Cyclocross Magazine - Digital Edition

Cyclocross Magazine Issue 9 - Digital Version

Cyclocross Magazine - The Digital and Print Magazine Dedicated to Cyclo-cross and Veldrijden

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From top: SRAM Rival and FSA bits with a hidden gem: fork-mounted cable hanger; Orange and black color scheme is distinctive; Beefy shaped stays keeps things efficient; Long chainstays provide more clearance in front of the tire than on the sides. cassette. My other gripe is the extreme difficulty in replacing the shift cable, especially if the cable end is not soldered. Still, the SRAM DoubleTap is now the default choice for an American ’cross- bike, and it’s light, comfortable and reliable stuff. The FSA SLK crank is a nice upgrade from more common FSA Energy or SRAM Rival crank sets, but the rings leave something to be desired. We sound like a broken record, but a bike that is intended for cyclocross racing should come with cyclocross chainrings. The common 34/50 com- pact rings don’t cut it for most ’cross racing, as you’re too often on the extreme ends of the cas- sette, requiring frequent front shifts. A 36/46 or 38/48 combination would be preferable, although the stock rings may be perfect for the buyer that intends to do a little bit of everything, such as road riding, commuting and off-road riding. What the Cortina sacrifices in climbing trac- tion and nimbleness with its longer rear trian- gle, it gains in vertical mud clearance. Down by the chainstays, there’s plenty of room in front of the rear tire. Sidewall clearance is decent, and while not extraordinary, should make any owner confident that when the skies open up, you’ll be able to ride, not push, the bike home. Marin deserves huge props for spec’ing a fork with a fork-mounted cable hanger. Any reader of our much-lauded fork chatter article in Issue 8 knows that such a cable mount elimi- nates fork chatter, and it was a joy to slam on the brakes knowing that we’d have predictable brak- ing without requiring an excessively stiff fork. The Verdict Modern day cyclocross bikes have gotten so good that it’s pretty hard to find a produc- tion ’cross bike that won’t carry you to the po- dium, whether you’re an A, B or C level racer. The Cortina faces stiff competition from es- tablished cyclocross players at this price point, with similar offerings in an increasingly crowd- ed field, including the Redline Conquest Pro and Kona Major Jake. But Marin has done its homework and put together a versatile, do-it- all cyclocross bike that will handle dirt roads, trail riding and your local cyclocross course. The Cortina boasts some stellar features and smart component selections. Yet no bike is perfect, and as the quality of the entire ’cross bike category rises, our level of scrutiny rises as well, and we’re left wanting tighter gearing and lighter wheels for a true race bike—two areas where a company with such a rich his- tory in climbing mountains and tackling rough terrain can understandably have different pref- erences. If you’re a mixed-terrain cyclist, the Cortina might be close to perfect, but if you’re passionate about racing ’cross, don’t fret. Grab the Cortina, switch out the rings, mount a set of race wheels and then head to your next race with the confidence that only your legs and lungs will prevent you from reaching the podium. ⌂ Psyched • Up-and-coming racers wanting a versatile race bike (and who don’t mind changing the rings) • Mixed terrain riders who favor stability over quick handling • Watt monsters needing stiffness Bummed • Beginners needing a turnkey race bike on a recession budget • Sensitive types looking for a cushy ride CYCLOCROSS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 9 The Specs: Model: Marin Cortina Year: 2010 Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58 (tested), 60 Frame: 6069 Aluminum alloy triple butted tubes Fork: RFE Carbon, aluminum alloy steerer Headset: FSA Orbit C, integrated Shifters: SRAM Rival Rear derailleur: SRAM Force Front derailleur: SRAM Rival Crankset: FSA SL-K Light 50/34, MegaExo bottom bracket Chain: SRAM PC-1070 chain Cassette: SRAM, OG1070, 12-27 Brakes: Avid Shorty 4 Wheelset: Mavic Aksium Race Tires: Vittoria Cross XG 34c folding Stem: FSA OS-150 stem (carbon faceplate) Handlebar: FSA Wing Pro compact bar Seatpost: FSA SL-K carbon Saddle: Selle Italia XR light MSRP: $2310 Country of Origin: Taiwan Weight: 18.0 pounds (without pedals) More info: marinbikes.com 71

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