Marin San Quentin

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
30.8, 33.5, 30 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

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

12 reasons to buy

  • Both owners and expert reviewers agree that the Marin San Quentin is good value.
  • According to two experts, the stiff, snappy frame suits hard cornering and enhances performance on flowy sections.
  • The San Quentin 2 and 3 have dropper posts, and the San Quentin 1 has internal cable routing for one.
  • One tester says the San Quentin 2's RockShox 35 Silver fork feels good out of the box.
  • The San Quentin 2's 11-speed Deore drivetrain shifts great, according to one expert.
  • A reviewer appreciates the performance of the San Quentin 3's 12-speed Deore/SLX drivetrain, highlighting it shifts well under load.
  • All builds have tubeless-compatible rims, and the San Quentin 3 has tubeless-ready tires.
  • Experts say this is a versatile bike that performs well as a dirt jumper or trail shredder.
  • One expert reports the San Quentin pedals well going uphill, thanks to the steep seat tube angle.
  • Experts agree the bike is happy being pointed downhill, especially on flowy trails.
  • According to one reviewer, the San Quentin 3's four-piston Shimano MT420 brakes are powerful and consistent.
  • A tester likes that the short seat tube and low seat make it easy to bail from manuals.

8 reasons not to buy

  • Reviewers complain about the 2.6" Flow Snap tires, which have poor traction, especially on side hills.
  • One expert says the San Quentin 2's Shimano BR-MT201 brakes aren't powerful enough, and the levers are flimsy.
  • Two experts note that the San Quentin is hard to jump and manual.
  • The San Quentin isn't as playful as one expert had hoped for a 27.5" bike.
  • A reviewer complains that a lot of vibrations reach the hands, likely due to the frame stiffness.
  • One tester criticizes the untidy cable routing under the bottom bracket.
  • The Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork doesn't have much adjustment between open and closed positions, disappointing a reviewer.
  • One expert finds the San Quentin difficult to maneuver through tight corners.

Bottom line

The Marin San Quentin is a high-travel hardtail designed to handle both enduro trails and light dirt jumping. Experts say it achieves this versatility but lacks the specificity to excel in either domain. The San Quentin inspires confidence when pointed downhill, especially on flowy trails, and has the ability to lean heavily into corners. However, this sacrifices some of the playfulness and maneuverability typically associated with 27.5" MTBs. Overall, reviewers agree that this bike is good value as long as it matches the buyer's riding style.

Expert Reviews

81/100 based on 2 rated expert reviews
This review has been given a score. Read more here
hardtail party

How Good Is a Hardtail at This Price? Marin San Quentin 2 Review in Sedona, AZ

It’s not my favorite climber, it’s not my favorite slow-speed jibby play bike, but it does a lot of things really well and it’s a lot of fun to ride.

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This review has been given a score. Read more here
Riding With Josh and Wendy

First Ride On My 2023 Marin San Quentin 3 | Watch Before You Buy!

The San Quentin 3 is absolutely a bike that I would recommend to any rider who wants a hardcore hardtail that’s going to be fun to ride, fun to jump, and fun to just play around on.

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Riding With Josh and Wendy

Dirt Jump Redemption on My 2023 Marin San Quentin!

…after today, I think I’ve gotten a little more accustomed to this geometry, and I’m thankful to report that this thing is a ton of fun on dirt jumps, just like it is in the rest of trail riding. 

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Riding With Josh and Wendy

Marin San Quentin vs. RSD Middlechild: A Tail of Two Hardtails

It’s kind of confused whether it wants to be a hard-charging enduro bike… or if it wants to be a more playful, agile dirt jumpy bike…

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User Ratings

95/100 based on 12 ratings
  • 5 star
  • 4 star
  • 3 star
  • 2 star
  • 1 star


Compared to other bikes
#1 Best Dirt Jump
Top 30%
#39 Best Trail
Bottom 50%
#6 Best Marin Bike
Top 50%
#332 Best of All Bikes
Top 50%

Bike Comparison

Marin San Quentin in comparison to averages

Forum Discussions

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