The all-new 2019 Marin Mount Vision came back after short hiatus to become their go-to enduro ripper. With a design that’s far more aggressive than the Wolf Ridge, it favors all-out speed while providing snappy, playful handling. Combine that with a very unique suspension platform, and we had to find out: Is this the new standard for ultimate bump absorption and rowdy riding? Is it everything they claim it to be? Is it for everyone? Here are my first impressions…
Marin Mount Vision Video Overview
Want to see how that NAILD R3act-2play suspension compresses? Check this video, and we also capture slow motion while pedaling and coasting through a rock garden. That, plus closeups and more provide you with a solid overview of what to expect with the 2019 Mount Vision.
First Ride Review
The enduro trails around Massa Marittima in Tuscany, Italy, are a popular spot for Italians and other Europeans to visit and train. They’re technical, fast, extremely well built and maintained, and they just keep getting better. Which is to say, they make a great testing grounds for seeing how new bikes will perform both uphill and down. Most trails start at the top, with options running off every side of the mountain and most starting with a rocky drop in. Or, the option for one, anyway. Our route led me into one with successive little drops and up-and-over rock sections, which proved just how low and aggressive the new Marin Mount Vision is.
Actually, it was that rocky flat section at the top that gave me the first taste…it’s easy to clip the pedals on this bike, particularly when standing to pedal. My hunch is it’s the lack of compression damping coupled with the low bottom bracket because I had to be much more careful with my pedal strokes and position over such things.
The other big difference between this and the other bikes I rode at Bike Connection Agency’s winter MTB press camp was the suspension. While each brand has their own take on how to keep the rear wheel tracking over bumps and planted on the ground, few have as supple a suspension as those using the NAILD R3act-2play design. Basically, the design requires no real compression damping to resist pedal input. So, it’s extremely active over the smallest bumps, which makes for a very smooth ride. The tradeoff is a bit of a “Cadillac” feeling of super plushness when cruising up the climbs. At first, it’s a bit weird, because I would wallow into the dips and larger bumps. Not bounce, but “wallow” is the only word I can think of to describe that same feeling I had riding in my dad’s old 2-ton DeVille on the highway. That car felt like it had no compression damping either, literally floating over the road in supreme comfort.
So, would I get used to this? Maybe, but it’s definitely different. Not bad, but different, especially for someone (like me) who’s used to shorter travel, racier bikes that are intentionally damped to create more efficient feeling pedaling platforms. That said, even though it’s a different feeling, the bike still climbs quite well. I never felt like the cush was robbing me of performance, but it’s a bike that’s going to feel much better climbing while seated than standing and huffing.
OK, but how does it descend?
Wicked fast. Marin brought along their in-house and sponsored rippers, who were clearly showing us just how fast this bike can go. Which is much faster than I was going to push it. But it’s fast.
From a handling standpoint, I’d say they nailed the “poppy and playful” they were going for. The 27.5″ wheels lent a whippier nature to the handling than the stability I usually get from a 29er with equally meaty tires. That’s not to say the bike was twitchy or unstable, but definitely a little quicker to flick.
The low standover height helped, too, and the angles seemed spot on for everything from the fast sweeping stuff with a mild descent to the arse-over-the-rear-tire steep stuff that we all love. Which is where the bike could definitely use a longer dropper seatpost than what comes on it, but Marin’s product managers told us that OEM availability for 170mm+ droppers is tight, so to avoid inventory issues and potential delays, they’re shipping with 125mm droppers on the smaller sizes and 150mm on the rest. I rode the XL and you can see in the video that there’s room to get a longer dropper in there…which is by design. They know some riders will want to put something bigger in there.
All in all, it’s worth a test ride. If ultimate bump absorption and compliance is your thing, definitely move it up a rung on your wish list. If climbing is just something you do to get to the next descent, move it up another. For the full tech specs and geometry, check out the launch coverage.