Marin Mount Vision XM8 helped me conquer my fear

I had a real incentive to take out the Marin Mount Vision XM8 demo today. I had laid down the gauntlet to myself to try and do a bermed jump. I’d ask Jimbo to come up as he could either be my coach or at least offer some inspiration. Unfortunately he burnt himself out last night. The last time that I rode this new version of the Mount Vision was on a cross country blast. When your mates are riding light weight XC machines a 140mm trail bike is not the weapon of choice. Today it was.

As I was enthused and excited about my ride and the bike felt lithe, light and quick. It only goes to show how much is in the mind. I headed straight for the top of the Steyning Horeshoe. The Mount Vision was as fast as it needed to be. The Fox Forx 32RL and RP23 shock did the business, they were firm as the last rider was 90kg (I am not). The 2 x 10 gearing confuses me as I can’t relate it to the regular 9 speed set up. However, I used the gears. On my hard tail I’d stay in a big gear all the way, determined never to slow down. I was much more relaxed with the Mount Vision and used any and every gear to keep me going not caring about pushing the hardest one. It meant that I was probably as quick. The 2 x 10 has some advantages, number 1 must be the super fast front shift, the 36t rear sprocket is really handy as is the 39/26 set up. It makes climbing much easier and I didn’t lack any gears on the downhill blast back to the shop.

When I got to the woods I warmed up by doing the mini double that I enjoy so much – this really is just a baby jump – its tiny and is the only one that I do. I then set about riding up and then down and then up and then down rolling of the jump each time. After a few circuits I decided to take off my pack and glasses. I went to put the glasses into my helmet and made a shocking discovery: no helmet, just a Buff! I rode the jump over and over again, getting faster and faster but not really making it at all. A different technique was required. I’d ride slow and see what happened. At low speed the only way to get down was to jump and so I did. Gradually I got braver, faster and further until on what must have been try 50 I was starting to do what could probably be described as a JUMP. Success!

I couldn’t have done this without the help of the Mount Vision. The 140mm travel gave me the confidence. I let air out of the forks and shock before my “session”. The bike is a dream. It climbs well, think how many times I rode back up. It accelerates fast, I needed to go fast to enjoy the first berm. On the countless times that I over cooked it and was sure that I’d wipe out it just stayed upright and kept on course.

The bike was perfect. If you are not familiar with full suspension bikes I’ll let you know what you’ll gain by riding them. First there is the comfort, you can pedal smoothly even though the terrain may be rough. Full sus-bikes climb much better than hard tails, if they don’t it is because the design is naff. They give you confidence – a trail that you may be unsure of can be taken full tilt. In fact you may even feel slow but will leave the hard-tailers way behind (assuming that you are of the same ability). They give you wings!

The climb out of the bowl was as fast as it could be as I just sat there and breezed up the slope. This bike excelled. It is not a XC racing machine but for a fun day out you’d struggle to beat it. It is light enough for the climbs and nibble enough for a speedy ride round here and it’ll beg you to go to a trail centre.

The Mount Vision XM8 will make you a better rider if you are short on skill and confidence (like me) and want to have a “piece of the action”. It is a demo so try it yourself.

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