Review: Plus-Size ‘Bargain Carbon’ Marquette 27.5+

A gorgeous carbon-fiber frame, respectable specs and components, and a fair price tag make the Framed Marquette bike a solid choice for riders looking to dabble in the world of plus-size mountain bikes.

framed marquette

Plus-size bikes, which are mountain bikes with tires about three inches wide, are quickly growing in popularity due to their awesome traction and capability in rugged terrain. We reviewed a sub-$2,000 carbon-fiber model from Framed and have been pleased with the ride.

Indeed, the Minnesota-based company sells the Marquette, new this summer, for $1,700. That’s a good bargain for what you get, and, as Framed notes, there are comparable bikes from more recognizable brands that cost a multiple more.

From singletrack sessions to rugged enduro-oriented terrain, we’ve had the Marquette in testing for a few months. The hardtail, plus-size 27.5 mountain bike is the best value we’ve seen in its category, which is no surprise to us; GearJunkie was the first to declare Framed as a leader in the value market back in 2013.

Framed Marquette 27.5+ Bike Review

The Framed Marquette’s biggest asset is its great-looking frame, with sweeping seat-stays and a massive bottom-bracket. The only problem we see with it is the front end is a bit steep which makes the bike turn quicker, but takes away from some stability that we think would be welcome in the market at which this is aimed. The full-build is 30 pounds with pedals on., which is heavy but not offensive.

It comes with a great RockShox Reba fork, hydraulic disc brakes, and SRAM GX driveline. Gripes? We recommend upgrading the wheelset, which is heavy.

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The Marquette carbon frame

Plus-size tires on Alex MD50 rims (stock on this bike) are too heavy to be a go-to for us. We put the oversize wheels on our scale and it read 13 pounds, 10 ounces. Not light.

Rotating weight feels heavier than it is, too, because we are constantly slowing it down and pedaling to speed it back up. But the extra weight is more of a condemnation of the plus-size movement in general than of this bike in particular.

Plus-Size, The Good And Bad

Although they are heavy, plus-tires get awesome traction on any terrain; you don’t have to tell anyone who rides a fat-bike how fun that can be. Just remember to run about 18 psi on a plus-bike, rather than the 25 psi (or more) of regular mountain bike tires.

These oversize tires tend to do better on a full-suspension bike because the suspension eliminates the harsh rebound of the big tires. Moreover, plus-size tires are at their best in harsh terrain where full-suspension is also at its best.

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The sloping seat stay is a nice design. We don’t notice any dampening from it though, as it’s very strong

This bike from Framed (and all plus-bikes) shine for riders looking for more confidence. This is not only due to the increased traction, but also because the mass of the bigger tires creates gyroscopic stability, much like on a fat bike.

The Marquette is a nice bike, and we recommend it as a great value option. But at 30 pounds, 14 pounds of which are rotating, we found it too heavy to be a favorite for all but the loosest or gnarliest of trails.

The bottom line is that although we don’t love hard-tail plus-bikes, at $1,700 this one is the best value we’ve seen. Ride it about anywhere and this bike will abide.

–See the full specs and info at Framed Bikes.

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Tom Puzak
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Contributing Editor Tom Puzak, a former attorney, found himself more interested in his bike than filing copies in triplicate. Now as GearJunkie's resident "bike junkie" he makes less money but enjoys a more creative work atmosphere. Puzak is based out of the Minneapolis office.

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