Photos by Max Rhulen & Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic

The new Marin Rift Zone E2 a new is a new addition to Marin Bicycle’s eBike range, expanding from the Alpine Trail E-Enduro bike that impressed our crew so much in last year’s eMTB Shootout. By electrifying their recently released Rift Zone analogue trail bike with a Shimano EP8 motor, and bumping the travel up to 140mm to suspend the pair of 29” wheels, Marin hoped to create a bike that would be fast and fun both up and down the hill. We were excited to review Marin’s new Rift Zone E2 as part of our 2023 eMTB Shootout. It definitely proved to tick that “fun” box and then some. Keep reading to learn more about this new trail-ready electric mountain bike and get our impressions on how it performed.  

2023 EMTB SHOOTOUT SERIES – This bike was one of 13 that our staff thoroughly tested with absolute objectivity in mind. From different types of riders to terrain, our goal is to present the best and most honest information possible to help you make your best decision. Of course, we’d love to thank Fox Racing and Schwalbe Tires for being invaluable partners to this series and making it happen.


• 140mm MultiTrac Suspension
• 29” Wheels
• Shimano EP8 Motor
• 630Wh Battery
• Fixed Geometry
• HTA 65
• STA 77 (effective)
• REACH 485 (Large)

Price: $4,499 (Rift Zone E) – $6,299 (Rift Zone E2 – Tested)
Website: Marinbikes.com


The Marin Rift Zone E is a trail eMTB, packing 140mm of travel on both ends and a pair of 29” wheels. Marin’s goals with the electric Rift Zone were to build an affordable eBike bike that packed capability for going fast without sacrificing too much of the fun-loving Rift Zone trail bike DNA. The Rift Zone E uses Marin’s Series 4 aluminum frame construction, with the same frame and 140mm travel MultiTrac linkage driven single pivot suspension system across the range.  

Marin tweaks the kinematics of the MultiTrac system to tailor its performance on each platform. In the case of the Rift Zone E, Marin wanted to make it easy to tune, ensure it struck a good balance between efficient pedaling and bump absorption, and would give a stable chassis under braking. Marin carried over most features from their Rift Zone analogue bike to ensure the electric version gets the same level of finish. Cable routing is all internal through the frame, there are bump stops on the downtube to prevent frame or cable damage in a crash, a ribbed chainstay protector and room inside the front triangle for a large water bottle. 

Marin Rift Zone E2 Profile Shot


The Shimano EP801 motor is the latest version of one of the most common on the market – the Shimano STEPS EP8 – which was featured on seven of our 13 bikes in this year’s eBike shootout. Aside from some minor updates, such as a wider cadence sweet-spot and the Fine Tune mode in the E-TUBE app, they can be considered the same.  If you go for one of the cheaper spec levels in the Rift Zone E lineup, the Shimano STEPS EP6 motor you’ll receive packs the same 85Nm of torque as the EP8, and ECO, TRAIL and BOOST modes with two profiles customizable with the E-TUBE PROJECT app. The only major difference to the riders is the increased weight of the EP6 motor, which weighs in at 6.6lbs (3kg) compared to the EP8/801 which tips the scales at 5.7lbs (2.6kg). The integrated battery is removable from the downtube quickly and easily, letting customers purchase a second battery to make quick swaps to prolong their ride. 

Marin opted to use the new SC-EN600 color display across all models, which has a slightly more “retro” appearance and displays battery life in smaller increments, which we liked. The remote is the new SW-EN600-L, which features an integrated power button, but unfortunately represents a slight step back in ergonomics compared with the typical 2-button switch from EP8 systems. The buttons are smaller and for some riders, harder to find without looking.  

Marin Rift Zone E2 Geo Sheet

The Marin Rift Zone geometry is well suited to trail eMTB riding on paper, and proved to offer a good balance of handling traits on the trail.


The Rift Zone E shares a lot of the geometry concepts from the analog Marin Rift Zone trail bike. There’s a 65-degree head tube angle; 77-degree effective seat tube angle; 32mm BB drop and 440mm chainstays across the S-XL size range. The size large tested had a 485mm reach, fairly low 625mm stack, and wheelbase totaling 1,246mm.


Marin’s Rift Zone E is being launched in three build specs: the $4,499 E; $4,899 E1, and the $6,299 E2 reviewed here. The E1 and E2 are both equipped with a 630Wh battery and CushCore tire inserts, whereas the E gets a 504Wh battery. Our E2 spec was equipped with a solid parts spec that was sensibly chosen to add value in areas that make a notable difference to the ride quality. The suspension package is Fox’s Performance Elite 36 140mm travel fork and Float X Performance Elite shock. There’s a Shimano XT 11-speed Linkglide drivetrain, and TRP DH-R EVO brakes as standard (though our build was sadly equipped with Shimano SLX). The wheelset is a Marin Double-wall aluminum rim laced to Shimano hubs, the cockpit and saddle are Marin branded, and there’s a X-Fusion Manic dropper post in size-specific lengths with the large receiving a short 150mm dropper.

As standard, the Marin Rift Zone E2 is equipped with a pair of 2.5″ Vee Tire Co. Attack HPL tires, but for the fifth shootout running, we equipped all test bikes with a set of control tires from Schwalbe to ensure dependable and consistent performance across the fleet. We opted for the Magic Mary Soft Super Gravity 2.4” up front and the Big Betty Soft Super Gravity 2.4” in the rear. With this tire spec and the Cushcore inserts, the large sized Rift Zone E2 tipped the scales at 55.2lbs.

