Our Favorite Things; The Marin Nicasio.
Several years ago Marin released the original Nicasio. Since then it has become one of our best selling bikes and for good reason.
In the past, most entry-level road bikes were just that, ROAD bikes. Affordable, but not exactly versatile. Rim brakes and little room for tires larger than 28mm made for bikes with a very limited range of use and not exactly the best entry point for cycling. The introduction of the “gravel bike” to the bicycle industry lexicon changed that and for the better.
Here in Richmond, we are lucky to have some really fun and varied spots to ride. A drop-bar bike that combines the nimble feeling of “road” geometry with the stability of larger tires and the confidence that comes with disc brakes is perfect for explorations through this varied terrain.
One of my favorite examples of this is accessing the Capital Trail from the Forest Hill Area. My go-to route from the shop is to start in the quiet neighborhood streets behind the shop, cut through Forest Hill Park down to the Reedy Creek Boat launch, zip down the gravel road, cross Belle Isle, take Brown’s Island to the Canal Walk and pick up the Cap Trail at Shiplock Park. A “road” bike with bigger tires makes the light off-road sections a breeze but the geometry makes the time on pavement great as well.
Branching out from this staple there are endless opportunities to ride on routes that combine quiet back roads with gravel and more. Toss in some rail trails and state parks like the High Bridge Trail or the fire roads at Pocahontas State Park and all of a sudden you have a tremendous variety of ride opportunities.
The Marin Nicasio straddles the line between “road bike” and “gravel bike” perfectly. For the rider whose budget is under $1000 and finds themselves looking for their first drop-bar bike, this bike really can’t be beaten. The cro-moly steel frame makes for a much better riding bike compared to similarly priced bikes with aluminum frames. Clearance for up to 40mm tires with the stock wheels (and 50mm tires with a swap to the 650b size wheels the Nicasio Plus gets) means this bike is at home on smooth pavement as it is on bumpy forest service roads. The Shimano 2x8 speed drivetrain is geared correctly for long or short rides on any surface that could be labeled a “road”. Lastly the geometry and fit doesn't force the rider into either too-aggressive or too upright a position. With three different builds starting at $989 for the steel fork/ 700c version it's also easy on the wallet.
Check out current stock for all three versions of this rad bike Here.