The Marin Nicasio RC Is So Stylish It Hurts
How do you know if the fast, so-stylish-it-hurts Marin Nicasio RC is the kind of bike that matches your lifestyle? Simple. You fit at least one of these descriptions.
You want to commute to the office—but not on skinny rubber and certainly not with a drop bar in your hands. You fancy yourself a wanderer who often chooses the dirt path over the paved route. You’re a college student on a budget who desires the luxury of a reliable bike to zip between classes without the hassle of having to regularly maintain it. You are a social butterfly who needs a stylish, two-wheeled vehicle to meet up with friends on a whim. Your mudroom currently has a vacancy for something that’s as exciting to look at as it is to ride.
With 47mm-wide tires, eight maintenance-free internal gears, and a swept-back city handlebar, the Nicasio RC is equally at home on hilly urban streets as it is on gravel paths. Fenders and disc brakes make it rainy-day ready. And if you plan to go long, two sets of bottle bosses and mounts for both front and rear racks let you equip your new Marin with everything you need for all-day adventures.
THE OTHER NICASIO
Take the Nicasio RC and remove the fenders, replace the swept-back city bar with a drop bar, switch out the hydraulic disc brakes with mechanical ones, and put 700x30mm tires on it. Now, give it a satin dark blue paint job, Shimano Claris drivetrain, 50/34t compact chainring, and 11-32t cassette, and you have the other Nicasio (the one without RC in its name). But take note: Like the RC model, the Nicasio has the clearance to accept 650x47mm road plus tires, and includes all the same mounts for fenders, racks, and bottle cages. It’s also $120 less.
A Shimano Nexus 8-speed internally geared hub that you control with a MicroShift thumb shifter provides the range you need for moderately hilly commutes and flat routes. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors provide good stopping power.
In addition to mounts galore and the 650x47mm road plus tires, the Nicasio RC is equipped with sliding dropouts, which allow you to easily convert the bike to a fixed gear or singlespeed.
PLUMP TIRES CAN UP YOUR ADVENTURES
The double-butted, chromoly steel–frame Marin Nicasio RC has a lot going for it, including low-maintenance internal gearing and the necessary mounts to outfit it with front and rear racks, but the one thing that really pushes this bike into multiuse territory is its ability to forgo the easy route for the more exciting one. The smooth-rolling, high-volume, 650x47mm WTB Horizon Road Plus tires are slick down the center, with a herringbone outer tread. The Nicasio RC also accepts 700x40mm tires.
Before I even knew what the Nicasio RC was capable of, I was drawn to it for its aesthetics—that sparkly metallic blue paint, the matching fenders with rubber mudflaps, those retro gumwall tires! An uncomplicated, sturdy, steel frame with a dropped seat stay, skinny tubes, and fat tires. Jaw-dropping!
I took the Nicasio RC on road, gravel, and dirt, over an open-grate bridge, down a grassy hill, and up a long, gradual climb. In every instance, the 47mm-wide tires provided a smooth-rolling ride at a steady pace. The swept-back handlebar put me in a comfortable, slightly upright position ideal for casual rolls through town. Yet it was still aggressive enough that I could muscle the bike into turns and up hills. For most situations, the 8-speed drivetrain sufficed, though on one particularly steep climb, I had to sweat pretty hard to reach the top.
As enjoyable as the bike is to ride, I did experience a few minor or easy to fix issues—more on the order of wearing brown shoes with a black belt, noticeable but not catastrophic. The MircoShift 8-speed thumb shifter felt a bit unnatural in my hand—the more I clicked through gears, though, the less I paid any mind to it. On the contrary, the basket-weave grips grew more painful in my palms as the ride progressed—nothing a grip swap or wearing gloves couldn’t fix. And if this were my bike, I’d splurge for a black DLC Spurcycle bell in favor of the brass one that the bike comes with.
For anyone who wants a bike that’s stylish AF, loves the simplicity of a classic steel frame, wants the benefits of plus-size tires, and appreciates the low maintenance that comes with an internal drivetrain, the Marin Nicasio RC is just the thing to fill that spot in your mudroom.