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Thread: Marin 2011

  1. #1
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    Marin 2011

    Hi all -- I wonder what people think generally about the 2011 Marin line in the full suspension category. Really just curiosity from a Marin fan who pokes around the internet occasionally to think (mostly dream) about upgrading my Marin Hawk Hill.

    I don't follow the product lines all that closely year-to-year, but in looking at 2010s and the 2011 lines as possible upgrade opportunities, it looks to me like the addition in 2011 of Quad XC 100 and Quad XM 140 categories to the prior lines of 120s, 150s, and 180s is a fairly substantial expansion of the Marin lines; that the migration in 2011 of the Mount Vision to the 140 line from its prior place in the 120 line seems odd -- why not keep the name identified with 120 (not a big deal, just wondering); and that the color schemes and redesigned frames of the 120 line in 2011 was a fairly significant departure from the immediate past (I don't particularly like the changes, but I know that will vary strongly by individual preferences). They also are dialing down the number of options and the price points in the 120 group in 2011. Nothing at all inherently wrong with any of that again just curious about opinions as to why Marin went in this direction, perhaps from folks closer to the industry who might put in context how the changes might relate to Marin;'s perception of its competition and its place in the market. I do know Marin previously tried to roll-out a 100 family with the Alchemist and wants to have a presence in that space, so I guess that makes sense. Maybe these changes are just a cyclical changing of the line consistent with the need to freshen things up every couple of years.

    My two cents, and it may not even be worth that, is it seems unlikely that a relatively small company like Marin will be able to maintain this many subgroups for a very long period of time without deciding to re-consolidate and differentiate and focus on a smaller number of full suspension sub-groups. Maybe it's the opposite though, and to survive Marin has to provide riders options in as many niches as possible. I live in the Upper Midwest US where Marin does not have a strong mountain-bike presence and test-riding any of the full suspension bikes is difficult at best (a subject for another day), so frankly my sense of Marin's presence in the marketplace and need to diversify their offerings is likely to be way off. Much less of how these line changes might be trying to serve the European market!

    Anyway, any thoughts welcome, and if none materialize I'll chalk it up to my way too long and not very interesting post.

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    pardon any slang or type-o's

    When l opened the shop, l poked around trying to get all/only the big name companies like Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc... turns out, my location was too close to other established shops who were already carrying these brands --- OR --- turns out, these brands wanted too much from me up front just to have an account with them -- e.g. Specialized wanted 60% of my floor space devoted to their brand. The more l looked at the big-name brands, the more l was turned off by the terms and conditions they held. Giant, for one, they sent a sales rep out and he poo-poo'd the size of the store. Said it wasn't big enough. At the time it was 1700sqft. Sure, it wasn't the biggest store but it had a great location. Right next to a rails-to-trails bike trail. l think Giant was looking for more like 2300sqft min or something like that. Eventually, l settled on KHS, Kona, K2, Iron Horse and l picked up Marin a little later in the game after seeing them at Interbike. l did KHS for the Fixies, road and hybrid, K2's and Kona for the full squish rigs, Iron Horse for the entry level mtb's and hybrids. Then after picking up Marin, l used them mostly for hybrids (at first). l also did/do brands like Transition, Santa Cruz, Ellsworth, Cove just to name a few. A bunch of different roadie brands --- ooops, l'm getting off on a tangent.

    Back to Marin. l wasn't too impressed with the older full squish bikes they were putting out. Like the Wildcat Trail. l had one... it was nice but nothing to write home about. I also sold the other XC full squish upon request but at the time, l wasn't stocking them. l thought they had nice build kits but l wasn't totally sold on the frame design.
    Somewhere along the way, l started getting interested in freeride (for personal use). l had a bunch of different brands and models - some were pretty nice too but there wasn't very many good places to ride locally so l didn't get "into it". My main interest was still fixie and single speed XC bikes. l must have had at least 12 different freeride rigs before buying my first Marin freeride. (the 2006 Quake series). holy crap l was impressed...l'm not gonna say it's the be-all of all bikes out there. There's plenty of other bike brands that are really nice too but, ask me, you'll be very happy with any of the current Marin full squishes. Quake, Attack Trail, Mt Vision, is all the same design just different amounts of travel. The amount of travel you think you'll need, that l'll leave up to you. Me, l totally dig the Quake and the Attack Trail series but it's pretty rocky and rooty around here so l prefer more travel over less. l'm not super hard core about the freeride (with three kids, l can't risk getting hurt). l shy away from the really crazy stuff but l do like those huck-a-billy trails and building them for others to enjoy is half the fun too.

