Verdict: Buy If you want a really nice touring bike that is not as heavy as a forklift
Highs: Upgraded at the correct places to make it a better bike
Lows: Still relatively heavy
If you feel that the Marin Four Corners sounds a bit sluggish and that you want a bicycle that can go faster but still have that bombproof build, than the Nicasio 2 might just be the bike for you. Designed to take you beyond the predictable asphalt road and onto dirt paths that can lead you to beautiful and hidden gem locations, the Nicasio 2 with its series 2 CrMo tubing and carbon fork can probably take you there faster than the Four Corners. Think of it as the more adventurous sibling of the two.
To give the Nicasio a faster and snappier ride, Marin decided to make the bicycle out of their Series 2 CrMo tubings. To make it stiffer, they equipped the frame with a carbon fork and thru axle to give it rigidity for better power transfer and predictable handling. This gives the bike a one of a kind ride characteristic. When paired with the ever reliable Shimano Tiagra groupset, it should provide you with an endless amount of fun for those many hours in the saddle exploring beyond what is within your immediate line of sight.
The test bike that we received was put through its paces during our recent Marin excursion to Kuala Kubu Bharu, which was undoubtedly great fun. The ride featured a lot of adventure including mixing bike rides and trains, traversing through a bit of jungle terrain, at least one river crossing and more.
What did we notice about the bike whilst going through all this? The first thing we noticed was how great the geometry is. The Nicasio 2 is very well suited for long distance endurance rides. It’s laidback and we could have probably ridden the bike all day at a consistent pace rather than riding fast.
The Schwalbe tyres that came with the bike were great too. We went through several different sectors of gravel and we felt like we had real control of the bike. The Schwalbe G-One is meant for comfort on all terrains and it performed just like how it describes on the box. At the same time, the main standout feature of the bike were the hydraulic brakes themselves. They had good modulation which gave predictable control despite having very strong stopping power - which is great as you will never feel like you will go over the handlebars.
Apart from that we also loved the amount of bosses that are available on the Nicasio 2, which also makes the bike a great machine for tourers. Of course with all the stuff attached, it did weight the bike down, but if you’re not in a hurry and can control your pace, you can pretty much ride over anything. Looks-wise it’s very pleasing too, with an unassuming but great satin finish that means you can also look stylish whilst riding the bike all day long.
In terms of maneuvering, the Nicasio 2 will never throw any surprises at you. The bike handles well in all scenarios, everything was predictable as we expected. Where we had the most fun were the gravel sections, as the bike was so stable and planted. Surprisingly, the bike climbed well too despite its weight; we didn’t feel that it was really difficult. We suppose this is due to the fact that the design and geometry of the bike were both just very well thought, and it also comes with the right gearing for all sorts of rides.
We were also told by Marin Bikes Malaysia that the Nicasio 2 is also the only real gravel bike out of all the models in the Marin line. If you ever wanted to go for some fast off-road gravel racing this bike can easily be transformed into that. What else do you want? It’s really like having two bikes for the price of one.
Frame: Series 2 CrMo, Beyond Road Geometry, Thru- Axle, Disc Brake, Integrated Headset, Fender and Rack Mounts
Fork: Marin Full Carbon w/ Taper Steerer, 12mm Thru-Axle, Flat-Mount Disc, Fender Eyelets
Rims: Marin Aluminum Double Wall, 19mm Inner, Disc Specific, 14g Black Stainless Steel
TYRES: Schwalbe G-ONE
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra
Crankset: FSA Omega MegaExo, 50/34T
Chain: KMC X10
Cassette: Shimano 10-Speed, 11-34T
Brakeset: Shimano BR-RS405 Hydraulic w/ Integrated Shifters
Finishing kit: Marin Butted Alloy, Compact 12º Flared Drop, STEM Marin 3D Forged Alloy, GRIPS Marin Comfort Tape, SEATPOST Marin Alloy, SADDLE Marin Beyond Road Concept, EXTRAS Bolt-on Thru-Axles F&R