My (2016) Marin Attack Trail (Pro) Review-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    My (2016) Marin Attack Trail (Pro) Review

    Hey MTBR! Just thought I'd post my review of the Attack Trail Carbon. It's of the Pro model, but the ride characteristics will be the same across the model line (I know, because I've ridden two other models of Attack Trail).

    I bought the 2016 Marin Attack Trail Pro last year on an ambassador program for ChainLine Cycle in Kelowna, BC. If you haven’t yet been to ChainLine Cycle, well get on with it! If you haven’t yet ridden an Attack Trail, well get the f*&k on with that too!

    This bike shreds. Straight up. I could just stop writing right there, but then I wouldn’t be doing the bike even a thousandth of the justice it deserves. I bought the bike with the intention to race Enduro with it. But I also needed a bike that could pedal me up the 1600m worth of climbing I was going to see in both the enduro races I planned to do, and my every day riding. No, I don’t climb 1600m for 4 hours every ride… my wife would divorce me if I did that, but nevertheless, needed a bike that could climb.

    The bike comes with a gucci high end spec. Full XTR 1x11 drivetrain and brakes, BOS Suspension front (Deville Rare FCV) and rear Kirk 3-way), Deity Carbon bars, Rock Shox Reverb post, WTB/XTR Ci24 carbon wheels, and a WTB High Tail carbon saddle. The frame exudes quality and beauty. You can visibly see the carbon lay up, which is beautiful. Something I prefer to a carbon frame being all painted over. I know some people don’t like that, because… well I don’t know why. Carbon is a beautiful material (in my opinion), so I like my bikes to exude that beauty. For me, it’s like looking at beautiful welds on a steel frame… it just warms the cockles. Is that weird?

    This is the very first bike I’ve ever owned that I did not change a single component on. Those who know me know that I go through bikes and components faster than a first year university dude goes through condoms (and not because he’s actually going the distance). So for me to honestly say that the spec was perfect, is saying a lot. Ok, I lied a little… I changed out the WTB TCS Light tires for TCS Tough tires (but only after I sliced open both the TCS lights) because our local Kelowna terrain demands it. Marin employs some amazing product managers who listen to rider feedback and spec the bikes the way that they would want them spec’d. Marin says “we want a bike at this price point”, and the product managers deliver something amazing. The Hawk Hill is another perfect example of that. As the Western Canada rep Brad mentioned to me, Marin is a “rider’s company”, and that shows.

    For the full season of racing and riding that I had the bike for, the component spec worked flawlessly. I used to be a “SRAM guy” on all my bikes, but the XTR stuff has shown me that the big old S (and not Specialized) has really put work into delivering an amazing the drive train (and yes, the XT and SLX 1x11 systems also work amazingly well). Shifts were always crisp, braking was always superb, the WTB wheels stiff as f*&k. Really the ONLY complaint I have from the components is that the wheels came with alloy nipples… and after blowing out countless nipples (and ChainLine hooking me up with the repair), we finally mentioned it to Marin who said “well swap them to brass and we’ll cover the parts and labour”. Between ChainLine and Marin looking after me, I couldn’t ask for better service. Once on Brass nipples, never had another issue.

    Ok, now for the ride. Geometry wise, the bike is a little more traditional. And by that, I mean to say that it is not the new school looooooong. I typically ride a medium, but upsized to the large because the large’s reach was the same as some previous medium bikes I had owned and worked well for me. The large was a perfect fit for me at 5'9". When fitted, I experienced no back pain on the climbs (as I get with shorter reach bikes), and had plenty of room to move the bike around underneath me on the climbs. I never felt that the bike was too long, but it was just long enough (that’s what she said to me... never).

