Marin Hawk Hill Review: A trail bike that's actually affordable
The Hawk Hill doesn’t look like a $1500 bike.
What is it
The Marin Hawk Hill is a full suspension trail bike that delivers a premium experience at a budget price. At its heart is a nimble aluminum frame with 120mm of rear travel, a 130mm up front, and 27.5 wheels.
The Hawk Hill comes with a modern cockpit, wheels, and great tires.
What sets this bike apart is the attention to detail. In the sub $2000 market, most competitors spec narrow bars, crappy tires, and too many chainrings. Marin went a different route, outfitting the Hawk Hill the same way a savvy mountain biker would. That means a short stem/wide bar, 1x drivetrain, meaty tires, and wide rims.
Marin’s higher end full suspension models use a flex stay. To help keep costs down, the Hawk Hill has a rear pivot near the axle. They call this linkage design MultiTrack.
Originally available at just one price point, Marin has recently expanded the Hawk Hill family. There are now three different builds. The base model, tested here, retails for $1500. The new Hawk Hill 2 and 3 utilize the same frame, but with higher end componentry. Those models retail for $1950 and $2650 respectively.
Marin also offers the Hawk Hill in a plus sized version. This bike, the B-17, is available at the same three price points. For kids, Marin just launched the Hawk Hill Jr. This gem ships with 24” wheels, but can be upgraded to 26er.
- Bike costs less than some aluminum frames
- Playful handling
- For the money, there’s nothing to complain about.
The Hawk Hill is the mountain bike you’d build for your best friend. It’s humble, but it has all the right pieces. That’s incredible considering it retails for $1500. You see, it’s easy to build a high end bike. When money’s no object, you spec the best.
One way Marin shaved costs is by using Shimano’s entry level brakes. These don’t have the same bite as more expensive models, but the longer levers (and 180mm rotors) provide good leverage.
When you’re trying to hit a budget, things get interesting. Brands often struggle to perfect this recipe. They’ll often take shortcuts like spec’ing too many chainrings, crappy tires, or tiny little bars. The closer you look at the details, the more apparent the cost cutting. Marin’s Hawk Hill takes an altogether different approach. The closer you look, the more impressed you become.
Read the full review here