously made from steel.

marin bikes ebike steel hardtail sea otter 2019
Looks good to us
marin e-bike
Spare battery and a charger…

We’ve not seen too many (or any?) steel e-bikes, but there’s no particular reason why not too. The slightly heavier tubeset over an alloy one doesn’t make that much difference compared to the weight of the motor. (though the motor plate is going to be a fair bit chunkier). But who cares? You have a motor…

The Marin steel e-bike was set up as a sort of backwoods adventure bike, with luggage (that held a spare battery and a charger…) and some Marin-logo klunker-style handlebars that not only look the part, but which allow a ton of space for your GPS, lights, bell and other accessories.

Frame and fork had plenty of room for 2.8s
We’re liking the quirky klunker bars

Even with some Vee Tire Crown Gem plus tyres, at 27.5 x 2.8in, there was a ton of room, suggesting that running a chunky 29in set up would also be possible. The bike itself runs a mix of SRAM NX off the Shimano motor up front. There are Revelation forks and an X-Fusion dropper, so it suggests that the bike won’t be stupid-expensive. Perhaps it’ll appeal to riders who want an affordable steel hardtail, but who have aspirations of some backcountry adventure.

Think of how many bells you could fit!

A quiet word with one of the Marin employees confirmed that this isn’t just a one-off and so we can definitely expect to see production versions of this quirky machine, though they wouldn’t confirm when. There were a couple of other bikes hidden around the stand too, so stay tuned to and Singletrack for those.

Buckets of tyre clearance, even with a 2.8

What do you think? A good help for a bit of loaded bikepacking? Or is Marin missing the point of all this self-propelled wilderness adventuring?


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

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