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If you were to ask three mountain bike riders for a bike recommendation, you would get a minimum of three different answers. Every rider has unique personal preferences. Someone from the west coast may only ride Marin mountain bikes because of the brand’s legendary history in California; another rider who enjoys racing may recommend a cross-country bike that can climb speeds with ease; a serious biker who travels the world in search of challenging terrains may recommend an expensive mountain bike that is professional quality.
So, how do you choose the best mountain bike for you on a limited budget?
While there is no shortage of high-end parts for mountain bikes, keep in mind that manufacturers increase (or decrease) the quality of a bike’s components based on price point and a customer’s level of expertise. For example, if you are brand new to mountain biking and not sure you’ll be doing it a year from now, choosing an introductory “budget” model is logical. However, if you are an experienced cyclist, you might be interested in choosing a budget model mountain bike because it has a solid frame and parts you can upgrade at a later date.
Regardless of your budget and experience level, you can be confident that there is a great mountain bike out there for you. It just takes a little research and evaluation to meet your match.
WHAT ARE MARIN MOUNTAIN BIKES?
Established in 1986, Marin is a bicycle manufacturer in Marin County California, the mecca of mountain biking culture. Always striving to learn, improve, and evolve—while also staying true to the spirit of mountain biking culture—the professionals at Marin channel the liberating freedom a rider experiences when embarking down a favorite trail with the most advanced tools and techniques to create bikes that perform to perfection.
PRODUCT SPECS FOR MARIN MOUNTAIN BIKES
Marin mountain bikes range from full suspension and hardtail to specific designs for women and children. Besides their mountain bike line, Marin also designs road bikes, street/urban commuter bikes, and comfort bikes.
PRICING FOR MARIN MOUNTAIN BIKES
Marin mountain bikes range in price from several hundred dollars (e.g., the Rock Spring and San Rafael series) to several thousand dollars (e.g., the Wolf Ridge and Attack Trail series). Marin sells its mountain bikes exclusively through authorized dealers to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.
HOW MARIN MOUNTAIN BIKES COMPARE TO OTHER PRODUCTS
To help you decide if Marin mountain bikes will meet your needs, we picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- MARIN ROCK SPRING 2 MOUNTAIN BIKE
- MARIN SAN RAFAEL DS5 SPORT MOUNTAIN BIKE
- MONGOOSE ARGUS SPORT FAT TIRE BICYCLE
- DIAMONDBACK OVERDRIVE MOUNTAIN BIKE
MARIN ROCK SPRING 2 MOUNTAIN BIKE
The Marin Rock Spring 2 Mountain Bike combines great value with a fun and exciting ride that will get you out on the trail in no time. The foundation of Marin’s Rock Spring 2 is a butted alloy frame that is both tough and lightweight, providing a lively ride wherever you go.
|PRICE – $$||The Marin Rock Spring 2 mountain bike ranges in price from $800 to $1,000, depending on retailer promotions/discounts and added accessories, and is available for purchase online and at Marin bike shops.|
|Durability||The bike’s RockShox Recon Silver suspension fork absorbs big and small trail bumps, delivering a comfortable ride on any terrain, while a Shimano Deore 1×10-speed drivetrain provides reliable shifting capabilities.|
|Maintenance||To help minimize the chances of an accident and injury, Marin recommends that any repair or maintenance that is not specifically described in the owner’s manual be performed by an authorized Marin dealer.|
|DESIGN QUALITY||A modern 1×11 system gives the rider plenty of gearing choices while also simplifying the drivetrain for improved performance. The bike’s Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power, so you can ride with confidence knowing the brakes can tackle any terrain or weather. Finally, a set of size-specific wheels roll on Schwalbe Tough Tom tires to keep you connected to the trail or path.|
|WARRANTY||Marin mountain bikes come with a one-year (from date of purchase) warranty and cover all original parts except tires, tubes, chains, and other wear and tear items. It also covers paint and decals. It’s important to note that Marin’s mountain bike warranty is valid only if the bike is purchased from and assembled by an authorized Marin dealer. Additional information on Marin’s mountain bike warranty is available on their website.|
- Right fit sizing matches you up with the perfect bike geometry and wheel size
- Butted alloy frame is tough and durable while also being lightweight
- RockShox Recon Silver with 100mm of travel
- Shimano Deore 1×10-speed drivetrain
- Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes
- Bike is heavy
- No higher gear for speed
MARIN SAN RAFAEL DS5 SPORT MOUNTAIN BIKE
If the pavement is too boring for your taste—but you don’t want to sacrifice speed—Marin’s San Rafael DS Sport Mountain Bike is a great option. Combining the speed of a pavement bike with front suspension and multi-terrain tires found on mountain bikes, this dual-sport Marin mountain bike will lead you into adventures beyond the beaten path.
