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2021 Marin Alpine Trail E 2 E-Bike

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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5 Stars - Marin Alpine Trail E2

When price, performance and Marin’s dealer network are considered, we'd definitely buy this bike.

Rating: Vital Review
5 Stars - Marin Alpine Trail E2

Should we just cut to the chase? If you’re looking for a solid, playful eMTB that won’t break the bank (well by e-bike standards of course), Marin’s Alpine Trail E2, should be at the very top of your shopping list. At $6,299, the alloy-framed, mixed-wheel-size E2 features Shimano’s EP8 drive system, FOX 38 Performance Elite fork with 160mm of travel, DHX2 Performance Elite coil shock for 150mm of travel out back, and Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain paired with powerful SLX 4-piston disc brakes. The 630wh battery isn’t the smallest or the biggest, but finds a nice balance of range and weight to get the most out of that 85nm motor.

2021 Marin Alpine Trail E2 Highlights

  • Series 4 Alloy frame
  • 160mm front travel, 150mm rear travel
  • Mixed wheel size / 29 front, 27.5 rear
  • Marin Multitrac suspension platform
  • Shimano STEPS EP8 system and removable 630Wh battery
  • Fox 38/Float DHX2 Performance Elite suspension
  • Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain w/10-51t cassette
  • Shimano SLX 4-piston disc brakes
  • Deity Ridgeline bar/Copperhead stem
  • Maxxis 29 x 2.5 Assegai front tire, Minion DHR II 27.5 x 2.8 rear tire
  • Sizes S, M (tested), L, XL
  • Price: $6,299

Strengths

  • Price
  • Confidence at speed
  • Playful nature
  • No-frills design
  • Geometry
  • Coil shock
  • Dealer support

Weaknesses

  • Fork bump stops may need re-gluing
  • Heavier casing tires recommended for high-level riders


We had a few different testers spend time on the Alpine Trail E2 over the last few months with conditions from snow, to wet, to bone dry. This bike was neglectfully maintained with only a quick rinse and a chain lube or two, and despite this treatment, the E2 handled everything. The consensus from testers was that they would definitely consider buying this bike when price, performance and Marin’s dealer network are considered. Over that period we had plenty of friends asking us for e-bike recommendations and when we’d bring up the Marin as a top pick, the reaction was always like, “Really? Marin?” Our reply, "Yeah. Marin."

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Our medium was in the 53-pound range, so the E2 is not light. Its geometry, suspension and 27.5-inch rear wheel made the bike feel surprisingly nimble, however. A 465mm reach on our medium was roomy, and the 78-degree seat angle kept the front wheel in check on steep climbs, as the 435mm chainstay length felt a bit short in those extreme upward situations that can be so fun on an ebike. One tester who usually finds himself leaning toward a large-size bike said the medium was a perfect fit.

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We’ve experienced Shimano’s EP8 drive system on a variety of bikes and are pleased with the power and adjustability of the system. With two different fully customizable profiles available through Shimano’s E Tube app, determining battery life and power output is easy. In Profile 1, we keep things efficient with longer-lasting battery life, which means more work on the rider’s end. We opt for more power assist in Profile 2, cranking up the settings for Trail and Boost modes. And, yes, the token *clack* noise from the EP8 motor was present, but it’s something we’ve learned to live with.

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Simplicity is a good thing.

On the descents, the 63-degree head angle and 29-inch front wheel provided big-hit confidence. The E2’s 150 and 160mm of travel did not feel limiting in faster scenarios compared to longer-travel bikes we've tested. Marin’s Multi-Trac suspension platform is a linkage-driven single-pivot design. There are no flipchips or geometry adjustments, and that’s fine with us. Simplicity is a good thing. The suspension layout and 150mm travel helped the bike stay lively in jumpier park situations, and thanks to that DHX2 coil, the bike remained predictable in the rough throughout the test.

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Traction was high with the 29 x 2.5-inch Maxxis Assegai doing its job well up front, and the high-volume 27.5 x 2.8-inch DHR II providing that moto-like feel out back. Spec’d in EXO+, the tires help keep the weight down a bit, but we found that when we put a DoubleDown casing Assegai up front, there was less squirm through harder compressions, and we’d recommend upgrading to beefier tires if you’ll find yourself boosting jumps and really pushing the bike in rougher terrain on a regular basis.

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The Deity cockpit is a nice touch and Marin’s house-brand wheels aren’t flashy, but throughout the test, they held their own, regardless of conditions and lack of care. You may be tired of hearing it, but we’re always going to praise Shimano’s SLX and Deore 4-piston brakes for their reliability and stopping power. Even with just 203mm rotors front and rear, stopping the hefty E2 was never a problem for our SLX brakes.

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The piece of the bike we would keep an eye on are the fork bump stops on the downtube. Like we said, this bike was not cared for, and the bumpers worked as advertised. Only when we washed the bike to pack it up at the end of our test, did we notice that dirt had compromised the adhesive on one of the bumpers. The bolt kept the bumper in place, but a new application of adhesive seemed necessary.

