Monday, February 20, 2012

First look: Marino custom polo frames

Here's Jasmine's frame. Nice color, eh?

The triple triangle, which i really like.

BB shell and crimped chainstays.

The track ends are pretty small. My joust has twice the room that these do...

Fork surprisingly not too heavy...

...and neither is the frame.
Sure we're still talking about an 8lb bike, but that's pretty good compared to a lot of the conversions and freestyles frames we have around here.

A few of the necessary tools for assessing build quality...

Here's Evan's frame.

Close-ups of the welds...

..not terrible, but also not great...

...again, this is a $400 frame. The welds on my Joust are way better, but you get what you pay for, right?

This is one thing that baffles me- if you can build a whole frame yourself, you should also be able to center your cuts... It's functional and will work fine, but it's details like this that highlight the differences between a true custom and a discount one.

Not too bad...

..and not too bad. The whole rig is still a ton lighter than the old Volume Cutter he's been using.

Now let's see how it rides!

Overall these are great frames for the money, but there's plenty of inconsistencies. Nothing that will make the frame fail, but it's the small stuff. Note that on Evan's frame there's three different stickers using three different fonts (gag!); the "made in peru" sticker was put on kinda janky and instead of a nice decal that just says "Marino" (like on jasmine's) we get this "" slapped on there... god damn that thing is cheesy as shit (and was promptly taken off). Again, i'm just nit-pickin' but these are the kinda things you wouldn't expect from a "custom frame", but then again it's only $400 so there's not much room to complain.



  1. If you do plan on ordering one, make sure it's a fairly straight forward design. The more 'bells and whistles' you add can end up biting you in the end. I went for an integrated seatpost clamp that ultimately failed because it was welded poorly. My curved seat tube also has some dents/crimps from the bending process. I have yet to measure mine to determine if all the angles and tube lengths are correct. Other than that, I've been happy with the final product.

  2. Word.

    I'd also add that Evan actually asked for an integrated headset and a downward sloping top tube... not sure what the hell happened but apparently that all got "lost in translation".. clearly neither of those features are a part of the frame.

  3. I think they rush a bit. They don't have the proper equipment to make everything to the tolerances of a shop like Waterford, but they are definitely able with their hands. I wish they would just take more time, and the final product wouldn't have silly mistakes. My only problems have been a slightly untrue fork and the lackluster finish (yes it's raw with just a liquid clearcoat, but it arrived with rust popping up already). That being said, the fork doesn't affect the handling, it tracks straight and true, so it doesn't really bother me.

  4. That offset seat tube cutout seems to feature on lots of them, mine has it and so does a friends.. I figured he cut it before he mitred the tube or something as my bend isn't exactly straight either. Also I had to dish my front wheel like half an inch as the fork seems to be off centre so I echo your sentiments on just spending a little bit more time. I fear he's gonna get a bad rep so I'll say it now - I'd buy one again, but you get what you pay for.

  5. Those welds almost made me vomit. Pay the extra 200 bucks for an american made Marco or Joust. I hadn't paid much attention to the Marinos at the Lock-in or Riverside but now that I see these up-close pics of them, I wouldn't be caught dead on one of those. Try not to hit any potholes on the way to the court or the whole thing might fall apart. Fucking gross.

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