The Marin Sausilto is offered as available for purchase from Bicycles Online. That means you the bike in a box and have to do a bit of assembly yourself. If that doesn’t daunt you (and it’s really not hard at all) then read on because this is a great e-bike at this price.
Let's Discuss The Specs On The Marin Sausalito
This bike costs a bit over 3 grand and for that money (on an e-bike) it’s got a great range of solid gear. The motor is the reliable Shimano e5000, the brakes the very adequate Tektros, and the gears smooth-shifting Shimano Deore. That takes care of the bulk of the stuff that’s going to influence whether your functions without fuss. What this gives you is a bike you can get on and ride day-in-day-out without needing to service, mend of replace anything.
We probably need to talk a bit more about that motor. Let’s start with what is good about it. It’s so very smooth. I came off a Merida with an older e7000 motor and can still hardly believe that the motor does not make any noise at all. Nor any vibration.
Is there any drag? I can’t feel it. I’ll happily ride past the 25km/hr limit without noticing it. I also ride without the motor at times. My ride to soccer is 2km on flat ground. That’s a nice little warm-up if I ride without the motor. That’s not something I thought I would do. I probably shouldn’t compare it to my Merida, which has 160mm suspension each end and massively fat knobby tyres, but the idea that electric bikes could function perfectly well as non-electric bikes is striking. It’s like I got two bikes in one, electric and analogue.
The drive from the motor isn’t nearly as good as the E7000. All these motors are rated at 250W but the torque they generate varies a lot. And it tells. If you’re riding this bike for fun and leisure then the E5000 is plenty good enough. If you need an little extra grunt…it’s not to great. For instance, I pull a trailer at times and if I’m hauling a decent weight uphill I do wish I had a bit more grunt. I ride for work as much as I ride for leisure. Depending on the weather, I might want the bike to drag me along with minimum input at times, so I’m not arriving all sweaty. The alternative is to take the car, which would be disappointing. The E5000 isn’t enough to motor to do that unless in perfect (flat, no headwind) conditions. That aside, it’s absolutely ideal for just about everything else. If you’re riding this bike for the sake of riding (but with a little assistance) then you’ve got the right stead.
Battery life is quite frankly amazing. I can do 100km on the lowest assistance setting. If I’m riding with the afforementioned trailer uphill then that can reduce to 20-30kms. That’s normal for any electrical bike. Range varies enormously depending on how and where you’re riding it. Use full assistance uphill and you can expect a short range. Use the least assistance on the flat and you can go for ages.
Ride Quality Of The Marin Sausalito E1
You don’t have any suspenders on this bike so the ride can be stiff if you pump the tyres up. That said, you don’t need to carry too much pressure in these wide 650b tyres. The next model up has front suspension but the suspension-corrected forks on the E1 have rack mounts, which can be an advantage.
The ride position is reasonably neutral, neither stretched out or sit up and beg. There are some spacers in the headset if you want to sit up a bit further.
As mentioned, the motor is a beauty. Riding this bike in the lowest assistance setting is like riding a normal bike on (in my case) much younger legs.
The brakes and gears work flawlessly so you can just forget those elements and ride. I’m coming off a mountain bike with some serious stopping power and I didn’t notice any downside to the Tektros. It’s two finger breaking, not one, but they have adequate power and response. For this kind of bike they’re more than adequate.
I swapped my mountain bike gears for a 9-speed system because I went through chains and sprockets very quickly. At 1,000kms in on the Marin and I’ve not had any issues. The chain is still serviceable and the gears change as smoothly as ever. I imagine the mountain bike’s extra torque and the dusty trail conditions were responsible for the very short lifespan my drivetrain had prior to the 9-speed conversion. No such problems here. I’ll probably stick with this 10-speed system because it’s not causing any issues and just does what it is meant to do.
Is The Marin Sausalito E1 - Urban E-Bike Good Value?
If have to say, it was the value proposition of this bike that attracted me. I was thinking of buying a cargo bike but realised I could get this bike with a trailer for about $4,000 and buy my wife a new bike for about the same money. I also realised I like riding bikes. Funny that. I wasn’t convinced that a cargo bike would be fun in the same way a smaller bike is. So the option of a normal bike and a trailer that attached when required seemed like a good idea.
On paper, the value proposition of this bike is first rate. All the kit on it is good enough and some of it, like the motor, is excellent. Given that I’ve put well over 1,000kms into this bike without any issues, I’d say the value proposition holds up. I’m not exactly careful with my stuff. If anything was going to rattle and fall off it would have by now.
It’s very hard to get an electric bike with a Shimano motor, Tektro bakes and the robust level of finish this bike, at this price. Yes, the Marin Sausalito E1 is very good value.
What's It Good For?
The Marin Sausalito E1 is my main bike now. I ride it mostly for commuting purposes. I have a dog seat for my dog and a trailer for hauling stuff. I’ve added a front rack, some mudguards and Wald basket. In short, there isn’t much this bike can’t do.
Around town the bike is wonderful. The geometry carries no surprises and the bike rides just how you would hope and expect. The wide seat was more seat than I’m used to but I soon got used to it.
I’ve done some gravel riding on the Marin Sausalito and can tell you it is perfectly adequate for this job. You might want to put on some knobbier tyres if you’re doing this regularly but the standard rubber was good enough for several hundred Ks mixed off-road and back-road use. I had a lovely time touring around northern NSW and couldn’t wish for anything more than what this bike provided.
Obviously the bike is aimed at being a commuter but it’s built tough, has great handling and can tackle most types of riding except serious off-road. At the price they’re selling these, it’s very hard to go past.
Thanks for the review and assembly video! So excited for my bike to arrive this week. Curious: what mudguards did you install and do you recommend them?
You won’t regret getting this bike. It would be very hard to beat at this price. I’ve done about 2,000kms on it so far and have no complaints.
The mudguards I got are the Topeak mudguards from the Bicycles Online store. They’re not a perfect fit. The wheels are 650 and the guards are 700. The front is okay but the rear mudguard will not fit in standard form. I had to drill a hole in the plastic and mount it through that hole. They do a perfectly good job though and I haven’t had any problems with them. I tend to bang the bike around on trails a lot and the guards don’t look like they’re going to fail any time soon. (I would expect the week point to be where I added a hole to mount them.)
If there was a better option I might swap them but for now I’m happy enough with what I have.
Amazing, thanks for the reply! Had my first ride on the bike (which also was my first ever e-bike ride) and was thrilled. It makes my 9 mile urban commute in Boston a real joy. I commute year-round in Boston, so your advice on the guards will be helpful with the upcoming winter. I see that Velo makes a 650b x 58mm, might give those a try.
I’d be interested to see what solution you come up with for the mudguards. Mine work just fine but I’m sure a better solution is out there.
First time ebike rider! I remember that experience. My first ebike was a mountain bike. I remember coming home and asking my wife (long time ebike rider), when does the novelty wear off. She said, never! I now have two ebikes and it really expands my scope of riding so much. I’ve added a Burley trailer to my bike and I can do most of my travel by bike now.