Dirt Rag Magazine

First Impression: Marin Attack Trail 7

Ed’s Note: This bike is part of our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test where the Dirt Rag staff spends significant time aboard less-expensive but fully capable offerings that we’d seriously consider buying ourselves. The final review will be out early 2016 in issue #189. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it!

Price: $2,750

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Marin’s Attack Trail 7 is one of two bikes representing the longer-travel end of our $3,000 bike group test with 160 mm of travel up front and 150 mm out back. Within this group, only Transition’s Patrol offers more travel: 160 mm front and 155 mm rear.

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The $2,750 Attack Trail 7 keeps cost down by utilizing all-aluminum construction and cost effective components.

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Despite being a “budget” bike (relative to the category), the Attack Trail 7 offers very compelling spec. SR Suntour handles suspension duties front and rear. The all-new Durolux fork is provided in RC trim, offering rebound and compression adjustment. SR Suntour’s new DUAir rear shock also offers compression and rebound adjustment. I really appreciate the set-and-forget nature of this setup. No travel adjustments, lockouts or switches to flip—just find your desired settings and ride.

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The Attack Trail’s 1×10 drivetrain is a hybrid of Sunrace’s 11-42 wide-range cassette teamed with a Shimano SLX derailleur and Deore shifter. It’s worth noting that Shimano doesn’t support this sort of arrangement, but so far it has worked pretty well. The generic single ring crankset offers a narrow-wide chainring and a chainguide.

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The Marin-brand handlebar offers 780 mm of width and a 35 mm clamp diameter. Paired with the short stem, the riding position certainly encourages aggressive descending.

This is my first ride aboard Magura’s MT4 brakes. In the past, I have not been able to adjust the levers in close enough to the handlebar for my tastes, but these brakes have a much broader range of adjustment. Outright power is good and modulation is excellent.

The Trail 7’s rolling stock is solid for the spec as well with Formula hubs laced to Maddux tubeless ready rims with an internal width of 27 mm. Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35-inch tubeless ready tires complete the package.

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Though the TranzX dropper post offers only 80 mm of drop, it remains impressive to even have a dropper included on a sub-$3,000 bike. Even a small amount of drop is better than none at all.

Subscribe today so you don’t miss the full review in our next issue, plus long-term ride tests of all eight bikes in our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test.



Choice Cuts: Bikes we’d buy under $3,000—an introduction

Every year for the last few years, Dirt Rag has gathered up a half-dozen or so full-suspension trail bikes for complete testing that fall into the entry-level/affordable/budget category. Yes, three grand is still a lot of money, but good bikes aren’t cheap and this price point is much more reasonable for the average enthusiast rider willing to invest some coin in a great ride. So, there you go.

3k bike photo collage

This year we are changing things up significantly by opening our test up to all types of mountain bikes, not just suspension bikes. The following caught our eye for one reason or another, but all of them are bikes we’d look very hard at in their respective categories. Or, rather, these are bikes I would look at since, really, these are all my choices. Direct your ire toward me about whatever it is that has you all wadded up. The rest of the DR crew is just here to ride the things and give us their honest opinions.

We’ll roll out first impressions of these bikes over the next few days and full reviews in Dirt Rag issue #189 (January). Subscribe today so you don’t miss it. In the meantime, here are the reasons each bike ended up on the list and who the testers are.

Scott Spark 950 — $2,700


I still have fond memories of the Spark 29 RC I raced in the Trans-Sylvania Epic a few years ago. The 950 is a much less expensive version of that bike, with an aluminum frame and a less expensive build kit. What is doesn’t lose is the Twin-Loc lockout and what is perhaps the most aggressive geometry for a cross-country race bike you can buy. Head angle is a slack 68.8 or 68.3 degrees; the bottom bracket height is around 13 inches; and the chain stays are right at 17 inches, which makes me think this bike would be well served by a dropper.

Dirt Rag Editor-in-Charge Mike Cushionbury is our resident former XC pro license holder, and assigning him the Spark is my continued attempt to get him on more modern bikes. Now if only I can pry those narrow bars and long stems out of his grasp, then we’ll be getting somewhere.

Devinci Hendrix — $2,999

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I was surprised to see the Hendrix, to be honest. Devinci is a small company and a bike like this (120/110 front/rear travel, 27plus wheels) is taking a big chance with the limited resources smaller companies have to develop new products. Working in Devinci’s favor is in-house aluminum frame production, which saves a lot of time. With the American dollar strong against the Canadian dollar, those of us in the States have some serious buying power.

What really drew me to the Devinci is its aggressive geometry paired with shorter travel, a recipe that usually spells F-U-N. Dirt Rag’s new art director, Stephen Haynes, gets welcomed to the fold with this pretty righteous test bike.

Norco Torrent 7.1 — $2,425


Norco has a number of bikes under $3,000, but this is the newest to the lineup and is a return to the heavy-duty hardtail category for the Canadian brand. Maybe it is just me, but after years of riding all kinds of knobby-tired bikes, this thing looks almost perfectly proportional. And in case anyone was wondering about which 27plus tires are best for fall use on the East Coast, the Schwalbe Nobby Nics are perhaps the best thing to happen to leaf-covered trails.

I (Tech Editor Eric McKeegan) am riding this bike and am stoked on its slack, low and short geometry.

Marin Attack Trail — $2,750

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I’ve been digging Marin’s evolving lineup over the last few years. The Attack Trail is a standout for a number of reasons. While the SR Suntour fork and shock might not be as well-regarded as the bigger names, both have more damping adjustments than many bikes at this price. The 1×10 drivetrain has a Sunrace 11-42-tooth cassette for most of the range of more expensive 11-speed systems. And out of every bike here, I think the Marin looks least like its price tag.

