Monday, July 11, 2011

Marin Lombard 2011 review.

When disc brakes came out 15 years ago, I lusted after having a road bike with disc brakes.  I never got one - until now.  With a 30 mile roundtrip commute, my singlespeed track bike was painful to grunt up those hills.

You can read the specs at Marin's site here.  They don't list the weight but my LBS put my Large size on the scale for 25lb 11oz with the stock pedals.

There are a couple of things I love about it that other reviews don't talk about.  The seatpost is really nice and allows you to fine-tune the tilt of the seat to a degree not normally found in this pricepoint of bike.  The wheelbase is relatively long, giving good stability.  All of the hardpoints that you'd find on a touring bike are there and in the right places, so you can mount full fenders plus front and rear racks with no problem.  The fork, though not steel, resembles an MTB fork and gives a good strong mount point for the front disc brake plus it nicely dampens road vibration.  I would not be surprised if MTB tires fit nicely. The stock tires have relatively low rolling resistance but have good siping on the sides for cornering in the wet.  The seat tube and handlebars both have numbered lines so fine-tuning the bike's fit is easy, and they left you lots of head tube on the fork so you can chop it yourself.  The frame is neat, combining a high BB height, low CG, and more cross-like handlebar position.  They basically went right down the middle with the geometry between a dedicated road bike and a cross bike. Cyclocrossers will like the fact that the top tube has a crease running down its length on both sides, making it easy to pick up and shoulder over obstacles. The Tektro Lyra disc brakes are nice and will bring you to a screeching halt wet or dry.

The drivetrain is a little low in Shimano's lineup for my liking, but it's solid and any parts that I blow up will get replaced with nicer ones anyway.

I paid $720 at my LBS, and I think that's a damn good deal.

edit: I had a "clunk" going on with the rear disc brake when the brake was first applied (not a constant clicking, just a "thunk" as you engaged the brake). My LBS called Tektro directly and they suggested looking to see if the ball bearing that the disc actuator rides on had slipped, or if the return spring had popped out. It was the latter, the spring was out of it hole due to the bolt working a bit loose. They fixed that and it's been fine for 30 miles. I suggest locktiting the bolt that holds the spring in.

150 miles on the bike so far and no other complaints.

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