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2020 Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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$1,949 Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike Review

Rating: Vital Review

This Marin Rift Zone 2 review is from our $2,000 mountain bike group test, where we tested six full-suspension 29ers head to head. See the full story here.


  • The most modern geometry of $2,000 mountain bike group test with 455mm reach and 65.5-degree head angle
  • Extremely fun and capable on descents and in corners.
  • Well-performing RockShox Deluxe Select Debonair rear shock
  • Grippy, aggressive Vee Snap Flow tires keep the bike composed descending rough terrain but slow the bike down on climbs and through flatter portions of trail.
  • Buy directly through Jenson USA but also have Marin dealer support through authorized shops
  • Jenson USA Website
  • Marin Website

Last and certainly not least is the Marin Rift Zone 2, coming in at $1,949. This is the newest iteration of the fun and capable Rift Zone line from the Northern California brand. The 2020 version no longer borders on cross-country travel and geometry. Its travel has been bumped to 125mm/130mm compared to 120mm/120mm on the older Rift Zone. The Marin's geometry is the most aggressive of the bunch with a long, 455mm reach and 65.5-degree head angle on our size medium. A 35mm stem means it’s ready for ripping. More SRAM SX Eagle, and a RockShox Recon fork is familiar but we have a promising RockShox Deluxe Select shock with Debonair sleeve out back. Shimano’s MT201 brakes, the same as the Giant, slow the bike down. With updated travel and geometry, Marin has gone extremely aggressive with their tire choice. The Vee Flow Snap tires are only 2.3-inches wide but they feature Vee's Tackee rubber compound with large, ground-chewing knobs.

Unfortunately, due to some shipping issues, the Rift Zone showed up the day after Steve and Brad headed home, so I was the only one to ride it. Using the same trails that I know well, I gathered some time on the bike. Right away, the slow-rolling nature of the tires was apparent. This is in stark contrast to the fast-rolling tires of the previous Rift Zone. Even though the bike is only 32.5 pounds, it’s extremely sluggishness uphill due to the nearly downhill-ready tires. Thankfully, and I’ll speak for Steve and Brad on this one, none of us in this test care about suffering to the top if we have a capable bike on the way down.

The new geometry, bump in travel, and RockShox Deluxe all combined with those meaty tires, make the Rift Zone punch above its weight class when things get rough and speeds increase. The damped nature of the tire construction and the RockShox Deluxe keep the bike composed through the chatter and on bigger hits. The tire profile is pretty squared off, however, and in hard-packed flat corners, leaning into those bulky side knobs can get squirrely. In sandy or loamy conditions, they’ll hold fast, but they’re not an all-conditions tire. The Recon on the Marin was the best-performing of the 3 we tested. It was smoother and more consistent than that of the GT or Giant. We’ll chalk up the performance variances to production issues at this low end of the spectrum. If you get a bike with a Recon, have your local mechanic give it a once-over. When it works properly, it works well.

The downfall of the Marin, like the Giant, is the brakes. A bike that can handle so much at speed particularly in the rough, needs to be able to stop at will. The Shimano brakes weren’t the worst, but they were definitely no match for the MT501’s of the Vitus or the SRAM Level brakes of the Fezzari. We’d definitely put our $200 toward better brakes on the Marin, knowing the kind of fun that awaits this bike on the descents. If we found an extra $50, we’d also take off the rear Vee Flow Snap tire and save it for use on the front once the other wears out, replacing it with a faster tire out back.

Marin has cracked the modern trail code with its newest Rift Zone. Upgrade the brakes, get ready to earn your way up, and prepare for class-leading descending on the way down.

You can purchase the bike directly from or from a Marin authorized bike shop in your area.





Product Marin Rift Zone 2 Bike
Model Year 2020
Riding Type Trail
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM, MD, LG, XL View Geometry
Top Tube Length 580.24mm 606.36mm 632.51mm 668.65mm
Head Tube Angle 65.5° 65.5° 65.5° 65.5°
Head Tube Length 100mm 105mm 110mm 115mm
Seat Tube Angle 76° 76° 76° 76°
Seat Tube Length 390mm 400mm 425mm 430mm
Bottom Bracket Height 344mm (34mm drop) 344mm (34mm drop) 344mm (34mm drop) 344mm (34mm drop)
Chainstay Length 425mm 425mm 425mm 425mm
Wheelbase 1158.92mm 1186mm 1213mm 1252mm
Standover 677.41mm 683.97mm 694.16mm 697.39mm
Reach 430mm 455mm 480mm 515mm
Stack 602.6mm 607.15mm 611.7mm 616.25mm
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details Series 3 6061 aluminum
Rear Travel 125mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe Select R, DebonAir air sleeve, rebound adjustment, custom tune, 210x50mm
Fork RockShox Recon RL, Solo Air, compression and rebound adjustment, Fast Black uppers, Maxle Stealth, 42mm offset
Fork Travel 130mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset FSA No. 57E, semi-sealed cartridge bearings
Handlebar Marin Mini-Riser, 6061 double-butted aluminum, 780mm width, 28mm rise, 5° upsweep, 9° backsweep
Stem Marin 3D forged alloy, 35mm length
Grips Marin single clamp lock-on
Brakes Shimano MT201 hydraulic, 180mm rotors
Brake Levers Shimano MT201 hydraulic
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed, long cage
Chainguide N/A
Cranks SRAM SX Eagle, PowerSpline, 170mm length (SM), 175mm length (MD/LG/XL)
Chainrings SRAM SX Eagle, 32 tooth, direct mount, narrow/wide, steel
Bottom Bracket SRAM PowerSpline 73mm BSA threaded
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM PG1210, 12-speed, 11-50 tooth
Rims Marin aluminum double wall, 29mm inner width, pinned joint, tubeless compatible, 32 hole
Hubs Forged alloy, Center Lock disc mounts, 32 hole, 110x15mm Boost front, 148x12mm Boost rear with quad-sealed bearings and standard freehub body
Spokes 14g stainless steel, black
Tires Vee Tire Co Flow Snap, Tackee compound, 72 TPI, tubeless compatible, 29" x 2.35"
Saddle Marin Speed Concept
Seatpost TranzX YSP23JL dropper, 1x remote
Drop: 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD/LG), 175mm (XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148x12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes (single)
Colors Gloss Red/Charcoal/Black
Warranty 5 years frame; 1 year components, paint and decals
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous MultiTrac suspension platform
Internal cable routing
Price $1,949.99
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