Trek Marlin 29er Hardtail

3.9/5 (50 Reviews)
MSRP : $649.99


Product Description

29ers are versatile enough to serve XC and trail riders, and their unbeatable efficiency and momentum make them the ultimate singlespeed weapon. Upgrades from Wahoo:
  • Suspension fork lockout
  • Bontrager AT-850 rims
  • Bontrager SSR stem
  • SRAM X4 rear derailleur & shifters


  • Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

    Reviews 1 - 15 (50 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

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

    Date Reviewed: July 1, 2014

    Strengths:    Great frame, strong double-wall wheels (for price), great geometry.

    Weaknesses:    Brakes, fork and tires

    Bottom Line:   
    I have owned my 2012 Trek Marlin for about two years now. Despite the sub-par brakes and mediocre fork, it is a great bike for the money. It has handled moderate trail riding better than I had imagined with minimal problems. The frame is definitely worthy of upgrading with improved components. I think upgrading to good quality hydraulic brakes and a better fork would make this a great trail bike for the novice rider.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Switchgrass

    Price Paid:    $689.00

    Purchased At:   Lee's Bike Shop Wic


    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Jake W a cross country fan a Weekend Warrior

    Date Reviewed: March 12, 2014

    Strengths:    good frame decent bars and shifters and derailers

    Weaknesses:    fork and tires

    Bottom Line:   
    i got the 2013 model in august after riding a few of its competers mine is the 21" frame model and man it is good. While the fork is to stiff even with the preload as soft as possible it is still overly stiff. Most people complain about the brakes and while they are not the worst they are not anything to write home about ether. But the tires are almost worthless they are ok for purely street riding they are horrible in semi loose and in snow well they spin when trying to go from 18 to 20 mph downhill ya pretty bad but at least you can adapt to them. Sorry but i haven't changed anything except the grips and added Mr.toughies to the tires to prevent flats but as is for the money it is great if you can afford it this is a great bike especially if you add a better fork and tires and maybe even brakes

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   the hard kind

    Duration Product Used:   7 months or so

    Similar Products Used:   trek 4300 disk 26er

    Bike Setup:   mostly stock

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Nealsen Armstrong a Cross Country Rider

    Date Reviewed: November 21, 2013

    Strengths:    Great color green ,Good upgradable frame and good ride geometry. But an awesome bike after you upgrade a few things.

    Weaknesses:    The brakes and the fork but most bikes at this price point have this weakness.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is a good bike with a good alpha gold frame. I have a 2012 and I'm still riding it and having fun on the trails. But with upgrades it will be an awesome bike. The brake and the fork. On mine I upgraded the brakes first for safety. I put Avid Elixir 5 brakes and now it will stop on a dime. And recently I put a Rock Shox XC 32 Solo Air fork and 29/ 2.2 tires with a little more aggressive tread and now my Marlin rocks! The fork upgrade dropped 2 lbs off the bikes weight. But upgrades are pricey. If you cannot afford upgrades for a while keep your brake rotors clean and properly adjusted. But if you can get one upgrade save up 200$ and get some good hydraulic disc brakes. But this is a good bike with potential to be a great bike with a few upgrades.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Devils Den

    Duration Product Used:   almost 2years

    Price Paid:    $710.00

    Purchased At:   Scotts Bike Shop

    Bike Setup:   I upgradeed the forks ,brakes & tires everything else is stock.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Bettski a Weekend Warrior

    Date Reviewed: August 25, 2013

    Strengths:    Size, geometry, price. weight.

    Weaknesses:    Weak brakes, noisy pads, uncomfortable seat, weak cranks/pedals.

    Bottom Line:   
    I recently bought this bike second hand from some one and I was looking for a low/med entry level bike to be able to put a little money into and have a sturdy frame to work with without breaking the bank. So far the bike has proved to be a really solid bike. The things that are wrong with it can be easily fixed and for not too much money as well. The pads ended up getting noisy after a few months and the seat took forever to grow accustomed to even for short rides. Anything of any real length of time and the seat just hammers you and offers no real comfort. Also the mechanical breaks are kind of lacking and I have noticed after tigheting them and shortening the dram I am still unable to lock up the tires. Not that you really want to lock your front tire up but at the same time the mechanical breaks just don't offer enough stopping power once you're moving along. Also the cranks and the pedals are just crap. I would reccommend immediately fixing them. The bolt retainer came loose after around 6 months and started making the peddle wabble and once that piece came out there was no way to keep the nut from loosening as I pedalled. Super annoying. Also I noticed the pedals were disentigrating after only a few heavy hits and since they have a metal center piece with plastic surrounding them they had to go. Overall the bike is a pretty solid ride and I am a larger rider (215) and it has been handling me pretty well. I really enjoy the ride and can't wait to take it on some more trails when I am back stateside.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by wickerman1

