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2017Marin B-17 3

Initial Impressions

Marin has long been known as contender in the world of mountain bikes, but in recent years has dropped off the radar. They are back at it, with a slew of new bikes this year, including the somewhat weird-looking B-17. An aggressive 120mm travel 27.5+ bike, questions immediately arose as what this bike was designed to be good at. Our more freestyle-oriented testers Kyle and Branham immediately took a liking to it, maybe because it reminded them of the BMX bikes and dirt jumpers they like to ride and because the super-clean silver and black steed simply stood out among the crowd.

It's A Plus-Sized BMX Bike For Any Trail

The low standover and relatively slack head angle made for a super stable ride that also felt comfortable being thrown around in the air.

Photo: Nic Alegre

The plus-sized tires and super-wide rims gave the bike exceptional traction through corners and rough terrain.

Ride Quality

The first words from most testers were “Wow, this thing has lots of grip!” The plus-sized 27.5 tires and super-wide rims gave the bike exceptional traction through corners and rough terrain, giving the bike a firmly planted feel on the trails, doing exactly what the rider intended it to do. At the same time, its stiff suspension and short travel made it agile and very poppy and fun in the air. Branham and Kyle couldn't help but let their freestyle side show blasting through sets of tabletops in the bike park.

Fit

We tested the bike in size M, which was reported to feel true to size by Kyle and Branham, who typically ride an M. Marin took the long, low, and slack geometry trend and applied it to plus-sized trail bike. The low standover and relatively slack head angle made for a super stable ride that also felt comfortable being thrown around in the air. Testers liked the wide Deity bars that came stock.

Uphill

It’s no mystery that plus-sized bikes have more traction than standard tires, but does that automatically translate to better climbing ability? No, but in the case of the B-17, its geometry and stiff suspension coupled with its bigger tires make it an outstanding climber.

Downhill

Even for such a short-travel bike, this bike descended like the best of them. It felt control under high speeds, and was surprisingly forgiving through rock gardens and roots. It could not plow through chunder like a longer-travel bike would, but its agility arguably made it more fun through techy sections, as riders could get creative with line choice. On smooth terrain, like the flowy jump trails at the bike park, Branham loved how natural it felt in corners, allowing him to keep his feet planted on the pedals for super-fast exits, often on just his back wheel.

“It climbs like a surefooted mountain goat. It may not be lightning fast, but it has traction for days and climbs without much effort.”- Branham Snyder

The low standover and relatively slack head angle made for a super stable ride that also felt comfortable being thrown around in the air.

Photo: Nic Alegre

Standout Components

The B-17 3 comes with a near-perfect build kit. With everything from the new Rockshox Pike fork and Super Deluxe shock, SRAM GX Eagle, and burly cranks and handlebars, this bike is ready to take on anything. Unlike many other plus-sized bikes out there, the B-17’s wheel and tire combination work flawlessly. However, tires with a more aggressive knobs would not be out of place on this bike to provide even more security in corners.

Frame Sizes Fork Shock Brakes Rear Derailleur Shifter Handlebars Stem Seatpost Saddle Rims Hubs Tires

Marin B-17 Alloy, 120mm rear travel

S, M, L, XL

Rockshox Pike RC 130mm

Rockshox Super Deluxe RCT3 Debonair

Shimano Deore M6000 (180mm front, 160mm rear)

SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed

SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed

Deity Skyline Alloy, 787mm, 31.8 clamp

Deity Copperhead, 50mm

KS LEV Dropper, Southpaw Lever upgrade

WTB Volt Comp

Stan's NoTubes Major S1, 38mm Inner width, Tubeless

Formula, Boost

WTB Ranger 27.5x2.8, Tubeless

“It climbs like a surefooted mountain goat. It may not be lightning fast, but it has traction for days and climbs without much effort.”- Branham Snyder

Bottom Line

While the short-travel Marin B-17 may not be the most obvious choice for a quiver-of-one bike, we were amazed at how well it held its own against bigger bikes through just about any kind of terrain. Its 27.5+ rubber adds a degree of predictability that a smaller tire simply can’t offer, and its short travel and aggressive geometry make it extremely fun to jib around on. This is a sleeper in an extremely stacked field of highly qualified fun bikes out there.

Testers