Marin Mount Vision 2019 Review – New Trail Bike with unique Naild-Suspension | ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine
Forum dwellers, it’s time to warm up those digits, sharpen the pitchforks and round up an angry posse, Marin have just dropped a new Naild bike. The new Marin Mount Vision may boast some polarising looks, but it comes with new geometry and a stiffer rear end, the big question is, is it any good?
The Naild R3ACT 2 Play Suspension System
You really cannot miss the most distinctive feature of the Marin Mount Vision, the silhouette of the bike is dominated by the huge swingarm of the Naild R3ACT 2 Play, 4 bar suspension. Inside the huge mono-stay is a sliding strut, connecting the front and rear frame structures, changing the kinematics through the stroke. The Mount Vision features size specific kinematics for the S/M and L/XL models. The leverage curves of the two bikes are almost identical, regressive to the SAG point then rapidly progressive. The S/M bikes have slightly higher anti-squat values and anti-rise in order to balance the lower pedalling forces of the smaller riders. Speaking of anti-squat, like the Wolf Ridge, the Mount Vision features values that sit around 100% throughout the travel range in the 50 tooth cassette sprocket, and 125 – 225 % in the 10 tooth. To be clear though, the Naild system is so different from everything else on the market it’s hard to describe it using current terminology.
While the Marin Wolf Ridge certainly aired on the side of conservatism when it came to geometry, it’s clear that Marin wanted to bring the new Mount Vision bang up to date. The size Large sits in the middle ground with the latest hard-hitting aggressive trail bikes. The reach is 471.5 mm, combined with a 65 degree head angle, uber-short 420 mm chainstays, a 1213 mm wheelbase and 618 mm stack. The seat tube is still a little slack at 75.1 degrees.
|Seat tube||395 mm||430 mm||465 mm||502 mm|
|Top tube||516 mm||538 mm||563 mm||585 mm|
|Head tube||90 mm||105 mm||125 mm||138 mm|
|Chainstay||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm|
|BB Height||330 mm||330 mm||330 mm||330 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,160 mm||1,187 mm||1,213 mm||1,240 mm|
|Reach||432 mm||453 mm||472 mm||493 mm|
|Stack||587 mm||600 mm||618 mm||630 mm|
It was quite refreshing to get the opportunity to test the most affordable model in the Mount Vision Lineup (though at €5,299 it is still a premium bike) as often launch bikes are the all-singing top models that nobody can really afford. As such the Marin Mount Vision 8 came with a real world build kit, nothing fancy, just reliable and solid kit. The RockShox Pike RC cannot match a FOX 36, but is a fine performer, and the simple RockShox Deluxe R has a great tune for the bike. We were pleased to see that Marin haven’t forgotten about good brakes, boasting the non-series MT520 Shimano 4 Pot calipers, not as nice at XT’s when it comes to finish, but excellent performers nonetheless. The big 2.6 x 27.5” WTB Trail Boss tires finish the build, offering huge grip on the dry trails we tested on.
Fork RockShox Pike RC 150 mm
Rear shock RockShox Deluxe R 150 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX/NX Eagle
Brakes Shimano XT 4 Pot 203/180 mm
Handlebar Marin Mini-Riser 6061 780 mm
Stem Marin 3D Forged 35 mm
Seatpost KS Lev Integra 150 mm
Wheelset Stan’s No Tubes Sentry S1
Tires WTB Trail Boss 27.5 x 2.6”
Other Models In The Lineup
Marin will also be offering two additional models, the top of the line €8,999 Mount Vision Pro with a full Shimano XTR drivetrain and brakes, FOX 36 Factory Fork and Float X2 shock and an E*Thirteen TRS Race Carbon wheelset. Slightly more affordable is the €6,699 Mount Vision 9 with a full SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, Shimano XT 4 brakes, a Fox Performance Elite 36 fork and Float X2 performance shock. Finished off with some Stan’s NoTubes Sentry wheels.
Riding the Marin Mount Vision 8
Marin sent over a size Large Marin Mount Vision 8 for us to test on home trails, and we have been giving it a proper thrashing. Setup was very simple, the RockShox Deluxe R shock features no compression adjustment so our 180 cm tall tester dialled in 30% SAG on the rear and set the RockShox Pike RC forks to personal preference.
From the first pedal strokes it’s clear that the Marin Mount Vision is not going to climb like most ‘winch and plummet’ bikes. High levels of anti-squat mean the Mount Vision squirts forward under power, lifting and propelling you forwards with eagerness. Even with no compression adjustment on the relatively simple shock, there’s no bobbing at all from the rear mono-stay – there is no need for any lockouts on this bike. This makes the rear suspension insanely good on drawn out fire-road climbs. However when power-climbing out-of-the-saddle, on loose ground and over obstacles this high efficiency can make the bike lose traction and skip a little, lacking the sensitivity of a conventional system. Also, while the seat angle of the Mount Vision is steeper than the Wolf Ridge, we still felt a little rearward in the climbing position, the super short chainstays make it feel slacker than it is, tucking the back wheel underneath you on steeper pitches. We found we resorted to shifting the seat forwards to the front of its rails for more balance. Going toe-to-toe with similar travel bikes, we found the high levels of efficiency equalled out the rearward riding position, and the heavier Mount Vision was happy to keep up.
Pointing the bike downhill, things get a whole lot more fun. The progressive geometry of the Mount Vision comes into its own, allowing you to exploit the rear suspension fully. The Naild R3ACT 2 Play performs very well, thumping through fast hits with ease and balancing stability with playfulness. It’s a difficult feeling to define, but the rear wheel feels very free to respond to impacts, like it’s independent of rider weight, delivering full-travel if needed without a hard bottom out. We’re normally not fans of ultra-short chainstays, but the Mount Vision is very balanced through corners, especially as the 2.6” WTB Trail Boss tires grip like shit to a blanket. This is probably due to the way the Naild systems sliding-strut increases in length as it goes through its travel, effectively giving a chainstay length of 435 mm at SAG (not the 420 mm static as shown on paper). If you get it wrong, the new Shimano four-pot brakes are potent with great modulation.
The Naild system is quite noisy though, wheezing over deep impacts as the sliding strut does its thing. We did occasionally hear a creaking noise from the swingarm when pushing hard through berms, after consultation with Marin we were informed that our ‘pre-launch’ demo bike was missing two thin spacer washers on the swing link that should eliminate the noise on production bikes – but we can only report on what we experienced. There was no unwanted flex though. the new rocker link dramatically improves lateral stiffness and the rear wheel tracks perfectly through aggressive turns, the whole bike feels far more solid and predictable. The system is extremely smooth when coasting, finding grip everywhere. The only time we found it unruly was sprinting over flatter sections, where the high anti-squat in the higher gears would cause the rear end to lift and skip over impacts when under power. The flip-side of this is that the Mount Vision feels fast and direct, it’s a very easy bike to charge hard on.
Does it still flex?
Now, we really liked a lot about the Wolf Ridge, the pedalling efficiency was exceptional on drawn out, fire road climbs. However it did have a few peculiarities unique to the suspension design, notably flex around the unbraced lower shock mount. Lighter testers did not notice it, but heavier riders could feel the rear wheel tracking its own line in corners. Marin have clearly responded to this with the Mount Vision and the addition of the extra rocker to stabilize the lower shock mount really works, reducing the unbraced distance by half and observably improving feel on the trail.
Is the Naild suspension better than conventional systems?
Now for the big question, is the Naild suspension system the magic bullet we have all been waiting for? Not in our opinion, but there’s a lot to like about the Naild system. The climbing stability of the mono-stay is class-leading with no pedal feedback at all, and its ability to sniff out grip when coasting is very impressive, especially given the basic adjustments on the RockShox Deluxe R shock. However, as with all suspension systems there’s always a balance to be found, and we found the very high levels of anti-squat throughout the travel in the higher gears result in unpredictable suspension when pedalling hard over rough ground. Ultimately, there are more balanced suspension systems on the market, but if you’re excited by the Marin Mount Vision it’s well worth a test ride to see if the advantages suit your riding style.
With some important revisions since the launch of the Wolf Ridge, the new Marin Mount Vision has improved geometry and lateral stiffness. We would have loved to see a steeper seat angle or longer chainstays to make the most of the brutal efficiency of the Naild R3ACT 2 Play, but if you love a bike that feels urgent and playful under power, with a potent descending manner, the Mount Vision should be high on your list for a test ride.
More information at marinbikes.com
Words: Trev Worsey Photos: Finlay Anderson, Trevor Worsey