Marin Hawk Hill 1 Review




Photos by Dusten Ryen

Shootout Sponsored By:
ZOIC Clothing & USWE Sports

Many of the bikes we tested in our Sub-$2,000 Budget Bike Shootout left impressions on us, but we pretty much all agreed the Mark Hawk Hill 1 has the best performance to budget ratio. For under $1,600 you can get a bike that shreds with a decent spec, capable geometry and an impressively supple suspension feel. In fact, Sourpatch liked this bike so much that if he had $2,000 to spend on a bike, this would be his purchase, with a dropper post upgrade, or he’d even look at the Hawk Hill 2 which comes in at $1,949, still under our $2,000 price point and has a better component spec and dropper post.

Marin markets the Hawk Hill series of bikes as being one of their more playful trail bikes. Made from Marin’s Series 3 Aluminum, the Hawk Hill frame sports 120mm of rear suspension travel. The Hawk Hill employs MultiTrac Suspension Technology, MultiTrac has been fine-tuned to offer a balanced ride, capable of handling big hits with an efficient pedaling platform. The MultiTrac Suspension design uses a rocker link to provide a leverage ratio that is progressive for the rear shock for small bump sensitivity while also giving the feeling of a long travel bike on large drops. It sounds like a lot of marketing, but Marin delivered on the Hawk Hill as all of our testers felt that it handled rocky and chundery terrain at the top of the pack.

Side view of the Marin Hawk Hill 1

Our Hawk Hill 1 retails for the low price of $1,599 and has a capable yet lackluster spec compared to some of the other bikes in our shootout. The Hawk Hill 1 has a 130mm Rock Shox Recon RL up front paired with an X-Fusion O2 Pro R shock, with a custom tune. Most of the components spec’d on the Hawk Hill 1 are in-house, branded parts except for the Shimano MT201 brakes and drivetrain. Speaking of, the drivetrain takes a step back in time featuring a 10-speed, yes ten, Shimano Deore Derailleur shifting gears on a SunRace 11-46t, 10-speed cassette. It is worth noting that our testers all agreed they’d rather have a 10-speed bike that performs like the Marin than a 12-speed bike that sucks to ride.

Also helping keep the Marin Hawk Hill 1’s price down is the lack of a dropper post. Thankfully a quick release seatpost clamp makes it easy to adjust post height on the trail. Wow have we gotten spoiled in the last few years or what!? You would have never guessed we spent the first 15 years of our bike riding careers without a dropper post. As we said above, if you’ve got a few extra bucks, stepping up to the Hawk Hill 2 really takes the ride to another level with a dropper post, better suspension and a 12-speed drivetrain for an additional $350.

Marin Hawk Hill 1 Geo
Marin Hawk Hill 1 rider in the air

We were very excited to get some time on the Marin Hawk Hill 1. We’ve seen countless videos of Marin athletes absolutely shredding their Hawk Hills on everything from loam tracks to mega-stylish jump lines. It was awesome to see the bike in person and test it out for ourselves, even if the spec was a whole lot cheaper than what the pros ride.

Right off the bat, our testers were drawn to the Hawk Hill 1. It’s got a traditional look and just looks solid. Once on the trail the looks drift away and the suspension performance takes the lead. Marin did a good job of working with X-Fusion on the shock tune as many other bikes in the roundup have the 02 Pro and none of them felt as good. Off the top, the Marin is supple and sensitive yet it handles bigger hits well. This bike was one of our favorites to charge through rock gardens or over rough rooty sections of trail.

The geometry is capable and while it’s not a long and low enduro machine, it will certainly handle whatever you put in its path. The 66.5-degree head tube angle is plenty slack and if you upgrade to a 140mm fork in the future another half a degree will make it even more composed and stable. The 74.3-degree seat tube angle worked fine for getting us up the trail and we didn’t really complain a ton about missing out on the extra gears here in Bend. If we still lived in Southern California, we may have been cursing that small cassette on longer, steep climbs, but as it sits now, not a major deal breaker for our terrain.

Rider downhill on the Marin Hawk Hill 1

The Wolf’s Last Word

Overall the Marin Hawk Hill 1 is a solid bike at a pretty solid price. We would love to see a dropper post on the bike but understand it’s right at the price point where it may not make sense for the brand to spec one. A $350 upgrade will get riders on the Hawk Hill 2, which is a helluva deal and will certainly ride even better than the 1.

Standout features of the Hawk Hill include a supple and sensitive suspension feel that remains composed on rowdy terrain, crowd-pleasing geometry and a great platform to upgrade over time. We’d certainly recommend the Hawk Hill to riders looking to get into mountain biking as a sport but who don’t want to pay almost $2,000 to do so. It’s got a stout frame, rides very well and will be a long-lasting bike that will take upgrades well as you progress as a rider.

Price: $1,599.99


Frame: 6061 Aluminum / 120mm
Fork: RockShox Recon RL Solo Air / 130mm
Shock: X-Fusion O2 Pro R, Custom Tune

Brakes: Shimano MT201
Handlebar: Marin Mini-Riser, 780mm
Stem: Marin 3D Forged Alloy
Shifter: Shimano Deore 1×10-Speed
Seatpost: Marin Alloy
Saddle: Marin Speed Concept

Wheels: Marin Double Wall Alloy
Tires: Vee Tire Crown Gem 27.5×2.3

Cassette: SunRace 10-Speed, 11-46T
Cranks: Marin Forged Alloy 1×10, 32t
Derailleur: Shimano Deore Shadow Plus 10-spd

Marin Hawk Hill 1 on trail

We Dig

Suspension Feel
Supple and Composed
Capable Geometry
Looks Good
Upgrades Will Be Well Received

We Don’t

Would Like a Dropper Post


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