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Circus bikes in the Surrey hills

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 19/04/2012 09:00am

Whatever you know them as – wagon wheels; circus bikes; monster trucks or hoola hoops- the simple fact is they’re here to stay and are another way of shredding a trail as fast as you dare.

And Marin are right there with their Rift Zone 29er, which we had a great laugh riding recently…

Getting out the office and riding different bikes and terrain is part of the job we all love here at MBUK.

Recently, myself and Justin from our sister magazine, What Mountain Bike took a trip down to the Surrey hills near Guildford to have a rip on a few bikes, including the Mount Vision, and the Rift Zone 29er- which I spent most my time on.

Spot the lonely 26...

For the first time, Marin are now starting to make some XL frames- something I’ve been grumbling the lack of for a fair old while now, being a taller tester.

Thankfully designer Ian Alexander obliged and here we are…

The Rift Zone I rode measures up with a 24.5in top tube- measured horizontally; a 13.25in bottom bracket height; 70.1deg head angle and a 31.5lb weight, ready to ride with pedals on.

With 100mm of travel I did expect the bike to be lighter, but once pedalling up the short climbs around Peaslake, it felt quite nimble and blatted along well. Which was partly due to the lightweight Continental X-King tyres and Sun Ringle Black Flag wheelset.

Not a bad looking whip eh?

I ran the bike with a third travel as sag- wanting to really work the travel, and found it stuck to the ground and felt really good. We hit a few trails with jumps and berms on, and the Rift Zone took the hits well- feeling balanced and neutral whatever position I ended up being in, including a good old nose dive to flat entering a blind bomb hole.

Out the saddle, I could notice flex around the BB- nothing outrageous though, and it actually felt quite good at times, helping to weave the bike through the terrain. It would be nice to drop a couple of pounds off it though, to really see it let loose.

Once I’d got used to throwing it round on the trails around Peaslake and Pitch Hill I found the bike to be really stable and planted- no doubt amplified by the sturdier weight. A whippet would have been skipping around down here.

I also spent some time riding the Mount Vision, which did feel like a toy after rolling on bigger wheels- but I still had a blast riding it through some of the steeper hills.

This turn is tighter than it looks!

Justin always wanted a moustache

Tom Grundy was on site filming some cool stuff, so I look forward to seeing what he captured- one shot that will look cool was a section of trail next to a road that I could hit pretty fast, and he was hanging out the side of a van filming.

Keep an eye out on the MBUK Facebook account for the video soon!

a still of Doddy from Tom Grundy's forthcoming Marin video...

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