    back to Marin again: Depending on the model, some of them are a little heavier than other brands with the same amount of travel but we're really only talking 1, 1.5lbs more. Ask me, for the $$$, you can't go wrong. l also feel Marin's groupo tend to be a little nicer than other brands. Brands like Trek and Specialized tend to use a lot of house brand products to build a bike. much of it is sub par if you ask me. On some models you'll get Marin brand handlebars or stems but the rest of the kit will be worthy products: WTB, Rock Shox, FSA, Easton, etc.

    l don't know the in's and out's of how many people are actually employed at Marin or any bike company for that matter but l do feel Marin is a brand you will be very happy with.

    l have been selling Marin for more than 8 years now --- warranty? once.... and it wasn't even a model l sold. it was a 15 year hard tail someone bought at a shop in NY. it had a cracked head tube. since Marin has a life time on the rigid frame, that guy got a brand new frame. l can't say the same about some of the other brands l sell. The only other knock (pun intended) l have on them was with a guy's Quake (which he didn't buy from me). l think what happened, the bearings for the rear pivot were pressed in incorrectly so the frame would creak-n-crackle under load. l don't really consider that a warranty item but l'll mention it anyway. They still hooked me up with the goods to fix the guys problem so, officially, that's right... zero warranty issues for me and Marin and any of the units l sold.


    color choices? to each his own... some l like, some l don't...
    build kits? l think Marin is smart about it. most models come with a nice kit (for the price you're paying), the blingy models come with some really nice parts.
    frame design = awesome!!!! although it looks complicated, it's actually very simple and very efficient....

    my two cents --
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    Pedal Shop -- Cool and interesting reply! Don't get me wrong re: Marin -- I have a Marin and do want to have brand loyalty, as difficult as it can be given the very few shops around my neck of the woods that carry the full suspension Marins. I don't much blame the shops -- we have some great urban singletrack here but there are probably not a huge number of higher end FS bikes flying out the doors here in any manufacturer's line given our flatland topography. It does seem to me that the "complaint" that Marin's best MTB bikes are hard to come by in some markets is a not uncommon one though.

    But I absolutely agree with your thoughts on the quality of the bikes -- I am one who wants to stick with Marin badly enough that I window-shop Marins on the internet and consider buying even though I will have no opportunity to test ride the bike beforehand.

    Beyond that, I just wondered what folks, maybe those like you with a perspective on the retail side of things, thought of the Marin 2011 line to the extent it builds out the categories of FS offerings, reassociates a staple "brand" (Mount Vision) with a different line (140 instead of 120 -- not a huge shift but a shift nonetheless), and makes some fairly noticeable (albeit mostly cosmetic) design changes. Are these changes merely a cyclical result of Marin freshening their lines and offerings, or signs of some particular strength (they are expanding their offerings to build on solid growth and popularity) or weakness (they are adding new options because the existing offerings were not enough for solid growth and popularity), for example.

    I'll throw out one final thought/comparison for what it is worth. Jamis' 2011 line from what I took a look at features a couple 650b models, and 26" groupings that around either 100mm or 140mm forks. Marin has no 650b, and offerings grouped around 100, 120, 140, 150, and 180mm forks. I really have no idea whether Jamis and Marin from an industry perspective really ought be compared, and Jamis' apparent disinterest in downhill bikes at the larger travel end contributes to the differences. Why is Marin expanding 26" lines while Jamis moves into 650b and offers more consolidated 26" options? Is the migration of the Mount Vision brand to 140mm foreshadowing a future phase out of the 120mm line altogether?

