Review: Framed Marquette Carbon 27+ – By Dustin Carlson
I was very excited to hear I had been chosen to review this bike. It was the latter part of spring and I knew that some awesome trails were about to open. The Framed Bikes Marquette Carbon 27+ came professionally packed in the box and I only had 20 minutes invested putting the bike together. The rear derailleur and brakes were set up from the factory and I just needed to slide the wheels into place. The frame looks fast right out of the box and, together with the RockShox Reba fork, it looks like it will be a blast to ride!
Framed has made this bike highly customizable when ordering online. The package I received has an MSRP of $1999.99.
After the first ride around the block, the bike feels playful. I was very happy to see a threaded bottom bracket, through axles front and rear, and, internal routing for cables. On the negative side, the bike weighs in at 30 lbs, which seems heavy for a carbon hard tail. There is no frame protection on the down tube or drive side chainstay. Brakes and shifter cables are routed internally, but, no routing for a dropper post (internal or external). The lack of frame protection is not a deal breaker but past experiences have taught me that these areas will get beat up, marring the beautiful paint job. Overall though, a great build, so it was time to test this bike out!
On my first ride I noticed the bike accelerates well, and, I felt in control at high speeds. I had one burning question: would the 3.0″ tires corner better than 2.3” tires? The answer is yes, at the right tire pressure. My local trail are pretty sandy to hard pack, which causes me to completely blow through corners if taken too fast. With the 3.0” Framed Minnesota tires I was keeping my speed through even the loosest, off camber turns. I had the tires at 15 psi. front and rear. The SRAM GX drivetrain is solid, and, the shifts are tight with minimal noise. SRAM DB5 brakes felt fine, but they have a longer stroke than I’m used to. I had to squeeze them to the bar get the back wheel to lock up. I was pleasantly surprised at the Reba fork. It exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. The fork, together with the plus tires had excellent small bump compliance, but, firm up nicely into the 100mm stroke. After riding for a couple of hours, I started to ignore the parts of the bike that I liked or didn’t like, and I tried to just ride. My main takeaway is, the Marquette, paired with 27+ wheels, inspires confidence in the rider.
Captain Ahab on a Hard Tail
After putting 12-15 rides in on my local trails I ventured over to world famous Moab, to really test this bike out. I drove straight to Captain Ahab. Ahab is quite possibly on the “top ten trails of all time” list for some people, including me. It is rough, and fast, slick rock. I was a little worried, there are tons of square edge rocks that I have personally ruined DH rated tires on. Also the trail is quite steep, if the DB5 brakes started to fade or lose power, it could be a problem. I started out slow, maneuvering gingerly around most obstacles. But after an hour of riding I found myself taking the same lines as my full squish trail bike. The bike handled everything I threw at it without complaint. The Minnesota tires, which were my main concern, smoothed out the little bumps and took the hard hits. The SRAM brakes did start to heat up and make noise, but the brake fade was minimal. I never felt like the brakes would fail.
After riding the Marquette hard for a couple months now, I haven’t had any maintenance work to speak of. The GX rear derailleur is still tight, and the Reba Fork feels like new. There are a few things I would change if I were to purchase the bike personally. Even though the rims and tires handled Moab, they would be the first to go. The wheels are very heavy, over 13 lbs., and quite wobbly. To the bike’s credit, Framed’s choices were limited when putting this bike together. Plus Bikes are very new and the rim and tire choices are few. I hope later versions of this bike will have upgraded wheel specs. Moving on to the cockpit, I would shorten the stem and widen the bars. I would install a dropper post and figure out a routing system to clean up the cable. The front ring is a 32 tooth, I would go with a 30 or 28. Remember, it might be a 27.5″ rim but the outer diameter of the plus tire is close to 29er sizes. I was always looking for a lower gear on steep climbs. And finally, I personally added vinyl tape to various places on the frame where there was no protection from chain slap or flying rocks. Something clean from the factory would look much better.
Who is the Marquette for? I think a beginner to intermediate rider would get the most benefit from the Marquette and Plus-sized tires. Plus bikes instill confidence because they are more stable. The Marquette can help a person, first starting out, progress very fast. And even when the rider’s skills grow, the bike will get more fun when you start pushing it harder and faster. With a couple upgrades (wheels), I would even recommend the bike to a high-school-team-level-XC-racer.
Is it fast? The Marquette is surprisingly fast. The mix of greater traction, small bump compliance, and stiff carbon frame, make it a ripper. I have set new personal records on all of my local trails. In fact, this bike turned me into a “Stravasshole,” a person who obsesses over Strava times. I am proud (?) to say that I am the KOM (“king of the mountain,” best time on Strava) on 90% of my local trail after having this bike for two months. I fully attribute this to the 27+ tires. I could keep my speed through corners like never before.
Is it a fad? I don’t think so… Since I received the Marquette to review, all the huge manufactures have come out with Plus Bike frames, tires, rims, shocks, forks, etc. People are starting to see the benefits of 3.0” tires and I don’t think it will slow down any time soon.
I was constantly trying to compare this bike to others I’ve ridden and it’s almost impossible. If you compare it to other hard tails at $2000, you see much lower drive-train specs and aluminum frames. If you compare it to other carbon hard tails with the same specs, it is thousands of dollars less. So, I think Framed has filled a niche with this bike. Possibly bringing carbon and 1X11 to a new group of buyers, while also introducing 27+.
I give the Framed Marquette Carbon 27+ a 3 gnomes out of 5.
(With a better tire/rim combo it would get a 4 out of 5)