marin eldridge grade 1 mountain bike review

As an avid mountain biker, I recently had the opportunity to test the Marin Eldridge Grade 1 MTB. This bike promises to deliver quality and performance for beginners and recreational riders alike.

In this review, I'll dive into the specifics of this bike. I'll examine everything from its frame quality and suspension capabilities to its overall value for money.

My hands-on experience with the Eldridge Grade 1 on various terrains will give you an insider's look. This will help you understand what this bike has to offer and whether it's the right choice for your mountain biking adventures.

Review of: Marin Eldridge Grade 1

Uses: Mountain Bike

We Like

positive points  Affordable at around $550

positive points  Lightweight Aluminum Frame

positive points  29" Wheels for trails

positive points  Shimano Altus Drivetrain

We Don't Like

negative points  Entry-Level Fork

negative points  No Tapered Steerer

negative points  Missing Dropper Post

negative points  Basic Pedals/Tires

negative points  Spring Fork is Not optimized for all rider weights

Marin History and Information

logo of marin bikes

photo credit  Photo by

Marin Bikes, established in 1986 in Sonoma County, California, has become synonymous with high-quality mountain biking and innovative designs.

Initially, the brand garnered attention with its first mountain bike, the Madrone Trail, in 1986, setting the tone for decades of performance-oriented mountain bikes.

By 1988, Marin had released one of the industry's first production titanium mountain bikes, the Marin Team Titanium. Showing their next level of quality and innovation in this industry.

Over the years, Marin Bikes has expanded its range, offering a variety of bicycles, including full-suspension and hardtail mountain bikes, road, street/urban, comfort bikes, and designs specifically for women and children. These products are generally placed in the mid to high end of each market segment.

In the late 1990s, the company, in collaboration with British engineer Jon Whyte, introduced significant innovations in full-suspension mountain bikes, such as the single-pivot rear suspension. These developments have maintained their popularity, even as they evolved from their original concepts.

Marin Bikes has also been a leader in introducing new categories to the market. Located near San Francisco, an urban cycling hotbed, Marin was at the forefront of the new hybrid category, introducing some of the industry's first models.

This expansion broadened the brand's appeal to a new segment of riders. A notable achievement was the 1993 Titanium FRS, a pioneering full-suspension design, which Jurgen Beneke used to win a world championship.

In 2012, the company was sold to a European investment firm but continued to operate independently in Marin County, under the leadership of new CEO Matt VanEnkevort.

marin grade 1 mountain bike

Marin Eldridge Grade 1 Review

  • Affordable at around $550
  • Lightweight Aluminum Frame
  • 29" Wheels for trails
  • Shimano Altus Drivetrain
  • Entry-Level Fork
  • No Tapered Steerer
  • Missing Dropper Post
  • Basic Pedals/Tires
  • Spring Fork is Not optimized for all rider weights

photo credit  Photo by Hit00r

The Marin Eldridge Grade 1 stands out as an entry-level hardtail mountain bike, priced at approximately $550. It features a Series 1 6061 aluminum frame, 27.5" wheel size, and is available in S, M, and L sizes.

The bike is fitted with SR Suntour XCM HLO Disc suspension, providing 120mm of travel, and a Shimano Altus 2x9 drivetrain for a range of gearing options

Performance on Trails

The Eldridge Grade 1 is tailored for recreational riders aiming to explore varied terrains. Its trail-capable suspension forks and all-conditions disc brakes are key for handling rougher paths.

However, the bike's front suspension fork, equipped with two plastic bushings, is less durable over rocky or rooty terrain. The spring-loaded system, geared towards riders around 185 lbs, and the absence of adjustable rebound damping, may limit performance on more challenging trails.

Design and Components

marin grade one u-brakes

photo credit  Photo by Hit00r

This model features a modern trail geometry with 29" wheels, offering stability and ease of handling on fast-rolling terrains. The frame design includes a replaceable derailleur hanger and an integrated headset.

Components like durable double-wall rims, serviceable cassette freehubs, and proven Shimano drivetrains are designed for longevity. However, the absence of a tapered steerer could restrict future upgrades, and some components like the tires and pedals might need upgrading for more serious riders.

User Experience

As a beginner mountain bike, it's a suitable choice for those new to the sport or those seeking an affordable entry into mountain biking. Its size range accommodates a variety of riders, with a recommendation for medium or large frames for someone around 5'10".

However, some users might find the lack of features like a dropper post limiting, especially as they progress in skill and tackle more varied terrains.

Final Thoughts

The Marin Eldridge Grade 1 is a solid choice for beginners or recreational riders looking for an affordable introduction to mountain biking. Its design and components are geared towards durability and ease of maintenance. While it may not satisfy the demands of more advanced trails or experienced riders without some upgrades, it offers a good foundation for those starting their mountain biking journey.

drivetrain components of the marin grade 1 handlebars and steering

photo credit  Photo by Hit00r


  • Frame: Series 1 6061 Aluminum, 27.5” Wheels
  • Front Suspension: SR Suntour XCM HLO Disc, 120mm
  • Rims: Double Wall Alloy
  • Hubs: Forged Alloy, 6-Bolt Disc, 32H
  • Spoke, Nipples: Black Stainless Steel, Brass Nipples
  • Tires: MTB, 27.5x2.25"
  • Derailleur, Rear: Shimano Alivio, 9-Speed, Shadow Design
  • Derailleur, Front: Shimano Altus, Double
  • Shift Lever: Shimano Altus 2x9
  • Crankset: Forged Alloy, Steel Chainrings, 36/22T
  • Bottom Bracket: Sealed Cartridge Bearings, Square Taper
  • Chain: KMC X9
  • Cassette: Shimano HG200, 9-Speed, 11-36T
  • Brakes: Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc, 160mm Rotor
  • Brake Levers: Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc
  • Handlebar: 31.8 Riser, 20mm Rise, 740mm Width
  • Stem: Alloy, 31.8mm, 45mm
  • Grips: Entity MTB, Closed End
  • Headset: 44mm Zero Stack, 8mm Cone
  • Seatpost: Alloy, 27.2mm
  • Saddle: Entity MTB
  • Pedals: Nylon Platform

Pricing and Availability

the clip on pedals of the marin eldridge grade 1

photo credit  Photo by Hit00r

The Eldridge mountain bike has been available for many years now, meaning there are a lot of different options for purchasing one. Older versions of this bike are only really available on second hand sites like eBay and PinkBike. More recent versions are available new on sites like Scotbycycles, though supplies are limited and you might struggle to find the exact one you want. You can expect to pay somewhere around £500 for a new version of the Marin Eldridge Grade 1.

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