Our general manager and Dirt Rag photographer Justin Steiner is testing the limits of those Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires on the leaf-covered trails around Dirt Rag’s Pittsburgh HQ.

Kona Hei Hei Trail — $2,500


We’ve been fans of the many new bikes from Kona in the last few years. Kona has a bigger range of sub-$3k trail bikes than just about anyone, but another 29er seemed to be the best bet for this group so the new Hei Hei Trail got the nod. Taking the proven Hei Hei cross-country platform and swapping in some sturdier parts and a longer fork has resulted in something that I would almost describe as a Process 111 lite.

We might have lost Adam Newman as Dirt Rag’s web editor, but he moved only a few feet away to play editor-in-chief of our sister mag, Bicycle Times. He’ll be riding the Hei Hei in its Pacific Northwest homeland.

Surly Wednesday — $1,500

Surley Wednesday

The Wednesday is a true sleeper. On the surface, it looks like just another fatty in an already-crowded field of Surly fat bike offerings, but looking more closely reveals a refined and thoughtful bike. A 177 mm symmetrical rear end, 100 mm threaded bottom bracket shell, horizontal drop outs that can fit either thru-axles or quick releases, full length cable housing, tapered head tube, internal dropper post routing and enough braze-ons to keep everyone happy. Mix that up with modern trail geometry and suspension fork compatablity and it looks like a winner to me. Its cheapest-of-the-bunch price tag and Addams Family-inspired name are the icing on the cake.

Our new web editor, Katherine Fuller, took the reigns on this one and is out in Colorado bouncing over rocky singletrack waiting for the snow to fall.

Charge Cooker — $2,400


A little confession: I really wanted this bike to be Cannondale’s Beast of the East, but it wasn’t ready in time and was replaced with this bike from Charge, another bike brand in the Dorel family. This video is what got the Cooker on my radar originally and, after seeing them in person at Interbike, I was pretty interested. The stock Trailblazer tires aren’t ideal around western Pennsylvania this time of year, but swapping the front tire to a much bigger and more aggressive WTB Trail Boss has helped tremendously.

Our circulation guy Jon Pratt is pedaling this one into fall and probably missing his dropper post.

Transition Patrol 4 — $2,999

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Did you know you can get a complete Transition for under $3,000? Yes, even if only by one dollar. For a brand that is as well-regarded as Transition, this is good news for riders with smaller credit card limits. Considering that the frame itself retails for $1,999, there is a great deal of value in the parts kits. The Marzocchi fork up front was a bit of a worry, at first, but with the news that Fox purchased the mountain bike side of Marzocchi there is much less reason for worry about parts and warranty support.

Friend of Dirt Rag (official title) Bill Kirk is on this one. This Transition is a hell of a good looking bike for the money.



Blast From the Past: A mountain bike ride and interview with Bob Weir


Editor’s note: This interview of Grateful Dead founding member & Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Weir—conducted by Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer Charles Kelly—was first published in Dirt Rag Issue #23 in April 1992.

I got the call from my deep-cover mole in the Cannondale bicycle factory. “The Grateful Dead just bought ten new mountain bikes. This might be a story; do you think you can check it out?”

Since I live in Marin County, California, which is also where the Dead have their headquarters, it wasn’t too difficult to get the unlisted number of the Dead office. When you call this number, a woman picks up the phone and says, “Hello,” and after some interrogation, admits that this might be the Dead office, who wants to know? “I just heard that you people bought ten mountain bikes. Is that true?”

“Gee, I don’t know anything about that. Let me put you in touch with the publicist.”

She gave me the number. “Hi. I’m working on an article for a magazine, and I heard that some of the Dead bought mountain bikes. Can you tell me anything about that?”

“I don’t know anything about bikes. Look, I’ve got a new album coming out, and a video, and I’m working full-time on those. I can’t help you with bicycles.”

Having exhausted the official channels, I went for what the Reagan administration refers to as a “second channel.” I called my friend Howard Danchik, who works for UltraSound, the Dead’s sound company. “Howard, I just got word that you guys ordered ten mountain bikes, What’s the story?”


“Are the Grateful Dead really mountain bikers?”

“Not really. Most of the bikes are for the sound crew, but one of them is for Bob Weir.”

“Bob’s a mountain biker?”

“Yeah, he’s pretty far into it. In fact, he broke his shoulder riding his mountain bike.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. The fact that Bob Weir was a mountain biker seemed like a good story idea, and I decided to see if he wanted to do an interview about his mountain biking. Once again, this meant geting past the bureaucracy surrounding the Dead. Bob is well-protected, so I sent the message to him thorough several channels: his personal management, Howard from the UltraSound crew and mountain bike mogul Gary Fisher, who was my roommate for four years before he was who he is.

Progress. A couple more calls to Bob’s personal management, and I was told that Bob had agreed to do the interview. After swearing me to secrecy, they gave me his home phone number. Bob lives in a semi-remote location near a network of mountain bike trails. The best way to conduct the interview seemed to be taking a ride together, so we made arrangements to meet at his house. Bob said, “Let’s go in the afternoon. I want time to go out and get a helmet before I get my picture taken on a bike.”

Bob met me on his deck, shirtless, wearing gym shorts and high-tops, and looking remarkably fit for a musician. Three mountain bikes waited patiently while Bob gave instruction on their use to a pretty blonde woman. I did my best to present a non-intimidating image of a regular guy who didn’t want to bug him about the band or blow him away with my riding; as part of this strategy I showed up wearing jeans and a T-shirt rather than full-on cycling togs.

Bob told me he didn’t know why bike riders would care for his thoughts on cycling, but he was game to talk. “I’m no expert on bikes, but I have some pretty firm opinions on them.” In return, I admitted that the deeper I got into this the less of an idea I had as to the direction this interview was headed, that I didn’t come prepared with a single question and that all I brought was my camera and tape recorder.

