All-in-one adventure bike
Marin is a Northern California brand that got its start in the late ’80s as a pioneering mountain bike brand. Over the years they have dabbled in the drop-bar market, but never as strongly as 2017 where they have four categories of “road” bikes. With the Gestalt, which sits in Marin’s Beyond Road category, they’ve designed a bike that can best play in the middle of the road with both paved and dirt capabilities.
The Marin Gestalt uses a triple-butted 6066/6061 aluminum frame with a Naild carbon fork. The tapered head tube allows for a more relaxed riding style, which fits nicely for its ability to go from on-road to off-road with ease. In addition to the fender eyelets, the Marin has light touring in mind with the addition of rack eyelets as well. It’s all internal cable routing on this bike to give it the nice, clean finish, which is great for a bike with so many uses. In addition to the fastback seatstays and subtle tube shaping, we appreciated the subdued frame graphics.
The first thing we noticed about the Marin was the SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain, which is always a great feature, but more commonly found on gravel/cyclocross bikes. From there you see the SRAM hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors, and looking closer still you’ll notice an IceIt brake adapter with cooling fins, which is a nice addition.
For anyone having to ride in wet conditions, don’t worry, because the bike comes with eyelets to add on fenders. Since the fork is only big enough for a 35mm tire, we’d consider the Gestalt more gravel-friendly versus gravel-capable, and since Marin isn’t classifying it as a gravel bike, we have no complaints there.
As for the wheels, the Gestalt rolls on Marin’s own 30mm-deep, 32-spoke aluminum rims (with a roomy 21mm inner width) that are mounted with puncture-resistant and tubeless-ready Schwalbe G-One tires. We were a bit thrown off with the Naild locking thru-axles at first, but eventually came around to figuring out how they work. The good thing is that if we were confused, it probably bodes well for increased security with non-cyclist thieves.
Whether you’re considering taking the Marin out on the road or hopping off on your nearest dirt road, the Gestalt is a very comfortable ride. Marin wanted to build a road bike designed with a mountain bike background, and they have seemed to do just that. The 1x drivetrain gives you the feel of simplicity on the road, but right at home once you’re on the dirt. The fender eyelets are a nice touch for anyone having to ride in less than sunny conditions. This bike will hold up whether you’re on a wet road ride or feeling like it’s time to get muddy in the dirt. The carbon fork gives the bike a much more comfortable, less rigid ride, which is a good feature for this style of bike.
The aluminum frame with the added 30c tires made it feel much more durable than your standard road bike. We are big fans of the Schwalbe tires, and they let us roll along just fine in our local group ride. Though their size helps over rain ruts in the dirt, they are slick tires, so some added caution is helpful when cornering in the dirt. The 10-42 gear spread was more than enough for efficient pedaling in all circumstances we found ourselves in.
With gravel bikes being the new craze in cycling, we feel that Marin has done a fine job giving us a little bit of both worlds. It may not have the clearance of a fully capable (40mm) gravel tire, but with room for up to a 35mm tread, you can capably ride the line of both road and gravel exploits. Still, as a solid commuter, the Gestalt scores high marks owing to urban-friendly features like locking thru-axles, puncture-resistant tires and rack/fender mounts.
The Gestalt 3 is the high end of Marin’s three-bike, disc-brake-specific Gestalt line, with the lower-line 1 and 2 bikes priced at $1099 and $1199, respectively.
For any cyclist looking to have a bit of fun off the road yet still be able to put the miles in on the road, we feel as though this bike will complement your needs nicely. The internal cable routing gives the bike a clean look and doesn’t give off a busy vibe, which is nice if you decided to add fenders to your ride.
- Puncture-resistant slicks
- Useful fender eyelets
- Ready for on-/off-road out of the box
Weight: 21 pounds, 1 ounce
Sizes: 50, 52, 54 (tested), 56, 58, 60cm