Marin Gestalt 2

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?

Score

8/10

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

Price as reviewed:

£1,000

  • 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

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