“Great. Let’s ride and talk.”

A few minutes later, Gary Fisher showed up and the four of us prepared to ride. For Bob this meant replacing a few small parts on his bike, cleaning and lubricating the chain and fastening a small tape recorder just like mine to the handlebars. “Is this tape recorder to keep me honest?” I asked.

“Not at all. I get lots of ideas when I’m out riding, and this is really a convenient way for me to take notes.”

We started up the road into the hills. Bob’s lady friend was new at this and didn’t care to join us on a hard-core ride, so Bob gave her a map and instructions that would take her on a short but pleasant round trip. Bob, Gary and I headed uphill, and I waved my recorder near him while I asked a series of dumb questions, punctuated on the tape by heavy breathing from both of us.

I wanted to know how Bob got turned on to cycling.

“I had a bike when I was a kid; I don’t even know what kind it was. I dropped bikes when I was thirteen or fourteen. About my middle to late twenties I took up running for exercise; I was a distance runner in high school. In the late seventies, running was starting to happen, and it got my attention. I ran pretty much daily for about ten years. I got as high as seventy miles a week, although I averaged more like thirty.

“Last year about this time I was on tour in Colorado with Kingfish. It was a really short tour and we ended it up in Vail. Between this friend in Vail, and Howard from UltraSound, they dragged me out…Howard had been promising to get me on a bicycle because he knew I was a runner, and he thought I wouldn’t have any problems getting into bicycles. He knew that I have an appreciation for ‘tech.'”

Howard is Howard Danchik, a longtime Dead sound man, and the first from that association to take up mountain biking. If there is any passion the Dead and their immediate associates share besides the music, it is an appreciation for things that are well made and work right.

“Howard figured I was a natural for mountain biking, and he was right. He got me on a mountain bike in Vail, and the first time I tried it we got to about twelve thousand feet. And I had to do it again the next day. The next day I came home and I called Gary [Fisher].”

Gary met the Dead in 1966 when he was a junior bicycle racer, and the Dead, along with Quicksilver Messenger Service, were hired to play a post-race dance at a bicycle race. Gary, who sported nearly waist-length hair during the early seventies, became one of the unofficial “Party Krew.”

“I didn’t even know who Gary was, but Howard said he had a friend who made bikes, so I called him. I guess Gary remembered who I was [interviewer laughs], but I’d never known him by his real name…we always called him “Spidey.”

It must have been some time since you two had run across each other.

“Yeah, but it didn’t take me long to recognize him.”

Tell me about breaking your shoulder.

“The second day I had my bike, for want of anything better to do, I rode all the way to the top of the mountain, and that was wonderful, just ducky. I got all pumped with endorphins ging up there, and then we came down. I was with a friend who was also more or less a novice, so we sere making up the rules as we went along. We were pumped with endorphins, and by the time we got halfway down, adrenalin as well. I was less cautious than might have been prudent. I hit a particularly pernicious crag in the road, and did what I understand is called a ‘Polish Wheelie.’

“I landed in a driveway, right at this guy’s feet, and fortunately he turned out to be a doctor. Well he was an eye doctor, but at least he was a doctor. My shoulder wasn’t working right, and my arm wasn’t working right, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had a bump in my shoulder; I figured it was dislocated. Anyway, it was broken, and I was laid up for about a month.

“Garcia, fortunately or unfortunately, was also laid up at the time, so it didn’t mess up too much. So having seen the pavement, I’m not really anxious to do anything like that again.”

At this point I shut off my recorder and concentrated on keeping up with Bob, my camera gear and jeans not helping much. Bob and Gary finished the main climb nearly an hour later a hundred yards ahead, so apparently my non-intimidation plan was working. We parked the bikes and hiked another quarter mile to a mountain top, where we surveyed the Bay Area.

Why don’t you expound philosophically on why bikes are the coolest invention since the guitar?

“I’ve heard…that the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever devised by man in terms of calories expended for work done. Philosophically, I like that a lot. It’s Technology, Servant of Man, in its very finest form.

“I was into running, and I was a real tough guy. I thought bicycles were for yuppies initially, and anyone who wanted a real workout could put on their running shoes and go out the door and get a real workout.

“All the time I was thinking that, Howard Danchik…was saying that sooner or later he was going to get me on a bicycle and I would be hooked. And he did and I was. Now I get every bit as good a workout on a bicycle as I did running, and I have more fun.”

A lot of runners get more and more into their sport until they reach a point where their bodies start to rebel. Did you ever have any problems like that?

“I was fortunate and I worked through a lot of that. If you get maniacal, you can hurt yourself with anything. I realized that and I took it slow and easy. Bicycling too; Ive hurt myself bicycling, and I didn’t waste any time. You can hurt yourself doing anything; you could drink a lethal dose of water. There’s a toxic or lethal dose of just about anything, and I found the toxic dose both running and biking, but I realized that and was able to cut back to well within my limits.

“Whatever you do, if you intend to do if for any length of time, you want to adjust your way of doing it, your schedule or whatever, to make sure you allow for fun, or you’ll start inventing reasons why you can’t do it. And I need the exercise. I also need the fun.

“The risk factor is not really in the same neighborhood. It’s your approach; in both cases, if your approach is right, it’s not going to get you, and if it’s wrong, it’s going to get you. If you’re a little bit careless by nature on a bicycle, sooner or later that’ll get you. But if you’re a little bit careless by nature at running, sooner of later that will get you in terms of long-term injury like tendonitis. [By comparison], bicycling got me real quick.”

You said that Bill [Kreutzman] was the only other bike rider in the band.

“And he not that much, but that may all change.”

