FIRST RIDE: MARIN PINE MOUNTAIN E
Who says hardtails can’t have character?
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 rider 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 Pine Mountain; the $3359.99 E1 and the $4199.99 E2 (with higher-end spec).
A chromoly hardtail has a classy tan paint job and rolls on 27.5” tubeless ready wheels with tan wall 2.8 vee tires for max traction. The matching frame/sidewall color was an attractive point of interest. Up front you’ll find a 120mm travel Suntour Raidon fork. Marin spec’d Shimano MT420 brake calipers and MT400 levers to provide plenty efficient stopping power.
Most of the components are of the generic house-brand variety with the 780mm wide moto-style handlebar with crossbar being an attention getter.
The Pine Mountain relies on a Shimano Steps e7000 motor with a 418watt 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.
One notable spec item to note is that the Marin 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 first ride was a long fire road with a slight incline to start, gradually getting steeper towards the top. We rode with the motor off which actually felt virtually seamless. 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. The 2.8 width tires were a good choice especially when it came to the descent and cornering. 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.
One thing to mention about the STePS drive system is that there is no drag when pedaling off. 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. Going back down the hill was a blast especially on the smoother parts of the single track that had lots of twist and turns. Of course, being a hardtail, the Pine mountain does require you to pay attention and hang on for the bumpier sections.