Trek Marlin Single Speed 29er Hardtail

2.88/5 (8 Reviews)
MSRP : $639.99

Product Description

29ers are versatile enough to serve XC and trail riders, and their unbeatable efficiency and momentum make them the ultimate singlespeed weapon.

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Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve Hansen a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: February 24, 2016

Strengths:    Same EXACT frame as the RIG and several other Trek offerings. Excellent value when you can get it on sale. Great for getting into single speeding or use as a beach cruiser/commuter.

Weaknesses:    Suntour fork, Bontrager tires, crankset, bars, stem, brakes, cheapo plastic pedals

Bottom Line:   
I picked it up at the LBS on a closeout deal for $377! First upgrades were the tires. I currently have a Maxxis crossmark in the front and a Schwalbe Rocket Ron on the rear. The stock wheels set up tubeless just fine with gorilla tape and cut off presta valves from some old tubes. Then swapped the stem (Thompson), bars (Easton), and grips (Serfas silicone). Once you get the sliding dropouts dialed in they work fine. You just need to tighten them super snug and use locktite. When I upgraded the clunky Suntour fork to a Rockshox Recon Gold air, it totally changed the bike. Lightened it by almost 3 pounds and plushed the ride big time. I bought a used deore crankset and bb from a friend and added a chromag chainring for more weight savings and bling. The tektro brakes are adequate but they are noisy and definitely not as nice as other offerings. I have a set of avid bb7's that I'll put on soon. This thing just rips now. The geometry is XC but feels more playful than my old superfly. I can't really explain it, but I am having much more fun riding this thing than my geared bikes. It's just simple and seems to maintain momentum like crazy. If you are looking to get into single speeding this bike is definitely a great value. You may spend lots of time and money upgrading it but that's half the fun for me. You can also convert it to a geared bike by swapping the dropouts with sawyer units and adding shifters/derailleurs. I just saw some on ebay the other day for $20.

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Favorite Trail:   Cannell Meadow trail, Kernville, California

Duration Product Used:   3 years

Price Paid:    $377.00

Purchased At:   Valley Bicycles, New

Similar Products Used:   2008 Gary Fisher RIG

Bike Setup:   Rockshox Recon Gold single air fork, Thompson stem, Easton Haven bars 740mm, serfas silicone grips, maxxis crossmark front tire, schwalbe rocket ron rear tire, Shimano deore crankset, Hollowtech II BB, Chromag SS chainring 33t, 18t rear cog, Reynolds AM wheelset, WTB Silverado saddle.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Umair

Date Reviewed: August 25, 2014

Strengths:    Built well by LBS. fun and great for beginners!

Weaknesses:    Tires, Brakes, Chain tension

Bottom Line:   
Bought this at my LBS early in 2013 for $625. Immediately had to take it back because the brakes were squealing and gave me and uneasy feeling. The chain also felt like it had some slack. After getting the bike back, the only thing i noticed was the brakes had been adjusted a tad bit for response.

Lost faith in LBS and friend and i started replacing everything...
First it was the tires. The stock tires are realllly bad!
Then replaced the brake pads with BB7s
Saddle was gone next and the replacement come with a better, light seatpost.
A shorter stem, new headset and shorter handle bars with new grips. The headset was also raised.
Finally, my friend just put a custom chain on with a master link to attach it together, but before this was done, the best mod thus was done to this bike. We switched out the 20T rear cog to a 16T.

This was done because around this time, I found my self doing more road riding than MTB. This allows me to accelerate on the Marlin ridiculously fast and was a game changer on the trail when it came to racing.

My final mods to this bike would probably have to a manitou pro 29er front fork and some better wheels. I might go crazy and get a carbon seatpost and a carbon handle bar, but thats it!

