Home > Gear > Marin Four Corners Review

Marin Four Corners Review

Andy at Bryson City Bicycles has completed the build on Raquel’s new touring bike.  Andy was very patient with all our little quirky requests.  Thanks Andy.

Marin Bikes of California has produced a beautiful touring bike; the Four Corners.  The website refers to the color as Forest Green but the photograph on the Marin site fails to convey the truly striking Metallic Green.  The frame is made from solid 4130 Cromoly and the top and down tubes are shaped.  It comes with cantilever brakes, but both the frame and hubs are thoughtfully compatible for disc brakes.  Equipped with rack and fender bosses in all the right places and, although useless for a water bottle on the extra-small frame, a third water bottle mount (but a good place to mount a pump or carry a small fuel bottle).

As delivered, the standard bar-end shifters were swapped for the STIs on my Sequoia (my wife likes STIs and I just dig bar end shifters).  Marin wisely sends the bike with a low-end WTB saddle (knowing most riders will mount their preferred saddle) and spent the extra on a great set of 700x35c Vittoria Randonneurs. 

We’ll do a more through review on handling and durability after Raquel has had a chance to put a few thousand miles on it, but she says it rode great on her first test run out of the bike shop.

Thanks for reading, Jack

  1. Alan
    April 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Hi, I am considering this bike – and I would love any drawbacks or positives that you have found with it so far? Yours is the only review out there it seems, and I’d love an update or a personal statement about how it is holding up so far. The main reason I’m considering is that it is roughly 300$ less in cost that a comparable LHT locally, at least.

    Thanks again for thoughts.

  2. The Velo Hobo
    April 11, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Hi Alan, we’re just back from a short (1 week) credit card tour. The bike preformed well and my wife oves the way the bike handled. The only negative we’ve noticed so far, and this is a small one, is one braz-on was just slightly off center…no big deal. This bike is a bit more compact than the LHT (shorter chain stay I believe). Great bike.

  3. MrBubble
    May 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the post about the Marin Four Corners. I got this bike used a month ago and have been enjoying its performance although I only have my Trek 7.7 that was stolen and my new Bianchi Imola that I haven’t ridden much to compare it to. I am using Nashbar panniers and have not experienced any problem with my size 11 feet rubbing against them, even with the shorter chain stays than on other touring bikes. [This concern and others, was brought up on a biking forum] I am a clydesdale at 250 pounds so I am happy about the steel, the 36 spokes and the 35mm tires. I thought that I wouldn’t like the bar end shifters but it turns out that I do enjoy the physicality of shifting. I feel as though I am driving a big rig (in a good way).

    I have not changed the WTB saddle yet. I only put on 10 miles each morning [I’ve done the 20 all the way to work only once so far], but my azz is still killing me. Any suggestions on a better one/how to choose a better one? I probably should change the cantilever brakes to disc because my weight and high speeds (downhill) make it tough to stop quickly.

  4. The Velo Hobo
    May 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I like Brooks myself, but it is a leap of faith…they need some break-in time. Also, if you’re a tall lanky chap you may also need a new seat stem (like the nitto) to adjust for the short rails on the Brooks. Most people who have them swear by them. I ride nothing else.

    My wife has a Fizik saddle and she loves it. The great thing about these saddles is the bike shops that carries them have test saddles you can try out before buying. If your bike shop is willing to work with you, they may have a few different types of saddles around the shop to try out.

    If you have a saddle on the other bike you really like, you might try a quick release on the seat post and swap them out as needed. I’ve done this before and it’s a good way to save some cash. You can mark a line on the seat post where you like the seat to ride on each bike for quick set up.

    Cantilevers can be really really noisey when they get damp too. I have them on my Surly and they will wake the dead when the get the least bit wet.

    Thanks for the comment, Jack

  5. Marcin
    August 3, 2011 at 10:48 am


    Im wondering if you can guys tell something about the price this four corners marin?

    can you?

  6. MrBubble
    August 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I read somewhere that it was $1000 new. I got mine for $500 used. As an update to my experiences with the bike, I’ve put about 1200 miles on the bike. I broke my first two spokes at the same time after 300 miles on the non-drive train side while grinding up a hill, out of the saddle. Broke the next one 100 miles later. Because, I don’t own a car and need to get to work, I got the wheel re-built with DT Swiss spokes (not sure what type) and haven’t had a problem since.

    My feet do occasionally rub against the panniers (heel-strike) unless they are far back which should hurt the stability of the bike. If you are serious tourer, you may want a “real” touring bike with a longer wheel-base through longer chain stays (corrections welcome if appropriate).

    The cantilever brakes are still weak, but seem better since we are out of the rainy season and I have dropped 15 pounds.

    Haven’t gotten a front rack, but I am shopping around for one. Still have the pedal cages on, but I am not sure how I feel about them. I’ll check but in in another thousand miles.


