2018 marin four corners

The New 2018 Marin Four Corners Touring Bike

A couple of years ago, Marin unveiled an entire touring/adventure bike range. While the range has since slimmed down a bit, the core models have certainly stood the test of a time. With its smart build, steel frameset, 2.0″ tyre clearance and budget price point – the Four Corners touring bike was clearly a gem, making its way to my list of the 8 best touring bikes without any hesitation. If it already sounds good, it gets better: the 2018 Marin Four Corners is fresh off a frame update, parts upgrade and price drop, cementing its place as one of, if not the best value touring bike available!

The new price is US $1039 which is bonkers-cheap considering what you’re getting. Let’s take a closer look.

The 2018 Marin Four Corners Touring Bike

2018 marin four corners
The 2018 Marin Four Corners in blue.

The big news for 2018 is the frame geometry update; the frames are all a bit longer, taller and slower to steer. These characteristics will make the bike super comfortable to ride as well as quite easy to handle. If there’s a downside to the new more-upright geometry of the bike it’s that it may not suit those who are seeking that fast, sporty riding position. You should think of the 2018 Marin Four Corners as a bike that will happily putt along all day.

The x-small (new size!) and small employ 650B wheels in order to reduce ‘toe overlap’, as well as decrease the standover of the bike. This is a great move by Marin as smaller wheels certainly make the bike more manageable for smaller riders (especially when carrying a load).

2018 marin four corners

In other news, the brakes have had a significant update. The Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes are arguably the best going around so it’s great to see them fitted to the bike. Last years Schwalbe tyres have been switched out for a more aesthetically-pleasing gumwall offering by WTB. These 42mm tyres actually have a knobby tread pattern suitable for dirt road use, so if you’re thinking about spending time on sealed roads, you will need to factor in the cost of a tyre change (check out my current favourite, the Schwalbe Almotion).

There are additional braze-ons located on the 2018 Marin Four Corners frame and fork. The fork can now fit 2-boss cargo cages as well as a front rack and fenders. There’s an extra bidon mount on the upper part of the downtube too, bringing the total on the bike to six.

2018 marin four corners

The gearing has been modified to provide a slightly smaller climbing gear ratio. With the 34 tooth cog on the rear cassette, the gear is down to 24.6″. While this is fine on moderately hilly terrain, I would personally look at switching the crankset out for a Shimano Deore mountain bike crankset (with a 22, 24 or 26t small front ring) in order to have some smaller gears on reserve. Even as a very strong and experienced rider, I use and recommend smaller than 26t front chainrings. But then again, most of my tours are in mountainous areas.

Read more about touring bike gearing HERE.

2018 marin four corners
The 2018 Marin Four Corners in black.

Want To Compare This Touring Bike With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

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  1. A bit longer? These bikes seem super long to me. The medium has a reach of 403 mm compared to a 390 mm reach on the largest (61) size Cannondale Touring 1 that I ride. Their geometry diagram is a bit confusing as the reach (B) label is in the wrong place and they show stack measured from the axle not the BB.

    Speaking of the T1, it’s on sale for $1200 now and it has Tiagra parts and a $150 Tubus rack, assuming they still have a 2017 in your size. It’s on the sporty side as touring bikes go. Mine came with 36h wheels this spring even though the spec says 32h. I don’t understand the 32h wheels, like this Marin, on touring bikes. I replaced mine with 40h ones anyways.

  2. The long reach is actually compensated with shorter stems to provide the same bike fit. It’s a trend that is now standard on mountain bikes, but is becoming more popular on gravel and touring bikes. Also, don’t worry about that diagram – it’s wrong in more ways than one!

  3. Interesting trend, it also helps on toe overlap! But do Marin and others change the steering in other ways (trail and rake) to compensate for the shorter stem or is the effect of stem length on steering not relevant?

  4. Hi Alee,

    I was wondering if you could just swap the inner 30 t chainring for a 26t or even 24t instead of replacing the whole crankset?

  5. Marin have slowed the speed of the steering marginally (4mm extra trail) to compensate. The shorter stems will speed the steering back up a little, providing a sense of more steering input at the bars.

  6. And they have done it by adjusting the head tube angle, not the fork, right? I’m trying to understand how the geometry is working:-)

  7. In the case of changing to deore moutain triple crankset, is sora road front derailleur really compatible?

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