My overall impression of this bike is that it is versatile, responds great to modifications if improvement is wanted by rider, and great for beginners.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Woodnmusic

Date Reviewed: August 4, 2014

Strengths:    Frame, handlebars, price, easy to upgrade

Weaknesses:    Wheels, crankset, brakes, seat, grips

Bottom Line:   
Bought this bike from my LBS a few years back. $500 was a huge draw, as I thought I could "budget" mountain bike. I was half right. This is a great beginner bike, especially one that can (and should) be upgraded easily. I rode mine stock until I couldn't stand the THUNK of the fork anymore. Here's my advice and/or warning to anyone interested in a Marlin SS: be ready to sink some $$$ into making this bike trail-worthy. I upgraded grips, crankset, wheels, tires, chain, and fork and it's made all the difference in the world. So, final verdict: cheap bike, cheap parts, fun once you invest in it.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by nedbiker

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2013

Strengths:    Cheap

Weaknesses:    Almost too poor a bike to ride--seriously.

Bottom Line:   
I bought one of the black and green versions of this bike on a 'big sale' so that I could try out single-speed riding. At $500 (list price of $650), I did not expect the bike to be awesome, but I figured I'd keep the wheels and the frame for a while, swap out the fork, and upgrade a range of parts. I mean, how bad can it be, right? The answer is: shockingly bad. After one ride on modest trails, I returned the bike. The front wheel went out of true after maybe five miles and so the front disc rubbed. The bottom bracket groaned and clunked after just a few miles. The shock is not only bad but really quite unpleasant. Even locked out, the fork clunks when you hit any bump. It feels like there is a spring but nothing else inside, so you get rebound shocks which basically offset any potential benefits from the shock.

The brakes squealed loudly from the first few miles, too. The chain slacked up during one ride and the adjuster bolts felt as though I was going to rip them off their mounts when I tried to adjust. I did not want to make the bike to be un-returnable.

All I expected was a simple and generally decent bike, similar in quality to the Specialized X4 level bike I bought for my daughter as a get-around bike. Yes, cheap machine-built wheels and very cheap brakes. But I did expect this bike to be reasonably rideable for knocking around easy trails for a bit, so I could see if I liked the SS thing, before upgrading. I simply cannot believe that Trek would sell a bike this poor.

So I returned this bike and got a Redline Monocog. I have already taken the Redline on a much longer and burlier ride than I took the Trek on and it performed flawlessly (for what it is)--I am not being a snob here--I just wanted a solid, basic ride.

I have purchased many bikes over the years--both high-end and low-end (for kids, etc.). The Trek Marlin does not even compare in quality to the little kids' bikes I have bought from REI.

To be honest, I find it a bit sad that a bike that is listed at $600+ without gears, shifters, derailleurs, etc. cannot be expected to be a solid basic ride. But the bike store's response when I returned the bike was basically, "well, its a cheap bike." Huh. The Monocog has restored my faith, though!

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Bobby a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: March 23, 2013

Strengths:    Frame, saddle, fast

Weaknesses:    Brakes, tires, crank, stem and handlebars

Bottom Line:   
I have the green and black Marlin SS and have ridden the bike dozens of times over the past year. From the ground up . . . the tires need to go immediately. Bontrager's tires are getting better from what I hear, but the stock tires for me were tenuous at best. The wheels for the price point are fine for now, but the crank is less than stellar; yes, you get what you pay for, but I will need to upgrade the crank this summer to limit noise. The stock brakes are fine but sketchy on downhill sections . . . I plan to upgrade those as well. The stem and handlebars were the first to go, only for aesthetic reasons. The Bontrager saddle is remarkably comfy, which shocked me; their saddles in the past have been atrocious. I bought another just like it for my Kona Hei Hei Supreme. The fork is tolerable but if I ever see a sweat deal on a 100 mm G2 fork upgrade, I'm on that. Bike's weight? Don't care, sorry.

Considering the need for upgrades, I can't justify five chilis. Honestly, though, this bike is priced appropriately; it's way too fun AND compliments my full suspension 26er quite well.

A note to the burgeoning hipster who hopes to hit the mountain with intentions of riding hard: this bike destroys the likes of the Karate Monkey. While on the Surly KM, I frequently felt as though my effort was being wasted on an admittedly fun yet precariously whippy frame. The KM's stock fork felt like it might fold underneath me at any given moment. The Marlin SS conversely promotes confidence and allows me to take more risks with no perception of power loss.

