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.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review

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.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review
2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review

During our testing at home and the ten days’ worth of riding in the Greater Zion, Utah region, this bike made an impression and was always being fought over. Many of our testers initially thought it was going to be overkill for the longer trail days, but the steep seat tube angle, comfortable coil shock and peppy Shimano STEPS tune quickly changed minds. On some of the flatter trails with smaller features and lips, we would have liked to tune the rebound and compression a touch, but that was quickly forgotten once it got time to get serious.

As you can see in this photo, it is a bike that instills confidence and wants you to push harder. It is here where the shock tune disappears from thought and your only task is to point and shoot while grabbing the brakes as little as possible. This was Ryan’s first day aboard the Marin Alpine Trail E2 and he quickly felt comfortable enough to hit the famous Grafton Road Gap for the first time ever.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review

Yes, the bike does great in the air, but for riders who spend more time on the ground, it will perform equally well. It is slightly heavier than some at 54lbs but is built to take a beating. Riders who live in rough areas with root gardens and rock fields will be able to lean back and let this bike eat, it is what it does best. The wheelbase and slack head tube angle give this bike stability and traction that had us pushing hard on the descents and staying off the brakes while nuking downhill. On flatter, tighter trails, riders may notice the long numbers and have to put in some extra effort to snake around obstacles. Then again, those riders probably are not looking at a coil-sprung trail bike with a 160mm Fox 38.

2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

After the ten-day test period our riders ranked the Marin Alpine Trail E2 near the top of the field in the Trail eMTB category, putting it neck and neck with the Commencal Meta Power TR 29 as the best shredder and downhill-ready bike. Some riders preferred the Meta while others, myself included picked the Marin as their go-to big hitter trail eMTB. The Alpine Trail E2 is a stout, burly and purpose-built ebike and if your intentions are to ride hard, push the limits and charge rough and rowdy terrain, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bike, especially for under $6,000, even if it is by one dollar. Marin has done a great job with this bike and with a few upgrades down the road as you own the bike, it could be even better.

Price: $5,999
Weight: 54.1 lbs
Website: Marinbikes.com


Frame: Series 4 Alloy, 150mm
Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite | 160mm
Shock: Fox Float DHX2 Performance Elite

Motor: Shimano EP8 | 250 W, 85 Nm
Battery: Shimano BT-8036 | 630wh
Display: Shimano SC-E8000

Brakes: Shimano SLX 4-Piston | 203mm Rotors
Shifter: Shimano SLX 12-spd
Headset: FSA No 57
Handlebar: Deity Ridgeline | 800mm
Stem: Deity Copperhead
Saddle: Marin E-MTB Saddle
Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic | 150mm

Hubs: Shimano
Rims: Marin Aluminum Double Wall
Front tire: Schwalbe Magic Mary 29 x 2.6″
Rear tire: Schwalbe Big Betty 27.5 x 2.6″

Cranks: e13 e*Spec Plus Crank, 165mm 38t
Chain Guide: e13 Plus
Shimano SLX M7100, 12-spd, 10-51T
Derailleur: Shimano XT 8100 12-spd, SGS
Chain: KMC E12S

2021 eMTB Shootout: Marin Alpine Trail E2 Review

We Dig

Price to performance
Hard charger
Ready for anything
Goes big and fast!

We Don’t

Would like a shock with adjustability
Brake pad material


Catalyst Distribution
Schwalbe Tires
Smith Optics


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