Electric Bike Action Bike Test: Marin Pine Mountain E1 Trail Bike

MARIN PINE MOUNTAIN E1 HARDTAIL

Photo: Pat Carrigan

 

Like just about every other bike brand of note, longtime California mountain bike brand Marin Bicycles has jumped into the e-bike game with a three-bike line intended to suit a variety of riders’ needs. While the Nail Trail is a more hardcore mountain bike and the Dual Sport is their city/commuter entry, the Pine Mountain E has its unique take on an e-MTB offering.

Marin offers two versions of the pedal-assist Pine Mountain: the $3359.99 E1 and the $4199.99 E2 (with higher-end spec).

THE BIKE

The chromoly hardtail has a classy tan paint job and rolls on 27.5-inch tubeless-ready wheels with tan-wall 2.8 Vee tires for max traction. The matching frame/sidewall color was an attractive point of interest. Upfront you’ll find a 120mm-travel SR Suntour Raidon fork. Marin spec’d Shimano MT420 brake calipers and MT400 levers to provide plenty of efficient stopping power.

Most of the components are of the generic house-brand variety with the 780mm-wide moto-style handlebar, with the crossbar being an attention-getter.

THE PARTS

The Pine Mountain relies on a Shimano STEPS E7000 motor with a 418-watt external frame-mounted battery. The 1×10 drivetrain uses a 38t chainring mated to an 11-46 cassette. The derailleur is a Shimano Deore Shadow with a Deore shifter. Considering the components the Marin has especially with the motor and battery, you’re dealing with a very reputable brand in Shimano. Getting service or warranty work will be no problem.

The Shimano hydraulic discs with 180mm rotors were plenty powerful enough to halt us from disaster when needed.

 

One notable spec item to note on the Marin that in addition to multiple water-bottle cage mounts, there are also mounts for a front triangle bag, which is a great decision considering the adventure appeal of the bike. Marin also put mounts for a rack in the rear, which is another awesome consideration for adventure.

The fork may not be top spec, but we found it great for even the technical trails we hit.

THE MOTOR

The E7000 motor from Shimano is considered the more entry version of the STEPS e8000. Even experience with the e8000 and other make and model drive units did not turn us off to the E7000. It has plenty of snap in Boost mode and still very intuitive to pedal pressure in all three power modes. The 418-Wh battery is plenty for all-day adventure as long as you pay attention to route mileage, elevation gain and conditions of the dirt. Of course, what power mode you’re in and how much effort you give is always a good thing to keep in mind.

The Shimano E7000 spec is lower than the E8000, but there’s not that much difference in overall power. The E7000 is ever-so-slightly harder to hold 20 mph on.

 

While there are plenty of new bikes using the internal battery, the Marin’s externally mounted style can actually come in handy for taking it off to bring inside to charge or loading
up the bike in the back of your vehicle.

The Pine Mountain E1 has great graphics. We like the color. The 418-Wh battery is mounted atop the downtube, and notice all the bosses around the inside of the front triangle? It’s not only for mounting water bottles, but also an accessory frame bag.

 

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

The fact that it’s a hardtail might not make it a comfortable-enough choice for people, but it remains a solid adventure-ready bike with few limitations. We feel it would fit everyone—from the all-day exploration enthusiast to anyone who just wants to go out on a quick, fun ride with their friends. There’s no reason it can’t be a secret weapon for someone in training, as you can turn it off to make things tough or take an easy recovery day in Boost mode.

The range is 11-42t in the back. For most people, this is plenty, but one of our test riders thought the low end wasn’t low enough for the steep, technical climbs he took it up.

THE RIDE

The first place we headed was our local testing climb spot with a slightly inclined start, gradually getting steeper towards the top. We rode with the motor off, which actually felt virtually seamless as the STEPS motor has no drag when the motor is off. On some of the sections we could have used another gear or two to make it without the power, but kicking it into Eco mode took care of that. Having wider 2.8-inch tires really was a benefit, as it gave more traction on even the steepest “challenge” climbs. For most of the rides we did, we ran about 20 pounds of air pressure in the tires.

A crossbar on a mountain bike handlebar is unusual, to say the least. It adds another good style point on the bike, and keeps them stiffer than a normal bar.

 

When switching from Eco to Trail to Boost, the increments between the power modes are very even with the stock settings. At some point we put it in Boost and headed back up the hill, and it became apparent that shifting was crucial to gain more speed due the cadence sensitivity. We chose a technical climb to find that the torque of the STEPS E7000 will go up just about anything you have the skill to maneuver up.

Aggressive knobs dug in and kept the bike controllable, even on soft, loose dirt.

 

Going back down the hill was a blast, especially on the smoother parts of the singletrack that had lots of twist and turns. Of course, being a hardtail, the Pine Mountain does require you to pay extra attention about your wheel path and to hang on for the bumpier sections. The 2.8-inch-width tires were a good choice, especially when it came to tighter corners throughout the descents. Whether just going slow and cruising through the singletrack or picking through tight, rocky sections, the bike handled really well.

Photo: Pat Carrigan

 

THE VERDICT

At first glance, the Marin may seem priced a bit high, but considering all the features and a price of $3369.99, it’s definitely one to think about. One of the things that really set this bike apart from so many other e-mountain bikes is the water bottle cages and mounts for racks and extra supply bags. When it comes to bikepacking and adventure, Marin really put together a good bang-for-your-buck-quality bike. If you’re thinking of buying a Pine Mountain E, make sure to really consider the right size so that the reach is within a comfortable range.

SPECS

MARIN PINE MOUNTAIN E1

Price: $3359.99

Motor: Shimano STEPS E7000

Battery: Shimano E8010, 418Wh

Controller: Shimano display w/ left-side thumb switch

Top speed: 20mph

Range: 20–45 miles

Drive: Shimano Deore Shadow Plus SGS Sunrace 10-speed cassette, 11-46T

Brakes: Shimano MT420, 4-piston, hydraulic disc, 180mm rotor

Wheels: 27.5 Marin aluminum double-wall, 38mm inner, tubeless-compatible

Fork: SR Suntour Raidon Boost, 120mm travel

Frame: Double-butted heat-treated chromoly

Weight: 47 pounds

Sizes: S, M, L, XL

Contact: www.marinbikes.com


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