    Date Reviewed: August 24, 2013

    Strengths:    Great geometry, solid frame

    Weaknesses:    cranks, pedals, tires(in wet weather)

    Bottom Line:   
    Mine is the green 2012 model. I bought the bike on the fact of trying out a 29. I didnt want to spend alot on one, and my LBS knows how I am with bikes and told me "don't look at the components, just look at the 29 aspect and geometry". I've owned built and gone through many bikes in my time. After a couple rides on this one, i knew I loved the 29. I loved the frame and its geometry, and of course the colour...it rocks! at 250 pounds i knew i needed to upgrade, so i did...I put Raceface Turbine(new model) cranks, upgraded full 9 spd SRAM, upgraded fork to manitoou match29, upgraded tires, handlebars(wider). The bike has basically been rebuilt. I love the bike a lot, and for a entry/mid level 29 hardtail, i recommend this bike to anyone

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Dave a Weekend Warrior

    Date Reviewed: August 7, 2013

    Strengths:    Frame is worthy of upgrading a bit.

    Weaknesses:    Seat is terrible.

    Bottom Line:   
    The bike seems to ride fine and suits my needs. Had a crash which bent the front rim, it actually separated at the weld, not sure it was a defect or my crash. The fork is fine for this price although I upgraded to a rockshox. Brakes seemed to work well but I upgraded them too. Used the crash as a chance to upgrade some items. The seat is uncomfortable after only a short distance. No real issues with the drivetrain, although it did need some adjusting after just a couple rides. Overall it's hard to beat for a sub $700 bike, next time I think I'd save some $$ and get something else. This was an upgrade from the trek 3500 I had previously. It'd be tough to go back to 26" bike again.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by -sparky- a Cross Country Rider

    Date Reviewed: July 17, 2013

    Strengths:    Value,Climbing Ability,Handling

    Weaknesses:    Pedals "Don't ride with platforms so I don't care",Saddle "Comfortable but too narrow for my taste",Could have better components but not a deal breaker still pleased with the crisp and quite shifting

    Bottom Line:   
    This is a great bike!!! I'm very pleased I chose this bike over the others in this price range or even a little higher.This is a great ride that will handle all you can throw at it.I have had this bike for a week now and as it got broke in the tires became much soft and became all around better"Although I changed the rear tire to what I usually use".And now the brakes are very good,great stopping power.I have not had any complaints with the fork not as good as other but still a decent setup.I will upgrade to a better fork though in the future to save some wight and gain performance.This bike handles trails excellent gives the rider a more confiding ride and it also climbs like a goat.I have been pushing this bike and it has never let me down in anything I chose to ride. Bottom line is this bike is a very solid starter bike and with a few upgrades it could become a versatile,dependable cross country machine "which I plan on doing".I would highly recommend this bike to anyone getting into the sport who wants a great bike and great price!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   Everyday since purchase a week ago

    Similar Products Used:   Haro Flightline,Specialized Rockhopper

    Bike Setup:   Mostly stock with a Bontrager Affinity Saddle,WTB Bronson Rear Tire,and clip on pedals

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

    Date Reviewed: June 9, 2013

    Strengths:    Trail riding, flats, high speed, maneuverability

    Weaknesses:    pedals

    Bottom Line:   
    The brakes on this bike are not bad at all...
    I'm 215lbs and I ride the hell out of this bike. I have no problems stopping on both the front and back brakes in all weather conditions.
    The frame is light, the gears are tuned well and having 29's on it makes it much easier to roll over obstacles.
    The stock pedals are very cheap. It was the first upgrade I made. Other than that I like the fact that the front suspension can be locked out for pavement riding. The bike corners like a bmx and the shifters are responsive in tough situations. The bike is super fast. I do a good job of keeping up on rides with road bikes. Obviously I can't completely keep up but I definitely keep a better pace than others riding similar bikes.
    The best attribute of this bike is its value for the price paid. For under $1000 you get a bike that can corner like other brands at the top of their line.
    I would definitely recommend this bike for anyone that wants a solid bike at a more than reasonable price.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Ryan W

    Date Reviewed: April 8, 2013

    Strengths:    Smooth, fast, good value.

