I’ve been very lucky to have spent the summer with this beautiful Framed Marquette Carbon. The bike came well packed and was easy to assemble from their Minnesota headquarters. I had frequent communication with the company about what was coming and when. I’ve come to expect no less, from this company, after working with them through one of their dealers, Cranked Bike Studio in Neenah, WI.. The folks at Framed sent my test bike with two pairs of wheels. The first was the 27.5+ and the second was a standard 29”.
Framed gives their customers endless options on their website to customize your own bike. With that being said, I would have eqipped this bike exactly as it came to me. I see it as a light and capable XC bike with the added fun of plus tires. After you throw in a dropper post, you have a REALLY fun bike.
Both sets of wheel I received with the bike were their PUB carbon rims laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs. This is the one part of the bike that usually suffers on more “affordable” bikes and is the first thing that eventually gets upgraded. If you’re looking for an affordable set of carbon rims, I wouldn’t look past Framed PUB rims. They were stiff, sturdy, and light. These wheels were a drastic improvement to the handling and rolling speed compared to entry level wheels. The Marquette, completely ready to ride, as I tested it, with the 27.5+ wheels, weighed in at 28.9 lbs.
Upon completing the assembly of the bike, which took about 30 mins, I took it out for a spin around town. I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and started the up-most important wheelie test. It passed. It doesn’t have the ultra-short chainstays that I often enjoy on trail bikes, but was still hella fun to goof around on. After a few tweeks to the lever position I was ready to get rad.
I was able to ride a wide variety of trails on this bike and was able to experience this bike’s potential. It is a great climber with the low front end (100mm travel fork) and a competent descender with the addition of a dropper post (RST). I never felt the need to test the 29” wheels on the bike as I thoroughly enjoyed the extra volume and traction of the plus tires. However, if I was to do a race on this bike I would appreciate the faster rolling 29” tires.
Ascending on this bike was better than what I am used to. It had been a while since I had ridden an XC bike and was pleasantly surprised and the Marquette’s climbing abilities. I never once slipped a tire even over technical roots and rocks. I also never had any front end lift on the really steep climbs, which is one problem I run into on more aggressive trail bikes. The extra traction provided by the plus size tires and the stiff carbon frame and wheels translated every pedal stroke to the ground.
Although this bike may not seem to be a great descender on paper, it definitely shined on the trails. Having the ability to drop the seat out of the way with the push of a lever lets you move about on the bike and get over the back wheel. One the first steep descents that I rode with this bike made me think, back to the time before dropper posts. I remember resting my chest on the seat in the position shown above and remember the struggle to get back on top of the seat. Those days are over and I highly recommend adding a dropper post to your next bike.
Most of the bike was flawless and I didn’t have any major issues. My only concern is with the RST dropper post. Although it was still funtioning on my last ride, it started to get rough while going through its travel. It never hindered its ability to rise or drop and I never felt it on the trail. But off the bike it felt rough when you would push it down with your hand. This just makes me question the long-term durability of the RST dropper post.
The only thing I would change on the bike, if it was mine, to keep, would be a fork upgrade. I didn’t have any issues with the Reba in my time, but it was a little flexy on more aggressive trails and heavy load. I would like to see something with bigger stanchions to stiffen it up, for aggressive riding. But if you are sticking to cross country trails and racing, the Reba would be just fine.
I truly enjoyed having this bike in my arsenal for the summer and found myself riding this more than anything else because of its diverse capabilities. Going on an XC ride with some fast friends… Framed Marquette. Going to ride a flow trail with your enduro buddies… Framed Marquette. The bike handled everything I could throw at it and never held me back from doing what I wanted to do.
I give the Framed Marquette 4 ½ out of 5 Gnomes and would recommend it for anyone looking for an alternative to the ridiculously expensive big name carbon bikes.
For more information about Framed Bikes visit framedbikes.com