Marin Cortina AX1

81/100
BikeRide Score
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The BikeRide Score ranks bikes from 1-100 based on opinions from users and experts. The higher the score is, the better. Read how it works
Users (3 ratings)
94
Experts (2 reviews)
82
Where to buy
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Facts

Gender
Release Year
Brand
Wheel Size
Number of gears
Weight
Suspension
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on this bike. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

10 reasons to buy

  • The Cortina AX1’s handling was said to be quick, predictable and dynamic on gravel and rutted tracks.
  • The timeless minimalism of Marin’s retro paintjob garnered attention and praise.
  • An alloy frame and carbon fork proved a comfortable combination. Aluminum ribs in the frame and fork acted as a heat sink to cool off disc brakes.
  • Attention to detail resulted in an admirable finish.
  • Schwalbe G-One tires came tubeless-ready and are reportedly easy to setup, with decent speeds reached on snow and ice.
  • The Cortina’s adaptable nature saw it performing well on gravel, roads and cyclocross proper.
  • Quick-release Naild 12-3-9 thru-axles allowed precise and replicable removal and reattachment of wheels.
  • The aforementioned thru-axles, in 15mm (front) and 12mm (in the rear), provided stiff action.
  • A myriad of bosses, eyelets and mudguard mounts accommodate full racks, full-length mudguards and accessories.
  • Generous clearance allows for tires up to 50mm wide, or 40mm with mudguards.

5 reasons not to buy

  • Even the most ardent Cortina lovers noted that it wasn’t the cheapest option, considering Tiagra kit and mechanical discs.
  • One expert said the bike felt overgeared on technical descents and spun-out on flats. On higher gears, the Tiagra drivetrain may have problems with a jumping chain.
  • The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes were fitted with semi-metallic pads that one expert saw as being suited to mud, but too hard for general road and gravel conditions.
  • Some Cortinas were fitted with Schwalbe G-One tires, which were considered less grippy than X-Ones.
  • The Cortina wasn’t considered a lightweight. This led one expert to suggest shedding some pounds by replacing the stock wheels.

Bottom line

The Cortina was a best-selling, medium-sized family car produced by a major brand from 1962 to 1982, which is why the name might seem familiar to you. Like it’s namesake, Marin’s Cortina AX1 is a well thought-out performer that incorporates some compromises to deliver an affordable package. Handling and comfort were lauded, as were its throwback aesthetics (if you’ve ever seen a 1991 Marin Palisades, you’ll get my drift). The bells and whistles are found on its older sibling, the AX2. The AX1 isn’t the lightest or cheapest in class - but like its four-cylinder friend - it is an incredibly sound machine that will only be elevated by customization and upgrades.

Expert Reviews

82/100 based on 2 expert reviews
70
Road.cc

Marin Cortina AX1

Level 3 expert

Loads of clearance and predictable handling make for on/off-road adventure fun – but some upgrades are needed.

Visit full review
100
Bikeworld

Test: Marin Cortina AX 1 – CX or Gravel? [Polish]

Level 2 expert

This bike can really be a kind of 3 in 1 – it can be CX for weekend amateur racing, it can be an expeditioner and a bike for everyday commuting. Would we recommend it to a friend? With a clear conscience – yes.

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Bike Hugger

Marin Cortina AX

Level 1 expert

It has a geometry for off-road speed and stability when it gets loose on the path… You could race your category on Saturday and then a long gravel ride on Sunday.

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User Ratings

94/100 based on 3 ratings
  • 5 star
    67%
  • 4 star
    33%
  • 3 star
    0%
  • 2 star
    0%
  • 1 star
    0%

Your Rating

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Rankings

Compared to other bikes
#22 Best of All Bikes
Top 20%

Comparison

In comparison to bike category averages
Marin Cortina AX1
81
Average All Bikes
72
Average Marin Bikes
77
Average
0