Product UpdateTaking it to the Streets
Bicycles built for commuting have a special place in our hearts here at Marin. There’s a very deep connection between a dedicated commuter and their bicycle. Not only is the bike a vehicle to get you between point A and point B, but a good commute bike can become an intimate extension of the rider themselves. The usability, dependability, comfort, and joy of ride are crucial to forge this bond. Without each part on the bike working to create this synergy a bike will either be regularly cursed, or worst of all go unused.
As a company we have a long history making bikes for people to commute on. I won’t pretend to know the exact genesis of the hybrid, but what I do know is that Marin was one of the first bike companies to really dial in a solid commute bike.
Back in the early days, these bikes were known as hybrids, and they were just that. A mix between touring bikes and mountain bikes, hybrids were where you could get the reliability and upright comfort of a mountain bike, but the efficiency of a 700c wheel and a narrower, lower rolling resistance tire of a touring bike. In some cities these hybrids caught on and became the most common bikes you would see on the road, but for the most part these practical machines were overshadowed by the popularity and allure of the fashionable mountain bike. For years many riders thought a mountain bike would offer them greater stability and durability than a hybrid, and especially an anemic looking road bike. Low-knob or slick 26” tires were selling like hotcakes, and people were happy to push a heavier and less efficient beast around, not knowing the difference.
During this time many companies pushed their hybrids the way of the comfort bike with many heavy, squishy, and comfy features, but a generally heavy and slow ride attitude. At a similar time, many people started to put flat bars on road bikes to get away from the awkward old geometries and still maintain the speed and ease of riding longer distances.
Then, with some advances in technology and a gradual perception shift, shops and riders began to look back at the 700c wheeled bikes as a viable means of transportation. Lightweight bikes with rigid forks and durable drivetrains began to make a lot of sense again in cities as the roadways became more friendly and paths showed up on the sides of the roads, and bike companies started to make bikes that were meant for the day in and day out abuse commuting can dish out.
That mix between the original hybrid and the flat bar road bike bred a new class of bike we know within Marin Bikes today as a commuter.
One of the Urban Commute bikes Marin makes that I always have had my eye on was the Muirwoods. The steel frame, solid 8-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and overall rough and tumble look really spoke to me. If Batman had a commute bike, I imagine this would be it. So, shortly after starting at Marin when I was offered the chance to jump on one of these bad boys and take a trip into the hectic environment of commuting in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance.
Coming from the MTB side of riding I tend to not be very nice to my bike while I go through cities. I’ve always loved the parallels between mountain biking and commuting, and get the same level of excitement dodging cars, sprinting between lights, and hopping curbs that I do on the trail. I must admit, I was not let down in any way with the Muirwoods. It rips! Everything that I could dish out the bike took and wanted more, and the speed was really impressive. I’m also fond of changing my bike up depending on the time of year, and what I need it for this month or even this ride. If you wanted to you could easily throw fenders on the Muiwoods to slog it out in the bad weather, and add a rack also if you felt like bringing some things along with you, or even change your tire volume if you have a bit more loose terrain on your commute. You can even toss on a couple of water bottle cages if you have a long enough commute to need a drink, or if you decide it’s a cocktail kind of ride. As you may be able to tell, I geek out over the possibilities the platform offers.
As a bike guy, I highly recommend throwing a leg over a Muirwoods and taking it out for a romp. But only do so if you’re ready to have another bike in your quiver. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to say no when it begs you to go out for more and more rides. And you can expect us to keep on making this bike even better, and adding some other great commuter bikes to our line. We hope you develop as much love for commuting as we have here, and we’re happy to be your gateway bike!