- Budget single ring drivetrain
- Really low gears for steep off-road
- Mudguard and rack mounts add flexibility
- Quite heavy
- Cables not fully weatherproof
- Tyres lack grip in mud
Price as reviewed:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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