Does he own a bike?

“No. If he did he probably would [ride]. He’s into running. I’m not pushing him, but I think sooner or later he’ll discover bicycles himself. From what I can see, anyone who’s into running can get into biking, although there have to be a few people who prefer running to bicycles.”


Several nights later, the same group of Bob, Gary Fisher and myself took a more adventurous ride, a full-moon excursion to the same mountain top, starting at 1 a.m. from Bob’s house. Just as on the previous ride, the pace up the hill was brisk, and conversation was sparse and punctuated by heavy breathing. Arriving at the top about 2 a.m., we watched while the lights of the Bay Area were slowly obscured by the fog.

“This Technology, Servant of Man, this is what it gives us. You were talking about stuff that works right; we made it up here in not much more that an hour.

“I’ve got a hurdle that I’m just about past, if I can train my way past it, that would put me up here pretty easily under an hour. On certain inclines I’ve just got to sustain a spin, or one gear that I’m not quite [using]. All I have to do is just get mad.”

Bob consults his wristwatch, which he has laid on a rock “Seventy-one point one degrees.”

“If there’s a fixation that I hold on stuff that works right, this is why. [The bikes] got us here quickly, quietly and pleasurably. Nothing more need be said. For the Gentle Reader, we’re sitting on top of a mountain, surrounded by moonlit clouds maybe five hundred feet below us in all directions, with a couple holes, through which we can see the lights of civilization, peeking and winking at us. All is quiet.”

I’ll say. Except for that damn cricket.


“A couple of years ago I was in Cabo San Lucas [Baja]. One of the friends I was visiting had a boat and we went out fishing; I got bored with that. We found ourselves in the middle of a big school of dolphins, I mean acres. I had fins and a mask and a snorkel, and I lost my mind a little and dove in and just started swimming with them. At first they wouldn’t pay any attention to me; it’s not like they were running away, they just wouldn’t pay attention to me.

“I was sort of chasing them, and I didn’t notice how far away from the boat I was getting. I got somewhere between a quarter and a half-mile away from the boat before I looked back and saw it way off.

“Suddenly I was surrounded by those guys, and they’d come up to me check me out and swim around. They were curious. They made squeaking and clicking sounds. As far down as I could see, about a hundred feet, and as far around me in any direction as far as I could see, there were these six to ten foot dolphins swimming around. Really beautiful; it was just another world. I lost all sense of time and any consideration other than the desire to communicate with these guys. And they were trying to communicate with me, and I was trying to communicate with them, and I don’t know that we didn’t get something across because we were all trying.

“God know what level they communicate on; I don’t think they see time like we do. Or much of anything else for that matter.”

It would be pretty hard to have any common concepts.

“All we really had was just eyeball to eyeball.

“I got pretty close [to a whale] on a surfboard once. I was going out to play with a pup when they were breaching. I headed out to play with the pup, and up popped mama. I tried to go around her one way, and she moved a little bit forward, and I tried to go around her the other way and she moved a little bit back, presenting an insurmountable obstacle. They don’t like stuff that’s hard, apparently, and she could hear the waves against my board.”

Gary Fisher: “The fog is moving in.”

“It’s going to be thick when we go down there. I’m going to have to go slow. I’d piss a lot of people off if I got myself hurt right now.”


“Why don’t more people do stuff like this?”

Everyone wants adventure, but they want it to be safe.

“Or just fun. I want to be a cowboy for two weeks. I’m not talking about no Frontierland, I want to be a real cowboy.”

There are a lot of people who have never done anything remotely as physical as this.

“They could be here too, rather easily, in a few weeks time, if they took it easy, a little bit at a time. It isn’t like they would be sacrificing themselves; it would be enjoyable for them, and they just don’t know it yet. But they will; I have a lot of confidence in people.”

You put the tape recorder on your bike because you said you get inspiration while you’re riding. Does the rhythmic activity of bike riding give you musical ideas?

“As often as not I get lyrical ideas; the lyrics come with a melody and the whole thing [is] in a complete package.”

Gary Fisher: “Riding a bike is one of the few places you can go any more and not be interrupted.”

That’s true: a lot of people want your [Bob’s] attention. In this instance I can get it because I’m willing to jump on a bike and follow you around.

“You get an entirely different side of me that the people who get me between the hours of ten and six on the telephone. I’m a fairly busy fellow, and the number you have, only the people I want to talk to have. Even so, during the hours when we would normally talk…well you, know what it’s like; I’ve got a billion projects.

“I do it, and I don’t mind it so much that I’m thinking pretty fast. My manner of speech and delivery must be a little different when you get me during those hours. I use different language; it’s just that I’m in a different world. When I’m up here…we went for ten, fifteen minutes at a time without saying anything during the ride up here, and I was never under the fear that the conversation would be over and the phone would be down, and that you’d be unreachable on the phone.

“I have times of day when [I deal with] mundane matters, like taking care of my gate, my garden, the mechanics of keeping my business rolling…I do [this] late in the morning. In the early afternoon I get in touch with people with whom I have projects going, and we go through the mechanics. By early mid-afternoon most of what I’m doing is going into the meat of whatever projects we’re talking [about]. That’s followed by a bike ride on a good day, if this is a well-orchestrated day. Then I get back, have a couple of capper conversations on stuff that I’ve been working on, and it starts turning into evening.

“There are times of day when certain stuff works best. Often I’m not going to be at my creative best when I’m fresh our of bed, but I can think nuts and bolts pretty well.”

You say you don’t do all your creating on a bike, but you must do some.

“Oh yeah, I don’t generally get on my bike until after I’ve had a few good flings at something fairly creative, and then I get to pack that off on my ride.”

You kind of chew on the stuff before you ride, then digest it while you’re riding.

