Marin El Roy

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
32.63, 33.29 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

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

17 reasons to buy

  • Radically long, low and slack modern geometry enables the hardtail El Roy to ride enduro trails usually restricted to full-suspension bikes.
  • Th El Roy’s steel frame is high-end, using double-butted ‘Series 3’ 4130 chromoly tubing with investment cast dropouts.
  • On fast descents, the El Roy shreds and corners well, with considered geometry and grippy tires.
  • The El Roy is furnished with a super-wide-range 12-speed 10-51t Shimano Deore cassette.
  • Reviewers like the action and adjustability of the El Roy’s Marzocchi Z1 140mm air suspension fork.
  • With a steep 78° seat angle, testers said the El Roy climbs steep and technical ascents with aplomb.
  • Reviewers find the El Roy’s 12-Speed Shimano Deore drivetrain shifts well under load.
  • A Shimano Deore series 4-piston hydraulic brakeset stops the El Roy powerfully.
  • Electrophoretic deposition protects the El Roy’s chromoly tubing from corrosion.
  • Well-thought-out componentry proves fit for the El Roy’s intended purpose.
  • A stubby 35mm stem and wide 780mm bars give El Roy riders agile handling and control.
  • Marin keeps the El Roy’s cockpit modern, with an integrated drop-in FSA headset.
  • An X-Fusion Manic 150 to 170mm dropper seatpost comes fitted to the El Roy.
  • The El Roy is shod with 29” x 2.5” Maxxis Assegai tubeless-compatible tires. The rear features hefty ‘double-down’ casing.
  • Extra bosses beneath the El Roy’s top-tube can be used to attach a tool bag, cargo bag or additional bottle cage.
  • Sticky-compound Maxxis Assegai tires are grippy on technical stretches, including climbs.
  • The El Roy’s frame accommodates 148mm rear hub spacing.

7 reasons not to buy

  • On climbs, the weight of the El Roy’s steel frame can be felt.
  • Due to the El Roy’s long geometry, it takes extra effort to keep the bike’s front end planted on flat stretches.
  • Testers say the El Roy can lag on long, non-technical climbs.
  • One expert was underwhelmed with Shimano hubs being specced at this price point.
  • A reviewer felt the El Roy’s 175mm cranks were too long, making him feel as though he was “chopping wood”.
  • One reviewer complained that the El Roy is slowed down by the double-down compound used on the Maxxis Assegai rear tire.
  • The El Roy is only available in two fairly similar sizes.

Bottom line

The El Roy is Marin’s steel enduro hardtail. As an experiment in radically progressive geometry, the El Roy is capable of bombing down enduro trails usually restricted to full-suspension rigs. This is thanks to a very long reach, incredibly slack 63° headtube angle, stumpy stem and wide bars. A super-steep 78° seat-tube angle keeps the El Roy climbable. A 140mm Marzocchi Z1 suspension fork handles the bumps up-front. Braking duties are performed by the Shimano Deore 4-piston brakeset that uses a 203mm rotor upfront and 180mm in the rear. The two sizes on offer (‘regular’ and ‘grande’) are relatively close together, but one is 30mm longer in reach and has a 170mm vs 150mm dropper seatpost. The El Roy delivers carvy, shreddy handling and great cornering, but can be too challenging for some riders on smooth climbs and long flat sections (which is not the type of riding that the El Roy is aimed at).

Expert Reviews

85/100 based on 4 rated expert reviews

Marin El Roy Review

The El Roy is as happy as any hardtail I’ve ridden when the going gets tough… It’s long, slack and low – and all the better for it… the El Roy corners well… lean the bike and carve…

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FoCo FlowShow

2021 Marin El Roy Review | The Steel Hardtail Made for Enduro Trails!

It really is a hardtail that you can ride like an enduro bike… Downhill, the bike is super super stable and it’s just not as harsh as aluminum… the steel absorbs vibration on the trail… The slack headtube angle and that Bomber fork feel fantastic… Just a unique bike, really really cool feel… It definitely lives up to the hype… super super happy with it so far.

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Marin El Roy Steel Hardtail Review

On trails I normally rode with full suspension, I didn’t feel like I was hindered by this hardtail, and I didn’t change up lines… For terrain that challenges with technical climbs and then rewards with fast, rough downhills, the El Roy is a competent and ready hardtail… If you dare to be different and want to test the extreme fringes of MTB geometry, then the El Roy is ready to get weird with you.

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Dave Noakes

This Will Make You Want A MTB! 29″ Hardtail Trail Bike ❤️

I’m gonna be honest, right. Long distance, up hills, that kind of stuff, it’s a slog… on the way down it doesn’t feel massively different from my trail bike that’s got full-suspension… It’s just a really fun bike… The headtube could be a tiny bit too slack and the seat tube could be a tiny bit too steep but it’s still fun!

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hardtail party

Is It Better? The ExperiMENTAL Marin El Roy Review With Shorter Cranks + Longer Stem + a Faster Tire

Once the speed picked up my eyes were opened and I’m like, “I get it. I get what this bike is meant for.” Descending fast blues and blacks: 10/10, double blacks: 9/10… This is for the hardcore hardtail fans that will only ride a hardtail and never ride a full-suspension and want to prove to their friends that they can keep up on the fast bikepark days and this bike will do it.

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2021 Marin El Roy

The El Roy doesn’t quite make rational sense… it isn’t all crazy though — it’s offered with a no-nonsense build, and comes in at a reasonable price… A significant part of what you’re paying for is a higher-end frame… The El Roy is a bike for terrain where most people would want a full-suspension Trail or Enduro bike, but for the riders who want to tackle those sorts of rides with a hardtail… If you think the notion sounds absurd, that’s okay. It’s not for everyone. Bring the right attitude and some decent bike handling skills to the table, though, and you’ll be amazed by what the El Roy can do.

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The Fastest Hardtail? Marin El Roy Review [Spanish]

Riding this bike was really fun, the learning curve was slow but little by little we got used to it… the El Roy’s great advantage over other hardtails is its ability to ride exactly the same lines that you would on your enduro full suspension bike… we were able to go down sections that we did not think possible at first, the confidence that this bike provides is something remarkable, we may have tried the fastest hardtail on the market.

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Gravity Mountainbike Magazine

TEST: Marin El Roy – Made For Fun [German]

If you want to experience your home trails in a completely different way, you should definitely think about buying a Baller hardtail. The El Roy shines with its downhill-oriented geometry, long reach, smoothness at high speed and a really chic look… However, if you are looking for a playful bike that is efficient uphill and allows maneuvering downhill, you might want to consider the San Quentin from the same company instead.

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Marin El Roy in Review: Hardtail Enduro [German]

Due to its length and the slack head angle, the El Roy requires a little more concentration on winding trails than you are used to from classic hardtails. This is certainly not a challenge for experienced trail pilots. Initially, beginners may find the ride style takes some getting used to.

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User Ratings

97/100 based on 7 ratings
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Bike Comparison

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