Our last week has been a whirlwind of travel and riding and shooting on the way to this year’s Sea Otter Classic. While wandering the expos and attending a few launch events, there were two bikes that were the buzz of the bike media crew: Marin’s 29″ wheeled 160mm travel Wolf Ridge and the Polygon Square One shod with 650b hooves and 180mm of rear wheel travel. We ran into Photo John, who was out getting a brief test ride on the Polygon, who was clearly impressed with the pedaling characteristics of the bike, but disappointed in the lack of gnar found in the Laguna Seca area to test it on.
If you haven’t heard about the new R3ACT – 2 Play Naild designed suspension system yet, it’s essentially the latest take on the mythical quiver-killer: the bike that can climb like an XC bike and descend like a gravity bike, be at home in any terrain, under any rider. Claims we essentially hear every year from the marketing teams with every major bike launch. The press release had hit my inbox a few days before, and honestly, when I glanced it over, it read about the same as any other, with quotes from the CEO, the designer and one from the pro racer. Skimming it over the first time, it quickly turned into “blah blah blah” and I moved on to the next email.
I heard even more about the bike over beers during a launch event put on by Leatt. The next day, as we walked by Marin sponsored athlete/ enduro-shredder Kyle Warner, I had to stop to say hi and steal his bike away for a minute. Kyle was gracious enough to let us fire off a few snaps and even let me take a brief spin on his ride to see what the hype was all about.
That said, the buzz on the street was saying they might just be onto something. During my extremely brief amount of pedaling, pumping with a few cutties tossed in for good measure, I was somewhat impressed. It could simply be because it was Kyle’s personal bike, and we all know the fastest guys run their suspension fairly stiff because they’re pinning it faster than 99.9% of the general population. I have no idea what the sag was when I hopped on the bike but it did pedal more nimbly than the last few 160mm bikes (650b and 29) I’ve hopped on. I was thinking a 29″ bike with this much travel would feel less like a a nimble trail bike and more like a squishier gravity sled, but it felt lively and definitely left a lasting impression.
Either way, I’m a fan of how Kyle sets up his bikes because the thing felt pretty damn good. That said, like any new bike, this is one that is going to be needed to be ridden on your home trail to see if it’s the one. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open for a chance to try one at our home trails at Sandy Ridge.
The Wolf Ridge should be hitting your local shops in June. For more info, check it out at MarinBikes.com