Marin Nail trail 7 29er 2017
A little while ago I was lucky enough to get a test ride on the 29er version of the Marin Nail Trail 7. This is the top end model of Marin’s “Hard-core” hardtails. It’s designed as a trail bike which climbs and descends without compromising too much in any particular area. So how did it perform?
At £16oo it’s not badly specced. Nothing too flash but that means what is on there is all reliable and functionable gear. The frame is Marins series 3 6061 spec aluminum with internal routing for a dropper. This meant it was light, agile but not too stiff. With this one however the tyres had been swapped for something more appropriate. It didn’t feel as long as I thought it might and proved to be pretty agile even on the tighter stuff. This might not surprise you as bike companies have managed to get bikes pretty dialled now. It does like to get a bit of a shift on and once it is up to speed it’ll either stay there or want to go a bit faster. It’s very agile and if I had more time on it i would of been interested in seeing what it can cope with. climbing it makes a big job more manageable and given the hills here might not be huge they are a bit on the steep side at times.
The Nail Trail looks pretty good too and the pictures in the catalogue don’t do it enough justice. It is in the longer, lower slacker camp but not so much it wallows about. Like I said it does shift and in order to deal with faster speeds it needs something up front to sort things out.
Fortunately that’s not a problem as hits on the front are taken care of thanks to Rock Shox’s rather good 120mm Yari RC forks. These were a pleasant surprise as to start with I thought they maybe a bit soft. However once out on the trail this was not the case. they dealt with small bumps rather But this being Exmoor it has some harsh conditions too. Once again the Yari didn’t let me down. they handled bigger rocks and a few drops with ease and only on the big stuff did they get close to using all their travel.
Of course once you are up to speed you’ll need to slow at some point and this duty was left gto Shimano Deore hydraulic disks. around here I would probably up the rotors a size, not that the 180 front and 160 rear were short of power. marin have managed to sneak the rear brake inside the rear triangle which did help to keep it all nice and neat. The Deore’s feel pretty good too.
The Trans X dropper post was simple to use. The neat cable operated switch felt spot on and had a pretty light feel to it. It all looks pretty good too.
Of course you have to have a good drive unit too and once again Shimano is specced with Slx 11 speed mech, Sun race’s 11-42 cassette on the back and Marin’s own brand cranks with a 32t narrow/wide chainring up front. The Slx 11 shifter was light action but not so much you shifted too many gears at once. Kmc took care of the drive duties without any fuss even when it got a bit messy. it took a bit of getting use to have 11 speed but it faired pretty well around here and once again the shifts were pretty faultless.
Wheel duties are a Formula and Marin’s own brand set up which were a little flexi if you pushed them hard. They would need a bit of TLC if you did ride rough stuff. but they aren’t heavy and span well. I would however want to up them to something a bit tougher for around here.
All in all in the brief time I had on the Marin Nail Trail 7 it was rather good fun and we certainly knocked out a good few miles in a variety of conditions. It left a smile on my face and was just plain fun. No Fuss no drama just a damned fine trail machine. Yes there are a few things I myself would change but for the most part it’s a great bike.
Cheers to Dan for sorting the beastie out.