“It works out pretty well that way. On a ride I’ll put the headphones on and remove myself from everything entirely, going uphill. I don’t wear headphones going downhill because I consider that to be dangerous. Uphill, I figure if I stay to the right, I’m not going to get hit by anything behind me, and I can see ahead, and I’m not going fast enough to present much of a danger to anything.

“For training, it’s great; it’s just like music in the dentist’s chair. You get a better workout. When the song ends, I can click the tape off, and what I’ve pushed aside when I clicked the tape on, comes flooding back, and it’ll all be different.”

So you get the subconscious working on the problem while you devote your higher brain to riding.

“I don’t even need the headphones to do it. I can get myself far enough away from what I’ve been thinking of just by pushing myself to the point where I’m starting to deal with things like pain and…my aerobic limit. It isn’t a particularly new way of thinking, Socrates used to teach his classes at a brisk walk. He was a firm believer in the notion that aerobic exercise produced higher thought.”

Gary Fisher: Do you do some type of thinking when you’re playing your music?

“Yes…It’s thought, but I’m not thinking in English. It’s just a different language. I really like it, needless to say.

“When I’m on a bike and I’m listening to music, I often bring tapes that I mighty not normally expect to appreciate. But when the endorphins kick in, and I get to that aerobic high stage, I’m a little more open, I can accept things a little more easily, and I appreciate things a little more readily. I’m a big fan of a lot of kinds of music now that I never thought I’d be. It’s opened me up, and as a musician that’s nothing but good for me. These days’s I’m really big on Shostakovich.

“For the Gentle Reader’s information, the fog has completely surrounded us, and there are no lights peeking through. We are an island at this point, in the bright moonlight.”

Keep reading

We’ve published a lot of stuff in 26 years of Dirt Rag. Find all our Blast From the Past stories here.



Marin Museum of Bicycling set to open June 6

Joe Breeze has been a busy guy. In addition to popularizing the very concept of mountain biking back in the early 1970s, he also steers the ship at his own brand, Breezer Bikes, and has taken stewardship of the original Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Breeze has brought the collection to his home—and mountain biking spiritual home—in Marin County, California, and has combined it with other collections to create the Marin Museum of Bicycling.

“The Marin Museum of Bicycling features bicycles representing nearly 200 years of cycling history,” said Museum Board President Marc Vendetti. “Our exhibits include an 1868 Michaux velocipede, part of the museum’s Igler Collection, on long-term loan from David Igler. To illustrate bicycle ancestry we’ll show a replica of an 1820 ‘boneshaker,’ and during our opening month, we’ll be displaying the Specialized Tarmac that Vincenzo Nibali rode into Paris to win the 2014 Tour de France.”


The museum will open to the public on Saturday, June 6, 2015, with a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is located at 1966 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in downtown Fairfax, California, just a few miles from the original Repack downhill course.

The museum houses the Igler Collection of 19th Century Cycles, showcasing the key steps in bicycle evolution from the velocipede to the form of bicycle we recognize today.

“The Igler Collection includes examples from the bicycle’s ‘Golden Age,’ when the sharpest minds of the day were focused on perfecting the most efficient form of personal transport ever devised,” said Breeze, who is also the Museum’s curator. “We’ve expanded the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame exhibit to show key developments in the evolution of the mountain bike. We’re also building a collection of mid-20th century road-racing and touring bikes and everyday bikes for transportation.”

The museum has been in development for over two years, run by an all-volunteer board, which has performed extensive design and construction work. Numerous community volunteers have been involved in the effort.

Outside the Museum, food and drink will be available for purchase. Also outside will be face painting, trick riders, a giant bicycle sculpture and more. Live music will be by Fenton Coolfoot’s “The Right Time” and the Drake High Jazz Band.

Special Opening Day admission will be $8 for adults, $5 for youths and students with current Student ID, free for kids under 12 accompanied by adults. Admission is free to Marin Museum of Bicycling members. Memberships can be purchased online in advance.

Fairfax Town Councilmember Renee Goddard will lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. to officially open the museum. Many mountain bike pioneers will be on hand.

The Marin Museum of Bicycling, a non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization, will serve as a cultural center for cyclists. For regular hours, admission fees and membership information, please see the museum’s web site.


2015 Sea Otter tech roundup – Part 4

Ryde Rims

Ryde Rims showed up to our booth one morning with a new rim. Ryde was until recently known as Rigida, and is now going after a higher end part of the market.


This is the Trace rim ($135), which will come in 22, 25 and 29 mm internal widths in both standard and asymmetric. A second series of rims, Edge ($85), will have the same width and asymmetry, but are a bit heavier. All rims will come in 26, 27.5 and 29, in any color as long as it is black.


Tubeless ready with the addition of rim tape and a valve, these rims look to challenge NoTube’s dominance of the market. the website isn’t live yet, but bookmark www.ryde-usa.com for more info later.


Rever MCX1 Disc Brakes


Rever brakes are aimed squarely at road and cyclocross bikes, not the mountain bike market. With the Avid BB7 growing long in the tooth, and most of the big money seemingly going into developing hydro discs for road, Rever should be able to serve the part of the market that is after a premium cable disc brake.

How premium? $150 a wheel. That  includes a 140 or 160 mm rotor, ISO and direct mount adaptors, stainless slick cable (uncoated, thankfully), two meters of compressionless brake housing, and all related hardware.



The caliper is a dual piston system, with separate adjustments for each pad, plus a cable adjuster. Pads can be replaced easily from the rear, and can use an Shimano G-series type pad, so any option under the sun is out there for metallic, organic, or semi-metallic.