    Set-up wise, I ran the fork at 30% sag, and the rear shock at 35% sag. Both the BOS Deville RaRe FCV and the BOS Kirk are ultra tuneable shocks and with low and high speed rebound and compression, they are far from ‘set it and forget it’ shocks. So bear that in mind when you’re looking for your Attack Trail. You might want to consider one of the models a step down to get more set it and forget it shocks. For 2017, Marin went to more mainstream shocks, which should appeal to all rider types. Anyways, I ran slightly more sag because A) I felt the suspension design demands it, and B) the shocks allowed me to zero in the compression and rebound settings to compensate. This took me a long time to do (the better part of a month), but once satisfied, this bike was sublime!

    For climbing, the seat angle sits you in a nice, neutral position that allows you to transfer the power down. Marin’s quad-link design, from what I understand, employs a decent amount of anti-squat, which allows the bike to pedal well while maintaining excellent traction through rougher climbing terrain. The BOS rear shock has a pedal platform switch, but the difference it makes is almost negligible, so essentially I rode the bike wide open all the time. While I could definitely notice some bob on the smoothest of surfaces, pedaling through rough terrain was rewarded with a constantly forward push, with the bike never feeling ‘hung up’ on obstacles. I did eventually ride the bike with a Monarch with a noticeable pedal platform, but again, on all but the smoothest trails, I left it open. It definitely 'sits' into the sag, but was still quite comfortable.

    At the end of the day, you’re still pedaling a 160mm, 66.5 degree head angle bike up a hill so you could definitely notice the slackness (and it’s not even the slackest of bikes out there), but with a bit of body english on the saddle, and the nice, supportive pedaling manners, I rarely (if I can even ever remember a time) had to dismount the bike on a climb. I’m not going to say this is an XC climber, but it pedals well for a 150mm Enduro bike, just make sure you’re properly fit on it (ie: saddle height, saddle fore-aft, etc) and have your suspension set up properly.

    For descending, I’m afraid I have to use the cliche, the Attack Trail descends like a mini downhill bike. This is one of the most supple, supported 150mm travel bikes I’ve ever ridden (and again, I am a quintessential bike whore). Marin’s designers have nailed (an easter egg to future things to come) this bike. I typically run a fast rebound, more of a way to get around poorly sprung bikes and avoid packing in, but on this bike, I ran a fair bit slower than I usually do. Combined with good mid- and end-stroke support, the bike never packed in, and always kept me high in the suspension to handle the bigger features. I did bottom out the suspension from time to time on bigger features, but it was always controlled and never violent (like some horst link bikes I’ve ridden). Yes, a lot of this could have been attributed to the Bos suspension, but I eventually rode this bike with a Fox 36 front and a Monarch Debonair rear, and it was equally amazing... which reinforced to me that Marin has built an awesome design with this bike.

    The angles on this bike, while not insanely slack, are very neutral for descending. And what I mean by that is that when your body position was proper (ahem, take a PMBIA level 1 course if you haven’t already), then the bike just felt right. You could easily move it fore and aft to match the terrain. I have ridden some very slack enduro bikes before (65 degree head angles), and let me just say that I don’t quite understand this ‘make all-mountain/enduro bikes as slack as we can’ trend. Imagine taking a DH bike to your local AM trail… it’s just too much, and that feeling translates into enduro bikes too. You know the Attack Trail’s descending geometry will get down the wildest of trails (trust me, I know), but then be ready for you to pedal back to the top right after. It felt amazing all around... never too slack, never too steep.

    This bike carried well into drops and jumps and well into hard g-outs (ie: bermed corners, less than ideal landings) with great mid-stroke support. Well both a factor of suspension design and the shock, the bike never really ‘wallowed’. It seemed to be just right. I always knew that when it came time to drop the post, drop some gears and get loose, you knew the descent was going to be awesome. I never got the bike to a point of losing composure, but the bike definitely took me to a point where my skills lots composure…

    All in all, I can't recommend this bike enough. It's a great all-round bike, light enough for the long, climby days, but burly enough for the long technical descents. The only reason I am getting rid of it this season is because my Wolf Ridge is on it's way!

    Any questions, just post here!

    Thanks to ChainLine Cycle and Marin Bikes Canada for the hook up on this bike.
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  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    what length stem were you running???

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