    Weaknesses:    Brakes, fork.

    Bottom Line:   
    I use it for riding to class, work and on the trails. It's been a great bike so far.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by Mike B a All Mountain Rider

    Date Reviewed: April 6, 2013

    Strengths:    Good frame, 29er, relatively light, bike climbs well

    Weaknesses:    Brakes are TERRIBLE, Bike has very little caster, Tires, fork, handle bars

    Bottom Line:   
    This is my 3rd mountain bike, I took a few years off and am just getting back into it. This bike was where I wanted to be pricewise for an entry level bike. Before I even rode the bike I installed crankbrothers candy 3 pedals and use clip-in shoes. I also installed a WTB saddle.

    The brakes on this bike are terrible. No amount of adjustment can get them to stop. I'm 6"0" and weigh 185lbs. I had to pull the brakes on this bike so hard I could feel the cables stretch. The bike didn't stop, it just made more noise. I was unable to keep up with my friends on the downhill sections because I was physically unable to stop once I was up to speed. I checked on amazon for better pads and read the reviews there. They're terrible. Supposedly upgrading to organic pads is a good move, but I went a different route.

    I upgraded the brakes to Avid elixir 3, much better.

    Once I upgraded the brakes I was still unable to stop because these tires are such a hard rubber there was no traction, even on hardpack. I just started to skid. The rear tire would wash out all the time while climbing and I'd just have to lay over if I couldn't unclick in time.

    I upgraded the tires and tubes, I got continental race king tires. This was a huge improvement, bike has much more traction and is much more enjoyable to ride. I can now keep up on the downhills with my buddies. This is where I noticed the weakness in the fork. It's not unridable, and it works. I'll upgrade it later, but it's not on my list of priorities. Keep in mind the fork has a warning that says it's for casual use and XC ONLY. It tells you to not ride it on mountain trails or downhill sections.

    The handle bars have a ton of sweep to them and they're relatively narrow. I upgraded to some ouri clip on grips and they're wonderful. Much better feel and they widened the bar a bit (they stick off about 1/2"). My next upgrade will be a handlebar.

    This bike is very unstable on smooth road surfaces due to the lack of caster. I'm assuming it's because they wanted to keep the turning radius as small as possible. It's difficult to ride this bike without hands because of this. On the trail I don't notice it and it's very fast and fun.



    Overall, I'm very happpy with the bike. The upgrades I've done to this bike will move easily enough to my next one so I don't feel it's money wasted. Also the tires depend on your area and what trails you ride, I expect to change those anyways.

    The bike climbs very well, I have no issues keeping up with my friends that ride more often than I do. The bike has a nice "granny" gear for climbing and it's relatively light for an entry level bike.

    I will sell this bike and move on to another one, but it's served it's purpose. I will ride it for the rest of the season and pick up a '13 full suspension 29er model when they go on sale.

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by PLK

    Date Reviewed: March 22, 2013

    Strengths:    Frame, Forks have been better than I thought they would be so far.

    Weaknesses:    The disc brakes were HORRIBLE. They squeeked so bad it was embarrasing to ride. Trek did replace them but the brakes they replaced them with are awful too.

    Bottom Line:   
    Overall, I really wished I had went with another bike. The frame is the strong point of this bike. Im a bigger guy and the rims have held up quite well. O.k. bike for a beginner or if your on a tight budget but I would shop around for other bikes in this price range before I settled on this one.

