In 1886 Thomas Stevens became the first man to ride a bicycle around the world. In the years since, that feat has been repeated innumerable times, making the bicycle one of the most well traveled platforms of all time. Although bicycle touring has endured recent bouts with popularity, it seems to be building momentum. Thanks to brands like Marin of California, proper touring bicycles are once again available at the local bike shop.
The Four Corners is Marin’s dedicated touring bicycle with all of the prerequisite features any long distance rider would ever need. The 4130 Cromoly steel frame harkens to the glory days of touring but with modern updates to tubing thickness and shape. The bar-end shifters also give the bike a traditional touring bike utility and make ticking through the 27-speed drivetrain accurate and reliable. Rack and fender mounts permit the attachment of necessary accessories and cantilever brakes accommodate large diameter tires for those wanting a more plush ride, or access to gravel roads. There are even extra spokes mounted to the left chainstay, a hallmark of a true touring bicycle.
The drivetrain is a compilation of mid level Shimano components with the rear derailleur receiving a slight upgrade to Deore XT. Alex rims are paired to 32 hole Shimano hubs. It may have been more appropriate to fit the Four Corners with 36 spokes, but time will tell if the stock wheels are up to the task. The WTB saddle provides a soft perch and the cockpit seems suitable for a long day on the road.
Out of the box, the Four Corners is ready for the most protracted journeys, but it did require some additional goodies. Salsa Wanderlust racks were mounted to accept the necessary panniers to come. As a personal preference, the Vittoria tires were swapped for more robust Schwalbe Marathon touring tires.
The preliminary rides suggest the geometry is stable, compliant, and comfortable enough for endless days knocking down miles. It’s a harmonious blend of traditional touring bike features paired to modern components. Now all it needs is a destination, something Thomas Stevens would be proud of.