Marin Bobcat Trail

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
24, 16, 11, 18
32.0, 29.7 lbs
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Marin Bobcat Trail. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

10 reasons to buy

  • Owners and experts say the Bobcat is good value, especially with the stock Shimano gears and Sunrace fork.
  • The frame is lightweight, has bosses for two water bottle cages and rear stays that accommodate tires at least 2.35” wide. It’s also durable, lasting one owner seven years before selling it on.
  • The slack geometry was described as confidence-inspiring and lauded for its modern angles.
  • The economical Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on the Bobcat 3 - surprised experts with their effectiveness, one comparing them to the Shimano discs on the higher-end Bobcat 4.
  • The wheels on 29” models served as a good balance between light weight and strength. They also offered improved rollover and traction.
  • The high-end ‘LTD XT’ model wowed with high quality Shimano XT kit, while other models were equipped with low-cost Acera and Altus derailleurs that still performed well in expert tests.
  • The wider bars on the Bobcat 4 proved satisfactory for throwing the bike around on aggressive trails.
  • On basic models, the Shimano componentry (including hubs and rear-mech) were considered reliable.
  • Tough Tom 2.25” tires proved durable and capable of tackling varied terrain.
  • The Marin double-wall rims were praised as ‘rock solid’ and the 25mm width provided options for fat tires.

6 reasons not to buy

  • The shock on lower-end models has no lockout and an upgrade from 100 to 120mm was suggested. It was described as more suited to cross-country and allrounders.
  • It was suggested that entry-level models needed a shorter stem and a handlebar wider than 720mm.
  • The bottle-mount on the seat-tube prevents lowering of the seat-post, frustrating some trail-riders.
  • The 3x8 triple-chainring was considered heavy, antiquated and more suited to cross-country and commuting. On wilder trails, the chain slipped off and slapped stays.
  • The Bobcat is a light frame draped with heavy (but durable) components. The bike might be a bit heavy for beginner cyclists with limited strength.
  • One expert had a consistent issue with the rear tire rubbing on the front derailleur.

Bottom line

The Bobcat Trail comes in three models that offer varying quality in components. At its heart, its an all-rounder mountain-bike that’s capable of trail-riding. Lower-end models compromised on weight with heavier, durable components. At the core is a light aluminum frame with impressive geometry. One owner used an older Bobcat for seven years before selling it!. Another, who said they upgraded many parts over six years – would buy this bike again. Since then, componentry has been improved. When you look at it, its great value for the price. Upgrading parts after five years is a lot better than the months or weeks you’ll get out of a bike that’s half this price.

Expert Reviews

70/100 based on 6 expert reviews

Marin Bobcat Trail 4

Entry level can often mean loud in looks but low in terms of geometry and riding said bike on anything other than a canal toe path. However, Marin has delivered something genuinely fit for purpose in the Bobcat.

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Marin Bobcat Trail 5 Review

Lightweight, firm-riding trail hardtail that’s still fun to ride while you upgrade. Buy if you want a fun, upgradeable trail bike.

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Mountain Bike Rider

Marin Bobcat Trail 9.3 (2016) Review

…it was striking just how much more momentum the 29 inch wheels retained on fast, flowing singletrack. This bike wants to motor.

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Mountain Bike Rider

Marin Bobcat Trail 9.5 (2015) Review

Ultimately, the Marin Bobcat Trail’s specification outshines its frame.

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Test: Marin Bobcat Trail 4 (29er)

The Marin Bobcat proves that even at a low price, you can design a bike with mature geometry. Despite the many budget components that will eventually need to be modified, Bobcat offers a lot of riding fun, predictability and stability…

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User Ratings

83/100 based on 38 ratings
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