The Marin Presidio 3 Makes Commuting Easy and Enjoyable — A Bike Review

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

There’s so much to like about the Marin Presidio family of bikes. And the Marin Presidio 3 checks all of the boxes for a modern urban commuter. The days of the heavy, ground-and-pound city bike are gone – unless that’s your style.

With the help of Marin, you can have a modern urban bike equipped to handle a variety of terrain. For example, the Marin Presidio 3 is customizable for your commute; it can be stripped down for comfortable road riding or loaded with gear for an adventure. Most importantly, no matter how you ride the Presidio, you can expect to have fun — yes, this bike really is that simple.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

I spent a few weeks with Marin’s newest urban design and was most impressed with the following features:

Gates Carbon Drive

The Marin Presidio 3 is more than transportation; it’s an experience. The bike’s features are referred to as “touchpoints,” similar to a well-designed website. Nowhere is this more evident than the drivetrain. Go ahead and glance at the photo below; your eyes aren’t playing tricks. There’s no chain on this bike. Instead, this model integrates Gates Carbon Drive with the premium aluminum frame. No rust. No grease. No fooling. Just brilliance!

The Marin Presidio 3 is also a commuter’s best friend because it eliminates the need for maintenance. Whether you ride to and from work, or for fitness, Gates Carbon Drive introduces a simple form of riding for those who don’t require the performance of a derailleur (non-racers). The system is easy to clean, smoother than a chain, and incredibly durable.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

Riding to and from coffee shops and workspaces is part of my weekly routine. The low maintenance of Gates Carbon Drive is a big selling point. And the extra cost (marginal) of a belt system is easily justified for 3-4 times more service life than a chain-drive system.

There are four models available within the Presidio family of bikes. The Presidio 3 retails for $979 and shares features with the top-end model, while the Presidio 2 costs $759 and sports a traditional chain.

I must also mention the sleek appearance of the belt drive on this bike. The black-on-black combination looks stealth — looks matter! And the same can be said for the bike’s quietness – nope, no chain creaking here. If it weren’t for the safety-yellow accents, nobody would see or hear you coming. Of course, we advocate for the use of lights while riding in or near traffic. The Presidio 3 helps you be seen.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

The Marin Presidio 3 is a Versatile Urban Bike

As dreamy as it sounds, we can’t all have endless storage for our bikes. Take it from a Millennial. Homeownership is eons away, so rental living it is for the time being. And that reality is shared by many people across the world, who enjoy riding for transportation.

What if you could adjust one bike to ride in many conditions?

Spoiler alert! The Presidio 3 makes this possible.

Last month, my wife convincingly advocated for the mass exodus of my bikes from our shared office. What is a cyclist to do? For now, the answer lies in choosing multi-purpose functionality:

Racks — check!

Disc brake — check!

Tire clearance — check!

Low maintenance drivetrain — check!

The bike handles all of my urban-riding needs and requires less space than my previous fleet.

Additionally, I was impressed with how well the Presidio handles front and rear racks and frame bags. The carry options are endless. Suddenly, I have the urge to swap tires, load up my gear, and see how far I can ride with eight speeds.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |
Shimano internal 8-speed hub on the Presidio 3

Bust first, let’s review the features that make the Marin Presidio 3 a do-it-all commuter:

  • Series 2 Transit, 6061 Aluminum, 700C Wheels, Sliding Dropouts, Internal Cable Routing Belt Drive Compatible, Flat-Mount Disc, Fender, Rack, and Integrated Kickstand Mounts
  • Shimano Nexus 8D 8-Speed Internally Geared Hub, Centerlock Disc, 32H
  • Gates Carbon Drive
  • Tektro R290 Flat-Mount Hydraulic Disc, 160mm
  • Vee Tire, Baldy, 700×32, Puncture Protection, Reflective Sidewall, Wire Bead
  • Marin Aluminum Double Wall, 25mm Tall
  • Plenty of tire clearance for fenders or wider tires – even has room for cyclocross tread

Why the Marin Presidio 3 Makes Riding Fun

Let’s not forget why we ride – because it’s fun. Plain and simple. Science says riding a bike is good for you in more ways than one. And researchers at Harvard have compiled a compelling list of reasons why you should ride a bike more often.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

Even so, just 0.57% of people in the U.S. ride a bike to work – and other stats on bicycle commuting. (I hope this number is higher for people who simply ride a bike for leisure. C’mon, Americans!)

Maybe this number is so low because people still need exposure to the right bike. One that’s easy to use, affordable, and maintenance-free. Yes, just like the Marin Presidio 3.

I recently learned that five cities in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts (Davis, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Boulder, and Sommerville) recorded that 11.7 percent of residents rode bicycles to work in 2017. So, it’s no surprise that a true urban bike such as the Presidio is handy in the city environment. But, after riding this bike to work and for leisure, I’ve concluded that it’s well-suited for anyone looking to have fun on two wheels, not just commuters.

Marin Presidio 3 road bike review |

Designed with all cyclists in mind, the Marin Presidio 3 is always comfortable, quiet, and easy to ride on the pavement. With racks and bags loaded, the bike is sturdy and durable, thanks to a quality build kit. Remove all of the accessories, and the bike is sporty and agile. For less than a grand, the Presidio 3 provides a good value and even better experiences.

Buy the darn bike already.

Tags from the story
Join the Conversation


  1. says: Andrew G

    I was attracted by the low maintenance claims of this bike.

    Beware three things.

    Firstly, you will probably need to get it maintained by the bike shop who sold it to you. The carbon belt drive is not well understood by most bike mechs and not is the alfine hub gear (I’ve had shops which put this on backwards!).

    Secondly, make sure you take it back for the six week check. I didn’t – big mistake. The belt tension was too loose and this resulted in wear on the rear cogs. Another £80 for a metal cog wheel (the original is plastic which wore away in a matter of weeks).

    Thirdly, the left pedal crank on mine just snapped. Gates were great and sent a new crank set. A couple of borrowed tools later, I was back up and running. But if this had snapped going up a hill in heavy traffic, rather than moving slowly off some traffic lights, and I might not be writing this. I had only used the bike for normal road commuting – probably around 5,000 Miles. This component should not fail like this.

    Oh and of course you’ll probably need to get all the spokes upgraded – but that happens with the cruddy wheels which come with every mid range bike these days so I hardly blame Marin. I’m 90kg but again I wouldn’t expect these to fail, then again I don’t think Marin expect most of their customers to actually seriously use the bike.

    My learning: yes the belt drive is low maintenance when it’s well set up. But a normal chain is prettt low maintenance, so just learn how to maintain it!!

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.