Marin creates a stunning one-of-a-kind rebuild of its classic '90s Pine Mountain MTB

Details on the Marin Pine Mountain special edition
(Image credit: Chris Holmes)

Marin has been at the forefront of mountain biking for over 35 years, making some of the best mountain bikes around, and named after the birthplace of mountain biking – Marin County, California. The brand's legendary original bikes are synonymous with the trails ridden by the early pioneers of the sport, and include the first mountain bike I owned, the Indian Fire Trail, along with other classics like the Muirwood, Bolinas Ridge, and Pine Mountain. 

Marin also has a long rich history of innovation and has been a leader in bringing new categories to market. Based close to the urban cycling hotbed of San Francisco, Marin was at the forefront of the hybrid commuter category and has also recently expanded its e-MTB range with new three models of Rift Zone E e-MTB, based on the brand’s popular Rift Zone trail bike. They also have embraced the gravel bike trend with its highly rated Headlands and Gestalt ranges.

Details on the decals of the Marin Pine Mountain special edition

The decals come straight from the Marin 1990s archives (Image credit: Chris Holmes)

Last month at the Eurobike show I met Chris Holmes, Global Brand Director at Marin. As a fan of the brand, I was delighted to meet and chat with him about all things Marin, enthusing about my racing days in the ‘90s onboard that Indian Fire Trail which was later replaced with a titanium framed Marin Team Issue. Chris was, of course, delighted to hear this and showed me the special edition titanium-framed Pine Mountain which had been due to be launched as part of the Marin 35th anniversary. However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant engineering and manufacturing resources got shifted elsewhere, so the project got shelved with only one frame ever made.

The Marin Pine Mountain special edition badge is also a throwback to the original

The badge on the Pine Mountain comes straight from the Marin original branding (Image credit: Chris Holmes)

Chris told me that until recently the Pine Mountain frame had been left hanging on a hook in the Marin offices for well over a year, before he decided it needed some TLC and a one-of-a-kind special build was created.

Conveniently for him, the frame is in XL, the correct size for Chris, and he set to work gathering up a selection of the best mountain bike components from his friends across town at White Industries and mountain bike wheels from WTB. Chris also added a dropper post and lever from PNW Components, plus Teravail tires from QBP. He also added that he cannibalized his own Marin Pine Mountain 2 from 2021, specifically the drivetrain, brakes, and bars. The very special decals that give the build its retro vibe were original early '90s that had been "kicking around the office."

Details on the Marin Pine Mountain special edition

Special finishing components come from White Industries (Image credit: Chris Holmes)

Chris added, "The finished bike looks retro, with selected purple anodized parts, and original decals and badges. The ultra modern components along with the superb RockShox Pike Fork, mean it's an absolute dream to ride, I will never sell it. It’s perfect for the local trail networks here, where the trails are all loamy and wind through the Redwood forests. It's just a shame it probably won't see production now as we are passed the 35th anniversary, but you never know, it may get resurrected one day."

Details on the cockpit of the Marin Pine Mountain special edition

Drivetrain, brakes, and bars come from a Marin Pine Mountain 2 from 2021 (Image credit: Chris Holmes)

You can check out the full range from Marin at Marinbikes.com and we will also have a test review on the Marin Rift Zone XR coming soon, which is described as the newest and rowdiest member of the Rift Zone Carbon lineup. I will assume it will be a far cry from my early mountain bike days on that glorious Marin Indian Fire Trail.

Details of the Marin Pine Mountain drivetrain

The titanium frame is stamped with '86' to symbolize the Marin heritage (Image credit: Chris Holmes)
Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm