Admittedly I am a fairly new cyclist with only a couple of thousand miles under my belt since April 2020. Most of those miles have been achieved with my carbon bike. However, not wanting to ruin this bike having had it serviced, I bought a cheaper and more robust bike for those more arduous journeys. Since showing my friends the new bike, it didn’t take long for them to notice what I now think is obvious, but at the time it didn’t even register for me. Marin is only one letter short of my name and the jokes started flowing, ‘I should take it back and ask for a refund because they hadn’t spelt my name correctly’.
Before reviewing the Marin Nicasio I want to explain that this bike has been custom built and therefore, some changes have been made. The drop handlebars have been replaced with flat ones. The two by system has been replaced with a one by and the cassette has been replaced with a mountain bike cassette (11-42T).
It goes without saying, both my bikes are like chalk and cheese. my Carbon road bike is built for performance with a somewhat aggressive ride style. The Marin bike on the other hand has a relaxed riding style with a more upright riding position and the first thing that I noticed was the comfort of this bike. I heard other bike reviewers comment on lower seat stays being more comfortable and I didn’t fully appreciate what this meant, not until now, the lower seat stays combined with the steel frame makes for a totally different riding experience and that experience results in a more forgiving bounce when riding over rougher terrain. By combining all these elements it makes for a scenic ride, giving you more time to admire the vista surrounding you rather than getting your head down searching to achieve a personal best (I haven’t managed to attain any KOMs as yet). I got time to take some photographs of the journey I took this morning:
Having a mountain bike cassette means that I don’t run out of gears and I feel it adds to the enjoyment of being in the moment and appreciating what is around you as you ride. Not having ridden full mountain bike gears before, it is like learning how the cassette behaves again and is vastly different from my compact set up with my road bike. I also think that the one by system has also contributed to this. Therefore, I think over time when I become more accustomed I will probably be able to get more out of this bike.
The 52cm frame feels responsive and nimble despite the relaxed and comfortable feel. Overall, I feel it is a superb bike for touring / bike packing, which is what I am looking to do this year. There is plenty of storage capacity on the bike from the front forks, the seat stays while there is still space to fit mudguards (fenders).
If you have had the chance to ride the Marin (not Martin) Nicasio what were you thoughts, does your experience match mine? Or did you have a very different experience? Share your thoughts in the comments.