Cyclists in Malaysia have evolved so much in the last 5 years and the days where you see many hardtails being ridden on the road instead of cross country is rarely seen. Most have gone and purchased a road bike instead and making that mistake of purchasing a hardtail and turning it into a road machine is nearly non-existent.
Saying that however, there can be a lot of fun riding a hardtail on tarmac, it’s just that previously people were buying off road spec’d hardtails for the road. These days you can just buy hardtail bikes for the road with road based gearing, lighter components and rigid forks.
One of the brands that excels in doing this is Marin and if you are looking for that road based bicycle with that relaxed and fun feel going for it you should look at Marin’s urban bike line up. One bike in particular that you can have a look at is the Marin Fairfax 3. For RM 2,399 the bike is considered to have much value for its price, especially when you are getting Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Microshift R9 shifters and front derailleur as well as a Shimano Sora rear derailleur.
It might not sound like the fanciest assembly of groupsets, but it all works efficiently and probably is more than enough for most. The R9 shifters need to get more respect because they are crisp and ‘clicky’ and when we were riding the bike it never skipped a beat. The Tektro hydraulic brakes were also efficient at controlling and stopping the bike. We even tried the brakes with a heavier person on the bike, and there was more than enough stopping power to put the bike to a halt. The reason why they included a Sora rear derailleur is that this is where most of the gear changes will happen. For that, they went with Japanese robustness and reliability and it just shows Marin’s expertise in equipping the bike with better components where it matters.
Riding an expensive, fast and light road bike most of time did make us nit-pick a little bit about its downsides. It is slow to get up to speed probably because of the Vee tyres and heavy Marin wheels that it was equipped with. Slap on some better wheels and tyres and it might just accelerate faster with the input of less effort. But once up to speed it rides smooth and maintains that momentum comfortably. To be honest that was the only downside we found because the rest was impressive coming of a sub RM2.5k bicycle. The 9 speed 48x32 up front and 11-34 rear gearing is fast enough for flats and light enough for most climbs. The frame absorbs road imperfections well due to the full carbon fork that it is equipped with.
For the type of riders that Marin is aiming for with the Fairfax 3, the equipment is more than enough, value for money we say. We also love the paintwork and schemes on Marin bikes and this Fairfax 3 also comes with that great paint job. With that being said it is a no brainer to get this bike if you are a commuter or weekend casual rider. It has all the right things going for it especially when it comes to the price.