Spicy Speed Machine

Sriracha. That the new bike’s name.

The new bike is a Marin Hawk Hill 3, which the dudes at Marin helped me sort out, as it’s not actually available as a frame, which is what I purchased. For those tuned into the Social Media Sphere, this is the same frame that the likes of Veronique Sandler and Nikki Whiles have been hooning around on for the past few months.

The Why

My continued quest for the ultimate North East Trail Bike lead me down a winding road of geometry comparisons that made my head spin, but ultimately had me landing back in the company of one of my favorite brands going, Marin. After getting to know the crew in 2018 during Les Gets CWX, where I test rode their 29’er monster truck, I was really sold on the ethos of the reborn brand. “Made For Fun” is found printed somewhere on all of their bikes, and while I had never even seen a Hawk Hill in person before considering buying one, I figured it wouldn’t be much of a gamble. So, I sent out an email, and within a day had passed along the burlap sack of coins in exchange for a frame. It arrived looking glossy as ever with a dual hue that looked like a crackling fire.

The build is all about keeping the colors fiery and fast, Deity helped match that up nicely, and I am quietly stoked about the top cap I have which came off a bottle of whiskey barrel-aged stout – the name of which escapes me now 5 months after having it. While the years of overly-anodized and matching parts are well behind us, I think the current era of color-cordinating options is really neat and makes for a sharp looking bike. The build is about speed, so having it look fast sitting still is a fun bonus.

The Build

I am all about the coil shock in the back, the small-bump compliance is still unmatched by air, and with all the roots and other chatter we have up here, I think it makes for a more efficient, fast/predicatable, and comfortable ride. Canecreek makes the DB Coil in a short enough verion to not have to go custom, it’s priced well, and it’s got a good tuning range, all of which is why it ended up on this build. Marin have stated that their bikes are designed to play well with coil or air, which is great for my interests. A lowered 140mm Fox 36 with all the spacers stuff in resides at the prow of the bottle, err, bike and it all rolls on DT Swiss wheels (471 hoops on 240s hubs with the 36t racket upgrade) shod with a Magic Mary in the front and a Hans Hampf in the rear. This is a my favorite combo for all-conditions riding. Cockpit is Deity, a 35mm Copperhead stem with a Blacklabel bar cut to 780mm; some Sensus Swazye grips on the ends. Drivetrain is XT 11spd, Saint Cranks, and DMR Vaults with custom pins. The shifter is mod’ed to my ergonomic liking – I think Dremels are an underrated tool. Seatpost is a Fox 150mm Transfer, a Cromag Trail Master LTD providing a perch – a wolf face acts as the lever to raise and lower the system. There is Cushcore in both wheels, and to me, one of the most important parts on/in the bike besides the handle bar and pedals.

The Mod

I made one very significant custom modification to the actual frame: I cut the seattube down. I have short legs, and this was necessary to do in order to both slam the seat and also get the proper seat height. I went through the proper channels to make sure this was ok to do, and was given the green light, but I would not suggest you undertake that task unless qualified i.e. have the proper tools (or access to them). I needed to ream the seattube further, which is not something easily done. Thankfully, a legend of the sport, FTW, lives “just up the street” and I was able to drop in for a hello and also a little help. Being able to get the seat lower than ever before is something I believe wil be a game changer, and one of main additional reasons I sought out this frame in the first place.

I’m moving up to the NEK area a.k.a. The Kingdom Trails this weekend, so the plan is to put as many miles on this Spicey Speed Machine as possible this summer. Stay tuned down the line for a more in-depth review of the bike!

Here is the link to Marin’s page for the Hawk Hill line up if you’re interested to know more!

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