One minus with this bike is that you might need to ride with others who have a similar setup or you will leave the rest behind out of necessity for momentum. A SS like this will make you a better rider. Why? The bike requires true effort and will challenge its rider to dig deep into his or her well to discover what is or is not there. You will explode up steady climbs and slay cross-country single track sections. I feel like I have the best of both worlds now . . . 26er FS and 29er SS.

The sliding dropouts do need to be addressed. One appealing aspect in a SS is supposedly the lack of maintenance . . . funny. Having ridden different single speed setups, two of which had traditional horizontal dropouts, the Marlin SS's slider technology is far superior. Nevertheless, low maintenance in the long run requires patience and precision while setting up the ride. With all due respect to the mechanical mishaps and misfortunes of others, I would suggest thorough scrutiny of chain tension and tension on the bolts which hold everything in place. Trust your LBS to set it up but do not stop there; ride it hard once or twice and then double-triple check the entire setup. After a 1/2 dozen rides or so, along with faithful and careful adjustments, the bike should then be ready for the long haul. See Sheldon Brown's website for advice on chain tension etc.

Don't buy this or any SS if you have a history of serious knee issues. The stock gearing is coincidentally what I had on my custom KM and suits me fine for the trails I ride, but it can be a grind on certain hilly sections. Avoid this or any SS if you are new to mtbing unless you are a natural beast. A broad selection of gears will help a new rider adjust to the nuances of bike handling.

Buy this if you are bored . . . bored with the same old thing and need a new challenge. Buy it if you want a reliable, responsive, predictably quick ride. I bought this because no matter what I buy I usually add upgrades, so why not be frugal at the onset?

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Favorite Trail:   Silver Falls

Duration Product Used:   1.5 years

Price Paid:    $575.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Surly Karate Monkey

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Gehrig

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2013

Strengths:    The frame is very responsive. The G2 geometry does make sharp turn easier. Good BB clearance.

Weaknesses:    The chain tension system is ATROCIOUS. Even before I converted it into a fixie the chain would slack out every time I tightened it up. I even bought different tensioner bolt. When I went to a Trek store they told me to go to the hardware store and get locktite and new bolts. I said that they should do it. Their response was "We will have to charge you if you do the work." I used to sell Trek bikes but not anymore. Their customer service is terrible.

Bottom Line:   
Don't buy this bike. After having it for a month I sold it and built a much better SS bike from Surly.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by lamar83 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: January 27, 2013

Strengths:    G2 geometry 29er price gearing

Weaknesses:    FORK, grips, handlebars, Botrager stamped on EVERYTHING

Bottom Line:   
Ive been wanting to try two things for a while now 29er's and single speed mtb's. I found this left over 2012 on clearance at my LBS and it was both and cheap! The fork is absolute garbage and makes a terrible THUNK sound on rebound. The brakes work well enough but I prefer hydraulic so i went with Elixir 1's. The single speed is great on my local single track trails. Its a great starting point at $479 ($506 after tax) if I would have had to pay retail I would have started with a different bike. I love the geometry and frame design.

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Price Paid:    $480.00

Similar Products Used:   fuel ex9, 4300, rockhopper, hardrock, felt q620, Rumblefish, Giant DS3

Bike Setup:   origin 8 saddle, origin 8 pro-rise bars, Botrager carbon rigid fork, odi rogue grips, avid elixir 1 brakes

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by BwIlson9 a Cross Country Rider from Tyler, tx

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2011

Strengths:    Great frame & ride

Weaknesses:    Brakes & rear drop out for chain adjustment

Bottom Line:   
Love the frame and the ride, the brakes are terrible. Replaced with avid 185 on the rear, the upgrade is about $80.00. Yesterday I was riding and the chain came off, I flipped the bike and when I got up the rear wheel was gone. After looking at the rear drop outs, the quick release on the wheel, and the chain tension adjustment my conclusion is it is as bad as the brakes. I like the 29er and the single speed ( simpler & better work out ) but I have had too many problems in less than 6 months. I have had better luck with Specialized and Giant brands. If you are going to buy one, look at the rear drop out and how much of the aluminum the quick release actually grabs on the chain tension assembly - not very much.

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Favorite Trail:   Faulkner park

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $630.00

Similar Products Used:   Giant Yukon 26

Bike Setup:   Stock with new avid brakes

Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

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