Marin Bikes

I need someone to explain these bikes to me.

This is the Wolf Ridge. Looks like it should be spindly as hell, and just ride like crap. There's no way that it does, because no bike company can afford to make something that rides like crap anymore. And that is because I think buyers are too smart, and there are too many good choices out there. Also, there's no reason to make something that doesn't work - not when you can just copy something else that's already out there (see my previous post).

I can't see the entire linkage, so there must be something else going on there. The entire swingarm can't possibly ride only on the tiny pivot in front of the down tube. It looks like there may be something behind the seat tube - but that would mean that the swingarm would have to be two pieces bolted together - and that sounds like a recipe for flex to me. Flex, or possibly some kind of new Thai Bubble Chai Pudding Latte Tea Coffee. That tastes like pumpkin pie...

This right here is the Quake 7.3. I remember Quake 2 - where did the rest of them go? I must have blacked out or something.

What I see here is a swingarm that can't really do anything but go front-to-back. As opposed to up-and-down like most. I imagine the wheel still moves up and down, but it seems like the lower pivot would seriously limit that.

This one i really don't understand.

But - it simply must work, because like I said earlier, no company can afford to waste a season on a crap design. That happened back in the day when everybody was still trying to figure it out, but enough companies did figure it out, so you better do that too or you're in trouble.


Re-re-inventioning the BikeGuide Blog

Hey there!

I had this lightbulb go off in my head tonight. And when I got home from the hospital, I started to work on the idea I had.

I'm going to rework this blog in the style of some of my fav web sites; Autoblog, Jalopnik, and WWTDD.com. Only I'll do it for bikes.

Sounds good?

Too bad - I'm doing it anyway.

A great man once said; "Let's get to it, shall we?"

New Chumba XCL

The CHUMBA XCL continues to bring in world-wide praise on its unparalleled durability and performance.

Well, I wouldn't doubt those claims for a second - that bike looks great! About a million times better than the last bike I saw from them, the EVO.

The EVO - which is probably a really good bike too - looks like it was pieced together from whatever frame bits were lying aroung the shop that day. I've always thought that a good bike just looks like a good bike. That's a bit of a Madden-esque comment I know, but in all seriousness, when you first saw sloping top tube Rockies and Konas, you just knew in your heart that those bikes worked.

Anwyay, the point of this - it really bugs when some new bike comes along that is really just a rehash of some other design, maybe with better pivots and more advanced and stiffer suspension bits, and it's hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. Because really, what's different about the Chumba XCL, from the Jamis Dakar?

Or the Psycle Works Wild Hare?

Again - not saying that the Chumba is crap (though I can't think of a worse thing to name your company after than a British anarcho-punk band), but don't try to tell me that this bike is revolutionary. Not when the design was made to work ten years ago.



Hey people!

I just upgraded this Blog - I don't really know what that means, and I don't really care, but I did find a bunch of comments.

And apparently I have to 'moderate' the comments before they get posted, and, before I get any notification of their existence. After I 'moderate' them, then I get an email telling me I have a comment.

No kidding!!

Anyway, I got a link from Melvin - he sent his Flickr group for his restored Iron Horse/Verlicchi DH bike. The bike looks fantastic - go check it out!

Verlicchi DH

Thanks Melvin!!



KHS is one of those manufacturing giants that used to make bikes for everybody else, but now their selling their own bikes.... You've heard that story a million times. Not really spectacular bikes, but they're good.

Team ST - KHS went pretty big on the softtail thing, they have a compete line of them I believe. I don't like em much, but there's nothing wrong with them.

Pro - A decent looking hardtail, with a double crown Manitou.


Alite - A nice, simple hardtail. Good fork (Manitou SXR) and looks like Avid Magnesium brakes - a great way to spend your money.

Alite - Let's go racing! Aluminum hardtail, Manitou carbon fork, RaceFace Next cranks, carbon seatpost - built for speed.

Comp - I'll always have a soft spot for steel hardtails. Especially if they have Marzocchis on them.

Dominatrax - KHS' really beefy looking DH bike. Looks really heavy.


Kestrel is one of the first companies to experiment with carbon fiber as a frame material. Mountain Bike recently named the CSX as one of the best mountain bikes ever, even though the geometry hasn't been changed since 1991. I don't know how that's possible, but I've never rode one...

CSX - Interesting stealth black color-scheme on this CSX. Interesting because the owner didn't follow through on it. How hard is it to get a black stem?

CSX - I don't know that I would choose yellow as an accessory color, but this bike is very nice; White Brothers forks, Race Face cranks, stem, and seatpost. And, I love that Selle Italia saddle.

CSX - One of far too many examples of riders willing to give up proper suspension in order to save weight. Sure those Indy's are light, but a set of Z.2s work so much better, I know they're worth the extra mass. [edit] I shouldn't have been so hard on those old Indy SLs - they were actually pretty good as long as you kept them lubed up. And they were damn light...

MX-Z - I think this is called the MX-Z, I could be wrong. I remember seeing the prototype in an MBA way back in 1992 or '93. Either way, it was one of Kestrel's first mountain bikes. I believe either Richard Cunningham (of Mantis and MBA fame) or Keith Bontrager had a hand in desiging this bike. Check out that sexy red seatpost, and I love those forks. Bring back white, Manitou.