    Anyway, just some random Marin/bike industry talk to fill dark, snowy November days for one who won't be back out on the trails for several more long, cold months....

  4. #4
    NWS
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    I think the branding change probably just reflects the fact that people are expecting longer travel. In other words, I don't think Mount Vision was a 120mm product line, I think it was a nice cross-country product line, and 140mm is now as normal for nice XC bike as 120mm was a couple years ago.

    Marin probably hopes to sell 140mm Mount Vision bikes to the same customers who had 120mm MVs, liked them, and are looking to upgrade. And I suspect they will.

    Kind of like how the same make-and-model of car gets a little bit bigger every couple years. The new Civic is way bigger than the first-generation Accord, and the new BMW 1-series is a little bigger than the old 3-series. Product lines grow in an attempt to match what previous buyers will be looking for in a couple/few years.

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    genny1- part of the reason (i believe) that marin is expanding and refining their lineup is because of recent advancements in bicycle technology, as well asa more diverse and rider specific line. it's not really 120 vs. 140, i think a more accurate comparison (or question, rather) would be "what is the highest performance machine that would serve the largest consumer base"

    take the new mount vision 5.9, for instance. it's lighter with more travel. Fox's FIT platform is an incredibly efficient and suspension system. The swingarm was redesigned to lower frame weight. An extra 20mm of rear travel was added, and frame angle was slackened just a tad. with the advent of the new sram xo group and other carbon technology, it is possible to have a durable yet lightweight component set that doesn't have to be specific to one facet of riding (ie. xc, am, dh, ss)

    another thing i think about is optimization. look at the 2010 line of quad link bikes. you've got a 120 bike, a 160 bike, and a 180 bike. the 120 (mount vision) was a great bike, but (stock) it was a bit heavy for a xc bike as well as a bit sharp in angles for a dedicated all-mountain rig. so while it was a good bike, it wasn't supremely optimized for a particular facet of the mountain bike market. if you wanted more, you had to jump to a bulky, slack, 160mm bike (an AWESOME rig, btw) which can leave the consumer feeling like there's not something optimized for them.

    enter 2011.

    marin has 100, 140, burly 150, 180, and 250 mm quad link bikes in the lineup.
    the 100 brings an optimized xc platform - lighter and snappier than the 120
    the 140 optimizes the main purpose of the 120 (efficient trail/am) - and even reduces
    weight
    the burly 150 is an agressive yet pedalable rig optimized for the rider who goes real hard but wants to pedal to the top.
    the 180 remains a freeride bike
    the 250 is an downhill optimized version of the 180- more travel, the right angles for pure racing

    so, you see, it's not really a phasing out of any specific model or type of bicycle as it is an optimization of the great suspension system they have in place to suit the evolving demands of riders, while utilizing technology that allows manufacturers to build more comfortable, controllable, efficient and fun rides.

    as riders begin demanding new technology and gear optimized for the type of riding/terrain/style they use, bike companies will respond to that by refining the systems they have in place to have a specific yet diverse line of mountain bikes that will sell and build consumer confidence, trust, and loyalty in a brand.

    just my 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS
    I think the branding change probably just reflects the fact that people are expecting longer travel. In other words, I don't think Mount Vision was a 120mm product line, I think it was a nice cross-country product line, and 140mm is now as normal for nice XC bike as 120mm was a couple years ago.

    Marin probably hopes to sell 140mm Mount Vision bikes to the same customers who had 120mm MVs, liked them, and are looking to upgrade. And I suspect they will.

    Kind of like how the same make-and-model of car gets a little bit bigger every couple years. The new Civic is way bigger than the first-generation Accord, and the new BMW 1-series is a little bigger than the old 3-series. Product lines grow in an attempt to match what previous buyers will be looking for in a couple/few years.
    That is a very good way to explain it. It is product evolution and, like mbgore said, optimization. I am one of those 120mm MV owners who love the bike but would very much appreciate the extra travel (and weight savings) on the new frames.