Power is claimed to be reduced from a BB7, something that may be welcome on bikes with skinny tires and reduced traction. riderever.com



Marin 2016 steel mountain and adventure road bikes

Marin is celebrating 30 years in 2015, and half its booth was set aside for vintage bikes. The other half of the booth had these two new models built to celebrate three decades of building bikes.


The Pine Mountain name isn’t new, and although this bike seems a little retro, it is entirely up to date. A steel frame and fork with sport a single chainring Shimano SLX drivetrain with a wide range 10 speed SunRace cassette. The Vee tires shown will be replaced by the new 27×2.9 Schwalbe Nobby Nics. This is a sharp looking bike for $1,100.


Coming in at the same $1,100 level, this is the new Four Corners touring bike. Room for at least 40 mm tires, a quality steel frame and fork, triple bottle mounts, and disc brakes should make it ready for all kinds of adventures. The bags and racks are not included, nor is the big bottle of beer.



Jamis Dragon Slayer

There is still much love for the long-running Jamis Dragon. Not many steel hardtails, if any, have remained continuously in production. It currently has four models, in 27.5 and 29, and soon to be a fifth model in 27plus.


With a Deore 2×10 drivetrain, Boost hubs front and rear, Vittoria Bombolini 27×3 tires and Fox Float 32 fork, all this thing needs is a dropper to be ready for some serious business. And you heard it right, Shimano will be supporting the Boost standard from now on, even though it began life as a SRAM/Trek project.


Stoked to see the sliders, for single speed conversion, either on purpose or after roaching a derailleur out in the backcountry. The stays are right around 17 inches, a plus in my plus-size book.


This is the first peek we’ve seen of the new Vittoria plus size tire in 27.5. Glad to see some well supported side knobs.


The Dragon Slayer is ready to go long, with triple bottle mounts and rear rack braze-ons. Glad to see some versatility coming back to hardtails.



Manitou, Sun and Answer

The Hayes Bicycle Group has been through some ups and downs the last few years, but some new products and OE spec seems to be righting this ship.


This is a cut-away of the new Magnum plus-size fork. We’ve been riding one on a Trek Stache and so far have been hugely impressed. Lots of tech from both the Dorado DH forks and Mattoc trail fork, but in a 34mm stanchioned packaged for either 27plus or 29plus. You’ll be looking at $900 for the Pro model, less for the Comp when it becomes available. Only two travels, 100 and 120 mm, 15×110 hub spacing and room for tires up to 3.4 inches.



The Mulefut 50 is the skinnier brother to the well received 80mm fat bike rim. It’s tubeless ready (with rim tape to cover up those huge rim cut-outs) and Sun claims these are the lightest aluminum 50mm rims you can buy. These will set you back $140 a piece.


Everyone seems to be talking short stem talk right now, and Answer adds to the chat with a 30 mm AME model. You’ll be able to get it in red, black or white in a 31.8 bar clamp. If 30 mm is too short, you can get one in 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 mm. Any size or color for $80.


Keep reading

Miss our earlier coverage? Click here to read all our tech coverage from Sea Otter 2015.



Time running out: Support Marin trails and win a Marin bike


This is your chance to win a Marin.

Courtesy of Access4Bikes

Marin County Bicycle Coalition and Access4Bikes want to expand Marin’s bike trail network and increase access to singletrack trails. Support their efforts by purchasing raffle tickets and you could win a 2015 Marin Mt. Vision.

Marin Bikes, MCBC and A4B are giving away a XO1/Fox equipped Mt. Vision XM9 (click here for specs) worth $6,699 to one lucky winner.

The more tickets you buy, the better chance you have to win the bike.  Buy 10 tickets and get one free. For those who really want the bike, or help the cause, we have a really great deal. Buy 100 tickets and you get 25 free.

Even if you don’t win the bike, everybody wins more riding opportunities as 100 percent of the money raised will go towards the fight for more singletrack. In 2014 advocates are working on Marin’s first change-in-use trail project (Bill’s Trail) and Marin’s first bike park (Stafford Lake Bike Park), and many more projects to expand Marin’s bike trail network.

Ticket Sales will be open until October 25 at noon, and the winner will be announced at the Access4Bikes Film Festival and on The MCBC and A4B facebook pages. All proceeds will go to mountain bike advocacy work in Marin County, California.


In Print: The Making of Stafford Lake Bike Park

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Dirt Rag #178. Order a subscription to make sure you never miss an issue.


By Kristen Jones Neff, Photos by Forrest Arakawa

Construction on the much-anticipated Stafford Lake Bike Park in Novato, California, has begun—with  some dramatic twists along the way, and a whole cast of characters working to move it forward.

Seventeen acres of rolling green hills are tucked behind a reservoir in a 139-acre county park in Novato, the northernmost town in Marin County. The sprawling green haven is gorgeous, yet neglected by the public as most people don’t know it exists.

Those responsible for this creation? Mountain bike legend Mark Weir, who is raising his family in his hometown of Novato, and wants to bring something good to the community. Next there’s Al Baumann, who’s been around the block in local politics, and knows that if you hang in there and don’t let up on the dream, good things will happen. Julia Violich is a master, both on bike trails and in fundraising circles. She’s a doer, a catalyst and sets the pace for action. Add two more local guys, Ryan Gibson and Sam Neff, both fathers, both bike fanatics. The former is a star rider himself, and promotes the bike park as intensely and passionately as he rides. The latter is a true believer, who started working to bring a pump track to Novato eight years ago when no one even knew what that meant.

The group ran into some serious barriers, battling on various fronts with a doubting public contingency, lack of funds and anti-mountain bike groups. They have regrouped several times and, against all odds, turned the tides, gaining momentum as they garnered the support of key county officials and secured funding from local families, Marin County businesses and big-name bike brands.

