Marin Rift Zone project - it’s not pretty!!


Devout Dirtbag
Hi all,

After wanting a full suspension project I stumbled upon a GT idrive comp locally on Facebook, got the bike home to realise that it’s hardly been riden. Been stored in a garage for nearly 10 years and not riden in 5, by the time it had all the cobwebs and muck cleaned off it it’s turned out to not need anything at all, it’s amazing for a 21 year old bike.
So I searched again and found this Marin Rift Zone, £60 offer and it was mine - a good deal I thought. Am I right in thinking it’s a 97 vintage?
This was the opposite to the GT. I got it home and it’s a dog. Clearly been left outside for a good period of time, rear wheel is a random steel job with 6spd cassette and bolted on ( obviously chucked on at some point). Everything weathered, rear shock sounds like it’s sucking air in when it rebounds, manitous are working but it appears the seals are perished. Lx derailleurs and chainset.

So, I think a lot of the parts are going to be binned and start again. I’ve got a Marin Muirwoods from the similar era I got for the wife that she doesn’t want so I’m thinking of using it as a donor bike.

I’m not familiar with these bikes and wondered what standard drivetrain these had and were they high up the list in regards to parts etc?

Is it worth chucking decent kit on or would the stx rc stuff from the muirwoods not be out of place?

If anyone has any advice that would be massively helpful as I have never undertaken a bike restoration of this magnitude!




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Senior Retro Guru
Ive seen a lot worse! (Bought a lot worse too - see my FRS)

It woud have been LX/STX mix so not awful - would have had White Industries cranks too


Devout Dirtbag

Cheers, good news re the STX being in line with the spec as it was new, will save me some money that I will need for other things!

Just finished stripping everything off, going to give the frame a good clean, t cut and polish and then gradually work through saving what I can and transferring over what I can’t!


Kona Fan

I believe that they shared the same frame with the Mount Vision and M.V. Pro both of which had better components, (the Pro had a better shock too).
When you are cleaning and checking pay particular attention to the swing arm for cracks.
According to the Marin catalogue (on here) yours seems to be a '97.
I seem to remember that they rode better than my LTS.


Devout Dirtbag

Thanks for the info, I’ve been doing some digging and it appears that this has the second gen of rear swing arm, the first gen was prone to cracking much more commonly.
Rear shock needs replacing anyway, so is on the list of things to replace.
Should hopefully be starting the clean up this weekend so will post some updates.


Retrobike Rider
Was just looking at the shox, glad you're replacing it. It has the typical, I got heavier so wound the preload way past it's usable turnings, Shame they never added any limit marks to them.

Fox 165mm Floats are a common shox upgrade. I have a Mount Vision frame hanging up.

You've got the seatpost which is good, as 30.0 are not so common to get hold of.


Devout Dirtbag

Due to server issues this is the first chance I’ve had to update this build :)

The frame actually cleaned up quite well. Loads of grease and grime and surface scratches. After a de grease and good going over with t-cut it looks presentable.

I was going to strip the lacquer off the swing arm and re polish put after it cleaned up quite well I didn’t really see the point as it’s not going to be a pristine build anyway.

Stripped down the forks and they were a right state. Don’t think the seals are doing their job. Water and grease all mixed together on the spring side.
The oil on the damping side was in the outer leg, I presume that this isn’t the way it should be and that all the oil should be contained in the inner leg?

Need to finish off the fork this weekend once I’ve cleaned the outer legs and hope that it works better after being rebuilt.

Does anyone have a spare adjuster lying round for the damping leg as the one on it is knackered.

Overall quite pleased with how it’s turning out.

More updates to follow....


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Retro Guru
Nicely done, they are awesome bikes to ride. I have a couple of Mount Visions, one with upgraded rear swingarm and a totally original 1997 with the weaker one. I was going to upgrade it but didnt want to ruin the originality of it.

Look forward to seeing the finished bike :)