Marin Alpine Trail E First Ride Review – A Rowdy eMTB made for fun
The all-new 2021 Marin Alpine Trail E is the Californian brand’s first foray into the world of eMTBs. This new e-mountainbike boasts 160/150 mm travel and is powered by Shimano’s EP8 motor. Designed with fun in mind, the Alpine Trail E should deliver exceptional riding characteristics and leave a massive grin plastered across your face. Does Marin’s first eMTB perform? Find out here!
Californian brand Marin is all about the good times – all their bikes are designed around the company’s ‘Made for Fun’ slogan. With the 2021 Alpine Trail E, Marin are aiming to enter the eMTB sector with a bang! We spent a day testing the brand-new Alpine Trail E2 on our steep and rough home trails in the Tweed Valley, Scotland, to find out if the new eMTB can perform!
Marin Alpine Trail E | Shimano EP8/630 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r) (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
The Marin Alpine Trail E in detail
The Marin Alpine Trail E is the electrified version of the popular Alpine Trail enduro platform. That means the Alpine Trail E gets 160 mm travel up front, and 150 mm at the rear, like its analogue stablemate. Things start to differ at the wheel size – instead of a regular 29” setup, the Alpine Trail E gets a mixed wheel size with 29” up front and 27.5” in the back. The aluminium Marin Alpine Trail E is available in two builds: the € 4,899 E1 build and the € 6,199 E2 model tested here, each available in four sizes (S-XL). Both models rely on Shimano motors, with the entry-level E1 model running a Shimano STEPS E7000 motor and 504 Wh battery and the flagship E2 model boasting Shimano’s latest EP8 motor and 630 Wh battery, benefitting from the lighter, smaller and more powerful motor as well as increased battery capacity. Unfortunately, we forgot our scales on the test day, so we have no weight for the bike. Shit happens!
Both the E1 and E2 Alpine Trail models are powered by Shimano motors (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
Both models get a 160 mm travel fork and boast 150 mm out back, controlled by a coil shock. (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
Fun and eMTBs… Two things that go hand-in-hand! (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
The silhouette of the Alpine Trail E bears a very strong resemblance to its analogue stablemate (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
Marin’s ‘Made for Fun’ Concept
Marin are proud of their ‘Made for Fun’ design – a concept based around the intentions, spec and geometry of each of their bikes, which they claim allows them to eek as much riding fun as possible out of each model. While Marin claim the Alpine Trail E range is built to go up as well as down, the emphasis here is definitely on the descents – something made obvious by the coil shock and 203 mm brake rotors specced across the board. The Marin’s low-slung seat tube, roomy front centre and stubby chainstays shout at you to ride it hard and a glance into the geometry table confirms its intentions, but more on that later!
Marin claim their ‘Made for Fun’ concept envelopes the bike as a whole, including specs and geometry
It’s hard to have fun if your bike sounds like a bag of loose change! While the Marin’s rubber chainstay protector isn’t the longest we’ve seen, it does do a good job of keeping chain slap at bay. (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
There’s space for a bottle cage too, although a side-loading cage is recommended. The full-size mudguard is not standard spec, however, the E2 model will come with an integrated FOX fender.
Cable routing is solved quite elegantly, with rubber guides at the head tube entry-points. The rest of the routing is neat but lacks the rubber guides – we never heard any cables rattling, though. (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
The spec of the new Alpine Trail E
The Alpine Trail E range is clearly specced for fun on the descents – both models feature a coil shock and 203 mm brake rotors front and back! The E2 model we tested relies on FOX Performance Elite suspension, bringing flagship performance at a lower price. The new FOX 38 fork is already a proven contender and the 2021 DHX2 coil shock offers plenty of adjustment as well as a climb switch. Shimano take care of the braking and transmission with their SLX 4-pot stoppers and XT/SLX 12-speed groupset. Deity supply the short and wide cockpit and the aluminium Marin wheelset is laced with MAXXIS EXO+ rubber, with a 29×2.5” Assegai at the front and a 27.5×2.8” Minion DHRII at the rear. Given the potential and purpose of the bike, we’d love to see a more puncture resistant tire in the back.
The FOX 38 Performance Elite is an amazing choice and perfectly suits the Alpine Trail E, blending top performance with a more affordable price tag. (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
The fork has the same great performance of FOX’s flagship Factory line at a lower price. The new 38 features an updated GRIP2 damper and low and high-speed compression and rebound adjustment. Do not fear – the setup guide makes it easy to dial in!
The DHX2 Performance Elite coil shock is a great performer and features a climb switch – though we never felt the need to use it.
Both the Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes (with 203 mm rotors) and the Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain offer great performance at a fair price. (Photo source: https://ebike-mtb.com)
While the overall spec is great, the 150 mm dropper post on the size Large is just too short! With such a low, straight seat tube a 170 mm or 200 mm dropper would have been much more appropriate!
Read the full review here.