MX-Z - This is an un-upgraded MX-Z. Check out the old-skool equipment; cantilever brakes, standard size chainrings, steel rigid fork, threaded headset, and the bull-horn handlebar which was killed by the rise of gripshift. You couldn't get those old gripshifts around the bends on the bars.

- This bike looks exceptionally complicated. And kinda spindly, all those links and levers and such... You're just asking for flex and loose pivots. Such is the price of being different I guess.


I think Kelly is out of San Francisco, but it could be Southern California. Anyway, his claim to fame so far as I can tell is a 7-Up green color on his frames. [edit] That green was known as 'Kelly green', though I really don't know if he invented it or what. Anyway, Kelly is now, sadly, out of business.

CX - The only reason this pic is on the site is that it's a Black and White of a cyclocross bike - and there's something really appropriate about that, but I'm not quite sure what it is...

SS - This beauty Kelly singlespeed comes from Michael. And it's another one of those "hey - I don't need derailleurs, so I can spend lots on all the other parts" bikes. I love those kinda bikes. Thanks Michael!


Karpiel makes some seriously sick DH bikes. And apart from Bender riding them, I don't really know much else.

Armageddon - This is a pretty puny pic, but the Armageddon is kinda rare, so...

Disco Volante - Yet another DH bike. This Karpiel Disco Volante looks so heavy, doesn't it? Are those Magura Gustav brakes?

Disco Volante - Funny how a bike as beefy as the Disco Volante makes the Manitou XVert Ti look kinda wimpy.

VRS - This was the Karpiel's first effort. As far as I know anyway. I believe the rear suspension worked something like the GT RTS bikes, but I can't see it, nor can I really remember how it works - so you'll have to take my word for it.

K2 pt. 3

753 - This bike, travel-wise anyway, in today's market would be considered a soft tail. Now I'm just two pics away from a complete set of Pro-Flex bikes.

552 - This is the oldest Pro-Flex pic I have. Look at the bulging rear spring, it's well overdue for a replacement. Like the original Manitou FS bike, this one is probably very similar in performance to modern softtails.

956 - Whoever owns this bike really believes in the Pro-Flex/K2 platform. Enough to buy XTR cranks, and - and this was a good move I think - swap out the Girvin forks for a Manitou. Makes it look like a pretty decent bike.

K2 pt. 2

957 - This 957 looks good with some proper forks on it, but, you'd never catch me riding with riser bars and bar ends.

Beast - Well, this Beast is pretty un-beastly looking. At least it doesn't have a Girvin Chubby fork on it.

5500 - Pro-Flex's one year carbon experiment. Not very successful...

857 - I can almost guarantee a bike with Spinergy wheels getting on to the BikeGuide - because they look so goofy.

856 - In 1995 or whatever, this was probably a pretty good bike. But I figure any new bike in the XC full suspension genre should really smoke this thing. At least the owner went to the trouble of getting some coil-spring upgrades.


K2 found their way into the mountain bike game the old fashioned way; they bought a smaller company. K2 of course is famous for their downhill ski equipment, but in 1997 or so, they bought Pro-Flex/Girvin, and became a mountain bike company. Which makes K2/Pro-Flex/Girvin/Off-Road the company with the most name changes in mountainbiking.

Razorback RS - In an unusually cool move for a big company, K2 licensed this design from Turner (see the Stinger). It apparently suffers from a lack of stiffness in the rear section, and I'd say the forks are a weak link here - but it seems like a pretty cool bike otherwise.

Razorback - A nice Razorback with Fire XC's and a sweet Manitou. I'm not sure about that crazy seatpost though - if you're going to run that, why not just get a Heckler or something like that?

Animal - I think this is where Pro-Flex/K2 really lost their way with their frame design. Look at the effective length of the shock. Looks like a recipe for flex to me. Same with that long swingarm. And putting an RST on the front can't help matters.

Proflex - I don't even know what model of K2 this is. And I don't really care, cuz check out that Vette in the back. Probably a '72 or '73. That guy's hand is right where the engine badge is on the hood, so we can't say what it's got under the hood, but we can pretend that it's a 454...


Jamis has been making bikes since way back in the 80's. They make some really nice looking bikes, and I like that they make a 4 inch travel bike with a coil spring. A rare thing nowadays.

Komodo - Jamis makes some of my favorite, non-Canadian, mass-produced bikes. Actually, Jamis, Giant, and Specialized are about the only ones I like. Anyway, we've got an excellent hardtail here - good fork, beefy-looking aluminum frame, and a cool color.

Dakar - OK, this bike is pretty loud - but I still like it. It's a trail bike - 4 inches of rear wheel travel with a coil shock - I like that.

Diablo - As I have recently come to realize, bikes with 4 inches wheel travel at both ends and hydraulic disc brakes are really fantastic. I think it would be fair to assume this carbon Diablo weighs less than my FSR, but it's pretty hard to keep a bike like this light.

Diablo - The carbon Diablo. Pretty cool, hidden shock, out there design. The best thing about this bike though - when they advertised it in MBA, editor Richard Cunningham had to censor out everywhere it said "Diablo". That's one step away from book burning Richard...