    Cyclical refreshing of lines and offerings? Sure, this has to be done. All manufacturers do it with varying degrees of regularity (often depending on how big they are, how creative their marketing departments are and how much they can spend on R&D and creative engineering). That said, I think it is smart of Marin to further breakdown it's line the way it did for 2011. It takes the MV out of the "inbetween categories" place where it sort of had an identity crisis (a little too heavy/burly for pure XC, needs a bit more suspension travel for aggressive trail riding) and puts it squarely into a more definitive category. The voids in the product line created by doing this are filled with more appropriately built and specced models of these categories.

    In my opinion (which is definitely shared by many of those posting here), Marin's Quad link is one of the most underrated full-suspension designs on the market now. It works great, very versatile, and the frames are very nicely built and finished for a mass-production frame.

    Marin's build kits are nice for the most part, but they should also start offering a frame-only option, at least from the MV 140 upwards.

    One thing about the 2011 line that I do not like, though, is the colors. I liked the older solid anodized colors, and don't care too much for the new graphics (which, while not ugly, are not as nice as the solid colors. But that's purely a matter of aesthetics and taste)
    Last edited by hmorsi; 11-18-2010 at 12:44 AM.

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    I really enjoyed each of these responses. To the extent the marketplace has moved into segments that make 100mm and 140mm the "xc" and "trail" standards respectively, then expanding the differentiation of Marin;s product line to include those segments makes sense. I still wonder if we are not seeing the first step to a phase out of the 120mm options, which may be where the market is headed anyway, given the move of the MV brand out of that segment and the relatively limited '"East Peak" options that take its place. I don't think adding a 140mm bike necessarily meant that you move the MV brand there too to encourage upgrading, especially if Marin was still strongly committed to marketing their 120mm bikes. I think it represents, as several have noted, that Marin is committing to the 140mm segment now as their lead trail bike product, and they wanted their lead trail bike brand name to follow.

    To the extent people are "expecting longer travel," and Mount Vision is one of Marin's most strongly identified brand names, it obviously makes sense to move it into the 140mm slot you all identify as the most natural home at the moment of the marketplace's trail bike segment. As I read it, many of you are saying that the 120mm and 140mm segments serve largely the same type of rider, but now that a 140mm bike can be built at a weight that formerly might have been more typical of a 120mm bike, consumers want the longer travel (140mm) that can now be built without compromising on weight.

    Where are people getting the weight comparisons between the '10 MVs and the '11 MVs? I have always found it difficult to find weights for Marin's bike builds. As I understood it, the '10 MV 5.9 came in around 25 pounds w/o pedals -- what is the '11 MV XM9? Anyone know what the weights are of the best spec'd bike in each 2011 segment (100mm, 120mm, 140mm, 150mm)?

    Edit: Another question out of curiosity from one not up on the latest and greatest specs -- is the "Fulcrum Red Metal" wheelset/hubs on the 2011 MV XM9 "comparable"/"better"/"worse" than the Mavic 717 rims/DT Swiss 240S hubs on the 2010 MV 5.9?

    For the poster above who wants frames-only, as you might already know Adrenaline Bikes carries (or at least advertises) several Marin mtb frames. I'm have not bought from them and am not vouching for them, but I do think you can get frame-only Marin product for several of the frame types there (if their website and service is legit).

    I agree with you hmorsi re: the colors. I don't like them much either. I wonder if the white frames and accompanying color/detail schemes are meant to make the bikes look "cleaner" and "lighter"?

    Anyway, thanks to all who responded. The posts have been a lot of fun to read.
    Last edited by genny1; 11-18-2010 at 07:03 PM.

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    agree = Marin sometimes puts out some janky colors... never understood why they so often did stuff with a Neon color. l had the Quake 7.3 babyshit gold. l didn't like it at first but it grew on me (sorta). then when they don't have a funky color, they're doing XYZ model only in a simple grey. people flip through the catalog and all they see is grey bike after grey bike, then a funky colored bike back to a grey bike and so on. far too often, it's the women who opposed the grey's. it's all about the color which is funny to me. RED doesn't make you ride better. For me, l don't care about colors. l'd rather have something low key -- one reason: less eye candy for those who don't like to pay for the things they acquire.

