We test the adventure option from Marin Bikes, the Gestalt X11!
Tester: Mike Blewitt Photographer: Tim Bardsley-Smith
The Marin Gestalt X11 is not just a little left of field for us to review here at AMB ,it is a bike that is a bit left of centre for most people. It's not a road bike, it's not a mountain bike, it's not a cyclocross bike either. It's an adventure bike. Adventure bikes are a growing niche in the cycling world, but their remit is easy to understand. They are bikes that are capable of riding on a variety of surfaces, equipped to take their owner from road to dirt road to trails and beyond. Maybe for an hour or two, and maybe for a few days. That just depends on what your definition of adventure is.
Marin are based out of California and they are not short on mountains, beautiful dirt roads, long and open trails and some sweet routes that vary from dense forests, craggy coastline and of course big mountain ranges. Not surprisingly Marin's range of bikes suits their backyard. The Alpine Trail 8 we tested earlier this year shoed that Marin is right on point with high-value and high-performance big wheeled all-mountain bikes. And the Marin Gestalt X11 shows that Marin have their finger on the pulse with speccing out an adventure bike as well.
Gestalt means something that has greater worth than the sum of its parts. Applying that to the bike world, it means that Marin feels that this bike is going to deliver a lot more than what you might expect just by reading the spec sheet and geometry chart.
Tester: Mike Blewitt
Riding Experience: Riding, racing and working with bikes for a while.
Generally Rides: Norco Revolver, Transition Smuggler, Norco Threshold CX
Bike Test Track: Around south east Queensland.
With a price of $2499, the Marin Gestalt X11 brings a whole lot of features to the adventure bike market, including some that are usually only found on boutique builds. While Marins has another Gestalt in the range, it lacks the dedicated 1x11 group set with a clutch derailleur, a dropper post and hydraulic brakes among a few other features. While the Gestalt 2 is therefore a great mixed surface bike, it will find its limits when the dirt turns to trail a little faster than the Gestalt X11.
Marin claim that the Gestalt X11 has a forward geometry to keep the front wheel loaded, something we all know is the key to traction when riding off road. It also helps keep the bike tracking when loaded, and with mounts on the fork and frame for racks, a long off road tour is something well within the Gestalt X11's capability. Having the dropper post as a stock item actuated by the left hand SRAM shifter is unique. And if you're used to dropping your seat on the trails it really makes sense to do it on an adventure bike too, where you tend to have less traction and of course no suspension. Does it let you take the bike further and find more 'adventure'? That's the $2499 question.