Built like a tank and goes like one too

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - TEST RIDE -

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.

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