    Yeah -- the new hydro form tubing, tapered and other misc fine tunes is all about getting a better product. no doubt better than those simple round tubes and whatnot.
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    The way I see it the change to the MV is both the changing market and the weight of the original frame just is not competitive as 120mm[ even though it performed like a 140mm]. It is competitive as a 140mm. The wolf ridge frame was nearly the same weight as the MV. The 2011 MV uses same head angle as wolf ridge with a longer wheelbase to fit a steeper seat angle. The WR was single track friendly with shorter wheelbase. New MV is all mountain and will struggle in singletrack. But that is the changing market. The MV has same geometry as Santa Cruz Nomad and similar to giant Reign and a few others.
    The Mojo and Blur LT are140 but still singletrack orientated with steeper head angle and shorter wheelbase..That's what the MV would naturally have progressed to if they were sticking to the same market[ endurance / trail]. The MV appears to have stepped in to all mountain segment.Possibly once again the weight of the frame is the constraint or they are very good at being ahead of the market like with the wolf ridge? If, like wolf ridge, the rear end will perform like a 160mm and so people will upgrade to a150 or 160mm fork.
    I think the influence of the 29'er in to the market has also changed both peoples tolerance to longer wheelbase bikes and their handling and the 120mm 29'er is probably where MV 2011 is also looking at competing againgst. The Mojo and Blur Lt were pre 120 29'er influence.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 11-19-2010 at 02:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genny1
    Edit: Another question out of curiosity from one not up on the latest and greatest specs -- is the "Fulcrum Red Metal" wheelset/hubs on the 2011 MV XM9 "comparable"/"better"/"worse" than the Mavic 717 rims/DT Swiss 240S hubs on the 2010 MV 5.9?
    I am looking at this same wheelset (Fulcrum Red Metal 3) as an upgrade/extra wheelset for my current frame. They get good reviews (search the mtbr forums and there is a couple online mag reviews) and I think they should be lighter (somewhat) than the DT 240s/Mavic 717 wheels. Proprietary spokes though.

    Quote Originally Posted by genny1
    For the poster above who wants frames-only, as you might already know Adrenaline Bikes carries (or at least advertises) several Marin mtb frames. I'm have not bought from them and am not vouching for them, but I do think you can get frame-only Marin product for several of the frame types there (if their website and service is legit).
    Yes, Bob's Bicycles offers Marin frames as well, but Marin does not "officially" offer a frame-only option like, say, Specialized (among other non-boutique names) does with many upper-tier models.

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    You can get the new Whyte 146 carbon frameset but it's 1700 GPB. Similar geometry to the 2011 MV

    http://www.whytebikes.com/2011/image...W-1-001-11.png

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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz
    You can get the new Whyte 146 carbon frameset but it's 1700 GPB. Similar geometry to the 2011 MV

    http://www.whytebikes.com/2011/image...W-1-001-11.png
    I wish! I love the Whyte 146 (and the T-120, which is pretty much a "fancier" Mount Vision). Sweet looking bikes. Way too expansive for me!

    I think of the MV as a "poor man's Whyte" . Not that Marin's high-end models are what you'd call cheap, but those UK prices are crazy!

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    Yeh i have to buy things in New Zealand pesos.

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    SICK!!!

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Marin 2011-1119001655.jpg  

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    ^ I just achieved an erection.

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    Enjoyed the analysis gvs. Appreciate the ability you and others have to look at a bike's geometry, deconstruct it, and figure out what the manufacturer is trying to accomplish and what sort of riding it is tailored to.

    So if the 2011 MV is not a 140mm incarnation of MV's prior trail orientation, but instead its geometry is new for the MV aimed at all-mountain, Marin [I]would[I] be targeting a different rider perhaps with their 2011 MV than they had with the 2010 MV rather than just putting the 2010 MV into a lighter, longer-travel package -- or at least Marin may have decided not straddling trail and AM any longer with the MV and commit to a more AM-focused approach.