  7. Flatliner
    August 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Hi everyone. I purchased a Marin Four Corners in May 2011 from Bike Fitters in Ponte Vedra, FL. The turn around time from Marin was about a week. It was the first one the local bike shop had sold. The only change I made was to put my brooks saddle on it and a rear rack. Took it on a long 4 day, 235 mile trip almost immediately and am riding about 150 weekly. Absolutely love the bike. Toured with Lezyne panniers and the bike handled the extra weight beautifully. No problem with heal strikes against the loaded panniers. I’m a size 10 and my frame is a 58. End shifters took some getting used to but I love them now. Not sure if I am going to disc, tightened up the current brakes with the load I carried and they did just fine. The bike is very, very comfortable to ride.

    I own two other Marins – a Pioneer and a San Rafael. When I decided to upgrade to a touring bike, I noticed the Four Corners. I’ve ridden the Marins hard over the past 5 years or so and am very comfortable with them and I have found them to be very dependable. So the purchase of the Four Corners was an easy one. Like the other two, I am 100 % satisfied with it so far after nearly 1000 miles.

    I’m down in the flatlands of Florida, so I don’t have any hill experience with the bike yet but I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs vertically. For the price (approx $1000) it seems to me like a great, entry level touring bike. I just have no negative comments I can think of so far. Hope this helps and safe cycling….

  8. The Velo Hobo
    August 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the comment. My wife loves hers as well. The only thing we found wrong with the bike was a slightly off center real rack mount…no big deal. Jack

  9. MrBubble
    August 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Have you guys found a good front rack? The Axiom rear rack that it came with it pretty beefy, which is good. I only had the “heel strike” problem one time and it was probably user error. And when I complain about the canti brakes, it’s probably because me + bike + panniers is > 300 lbs. YMMV.

  10. The Velo Hobo
    August 19, 2011 at 6:24 am

    We have a set of Axiom front racks we use on another bike (a Cannondale MNT bike). They’re so so. We’ve been packing UL the past several years and really don’t have a need for front racks. The Axiom rear rack is good, but like you say, is beefy. It maybe a little too beefy for our taste. We may upgrade later to something lighter. Of course I’m talking like it’s my bike…it’s my wifes’. Cheers, Jack

  11. martin
    October 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Just a technical question: what tyre sizes does the frame accept? The Marin website says it comes with 700×35 tyres, do larger ones like 700×40 or 700×42 fit? With mudguard?

  12. MrBubble
    October 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I don’t know the definitive answer, but I just went out and checked. There seems to be nothing to preclude one swapping out the stock 35s with 40s or 42s. There is a lot of clearance between the the 35s and the frame. Same with my fenders/mudguards. Plenty o’ room.

  13. The Velo Hobo
    October 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Same here, ther seems to be enough room to go with a little larger tire. Alot would depend on the brand of tire and fender you intend to use.

  14. Polyhead
    May 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Just got mine last week, and I’m not very impressed. First of all, the cockpit is too small for the height of the frame. The geometry isn’t right for a touring bike. the under frame cable mounting sucks. Especially so when mounting the rear fender which will not mount directly to the frame without hitting the front derailer. A lengthy spacer must be made.

    The frame is also far too heavy. Far heavier than expected. Tear drop shaped tubing while smart in aluminum is just dumb in steel. This thing weighs far more than my gary fisher hybrid.

    The components that came on the bike were terrible. For $1100 they could have done better than the lowest end tektro levers and those stupid bar end shifters. That kind of money I expected shimano shifter/brake lever combo. The rim set is ok but the tires that it comes with are way too big. 700×35? Screw that, 700×28, no bigger. The tires it comes with are only suited for grandmas grocery bike. The bars are way to narrow for anyone that is actually 6ft tall. they should have fitted wider bars on the large size frame. The stock crank set is the right lenght, at 175 mm but they are the worst of the worst of the shimano line. For the money it should have at least had deore hollow tech cranks.

    • March 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      I find your opinions on tire sizes…interesting. I run 700×35 on my LHT and would go larger if possible. I didn’t realize that actually turns my touring bike into “grandma(‘)s grocery bike”.

  15. The Velo Hobo
    May 19, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for the honest review. My wife is 5’2″ and it fits her well. I do agree that mounting the rear rack and fenders took some finagling (one braze on was off center). I swapped out the shifters with the Shimanos from my Sequoia ( I love bar-end shifters- she refuses to ride with them. So it was a good trade).

    I appreciate your candor, Jack

  16. Hippothesis
    November 21, 2012 at 12:13 am

    How did you mount the rear fender? I recently got one of these bikes and am now having trouble becuase the rear tire is reaaally close to the front derailleur. Polyhead mentioned spacers, but i dont know what he’s talking about. The bike rides great, but the norcal rainy season is beginning and i want a permanent fender, not some flimsy plastic clamp mount.

    • The Velo Hobo
      November 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      sorry I did’nt get back sooner, we were out touring! The fender is a tight squeeze and took a lot of Cajoling to get it in there. this is particularly true of the small size frame on my wifes bike. I think I took a hacksaw blaed and trimed some of the fender away.

      • Hippothesis
        November 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Could you post a picture showing how it’s mounted?

  17. March 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I just noticed that REI outlet has the Four Corners in stock for $879. (Unfortunately, the 20% off member coupon going on now does not apply.) Only larger sizes (56, 58, 62) remain, though.

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