2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT
MARIN ALPINE TRAIL E2 REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
Lucky for our Bend, Oregon testers, the Marin Alpine Trail E2 showed up about three weeks before headed south for our 2021 eMTB Shootout. During that time, we were able to get the bike broken in, learn how it performed and yes, fall in love with this mulleted-beauty. The Marin Alpine Trail E2 is a solid bike that retails for $5,999 and rides hard. Once again, we split up bikes for our eMTB Shootout into two categories: Trail bikes have 150mm or less of rear wheel travel while Enduro category bikes have 152mm or more of rear travel. Even though the coil-sprung rear shock burly Fox 38 fork and aggressive geometry may have you thinking this is an enduro eMTB, it squared-up nicely against many other competitors in the Trail category and showed very well.
With 150mm of Multitrac rear suspension and 160mm of front travel, the 54-pound Marin Alpine Trail E2 is aimed at the more aggressive ebike rider without a doubt. Do not let that turn you off if you are not Matt Jones however as this bike is comfortable and capable enough all around that anyone looking for a trail-worth eMTB will be pleased. A 78-degree seat tube angle puts riders up front and powering down no matter how steep the climb is. Up front a slack 63-degree head tube angle offers composure and stability on steep trails but will require a bit of work on slower speed and flatter trails, though not enough to be a disqualifier for those with mixed terrain.
Our size large Alpine Trail E2 sports a 485mm reach, 435mm chainstays and 1,264mm wheelbase. It is a long bike for sure, but it is stability and confidence on the high-speed descents make the trade off worth it for riders who love going downhill. It is on par with the Commencal Meta TR 29. If you are more of an XC rider, live in slightly flatter areas or have tons of tight technical terrain, something a bit shorter like the Fezzari Wire Peak could be up your alley.
For our test we received the Alpine Trail E2 model, however more cost-conscious riders will be happy to know a $4,599 E1 model is available with some more affordable components. For the most part there are some solid spec choices on the E2, however we would like to see a couple upgrades for the $5,999 price tag. Namely the brake pads and rear shock. We know the pads are a minor critique, but really do affect the bike’s stopping power as this is an insanely capable descender. Marin chose to spec a resin pad for noise reduction on their Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes, but we would gladly sacrifice for a metallic pad. Our next wish is for a rear shock with some adjustability. Overall, it is a very solid tune, and the bike performs great, but we would love to be able to make some tunes to high speed rebound and compression as terrain and locations change. The shock could use a little more liveliness in our opinion to make the bike slightly more playful and easier to pop off smaller features. But once again, for most riders, we believe this is a reasonable tune that will more than do the job.
When it comes to the Shimano STEPS EP8 system, the Marin Alpine Trail E2 packs a punch! Like all STEPS EP8 systems, the bike offers two profiles that are quickly changeable on the move. Marin chose to give the Alpine Trail two distinct profiles: one if a bit more “juiced up” than the stock Shimano spec and the other is aimed more for the adventure rider who may have some range anxiety. Essentially there is a full tilt boogie mode that will smoke all the other stock tuned bikes and a mellower tune for long days on the trail. This bike houses a 630Wh battery, which gets us to the top of our favorite downhills 1.5-3 times more than our 504Wh-equipped test bikes, depending on power modes.