Like many other companies, Marin dipped their toes in the 29er pool several years ago with the introduction of their 29er hardtails. This year Marin is introducing their first big-wheeled full suspension bike, the Rift Zone 29. The Rift Zone has 100mm of front and rear travel supplied by a Fox RL fork and RP23 shock. There will be two aluminum and two carbon models in the Rift Zone 29er line.
The XC7 (pictured here) is the higher-spec’d aluminum model, retailing for $2,899.
The Rift Zone uses the company’s third iteration of their Quad Link suspension design. Gone are the elevated chainstays and rocker links located in the main triangle. The revised suspension design looks very similar to many of the other dual-link bikes on the market.
It’s hard to critique a bike that just works. The geometry is neither steep nor slack. On the trail the Rift Zone is an easy-riding bike with no quirky handling traits. I found the suspension performed best with the RP23′s platform in the "2" position. The only gripes I had with the XC7 on my demo ride were related to component spec: the handlebar was too narrow for my tastes and I would have prefered to have a 15mm thru-axle fork, rather than the 9mm QR. Other than that I had no misgivings with the bike. It does everything a 100mm 29er dually should do.