Marin Nail Trail 6 Review

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Product Full Name | Marin Nail Trail 6 29

Retail Price | £1100

Available From | Marin Bikes UK

Marin Nail Trail 6 – 29in Trail Hard Tail

Marin makes three models of trail hardtail – the plus sized Pine Mountain; entry level Bobcat Trail and the Nail Trail.

The Nail Trail is available in two builds, based around the same frame but with different components. Both models come in four sizes, with differing wheel sizes to suit the bikes. Size small features 27.5in wheels; size medium offers both 27.5 and 29in wheels and the larger two sizes are both 29in. (check out our full gallery right here).

We’ve been getting to know the Marin Nail Trail 6 in an XL over the winter…

Marin Nail Trail 6 Review-2

After a few rides I swapped out the Schwalbe tyres – though not bad, locally they just don’t hook up in our mud/rock combo. I also had a Pro Koryak budget dropper post in for test and installed it. This test sample Marin Nail Trail 6 weighs 13.3kg/29.3lbs as you see it, minus the full water bottle. Box fresh with Schwalbe tyres and regular post it was 450grams lighter. Photo | Andrew Saunders

The Detail

The frame design is a classic double diamond set up, and is made from 6061 Hydroformed Aluminium tubing. The front end has a 68degree head angle that mates well with the 120mm travel Rockshox Recon fork, and a roomy 655mm top tube allows a short 60mm stem and wide 780mm bar set up.

Out back, fast back stays are quite slender and are well shaped to offer compliance and loads of mud clearance. A 142 x 12mm rear axle keeps things nipped up and a neat internal direct brake mount puts the caliper out of harms way.

Marin Nail Trail 6

SRAM’s GX mech and shifter offer punchy and reliable shifting, whilst the smart choice of Sunrace 11speed cassette keeps the price down yet offers a great 11-42t range. Photo | Andrew Saunders

29in models of the Nail trail 6 have a 435mm chainstay, whereas the 27.5in models have shorter 425mm stays.

Marin Nail Trail 6 Review-11

Marin’s own brand forged crank is on the Nail Trail 6, and it features the Marin Bear logo – which is a nice theme to see around the bike. The cranks are stiff; light and like the rest of the build – no nonsense. Photo | Andrew Saunders

No-nonsense cable routing is a mixture of internal and external, and takes the most direct route with full length outer hosing. There is internal routing for a dropper post too, and double bottle cage mounts.

Our Nail Trail 6 model features a hand picked SRAM GX 1×11 drive train, but to keep costs down it runs the great value Sunrace 11-42 cassette that uses a standard Shimano pattern freehub body.

No-fuss Formula hubs turn Marin 30mm rims – which are strong, stiff and offer a great stable base for the tyres. A combo of Schwalbe Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph tyres offer traction up front, and a faster rolling design out back.

Marin Nail Trail 6

The internally mounted rear brake caliper is neet and tucked out of harm’s way. It also means that cable routing is as direct as possible.

Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes are plenty powerful enough, and help keep the costing down. They’re also the best basic brakes on the market and are very easy and cheap to maintain.

Out on The Trail

Marin Nail Trail 6 Review-12

Although hard tails do encourage you on the climbs, this hard tail just wants to have fun – it’s an encouraging bike! Photo | Andrew Saunders

The Nail Trail 6 is a nice roomy bike – and even in the size XL looks really good. The two tone paint job and retro Marin logo look great – as do the subtle details like the bear icon. It’s a classy looking frame and will serve really well as a platform to upgrade over time.

Marin Nail Trail 6

Although the Nail Trail 6 loves a fine section of single track, it also loves letting rip. One of the most fun budget bikes we’ve ridden. Photo | Andrew Saunders

Aluminium hard tails can easily be too stiff – but the Nail Trail 6 is surprisingly comfortable. The fast-back stays are by no means twangy, but definitely aid comfort and traction out on the trail. It’s a forgiving frame, but retains the snappy feel that alloy frames are known for.

Marin Nail Trail 6 Review-30

You know those days where you just mess about on your bike? The Nail Trail 6 makes you do that – a lot! Photo | Andrew Saunders

Riding position on the Nail Trail 6 is excellent. The 311.5mm BB height is low enough for stability but not so low that you clout your feet too often, and combined with the roomy front end puts you in a solid stance for reactive riding. The Recon fork – although having very simple damping – works nicely. It’s stiff and doesn’t answer back once you’ve set it up right. Having only 120mm travel, means the 68degree head angle isn’t affected much by fork dive when out riding.  There’s no surprises in the handling department – just decent handling all round.

Over the winter, the Nail Trail has become my go-to daily bike. I’ve really enjoyed getting on it in the mornings and taking the long route to the Factory Jackson office. It’s the perfect tool for exploring local trails, and having twin bottle cage mounts has been great for me as it means I can take water and tools on the bike, whilst my laptop and work essentials stay separate in my bag.

Marin Nail Trail 6

The Marin Nail Trail 6 encouraged us to get out there and explore. It manages the usual single track really well – but made made us venture further afield. Photo | Andrew Saunders

I’ve ridden this thing loads, and although it’s a great bike when belting along single track – what it’s actually inspired me to to is roam around a bit more and get back to what I used to do. A bit of half serious trail riding; Sunday morning local shreds and loads of messing about on flat pedals over the quarry – jumping off banks and hammering through puddles.

We Say

The Marin Nail Trail 6 is has a predictable and fun ride, which is backed up by a smart component selection that will last well.

As far as we’re concerned, the measure of a great bike is how much you end up wanting to ride it – and how little you notice the actual bike when out. The Marin Nail Trail 6 fits right in there – whilst it looks great when lent up against a tree, you soon forget about it when pointed down hill.

It inspires you to get out and give anything a whirl , and is a mountain bike perfect for upgrading as you progress with the bike.

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