Through grit and determination, one of the most complete bike skills parks in the country has started construction with support from, among others, Bike Monkey, WTB, Santa Cruz, Mike’s Bikes, Clif Bar, Lagunitas, and a recent $100,000 check from Fox Factory. Fox has donated a few new 36 series forks to raffle off to lucky winners. The nonprofit Friends of Stafford Lake Bike Park raised $592,850—well over half of the $850,000 needed to complete construction of the park. Another fundraising event is being held on October 19 in downtown Novato to keep the energy flowing.


This full-spectrum bike park is designed to provide “progressive opportunities and experiences for riders of all ages and skill levels.” The park includes state-of-the-art singletrack loops, gravity-fed flow trails with jumps and berms, several pump tracks, North Shore-style elevated trails, dual slalom and a kid’s learn-to-ride area.

“One of the best things about this project is that it is a public-private partnership. There has been so much conflict around the use of open space in this county, it is great to finally work in partnership, to build a sense of community,” said Violich.

According to Violich, who has earned a reputation as a centerpiece of the Marin County biking community (she races, coaches high school teams and brought the Bicycle Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame to Marin County), key officials helped the plan unfold, namely, Marin County supervisors Judy Arnold and Steve Kinsey, Marin County Open Space Director Linda Dahl, and Steve Petterle the county’s principal park planner.

Weir, who built a pump track in his back yard eight years ago, tried to accommodate as much of the community as possible, but eventually had to limit his track to neighborhood friends and family. Now he watches his own 5-year-old son Gus rip around the berms.


“I’ve watched the little guys in my neighborhood learn to ride together here. They grow up together, they have a great time and they learn to ride well. They learn to ride in a controlled manner. It will feel really good to repeat that at Stafford Lake,” he said.

More information

Official website of Friends of Stafford Lake

Stafford Lake Bike Park Facebook page



Support Marin trails and you could win a Marin Mt. Vision


Courtesy of Access4Bikes

Marin County Bicycle Coalition and Access4Bikes want to expand Marin’s bike trail network and increase access to singletrack trails. Support their efforts by purchasing raffle tickets and you could win a 2015 Marin Mt. Vision.

Marin Bikes, MCBC and A4B are giving away a XO1/Fox equipped Mt. Vision XM9 (click here for specs) worth $6,699 to one lucky winner.

The more tickets you buy, the better chance you have to win the bike.  Buy 10 tickets and get one free. For those who really want the bike, or help the cause, we have a really great deal. Buy 100 tickets and you get 25 free.

Even if you don’t win the bike, everybody wins more riding opportunities as 100 percent of the money raised will go towards the fight for more singletrack. In 2014 advocates are working on Marin’s first change-in-use trail project (Bill’s Trail) and Marin’s first bike park (Stafford Lake Bike Park), and many more projects to expand Marin’s bike trail network.

Ticket Sales will be open until October 25 at noon, and the winner will be announced at the Access4Bikes Film Festival and on The MCBC and A4B facebook pages. All proceeds will go to mountain bike advocacy work in Marin County, California.


Interbike Outdoor Demo: Hardtails rolling along

While it’s certainly true that most of this year’s Interbike hype will be focused on buzzing categories like 130mm to 150mm travel all-mountain and trail bikes as well as the fat bike phenomenon, you can rest assured that manufactures haven’t forgotten hardtails. Walking through the outdoor Dirt Demo most makers had the classic frame style on offering.

What’s important to note is that while there are plenty of high-zoot, race ready machines with pro-level parts, the hardtail remains a lower-cost alternative for riders just getting into the sport or looking for a second bike.


Scott Scale 9.10 and 7.10

Scott has taken a novel approach by offing the same cross-county bike in either 27.5 or 29er wheel sizes for the same $3,800 price. As one of our favorite options out there, these two Scales have a HMF carbon frame with flattened stays to help absorb trail vibration. The rear dropouts can be converted to standard QR or 142 x 12. Best of all they come with a full Shimano XT parts package, from derailleurs and shifters to crankset and brakes. The company says this bike is rapidly becoming a favorite for riders involved in high school leagues because of its race-ready value.


Marin Rocky Ridge 7.6

Marin’s take on the hardtail is this aluminum framed all-mountain machine. It’s designed for riders who are specifically seeking out this kind of bike—those who don’t want to deal with the complexities and maintenance of rear suspension or looking to add another rig to the stable without breaking the bank. A slack 67.5-degree head tube angle and short 16.5-inch long stays assure it’ll handle like it’s full suspension Mount Vision sibling. At $2,600 it’s a feature-laden value with such niceties as a 130mm travel fork and SRAM X0 shifters and rear derailleur. What’s more, it even has an internally routed dropper post—something that’s rare on a bike at this price.

Van Dessel

Van Dessel Jersey Devil

This new 29er hardtail is the first carbon offering from Van Dessel. It has internal cable routing and the rear triangle is designed to accept up to a 2.3” tire. Frame price is $1,200 with complete bikes ranging from $2,999 for SRAM X1 to $7,000 for Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1.


Niner Air 9

Redesigned for 2015, the beautiful aluminum Air 9 retails for $2,100 and features a Shimano XT rear derailleur, SLX crank and Deore disc brakes. It also has a RockShox Recon fork.

At the top end is the AIR 9 RDO. The new carbon frame sheds 100 grams compared to last year’s model and is ported to accept Shimano’s new electronic XTR group as well as Shimano and SRAM mechanical parts. Niner says the RDO line is consciously undergoing little changes to make it the complete package to earn a World Cup cross-country podium.



Review: Marin Rocky Ridge 7.6


I’ve always held an affinity for full suspension trail bikes because they facilitate a great deal of the flow I thrive on when trail riding. But since I spent many days riding and racing a fully rigid fixed gear on these same trails when I was young and foolish, I can certainly appreciate the connectedness, immediacy and feeling of precision a rigid ride offers.

