Marin Hawk Hill
Marin has been in the mountain-bike biz for as long as mountain biking has been, well, mountain biking. In fact, Marin County is where it pretty much all began, back in the 1970’s on balloon-tired single-speed coaster-brake bikes that were anything but hi
The lack of Pro-level bikes with Pro-level price tags didn’t stop those hardcore pioneers from enjoying everything off-road cycling had to offer, and Marin hasn’t forgotten that fact.
The 2017 Hawk Hill is a prime example of Marin’s commitment to that mountain-bike core who love the sport, but don’t want a 10-year mortgage on a bike to get into it.
Out of the box, the 2017 Hawk Hill is a sweet-looking build for the price, which is exactly what Marin was aiming for when it put this package together. With a market that seems to be dominated by high-end carbon-fibre swank, it’s nice to see a back-to-basics build for the working-class trail junkies.
Marin has kept the price point in check on the Hawk Hill through a combination of manufacturing, material and accessory choices, all while keeping ride quality reasonably high with proven trail geometry and solid suspension specs built around a 27.5” wheelset.
The Hawk Hill’s main frame is manufactured out of Marin’s Series 3 6061 butted and hydroformed aluminum and features its MultiTrac suspension technology. Marin notes that its MultiTrac suspension design is comparable to its proven IsoTrac suspension technology, but in a more economical package. That economic design comes in the form of a “faux-bar” set-up with a singlepivot chainstay connection and short rocker arm connected to a 120mm-travel X-Fusion O2 Pro R air shock. The shock does not offer lockout or compression damping, but hey, it’s much more appealing than the non-adjustable coilspring suspensions found on many bikes at this price point.
Up front, a well-matched air-sprung RockShox Recon Silver RL fork provides 120mm of travel and a pretty solid ride feel in the cockpit.
The trail capabilities of the Hawk Hill are many, thanks to Marin’s do-it-all geometry that includes short chainstays (425mm) and standover (697.51mm on Medium), a 67.5° head angle, 74° seat angle, 120mm headtube, 337mm BB height and relatively tight wheelbase (1,148.61mm). The Hawk Hill delivers as intended, excelling in its all-round capabilities, offering solid ride confidence on all but the more advanced technical climbs and descents.
The Hawk Hill’s wheelset is a durable Marin doublewall alloy rim with a respectable 27mm internal width. Joytech 135mm quad-sealed bearings rear hub and Formula 100x15mm front hub add to the strength and stiffness, providing 32-spoke support to a quality set of Schwalbe Hans Damph 2.35” front and rear tires.
The Hawk Hill comes equipped with a Shimano Deore Shadow Plus rear derailleur, easily maintained external sealed cartridge-bearing bottom bracket, a Marin forged alloy 1x10 crankset, a Sunrace 10-speed 11-42T wide-ratio cassette and a KMC X10 chain. The single-ring set-up is another sweet surprise at this price point where triples tend to dominate.
Shimano also handles brakes with a set of 180mm rotor BR-M315 hydraulic discs, front and rear. Although the resin-only pads are limiting in slimy, wet Vancouver conditions, the Deores provided respectable brake power and modulation.
Let’s face it, there are those who will always want to modify their rides as their skills and bank accounts improve. Although the Hawk Hill seems to offer more than you’re paying for out of the box, Marin has made it easy to dial it up a few notches.
If dropper posts are your thrill, the Hawk Hill’s 30.9mm seat-tube is capable, with internal-routing channels at the ready.
If weight loss is your goal, the wheelset would be a good start, and the standard 135mm rear open dropout is easily upgradable to a 142x12mm thru-axle set-up.
If size matters, even though the Hawk Hill already comes equipped with a commonly coveted forged alloy, 1x10, hollow spindle, steel narrow-wide 32T chainring with a 74mm BCD bolt pattern, it can easily be changed out to smaller rings.
The Hawk Hill also comes standard with a Marin 780mm Mini-Riser handlebar, 60mm long stem and Dual Density grips, all of which are an excellent package for this bike, but easily upgraded to your specific needs.
The Hawk Hill was designed to be a sub-$2,000 trail bike that can handle most of what a beginner to average off-road rider can throw at it. In that regard, Marin has nailed it with a durable, well-balanced trail-bike option for those on a realistic, real-world budget.
The 2017 Hawk Hill is a
prime example of Marin’s
commitment to that mountain-bike core who love
the sport, but don’t want
a 10-year mortgage on a
bike to get into it.