Marin’s San Rafael DS5 Sport Mountain Bike offers riders a lightweight Series 3 6061 aluminum frame with SHOT Tech, 700C wheels, head tube, and BB, internal cable routing, and post mount disc-specific forged dropouts.
A Suntour NCXD fork with hydraulic lockout gives the rider a wide range of control on rough terrain while also able to roll fast on pavement. Tektro Gemini hydraulic disc brakes keep the bike in control in any weather condition (rain or shine) and an SRAM X7 premium 1×10 drivetrain provides smooth shifting and wide gear range so you can tackle any trail.
Finally, a carbon seat post enhances comfort while also reducing weight.
|PRICE – $$||The Marin San Rafael DS5 Sport Mountain Bike price ranges from $700 to $900, depending on retailer promotions/discounts and added accessories, and is available for purchase online and at Marin bike shops.|
|Durability||The Marin San Rafael DS5 Sport Mountain Bike features a Series 3 6061 aluminum frame with SHOT Tech treatment, making the bike lightweight but able to stand up to rigorous daily rides. When combined with a dual-sport frame design, which positions the rider upright, Marin’s San Rafael DS5 Sport Mountain Bike delivers a comfortable and controlled ride on many trails.|
|Maintenance||Technological advances have made mountain bikes and their components complex, often requiring special knowledge and tools to service and repair a Marin mountain bike. To avoid incorrect adjustments that can lead to accidents, Marin recommends that any repair or maintenance which is not specifically described in the owner’s manual be performed by an authorized Marin dealer.|
|DESIGN QUALITY||Designed and built for active recreational riders, the Marin San Raphel DS5 mountain bike combines suspension forks and tires that are best suited for dirt and gravel paths with a saddle height that supports pedaling efficiency. All-weather hydraulic-disc brakes provide extra confidence in starting and stopping a ride. A sporting rack and fender mounts for utility make the Marin San Raphel DS5 ready for any adventure you have planned.|
|WARRANTY||Marin mountain bikes come with a one-year (from date of purchase) warranty that covers all original parts except tires, tubes, chains, and normal wear and tear. Marin also covers paint and decals under this warranty. It’s important to note that Marin’s mountain bike warranty is valid only if the bike is purchased from and assembled by an authorized Marin dealer. Additional information on Marin’s mountain bike warranty is available on their website.|
- Series 3 6061 aluminum frame technology
- SR Suntour NCXD LO suspension fork with 63mm of travel and hydraulic lockout
- SRAM X5/X7 1×10 drivetrain
- Tektro Gemini hydraulic disc brakes
- Not a good choice for avid cyclists that ride exclusively on rough terrain or pavement
MONGOOSE ARGUS SPORT FAT TIRE BICYCLE
The first thing you’ll notice on the Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Tire Bicycle is the set of mammoth-size tires that power a lightweight aluminum frame. While the 4” tires on this fat bike might look cool, they also serve a practical purpose: more contact patch with the ground equals superior traction, so you’ll be able to expertly maneuver quick turns and dominate challenging trails. For year-round mountain bikers, the Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Tire Bicycle handles snowy and sandy paths with ease.
