MARIN FOUR CORNERS
Built like a tank and goes like one too
If you’re looking for a bike in which comfort rather than stiffness is a priority, then look no further because the Marin Four Corners is the bike for you. It’s heavy, it’s robust and can probably take a beating no matter what you throw at it.
The Four Corners is a bike inspired by Marin’s mountain bike glory years, when the company’s rigid mountain bikes were the talk of the town. It’s built like a tank just like the old Marin Pine Mountain and can probably tackle any type of bad roads, as well as handle some off-road fun.
You might wonder why does it have a drop bar, if it is paying homage to Marin’s mountain bike heyday? Well, mountain bikes aren’t good for roads but a bike with mountain bike DNA with road components might just be able to do both. This is the ideology behind the Four Corners, as it is a bike built for an all-around bike aspiration where adventure is the main objective. The bike has also been labelled by Marin as a Utilitour bike, which basically means it has a relaxed geometry and is built for touring.
With generous braze-on welding and a heads-up bar position it was never built to be the most swift or aerodynamic bike. Instead, the purpose of this bike is to outlive you, and in between take you to places where no cyclists have gone before.
Kitted with a complete Shimano 3x9 Sora setup including a Sora Hollowtech 2 59/39/30 crankset, you can just tell that complete and utter robustness and dependability was Marin’s aim when speccing up the bike. Just like the frame, the fork is also made out of Crmo metal. Manufacturers usually kit up a bike with carbon forks, but Marin didn’t want to do that as it wanted the owners of the Four Corners to have complete and utter faith in its structure, no matter what kind of heavy gear they were hauling. They could have even skimmed on the brakes, but instead Marin decided to include the all dependable Tektro Spyre-c to give great control and stopping power when you need it.
The frame has mounting points everywhere; you could even kit up the bike with three bottle cages if you wanted to. Mounting other things such as front and rear panniers as well as mudguards is also not an issue. The test bike that was given to us was kitted out with 650b rims and 42” wide tyres but with such huge clearances it can probably fit a 2” wide 29er combo as well.
We took the test bike on a recent outing that you can read about on page 32, and although it had its shortcomings it mostly performed admirably. Coming from faster road bikes and even mountain bikes, the initial reaction when riding the
Four Corners was a bit of a shock. The climbing was difficult and acceleration was pretty slow.
But a few hours into the ride things started to make more sense. By being patient and using cadence as our friend, you started to notice the beautiful things about the Four Corners. Not at any point of the journey did we feel a sore neck or back. It is not the fastest bike, but it did cruise along nicely and soaked up all the ruts and old broken tarmac that you usually come across when you’re that far out from the city. Once you start riding and thinking like a tourer instead of a racer, it all falls into place and makes complete sense.
You can probably try to lighten the bike because the wheels themselves are already about 4kgs. However, if you are going to replace them with lighter but less robust components what is the point of doing that? The reason why the Four Corners is built this way is because it is meant to serve you like a dependable machine and the way it comes out of the box is exactly that.
The colourway is absolutely artistic but not in a way where it is too loud
The gearing on the Four Corners is definitely set up for medium cadence that’ll probably get you through anything
You can actually mount three bottle cages on the frame
Top Extra brazing at the joints for extra strength. Middle The Schwalbe Marathoners are heavy but bomb proof especially when it comes to puncture protection. Bottom If you want budget friendly stopping power, you can’t go wrong with TRP brakes.