Highs: Sturdy and stable, accessory mounts and gear range for future upgrades, extremely affordable.
Lows: Fairly heavy
Verdict: Value for money starter women’s bike for urban commutes and fitness rides
The Terra Linda is part of Marin’s Fitness line, which are essentially flat-bar bikes with a more comfortable upright riding position. It’s meant to be suitable for weekly fitness rides and longer weekend adventures. Marin have designed the bikes in this line to have the speed of a road bike, making them suitable for meeting your weekly riding goals.
Considering that it takes pavement surfaces pretty well, the Terra Linda is also great for bike commuting to work, or just urban cycling in general. This city pedigree is reflected in the rack and fender mounts in all frames, designed with the commuters in mind. Disc brakes provide good stopping power in all riding conditions, whether you are on the road, bike path, pavement or off paved tarmac.
The Terra Linda comes in 3 different variations, and are basically the women’s version of the Fitness line. All three have similar capabilities and functions, but have different components and finishing kits. The men’s equivalent of the Fitness line is the Fairfax, also flat-bar bikes which come in four different versions and men-specific colours with different specifications.
For the purpose of this review I was handed the Terra Linda 1, which differs slightly from the other two models. More used to riding road and cross bikes myself, the switch to a hybrid of the flat-bar variety was a surprisingly nice change indeed.
Fit For Females
As mentioned above, the Terra Linda 1 is obviously women’s specific, due in part to the geometry alone (besides the colours of course). The top tube is quite slanted rather than running straight across like normal road bikes, at an even more pronounced angle than the Fairfax models. The diagonal top tube allows for easier mounting and dismounting without requiring the cyclist to raise either leg prominently, regardless of whether you are wearing a skirt or pants while riding.
If you compare the three models, the Terra Linda 1 has the most pronounced angle for the top tube compared to models 2 and 3, which share the same frame. The other two models feature a curved top tube instead. As the gender profiling trend goes, there’s the customary pink frame to fulfil the estrogen-induced marketing plan, but thankfully I was spared the fate of testing a cotton candy coloured bike and given the green option instead. It may not be a Bianchi, but the celeste livery was a welcome sight.
The Terra Linda 1 comes to Malaysia in two sizes for petite riders, namely S and XS, for a rider height upwards of 4'11". Both come with a shorter top tube and taller head tube - everything combined resulting in the aforementioned upright geometry. This is in line with what manufacturers have long said: that many women prefer a bit more of an upright fit due to several reasons - shorter reach/lower upper body mass and centre of gravity/different pelvic bones and sitting position. This is definitely reflected in the Terra Linda’s geometry.
Marin has coupled the alloy frame with a steel fork, meaning this bike is quite a hefty one, tipping the scales at more than 12kgs. This makes for a stable and planted ride, especially with the 700Cx35 tyres that soak up the vibrations quite nicely. It’s solid as a rock as they say, with great handling that took corners well and tackles inclines fairly easily despite its weight. The sturdy frame also looks like it could take quite a beating. For the price, it’s a pretty good hybrid bike indeed.
While I remain skeptical that the Terra Linda 1 has the “speed of a road bike” as Marin claims, that doesn’t mean you’d not enjoy the ride. Taking it out for a spin I had quite a lot of fun, remembering what it was like to just ride without worrying about your performance, cadence, average speed, and the like. You get the feeling that if the pavement ended you’d just skip off the curb and keep going, just like you did 10 or 20 years ago riding with your childhood buddies.
Mechanical disc brakes and Shimano Tourney components suggest the bike is really made for the entry level cyclist, which makes sense for this demographic.
The other two Terra Linda models have slightly higher level Shimano components, as well as hydraulic disc brakes instead.
But for what it’s made for, the components will obviously suffice.
You wouldn’t go racing on an entry level hybrid or commuter bike, and in creating this bike Marin knows exactly that, giving you a great option for your first set of wheels.
Frame: Aluminium, step-through design
Fork: CrMo Steel, Straight Blade
Gears: Shimano Tourney, 7-Speed (48/38/28T, 11-34T)
Brakes: Tektro Mechanical Disc Brake
Wheels: Entity Marin Aluminum Double Wall, Machined Sidewall
Finishing Kit: Marin Speed + Commute tyres 700Cx35, Marin Alloy, 30mm Rise handlebars, Marin Alloy Threadless stem, Marin Alloy seatpost, Marin Women's Fitness Plush saddle