Verdict: If you’re looking for something sharp and fast this is not the bicycle for you, but if you want long hours in the saddle enjoying the scenery then by all means it will make you happy.
Highs: Value for money touring machine
Lows: Can’t ride it like a race bike
If you’re looking for a bike in which comfort rather than stiffness is a priority, then look no further because the Marin Four Corners is the bike for you. It’s heavy, it’s robust and can probably take a beating no matter what you throw at it.
The Four Corners is a bike inspired by Marin’s mountain bike glory years, when the company’s rigid mountain bikes were the talk of the town. It’s built like a tank just like the old Marin Pine Mountain and can probably tackle any type of bad roads, as well as handle some off-road fun.
You might wonder why does it have a drop bar, if it is paying homage to Marin’s mountain bike heyday? Well, mountain bikes aren’t good for roads but a bike with mountain bike DNA with road components might just be able to do both. This is the ideology behind the Four Corners, as it is a bike built for an all-around bike aspiration where adventure is the main objective. The bike has also been labelled by Marin as a Utilitour bike which basically says that it has a relaxed geometry and is built for touring.
With generous braze-ons welding and a heads-up bar position it was never built to be the most swift or aerodynamic bike. Instead, the purpose of this bike is to outlive you, and in between take you to places where no cyclists have gone before.
Kitted with a complete Shimano 3x9 Sora setup including a Sora Hollowtech 2 59/39/30 crankset, you can just tell that complete and utter robustness and dependability was Marin’s aim when specing up the bike. Just like the frame, the fork is also made out of CrMo metal.
Manufacturers usually kit up a bike with carbon forks, but Marin didn’t want to do that as it wanted the owners of the Four Corners to have complete and utter faith in its structure, no matter what kind of heavy gear they were hauling. They could have even skimmed on the brakes, but instead Marin decided to include the all dependable Tektro Spyre-C to give great control and stopping power when you need it.
The frame has mounting points everywhere; you could even kit up the bike with three bottle cages if you wanted to. Mounting other things such as front and rear panniers as well as mudguards is also not an issue. The test bike that was given to us was kitted out with 650b rims and 42” wide tyres but with such huge clearances it can probably fit a 2” wide 29er combo as well.
We took the test bike on a recent outing, and although it had its shortcomings it mostly performed admirably. Coming from faster road bikes and even mountain bikes, the initial reaction when riding the Four Corners was a bit of a shock. The climbing was difficult and acceleration was pretty slow.
But a few hours into the ride things started to make more sense. By being patient and using cadence as our friend, you start to notice the beautiful things about the Four Corners. Not at one point of the journey did we feel a sore neck or back.
It is not the fastest bike, but it did cruise along nicely and soaked up all the ruts and old broken tarmac that you usually come across when you’re that far out from the city. Once you start riding and thinking like a tourer instead of a racer, it all falls into place and makes complete sense.
You can probably try to lighten the bike because the wheels themselves are already about 4kgs. However, if you are going to replace them with lighter but less robust components what is the point of doing that? The reason why the Four Corners is built this way is because it is meant to serve you like a dependable machine and the way it comes out of the box is exactly that.
Frame: Utilitour Double Butted CrMo, Size-Specific Wheels (XS, S = 650B, M, L, XL = 700C), New Biometric Geometry, Fender and Rack Mounts, Disc Mount
Fork: CrMo, Fender, Rack, and Bottle Cage Eyelets, IS Disc Mount
Rims: Marin Aluminum, Double Wall, Disc Specific
Tyres: WTB Resolute, 650B/700Cx42, Puncture Protection
Groupset: Shimano Sora 3x9
Crankset: Shimano Sora Hollowtech II, 50/39/30T
Chain: KMC X9
Cassette: Shimano HG300 9-Speed, 11-34T
Brakes: Tektro Spyre-C Road Mechanical Disc, 160mm Rotor
Brake levers: Shimano w/ Integrated Shifters
Finishing Kit: Marin Butted Alloy, Compact 12º Flared Drop Bar, Marin 3D Forged Alloy Stem, Marin Alloy seatpost, WTB Volt Sport 142 Custom saddle,