The folks at Marin obviously appreciate a good hardtail, too, as it has shown with the Rocky Ridge series. Two 27.5-inch wheeled models with 130mm-travel forks are offered, both with the same frame and 1×10 drivetrains (chainguides included). The Rocky Ridge 7.6, tested, retails for $2,600, while the Rocky Ridge 7.4 retails for $1,950.

Read our full review of the rowdy Rocky Ridge 7.6.


Featured Trail Friday: Camp Tamarancho, Fairfax, Calif.

The trails snaking along Tamarancho.

The trails snaking along Tamarancho.

Trail stats

  • Average Singletracks.com rating: (4.68) 33 trail reviews
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Length: 10 miles


Start out with a nice warm up climb up a paved road, followed by nice sigletrack climb through some narrow switch-backs and some rock gardens. Levels out for some rolling singletrack. From here on, it is climb a little, enjoy some nice down hill. There are only 2 areas that I would call ‘really technical’ (THE switchback, and the boulder) but the rest of the trail will keep you on your toes, while still allowing your helmet to whistle in the wind. Since this is private property, you will either have to buy a day pass or a season pass at Don’t try to poach, there are rangers out there most of the time.


This trail is both fun to ride and beautiful. The scenery is constantly changing, and none of the elevation climbs are too bad. Definitely a must-ride, also because of its historical value in Marin. Even though it’s only ten miles, it’s ten miles of effort, and it will have you concentrating on what you’re doing. Pretty technical in spots, but just about everything can be cleaned. I’ll ride again and again! —Roxy&Yeti

An amazing, well built trail. A solid Intermediate trail with some rocks, switchbacks, smooth flow, and gradual climbs. If visiting in the Bay Area this is a great place to drop in and ride. Hit up Stoked SF if you want a bike and a guide. Ensure you pay for a pass for access. —Mac10Matt

This IS one of the best single tracks in Marin. It is a shorter loop for more advanced cross country riders but there are options out. I found a great loop that includes 90% of the Tmarancho loop and drops out to another great ride up through Loma Alta. The total milage is just about right for a good day ride. 23 miles in all. Tamarancho is a great warm up but if you stayed I would do a couple laps. You can hit it once and drop back into town for a beer and a brat and then charge Whites hill. Great Veiws all around and the terrain changes the whole way through. —Jessemc537


Featured Trail Friday is a partnership with Singletracks.com, an online community of trail guides and reviews. Join the Singletracks membership and get access to topographic maps and GPS routes.

What’s your review?

Have you ridden at Tamarancho? Share your review in the comments below.



Time is running out to win a Marin Rocky Ridge


I recently got back from my first ride in Marin County, California, and I was blown away by how nice the trails were – especially in February! Access4Bikes is working hard to turn the tide in Marin and open up even more riding opportunities for our vibrant mountain bike community. They are selling raffle tickets to support the trails there, and the lucky winner will take home a Marin Rocky Ridge like this one.

Get the details here.


Riding with the Breeze


It’s hard to imagine a more unassuming guy than Joe Breeze. Unlike his contemporaries Gary Fisher or Tom Ritchey, who are easy to spot in a crowd, Breeze could be the guy standing in line in front of you at the grocery store, or your friendly neighbor who always greets you with a wave and a smile. Of course, if you live in Fairfax, California, there’s a good chance he is both of these things.

Read more and see photos from our day with Joe Breeze.


Support trail access in Marin County and you could win this bike


Marin County, the birthplace of mountain biking, has suffered for decades with lack of good, legal singletrack. Access4Bikes is working hard to turn the tide in Marin and open up more riding opportunities for our vibrant mountain bike community.

Funds raised from this campaign will go to building more trail miles at Camp Tamarancho, one of the best riding spots in the county, and to advocating for more singletrack on public lands. Marin Bikes and Access4Bikes are giving away a 2014 Marin Rocky Ridge 7.6. Tickets are for sale now at Access4Bikes.com for $10 each. The more tickets you buy the better chance you have to win. Ticket Sales will be open until March 4 at 5pm and the winner will be announced on March 5 on the Access for Bikes Facebook page. The winner will also get a 2 year Tamarancho trail pass.

The Rocky Ridge 7.6 is a hardball designed for aggressive trail riding, with low, slack geometry and 27.5 wheels. Read our first impressions of the bike here, and watch an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag for a long-term review.

Access4Bikes has a long history of strong advocacy to change policy and elect bike friendly officials across the county.

There is a big opportunity to influence the Marin County Open Space road and trail management plan. For more information visit access4bikes.com/win-a-marin.



First Impression: Marin Rocky Ridge 7.6


Marin designed the 27.5-inch wheeled Rocky Ridge series for aggressive trail riders that prefer hardtails. There are certainly are lots of folks out there who prefer hardtails over full suspension for a multitude of reasons: lower initial purchase price, better parts spec at a similar price point, mechanical simplicity, or just riding style.

This is a lot of bike for $2,600. The stout aluminum frame offers all the latest standards we’ve come to expect, including a tapered headtube, ISCG mounts, internal dropper post routing and a 142×12 thru-axle. Interesting spec choices include a SRAM 1×10 drivetrain with X7 shifter and X9 Type 2, clutch-style rear derailleur. Crankset and chainguide are supplied by e*thirteen. Braking duties are assigned to SRAM’s four-piston Elixir 7 Trail units with tool-free reach adjustment. The inexpensive-but-excellent RockShox Revelation provides 130mm of travel up front. KS provides a Supernatural 125mm-travel dropper post with one of the more ergonomic remotes I’ve used.

Read more about the Rocky Ridge here.

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