I am considering upgrading from my Rockhopper hardtail to a FS in the near future. I had considered the Kona Dawg, but when I visited my LBS, the owner (with whom I ride) started to convince me of the merits of the Marin XC bikes, specificly the Rift Zone FRS. He said as I race XC the Dawg will be a bit too heavy, but more importantly, the Kona suspension design looses it's efficiency in the longer travel models. The Marin however does not. I haven't ridden a Kona yet, but I have ridden a mates Wildcat Trail (6" travel) and I was impressed. The LBS owner has been riding his Marin B17 for four years, and had a Rift Zone before that, so they must have impressed him. Also he has a Rift Zone FRS in my size that is a reduced price as it's last years model and the new ones have the new Quad rear end.
I have looked on mtbreview and the Marin's have had good reviews there, but doing a search of these forums, there is very few threads mentioning Marins. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with these bikes, and their opinions?