|PRICE – $||The Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Tire Bicycle is available for purchase both online and at local bike shops and ranges in price from $550 to $700 depending on retailer promotions and discounts.|
|Durability||While brand-conscious cyclists might turn their nose up at Mongoose, the Argus Sport Fat Tire Bicycle is every bit as solid as other (more expensive) big names found in local bike shops. Mongoose uses full alloy construction for both the frame and rigid fork and hydraulic disc brakes—a rare sight on a “budget” model bike—with 180mm rotors in the front and rear. Add in 27 gears and this Mongoose fat mountain bike leaves will meet all of your shifting needs.|
|Maintenance||Besides keeping the bike clean and dry, routine maintenance—such as regularly lubricating all moving parts and tightening components—will extend the life of your mountain bike. For questions specific to Mongoose bikes, you can call their customer service line at +1 (800) 626-2811 or see a qualified bike mechanic.|
|DESIGN QUALITY||Weighing in at just 35 pounds, riders are fans of both the brilliant colors and excellent paint finishes on this lightweight Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Tire bike.|
|WARRANTY||If you aren’t satisfied with your Mongoose Argus Sport Fat Tire Bicycle, you can return it within 90 days. All items must be returned in new and unused condition and in original packaging. To receive a full credit (minus shipping charges), returns must be accompanied by the original sales receipt.Mongoose’s warranty guarantees aluminum and dual suspension frames against manufacturing defects for 5 years, while parts and workmanship are covered for one year. More information about Mongoose’s warranty terms and conditions are available on their website.|
- A full hardtail frame with a 135 mm spacing alloy fork offers riders a stable ride
- Shimano Acera/Alivio 3×9 drivetrain with Altus shifters provide excellent gearing and shifting capabilities
- Kenda juggernaut 26×4 inch tires wrap around 80 mm wide rims, offering riders ample contact patch
- Hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors provide swift and effective braking in any terrain or weather condition
- Mongoose is primarily known for its mass market bikes sold at big box marts
DIAMONDBACK OVERDRIVE MOUNTAIN BIKE
If you’re on a tight budget, the Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike is a good option to consider over similarly priced bikes from big-box stores. The aluminum frame is like other hardtail bikes with much higher price tags. For those who are new to mountain biking or just dabbling in the sport, the Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike is a great starter bike. The SRAM X4 shifters smoothly power an SRAM/Shimano drivetrain from a comfortable cockpit that has low-rise bars and short stem. WTB Wolverine tires give the bike a great balance between durability, weight, and traction.
|PRICE – $||Finding a true mountain bike for under $500 is difficult; that being said, the Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike comes in close with a price range between $500—$600. It is available for purchase online and local bike shops.|
|Durability||The bike’s 27.5″ wheels allow for quick, mindful handling and while Shimano components, including the cogset and front- and rear-derailleurs, ensure dependability. Hand-crafted hydroformed aluminum frameset adds a sense of security to the Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike and will help you feel in control on many surfaces.|
|Maintenance||Diamondback provides how-to guides and simple instructions on how to care for your mountain bike on its website. Wrenching advice and techniques from world-class bike mechanics are presented in plain language, so you can keep your Diamondback bike in great condition.|
|DESIGN QUALITY||The Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike comes in multiple different sizes to fit a wide range of riders, from shorter cyclists at 5′ 3″ to taller bikers at 6′ 4″. A choice of 24 gears will help you conquer the steep incline and declines of hilly terrain. If you don’t mind spending more for the extras (such as a water bottle holder and kickstand), the Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike is a happy medium of good design and value.|
|WARRANTY||Diamondback offers a lifetime warranty on rigid bike frames (as long as the original retail purchaser owns the bicycle), a five-year warranty on full suspension bicycle frames, and a one-year warranty on Diamondback-branded forks and other components. It covers labor on a frame replacement for one (1) year and other replacements are 30 days.Diamondback has a ticketing system set up on their website to streamline the warranty claim form process. In addition, Diamondback expert bike mechanics are available via live chat online or by phone +1 (800) 251-8435 Monday — Friday, 7:00 AM — 5:00 PM PST.|
- Good solid construction
- Disc brakes stop bike quickly
- Easy to assemble (can be done in under one hour)
- Tires deflate quickly
- Hand grips and seat not comfortable
- Requires minimal assembly if purchased online (will arrive 85% assembled)
Mountain biking is a sport that requires endurance, core strength and balance, bike handling skills, and self-reliance. Advanced riders train for years in mastering both steep technical descents and high incline climbs, not to mention dirt jumping and aerial maneuvers. For beginners who are planning to dedicate the time and energy required to tackle mountain biking, a Marin mountain bike will grow with you as you reach new heights—which is why we give Marin mountain bikes 4 stars.
The combination of high-quality designs with long-term durability (at reasonable prices), make Marin mountain bikes a great option for cyclists of all experience levels. However, if you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy mountain biking or stick with it in the long-term, a “budget” mountain bike will give you a feel for the sport without breaking the bank.