The Marin Gestalt 2 is a gravel bike with a ten speed single ring set-up which mimics SRAM's 11-speed single ring groupsets without the expense. How does it stack up?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Marin Gestalt 2

Pros:

  • Budget single ring drivetrain
  • Really low gears for steep off-road
  • Mudguard and rack mounts add flexibility

Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • Cables not fully weatherproof
  • Tyres lack grip in mud

Product:

Marin Gestalt 2

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,000.00

Named after a US county north of San Francisco where it was founded in 1986, Marin has an extensive range of mountain bikes, but it also produces a smaller range of drop bar bikes.

>>> Adventure road and gravel bike buyer’s guide

The three-bike Gestalt range all use the same alloy frame, with the Marin Gestalt 2 sitting between a SRAM 1×11 equipped model at £1,500 and a Shimano Sora 18-speed at £800.

Frame

The frame tubes are all ovalised or round, with a tall head tube and internal cable routing through the down tube. There’s an externally threaded bottom bracket and the non-tapered fork has carbon blades and an alloy steerer.

Internal cable routing for a front mech is not used on the Gestalt 2

Internal cable routing port for a front mech is not used on the Marin Gestalt 2 with its single ring set-up

There is a large slot at the bottom end of the down tube through which the cables pass. This is good from a drainage perspective and for threading new cables, but does mean that there’s a chance of contamination. And the final part of the cable run from the bottom bracket to the mech is bare inner cable and unprotected.

Masses of clearance front and rear for extra-wide tyres

Masses of clearance front and rear for extra-wide tyres

The Marin Gestalt 2 has mounts for mudguards front and rear, with a second mount on the rear triangle and a lug on the seat tube to mount a rack, so it would serve commuting and load lugging duties well too.

Specification

Marin has made a cunning raid on the MTB parts bin to produce a ghetto single ring set-up. Up front, there’s a 42t unbranded four-arm chainset which runs on external bearings. This is coupled to a Sunrace 10-speed cassette with an enormous 11-42 tooth range, giving a top gear of around 100 inches. The lowest gear gives a 1:1 ratio, equal to 27 inches.

>>> SRAM Force 1 long-term review

Single four-arm chainset with 42 teeth

Single four-arm chainset with 42 teeth

There’s a SRAM X7 rear mech with a clutch to help keep the chain under tension and to handle the huge gear range. Braking comes courtesy of a TRP Spyre mechanical disc set-up. The Marin Gestalt 2 uses a SRAM DoubleTap right brake lever and a brake-only left lever to control shifting and braking.

Alternating narrow-wide tooth profiles aid chain retention

Alternating narrow-wide tooth profiles aid chain retention

The Marin Gestalt 2 comes with wheels made up with Maddux FR240 rims laced to Formula hubs: a fairly basic set-up. They’re shod with Schwalbe G-One 30mm tyres, which are a gravel-specific design with closely spaced small knobs. They should be good for on-road and track use, but may not be aggressive enough for more muddy UK bridlepaths.

Enormous 11-42 Sunrace cassette is used with a SRAM X7 clutched derailleur

Enormous 11-42 Sunrace cassette is used with a SRAM X7 clutched derailleur

>>> What can roadies learn from MTBers?

The rest of the finishing kit is Marin own-brand, with a flared bar to give a wider hand placement when in the drops, an alloy 10cm stem, a 27.2mm alloy seatpost and a Marin Endurance Concept saddle.

Gestalt has TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. Note the double mudguard/rack tabs

Gestalt has TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. Note the double mudguard/rack tabs

Ride

The Marin Gestalt 2 is an absolute blast to ride off-road. That extra-low gear means previously unrideable slopes can be tackled with ease. The Schwalbe 30mm tyres grip well on the gravelly surfaces they’re made for, but they skidded to a halt in mud as there’s not quite enough tread to maintain traction.

Flared bars have a single double tap lever and a brake-only left lever

Flared bars have a single double-tap lever and a brake-only left lever

On the road, the tyres roll well and soak up the bumps, with none of the hum that you get from the more aggressively treads. The higher gears are plenty adequate for brisk road riding too.

Schwalbe G-One tyre is designed for gravel road use

Schwalbe G-One tyre is designed for gravel road use

Value

The Marin Gestalt 2’s mix of road and MTB parts creates a bike with almost the performance of a full SRAM 1x system, without the cost of hydraulic brakes or the expensive XD cassette body. THere are more details on UK distributor Paligap‘s website.

>>> Cycling Weekly Adventure Cross Series

So if you’re attracted by the single ring benefits of no front mech, wide gear range and a chainset and rear mech designed to ensure that the chain is kept under tension and on the rings, this is definitely a cheaper way of obtaining them.

Verdict

The Marin Gestalt 2 is a clever bike with a lot of flexibility for on and off road riding. It delivers the benefits of single ring shifting without the expense

Details

Weight (without pedals):10.27kg/ 22.64lb
Size Tested:56cm
Frame:Marin Series 3 aluminium
Fork:Carbon blades/alloy steerer
Shifters:SRAm double tap right, brake only left
Front Derailleur:None
Rear Derailleur:SRAM X7
Chainset:Unbranded 42t
Bottom Bracket:External threaded
Cassette:Sunrace 11-42t
Brakes:TRP Spyre mechanical discs
Wheelset:Maddux FR240 rims on Formula hubs
Tyres:Schwalbe G-One 30mm
Bars:Marin 12 degree flare, alloy
Stem:Marin alloy
Seatpost:Marin alloy, 27.2mm
Saddle:Marin Endurance Concept
Sizes:50 – 60cm
Colour:Silver
Contact:www.paligap.cc
  • NicholasMurrayDisqus

    Nice bike, but each to their own, I’d rather have SRAM 1x gearing than 105.

  • Stevo

    Focus Mares AX 105 costs a bit more, but it’s got a 105 group and proper gears.

  • NicholasMurrayDisqus

    If you are looking for a CX type bike at around the grand mark then the CX Team by Boardman has the the full SRAM 1x groupset with hydraulic brakes for £999.

  • dourscot

    .

  • Roger

    Why would anyone buy a Trek?

  • David Simons

    What is ‘ingenious’ about the chain-ring set up? . Anyway, buy a Trek and be done with it.

  • Tom Sharp

    Horrible looking welds too.

  • Stevo

    Yes but it’s American so it must be good.

  • dourscot

    Ridiculously over priced – nothing special frame, unbranded finishing kit, what’s to like for the asking price of a grand? The reviewer needs to be a bit tougher.