By Stephen Haynes, photos by Justin Steiner.
The Marin Team CXR 29er PRO is the top of the line carbon hardtail 29er from the storied California brand. This race-inspired bike is as light as it is capable.
The frame uses Marin’s Race Geometry, which has a longer top tube to put you in a race ready stance but I didn’t feel like I was way out over the front wheel which was nice.
For the 2013 model year Marin will be offering the CXR line in a size 15, though that size will come with an 80mm fork instead of the 100mm Fox 32. Also new is the internally routed cables, making for a nice clean, clutter-free look.
Pedaling performance up the cat littler-like fire roads in Bootleg Canyon here at the Interbike Outdoor Demo was about as good as you could ask for with installing a motor or paying someone to do it for you. Solid and stiff, the bike went were I wanted it to, when I wanted it to, as long as I kept the pedals turning.
Some of the more technical climbing found on Bootleg’s singletrack was eaten up just as readily. I didn’t have a problem lifting the front end up onto rocks and powering over them once the front wheel was clear.
Coming down the mountain the CXR 29er PRO was a lot of fun. I made it through all but the most exposed, gnarly sections of rock and I chalk that up to my riding ability, not any short comings on the bikes behalf.
While this bike doesn’t match my laid back, beach cruiser riding style, it flowed through bermed turns and over and off of rock drops as easily as any hardtail 29er I’ve ridden.
The Fox 32 100mm fork delivered a plush and confidence inspiring ride up front while the Shimano XT drivetrain kept the forward momentum going without incedent. Continental Race King tires were fantastic in the loose, dry, sometimes rocky terrain of Bootleg Canyon.
Overall this bike is a good time. I’m not sure how a carbon 29er is supposed to be anything less, but there it is. If you are someone looking for a superlight XC race machine, this could be one to watch.
The CXR 29er PRO will set you back $4,300 but you can get the same frame with slightly less impressive builds in the form of the Team CXR Race and Team CXR 29er for $3,800 and $2,950 respectively.