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The ride, the price and support make the Marin Alpine Trail E2 one our favorite e-MTBs of 2021.

At $6,299, Vital highly recommends the Marin Alpine Trail E2. It is a solid, no-frills machine from a long-established brand with local dealer support. Everything about the E2 is tried-and-true, and it has plenty of power and motor/battery customization options for versatile riding situations. We loved that it was spec’d with a coil shock, and the FOX suspension does everything it’s supposed to, keeping the bike composed at speed yet playful at the park. We’d opt for beefier tires to really push the E2, but outside of that, our criticisms are few and far between. The ride, the price and support make the Marin Alpine Trail E2 one our favorite e-MTBs of 2021.

www.marinbikes.com


About the Testers

Sean McClendon - Age: 35 // Years Riding: 21 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 190-pounds (86.2kg)

"Griz" is a battered veteran of MTB gravity racing. Following a major crash during the 2010 USA National Championship Pro downhill race, he put in the hours and fought his way back to health and the fun that is two wheels. Griz has ridden for a number of the USA's top teams throughout his racing career, testing prototype frames and components along the way. Currently managing US Dealer sales and the Fresh Blood amateur development team at DEITY Components, he remains motivated by the mantra "whips don't lie." You'll often find him perfecting his high-flying sideways aerial maneuvers while living the #pinelife in Idaho.

Brad Howell- Age: 41 // Years Riding: 26 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was large, and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages and become friends with some of the sport’s biggest talents, Brad has a broad perspective of what bikes can do and what it means to be a good rider. The past few years Brad worked in the bike industry and got to see the man behind the curtain. These days, though, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.


Specifications

Product Marin Alpine Trail E 2 E-Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM, MD, LG, XL View Geometry
Size SM MD LG XL
Top Tube Length 575mm 597mm 619mm 641mm
Head Tube Angle 63° 63° 63° 63°
Head Tube Length 100mm 110mm 120mm 130mm
Seat Tube Angle 78° 78° 78° 78°
Seat Tube Length 390mm 400mm 425mm 430mm
Bottom Bracket Height 340.5mm (28mm drop) 340.5mm (28mm drop) 340.5mm (28mm drop) 340.5mm (28mm drop)
Chainstay Length 435mm 435mm 435mm 435mm
Wheelbase 1215mm 1239mm 1264mm 1288mm
Standover 681.6mm 681.4mm 686.8mm 689.8mm
Reach 445mm 465mm 485mm 505mm
Stack 613mm 622mm 631mm 640mm
* Additional Info Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
Wheel Size 27.5+, 29", Other (Mullet)
E-Bike Class Class 1: Pedal Assist (Pedelecs)
Motor Shimano STEPS EP8, 250W, 85Nm max torque
Battery Shimano STEPS E8036, internal
Battery Capacity 630 Wh
Display/Remote Shimano STEPS E8000
Modes Boost, Trail, Eco, Walk Assist
Max Speed with Assist 20 mph (32 km/h)
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details Series 4 alloy, molded chainstay and down tube protection
Rear Travel 150mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Performance Elite, low-speed compression adjust, rebound adjust, trunnion mount, 205mm x 65mm
Spring rates: 350lbs (SM/MD), 450lbs (LG/XL)
Fork FOX FLOAT 38 Performance Elite, 44mm offset, integrated FOX fender
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset FSA No.57, semi-sealed cartridge bearings
Handlebar Deity Ridgeline, 800mm width, 35mm clamp diameter
Stem Deity Copperhead, 35mm length, 35mm bar clamp
Grips Marin, single lock-on
Brakes Shimano SLX M7120, 4-piston, 203mm CENTER LOCK rotors
Brake Levers Shimano SLX M7120, I-SPEC EV clamps
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano SLX M7100, 12-speed
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT M8100, 12-speed, SGS Cage
Chainguide e*thirteen Plus upper slider
Cranks e*thirteen e*Spec Plus, 165mm length
Chainrings e*thirteen e*Spec, direct mount, 38 tooth
Pedals Marin MTB, plastic platform
Chain KMC E12S, 12-speed
Cassette Shimano SLX M7100, 12-speed, 10-51 tooth
Rims Marin aluminum double wall, pinned joint, 32mm inner width (front), 38mm inner width (rear), tubeless compatible
Hubs Front: forged alloy, 15x110mm Boost
Rear: Shimano MT510B, 12x148mm Boost, MICRO SPLINE driver
Spokes Stainless steel, 14g
Tires Front: Maxxis Assegai, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR, 29" x 2.5"
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR, 27.5" x 2.8"
Saddle Marin E-MTB
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic dropper
Drop: 125mm (SM), 150mm Travel (MD/LG), 170mm (XL)
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12x148mm Boost
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts One inside front triangle
Colors Grey/Black
Warranty 5 years frame; 1 year components, paint and decals
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous • MultiTrac suspension design
• Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Internal cable routing
• Integrated on-switch, charging port, and speed sensor
• Includes Shimano EC-E6002 battery charger
• Photos show E1 build
Price $6,299
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