The Marin Wolf Ridge 8 is the first bike up in our twelve bike 29er enduro bike test – the Dirty Dozen. we give Opinions after testing from three riders with different riding styles. Another bike to follow next week, the results come at the end. Stay tuned.
Words: Steve Jones, Sean White, Ieuan Williams Images: Steve Jones, Jane Bentley
INTRO – THE 2018 MARIN WOLF RIDGE 8
It’s six months since Marin introduced the all-new Wolf Ridge range. A 160mm travel travel bike, rolling on 29” wheels using the Naild R3ACT 2-Play suspension design which is also seen on Polygon’s new 27.5” wheel Square One enduro bike. Marin’s desire to design ‘one bike to do it all’ has led them to list this bike as ‘Unclassified’ when talking about this new bike’s intended use in their 2018 catalogue. All-mountain, enduro and cross-country trail riding – Marin feel that the Wolf Ridge is capable of excelling in all these areas. With the R3ACT suspension needing no lockout switch and talk of ‘unparalleled climbing ability’ on bike of this type, will the Wolf Ridge also be match for our established benchmark bikes in this sector when heading downhill? The Trek Slash, Specialized Enduro 29 and Starling Murmur are three of our favourite 29” wheel bikes and incredibly capable descenders and set a high standard.
With a full carbon frame (and no aluminium option) there is a very modern ‘industrial design’ look to this bike. It certainly sparks opinion and creates interest. The Wolf Ridge isn’t a bike that’s been rushed in the design process though; Marin say that it has spent five years developing this bike, working closely with the team at Naild. Their timing seems spot on and the three-bike model range has been launched at a time when 29” wheel bikes are really coming of age. Wheels, tyres and geometry are now very well dialled on these big wheelers and we now have 29″ and 27.5″ options on short, mid and long travel bikes.
As a frame that is a fresh design and carrying no baggage from older suspension systems, the sizing and geometry of the Wolf Ridge is up to date. It’s not extreme in any way though and will be a good fit for many riders although some will now have a taste for longer bikes. Our test bike is a size large and has a reach of 462mm, a 465mm seat tube length, 435mm chainstays and a bottom bracket height of 336mm (with a 37mm drop). The head angle is 66.5°, the (virtual) seat tube angle is 73.5° and the wheelbase on this size measures 1206mm. There are four sizes available, all designed and spec’d with a short 35mm or 45mm length stem and a wide 780mm handlebar. The weight is just shy of the 13.5 Kg (30 pounds) mark.
The Wolf Ridge 8 we have on test is the cheapest of the three models. It has more basic fork and shocks than many bikes in this test and uses a fixed travel 160mm RockShox Lyrik RC with a 51mm offset. The rear shock is RS Monarch R DebonAir unit. Full spec is listed below.
FRAME: Full UD carbon, 160mm travel, 148mm Boost spacing
FORK: RockShox Lyrik RC, 160mm travel, 51mm offset, Boost
REAR SHOCK: RockShox Monarch R DebonAir 200x57mm
TRANSMISSION: SRAM GX Eagle 1×12
CRANKSET: SRAM Descendant 6K, aluminium, 34T
BRAKES: Shimano M8000 XT, 180mm rotors F/R.
WHEELSET: Formula hubs, Stan’s Flow Mk3 rims, 32 hole.
TYRES: WTB Vigilante 2.3″ (F), Breakout 2.3″ (R) Light/Fast compound
HANDLEBAR: Marin Mini-Riser aluminium, 780mm, 25mm rise
STEM: Marin 3D forged aluminium, 45mm
SADDLE: WTB Volt Race
SEATPOST: KS LEV SIO, 150mm stroke (120mm on size S)