Could Marin Muirwoods be a good touring bike?


New Member
Sep 4, 2002

I've been searching for a good steel frame mountain bike for a world tour next year and recnetly I came across Marin Muirwoods. Could anyone tell if this bike would be good for touring?


I have a 1994 Marin "Eldridge Grade" that's still going as strong as the day I first got in the saddle. In fact, it's my daily commuter. I'd say if my house was on fire, it would be the third thing I'd go in after (my Nishiki touring bike and my wife being the first two, not necessarily in that order...)

Marin gets lots of points in my book. At least from 10 years ago, although I can't say if their quality has changed or not -- don't expect so.

But the Muirwoods is an mid-entry-level bike ("entry-level" for Marin is definitely higher-level than some brands). And you say "for a world tour". I don't mean to sound elitist here, but it's not a good match. Are you really going to cross continents, over mountains and deserts, third-world villages and all kinds of weather? The Muirwoods lists components such as Nexave and Deore derailleurs, Alivio shifters, no-name hubs. I just wouldn't trust these 200km from the nearest town. Ignoring the price difference of the component levels, the general opinion (as I gather from forums and newsgroups) is that Alivio is to be avoided, Deore is serviceable, Deore LX is reliable, XT and XTR are basically bullet-proof. Of course, my frame of reference is for touring, not tooling around the playground.

I only care about reliability and longevity (the ages of my 3 bikes add up to 40 years), so I'm not interested in having the latest or flashiest. If I had my druthers, I'd stick to Suntour..... But for Shimano, I generally wouldn't go below LX (front hub, front derailleur) and XT (shifters, rear derailluer, rear hub). Shimano knows how to market its components for the biggest profit; still, the best bargain may be XT. XT and XTR components are almost identical in quality (e.g., hub cones/bearings are the same); XTR is a bit lighter, but not nearly worth the added cost.

As for the Muirwoods frame and build, I'm sure their choice in alloys and the assembly is good. It's the components, generally, that bring the price down, not the frame building, and they have nothing to gain in reducing frame building quality for their different lines. Lots of people tour on mountain bikes; just be sure you'll be happy on it for a "world tour". The traditional drop-bar geometry is tried-and-true for long distance comfort. If touring on a mountain bike is right for you, check things like: 3 water bottle mounts, rack mounts, fender eyelets, braze-ons. You can always change the saddle, shifters, derailleurs, chainrings, 36-spoke wheels, etc..... But then you can move up to the next model, too.

Still, I don't mean to sound elitist. I've toured in groups where there were old heavy 10-speeds from the 1970's. I've heard of guys crossing the US on cheap bikes. You don't have to spend a lot of money. The bottom line is that a mid-entry-level bike has a higher chance of giving problems, and on a world tour that might mean more time, money, or inconvenience to fix. If it was a choice between the Muirwoods and a "better" bike, I'd choose the latter; if it was a choice between the Muirwoods and "no tour", I'd choose the Muirwoods.

-- Mark
I have the same question. Does anyone currently use this bike as a long distance touring bike? And, what did you do with the components?
I can categorically assure you that anyone who has done world touring will tell you not to use a mountain bike. For many, many reasons I'll go into later if you want me to. You need something like a Surly Long Haul Trucker, or a Bianchi Volpe (older model) or a Trek, or for the same money there are many others, like a tailor made Bob Jackson. I suggest you go to one of the bicycle forums where they have asked people to show a picture of their touring bicycle on route.

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