    Again, appreciate the focus on geometry, which is really something I should pay more attention to and learn to evaluate a bit. Thanks for the post.

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    ahh, a little creepy but... whatever, you can use that extra support beam between the top * down tube for pole dancing.
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    Got my hands on XM7, looks as sexy as all Marin bikes Nice paint, new swingarm looks really light and has no places to collect mud. Forget about that little hell about rear suspension tuning with "Y link".
    Allthough it's quite different from old MV, I like these changes

    P.S. Didn't have a chance to ride, just expressions from the first look at a real bike.

    Crappy phone photo


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    Quote Originally Posted by genny1
    Enjoyed the analysis gvs. Appreciate the ability you and others have to look at a bike's geometry, deconstruct it, and figure out what the manufacturer is trying to accomplish and what sort of riding it is tailored to.

    So if the 2011 MV is not a 140mm incarnation of MV's prior trail orientation, but instead its geometry is new for the MV aimed at all-mountain, Marin [I]would[I] be targeting a different rider perhaps with their 2011 MV than they had with the 2010 MV rather than just putting the 2010 MV into a lighter, longer-travel package -- or at least Marin may have decided not straddling trail and AM any longer with the MV and commit to a more AM-focused approach.

    Again, appreciate the focus on geometry, which is really something I should pay more attention to and learn to evaluate a bit. Thanks for the post.

    Possibly may be why they are called XM7,XM8 [ cross mountain?] ?.

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    Guys, new 140mm Marin XM is awesome! It took the best of old MV and WR - climbs even greater (never mind extra 20 mm), descends faster. Totally new bike!
    Longer base makes it more stable on uphills, and 67.5 deg head tube completely eliminates old MV's XC behaviour on descents. And, if I'm correct, it has guides for an adjustable seatpost remote.
    Need I say more?

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    Have they shaved any weight off?
    Hows the rear end? Is it plush like the MV of old or rock hard like the wolf ridge? Does it still use a 7.5 x 2.0" shock like the old MV and wolf ridge or have they increased the shock length like they should have done on the Wolf Ridge.The wolf ridge climbs and sprints out of the saddle better than the old MV because the suspension has a firmer feel to it. Takes the big jumps well though. And carves and descends well.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 11-28-2010 at 04:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz
    Have they shaved any weight off?
    Hows the rear end? Is it plush like the MV of old or rock hard like the wolf ridge? Does it still use a 7.5 x 2.0" shock like the old MV and wolf ridge or have they increased the shock length like they should have done on the Wolf Ridge.The wolf ridge climbs better than the old MV because the suspension is so hard. It's the tree root ride from hell. I think my carbon hard tail is better over tree roots than the Wolf ridge. Takes the big jumps well though. And carves and descends well. Just not for general trail riding. Shuttle runs only.
    I didn't have a chance to weight the frame, but I can remember some postings about the new frame being lighter because of the redesigned swingarm and links (no proof, sorry, hard to find now). Same goes for the shock, no tech info (I'll ask the owner next time we meet). It's even hard to compare the weights, because XM was assembled in a hurry, and I have quite a good setup on my bike.

    Compared to MV and WR, new bike is definitely "MV + some upgrades". I rode my MV for the half of the trip, and new XM for the other half, suspension feels almost the same, I didn't feel extra 20 mm most of the time, but for example, riding down some stairs in the park felt much easier.

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    The new MV has same wheelbase as WR but shorter chainstays. It looks like they have lengthened the links and possibly used a longer shock on the new MV.
    The 2009 MV seems to be a sawn off shotgun version of the 2009 WR. The WR gets it's extra travel from it's longer chainstays. The links and shock look identical. So the shock ratio is higher on the WR and needs a lot more pressure than the old MV.[ about 1.2 psi / lb rider weight compared to 0.95 / lb for the MV]
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 11-28-2010 at 04:36 PM.

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