2017 Marin Attack Trail Pro
Size Tested: Medium
Drivetrain: Sram Eagle
Brakes: Sram Guide RS
Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT3
Rear Shock: Rockshox Monarch Plus Debonair
Travel: 150 mm rear / 160 mm front
Blister’s Measured Weight: 27.8 lbs (12.6 kg) without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada
I rode the Marin Attack Trail at Interbike’s outdoor demo, which is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. While people like to shun Vegas, the Bootleg trails are a little oasis of awesomeness in a land that’s otherwise dominated by neon excess. Bootleg has a mix of fast, sandy flow, and rocky cheese grater gnarliness that’s plenty technical. If you haven’t been, Bootleg is a worthy stop on any southwestern road trip.
Normally, Blister tries to get as much time on a bike as we realistically can so that we have time to play around with setup, get comfortable with the fit, and hopefully reveal any durability issues that might arise. But for obvious reasons, spending an hour or so on a bike at Interbike’s outdoor demo doesn’t give us the time to give the bike our usual treatment.
That said, there’s a lot of value in riding a bunch of different bikes, back to back on the same trails. Traits that might not be obvious when the bikes are ridden weeks or months apart become evident.
We try our best to get the bikes set up like we’d set up our own personal bikes, so that means dialing in the cockpit and suspension as best as possible, and we’ll often fuss with air pressure and other settings mid-ride to try to address any perceived issues. But given the short time on the bike, there’s only so much we can do, and we also take the component spec as we get it – sometimes the bars are too narrow, the seat too wide, or the tires too… crappy.
The “too long, didn’t read” version of this caveat is simply this: back to back comparisons on great trails are useful, but don’t take this as the final word on these bikes, especially when it comes to maintenance and durability issues.
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Marin Attack Trail.
It’d been a few years since I’d had a chance to ride a Marin, and in that time, Marin completely redesigned their lineup. The Attack Trail is the longest travel bike that Marin currently makes, and the Pro is the top end build (the “8” and “7” builds are significantly less expensive).
The Pro features a carbon front and rear triangle, while the lower end models step down to aluminum. All of the Attack Trails run on Marin’s “Quad-Link 3” suspension, which bears some basic similarities with DW link bikes in that it uses two links that rotate roughly parallel to each other.
The Attack Trail Pro comes with high end parts, while the lower end models make some concessions to keep the prices more reasonable. The big news on the Pro build is that it’s running Sram’s Eagle drivetrain; 12 speeds and a massive 50 tooth cog out back means you get a huge gear range and an easier climbing gear. As expected, the Eagle kit worked flawlessly on my short test. And for Eagle equipped bikes, the Attack Trail Pro is pretty reasonably priced, which is always nice.
Suspension duties are handled by Rockshox front and rear. The 160 mm Pike RCT3 is always a strong option out front, although it doesn’t have the downhill chops of the Fox 36 or Rockshox Lyrik. It does weigh a good bit less though.
The Monarch Plus Debonair in the back also works great, and on other bikes I’ve ridden, that shock has held up well to multiple seasons of hard use. No complaints there.
The Attack Trail Pro is rolling on the new Stan’s MRK3 Pro wheelset, which uses Stan’s hubs laced to their newly redesigned rim. My short ride wasn’t enough to come to any real conclusions, but Stan’s shaved some weight off their rims, and they still seemed to be decently stiff. Only time will tell how they hold up though.
WTB tires (Vigilante front, Breakout rear) work fairly well on a bike like this, but they don’t quite have the maximum traction of something like a Maxxis DHF / DHRII combo. The WTB tires roll a bit faster though.
A KS Lev Integra post takes care of dropping duties nicely, and the WTB Volt saddle will work for a pretty wide range of people. Rounding out the cockpit are Deity carbon bars and a Gamut stem.
Fit and Geometry
In the past, Marins have suffered from somewhat dated geometry, but that’s mostly taken care of with the Attack Trail. With a 412.5 mm reach, the Medium I rode is definitely still on the short end of things, but it’s not the shortest in this class. At 5’9”, personally I’d probably size up to a size Large to gain a bit more length in the cockpit. The longer bike would be a bit more stable at speed at the cost of some maneuverability in slower situations.
The Attack Trail sports a 66.5° head angle, which is on the steep end for an “enduro” bike these days. As with the shorter reach numbers, that makes the bike a bit easier at slower speeds and in tighter spots, but it definitely gives up some ground when it comes to high speed smashing.
One thing that I found somewhat annoying is that the Attack Trail has a pretty slack seat tube angle. With the seat up at a proper pedaling height for climbs, I found myself perched pretty far back on the bike. Despite the Attack Trail’s longer-than-average chainstays, this made the bike a bit of a handful on climbs. The shorter front end and steeper head tube angle should make the Attack Trail a better climber than other bikes in this class, but the slack seat tube angle kind of ruined that (rendering it, at best, average).
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line