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by ron stoddard

    Date Reviewed: March 3, 2013

    Strengths:    easy to control, shifting is good, very fast, light frame, good maneuvering, good shifting, easy to climb, rides smooth off road and on road

    Weaknesses:    seat!!! brakes don't feel that strong

    Bottom Line:   
    Hello my friends! This is my first bike purchase and I could not be more happy with it. I have been killing it since I bought this bike at Harbins Park in Gwinnett Co, GA. This is a great bike! It looks good and rides good. Easy to climb and control. I had to replace the seat like immediately though! lol. Factory seat is horribly uncomfortable. Also the brakes don't feel that strong but... they work. I have put dozens of off road milez on my blue Trek Marlin and it is awesome! I bought mainly for exercise and it is definitely a good workout! The bike shifts smooth and reliable. The only criticism I have is the seat and the brakes. EVERYTHING else about this bike is great!!! I strongly recommend it to anyone. I'm a big guy and it still rides great! holla

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Adam Druskovich

    Date Reviewed: February 8, 2013

    Strengths:    Great size, good momentum once you get it going. Strong frame

    Weaknesses:    As mentioned by everyone else - Pedals and saddle

    Bottom Line:   
    This is the first brand new bike I had ever bought, an upgrade from 26 inch wheels, designed primarily for a commute bike, with MTB riding recreationally. I would definitely consider myself a beginner level rider. My commute is on the open highway and occasionally you need to get off the road if there are large trucks coming each way. We live in a remote area and the roads aren't in great condition and off-road is pretty rough. This is why I opted for a MTB over a road bike. After purchasing the bike I immediately swapped out the pedals to larger platforms. I had only owned the bike for a week before I tore my ACL playing sport. I then could only look at it for a couple of months recovering from surgery until my physio program allowed me to ride again. It was hell as I had really enjoyed riding it!
    Since then I have clocked up 1700km (just over 1000 miles) in 7 months and I have loved riding this bike. Once again I don't have much to compare it to, and I can only speak from personal experience. It is a heavy bike but once you get it going you have great momentum. I find it very easy to maintain speed on the flat and the bike climbs well. Since my knee injury I go on trails less and less and have found myself doing longer rides on the road for fitness. It's been great for my rehab being a bit heavier. It's also good to have the security of large tyres and a strong bike for going over really bumpy roads or off-road at speed if you need to.
    As other reviewers have said, upgrade components to get the bike you want. I have left it pretty standard apart from the pedals and tyres. I recently changed the pedals again to SPD/platform, I find these great as I can clip in for a long ride, or go with the platforms for my commute. I also changed the tyres to Schwalbe Big Apples (2.35), they are absolute monster slicks. Great for speed at maximum PSI (or just that little bit higher) and handle bumps well. If I move back to the city I would probably get a road bike to reflect my type of riding but I am more than happy with this bike in the current conditions I use it :)

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   7 months

    Price Paid:    $700.00

    Bike Setup:   Standard apart from SPD/Platform pedals and Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35 tyres

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by John Wski

    Date Reviewed: February 2, 2013

    Strengths:    Great price

    Weaknesses:    Fork and tires

    Bottom Line:   
    It's my opinion that this is a great bike for the price the only thing I have changed on mine is the fork I put a rockshox Reba rl 100 on it and wow what a difference people tell not to upgrade your bike just buy a better one but I believe if you upgrade parts you end up with the bike you want I like the brakes for now I will end up changing them and eventually change from an 8 speed to 10 but not for a long while

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

    Date Reviewed: February 2, 2013

    Strengths:    Frame + Price

    Weaknesses:    PEDALS! Change them out immediately. Shifters - not sure, but they don't seem ultra responsive after a while. Probably just need to tune them again.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is my first MT Bike, only ever riding a steel framed, non suspension Trek in college back in '04. I took it to the same trail as that first ride from college and what a difference! I wasn't panicked, bounced, trounced or almost dashed upon the trees lining the single track. Anyway, I just woke up one morning and decided to get a MT Bike. This was within my budget, and after riding a few different models, this was it. Plus it looked good. First off, not sure what everyone is talking about with the brakes. Sure the first fifty miles or so they were loud, but they have quieted down now. The fork sure seems adequate. Handles the obstacles with aplomb. Higher End forks are most certainly better, but for this price range, they are very good, plus the lockout is nice to have for non mountain riding. I have a couple hundred miles in, bought at the very end of summer, but the shocks have not given out yet, leaked or otherwise shown any issues. For a first true MT bike, you cannot go wrong with this at this price level. I did upgrade the pedals already since after the first few trips out, I bashed the ones that came with the bike almost completely apart. I have wellgo wam-d10's to mount on. A great first bike, or one that is easily attainable and won't get the wife too upset when you show up at home with it.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   John Muir

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $580.00

    Purchased At:   Wheel and Sprocket


    Reviews 1 - 15 (50 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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