Marin Rift Zone Ski Jump


SETUP | Getting the Marin Rift Zone E2 setup was a breeze, thanks to an easily accessible shock and lack of any frills to complicate matters. Hitting 28-30% sag, we instantly felt comfortable to hit the trail and have some fun.

ELECTRONICS & INTEGRATION | The Rift Zone E2 integrates the Shimano drive system okay, but it’s not the cleanest finish we’ve seen in the shootout. The frame is a little chunky around the drive unit and the motor and battery cover stand out more than some, but it’s still much better than many bikes of the past and wouldn’t put us off. Especially since it’s several thousand dollars less than many bikes on test. The SW-EN600-L remote looks neat and we appreciated the integrated power button, but the ergonomics of the mode toggle buttons are a step backwards from the standard Shimano remote in some of our rider’s opinions. The new display looks a bit retro in styling, but works well and gives finer steps of battery life, which we preferred. The EP801 motor appeared to have a deeper, less irritating tone, which was appreciated.

Marin Rift Zone E2 Climbing

CLIMBING | Climbing the Marin Rift Zone E2 is very pleasant. Although the overall weight, as expected for more affordably-spec’d bikes, is high for its travel class, the climbing position places enough weight on the front wheel to prevent excessive lifting, and there’s a nice balance of efficiency and traction from the rear end that pleased the whole crew. The front chainring is the largest on test, which led to heavier testers commenting on the motor bogging down on the ultra-steep portions of climb, but it was manageable.

Marin Rift Zone E2

DESCENDING | The crew was unanimous in their enjoyment when descending on the Rift Zone E2, but to different degrees from rider to rider. Drew and Sean were both satisfied in the lively and playful feel of the Rift Zone overall, with Drew even saying in some instances it felt as active as the non-E version. Some other riders disagreed but after some discussion we attributed to the Cushcore tire inserts that come fitted to the Marin as standard. The damped trail feel and additional weight of these take a little trail feel out of the equation, and increase the energy required to accelerate and change the direction of the wheels, pushing the overall feel of the Rift Zone E2 towards the Enduro category. We agreed that while these inserts are absolutely excellent to prevent wheel damage, extend the life of your wheels and improve ride comfort, some riders will likely remove them from the wheels to increase the agility of the Marin trail eMTB and return it back towards its playbike roots. That said, it was impressive what the Rift Zone E2 stood up to, being thrown down some downhill bike worthy tracks and coming out the other side unscathed. No easy task for a 140mm eMTB with a 220lb tester at the helm.

FINISH AND VALUE | The Marin Rift Zone E2 was the cheapest bike on test, but the overall finish was reasonable, and the spec choices are smart enough to make all of the crew more than happy to ride it. Items like the TRP DH-R EVO brakes and adjustable Performance Elite suspension are a highlight, and choices like the 11-speed drivetrain to bring the price down are without much detriment to performance. At $6,299 the Rift Zone E2 is undoubtedly a solid buy, with little to nothing that would require replacement immediately to satisfy all but the most demanding of riders.

Marin Rift Zone E2 rock n roll

The Wolf’s Last Word

Marin’s new Rift Zone E2 is a very fun eBike, but the Cushcore tire inserts confuse the character slightly, pushing the feel towards the enduro category and encouraging the bike to be pushed harder than its travel can back up. Arguments could be made that while it may confuse some rider’s need to classify the bike, it’s an added value that many rider will enjoy as a way to prolong the life of their wheels and offer a more supple feeling ride. Aside from that though, it’s a very fun bike that all the testers enjoyed, and the value is there to behold.


The Marin Rift Zone E2 is a bike that’ll suit riders looking for a fun and capable rig, that goes up and down the hill equally well, if not as fast as some. It’s a great trail bike and one that’ll happily ride fairly rugged terrain aggressively but won’t suit riders looking for the absolute snappiest nor lightest trail eMTB. We think some riders could really tap into this bike by reducing weight and slapping at 150mm fork up front. Props to Marin for a pretty sweet all around electric mountain bike that is ready for anything.

Price: $6,299
Weight: 55.2lbs
Website: Marinbikes.com



Frame: Series 4 alloy | 140mm
Fork: Fox 36 29 Float Performance Elite | 140mm | e-bike tuned
Shock: Fox Float X Performance Elite | EVOL | Custom Tune 

Motor: Shimano EP801 | 85 Nm
Battery: Shimano BT-EN806 | 630Wh
Display: Shimano SC-EN600 

Brakes: TRP DH-R EVO | 203mm/203mm rotors
Bar: Marin Trail 7000 Alloy Bar | 35mm Clamp | 800mm Length | 20mm Rise
Stem: Marin CNC | 35mm Length
Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic | S: 125mm | M/L: 150mm | XL: 170mm
Saddle: Marin eMTB Saddle 

Hubs: Shimano HB-MT510B / MT-410B
Rims: Marin Aluminum Double Wall | 29mm Inner Rim Width
Front tire: Vee Tire Co. Attack HPL | 29×2.5″
Rear tire: Vee Tire Co. Attack HPL | 29×2.5″ 

Cassette: Shimano XT LG-600 LinkGlide | 11spd | 11-50T
Cranks: Shimano XT M8150 | 160mm | 38t
Shifter: Shimano Deore XT-M8130 |11spd 
Derailleur: Shimano DEORE XT-M8130 | 11spd 

Marin Rift Zone E2

We Dig

Well rounded handling
Performance for the price
Solid build spec choices
Cushcore adds capability
Supple suspension platform
Affordable price points

We Don’t

Cushcore detracts from playfulness
Shimano remote ergonomics


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