The 2016 model year marks the 30th anniversary of the Marin brand, so to celebrate, they’ve introduced two series of models (one road, one mountain) that harken back to the early days but add modern improvements. The Four Corners series is a sharp-looking pair of classic chromoly steel bikes that Marin puts in the “Utilitour” category, meant for commuting, touring, and basically everything but road racing.
One glance at the tire clearance shows that these are modern steeds — they have clearance for full-size 29×2.0” mountain tires without fenders, or 700x45mm with, still quite generous. The Elite model comes stock with tubeless-ready WTB KOM wheels.
Perhaps the most exciting development in these and other Marin bikes is the use of an exclusively licensed locking thru-axle skewer, the Locit from Naild. This system is easy and foolproof to use — the skewer can only be opened after pressing a little locking lever, and it can only be closed one way.
The Lockit requires a proprietary dropout but can be used with any thru-axle hub. Besides ease and safety, the performance benefits of front and rear thru-axles on a steel frame should be significant.
The Lockit system will be a welcome addition to the 2016 Cortina CX Pro model, especially for harried mechanics in the pits.
The new Gestalt series is positioned as “Beyond Road” bikes. The series name comes from a popular (mountain) biker bar, Gestalt Haus, found at the base of the iconic Mt. Tam in Marin County, California. Brand director Chris Holmes said that the Gestalt bikes are designed to help you answer the burning question: “Where does that dirt road lead to?” while also letting you pick up groceries on the way home. All three are built on aluminum frames with geometry longer than a traditional road bike, but shorter than Marin’s strictly urban bikes for quick handling.
The top of the three models shows off a blend of sexy and practical details: tubeless-ready wheels and tires (finally beginning to show up on bikes of this sort) using the Naild locking skewer system, nicely done and versatile rack and fender mounts, even a clean kickstand mount borrowed from the Fairfax city bike.
It’s quite interesting to note that Marin has chosen to focus more energy on these sorts of useful (but still good-looking) road bikes, and has discontinued its Stelvio race line altogether for 2016. Kudos to them for catering to the 99% of riders.