I use it for riding to class, work and on the trails. It's been a great bike so far.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 :)
Bike Setup: Standard apart from SPD/Platform pedals and Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35 tyres
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2013
Strengths: Great price
Weaknesses: Fork and tires
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
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.
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.
Strengths: Super Fast
Easy to keep the momemtum going on flats
Tyres( not too bad, my original front still running after 5k KMS on it)
Brakes are not as bad as all reviews call them to be
A few mods required to make it a perfect bike
Missed themega range lowest gear on very steep/off road climbs
Aug 2012 I rode the bike to the highest motorable road (18k+ft, India) Rode from Manali-Leh-Khardungla-Leh(580KMS),However, before this Ride I rode the bike a few thousand K's.The bike is superb on all aspects after you get a few mods done.
1. got the saddle changed to Rido( Super awesome specially for Long rides(10+ Hrs a day)
2. Got the pedals chaged to Shimano SPD's
3. new rear tyre Bontrager(smaller flatter square nobs)
4. Got a flexy Stem to suit my position on the bike.(6.1FT, 21" Frame)
I rode the Bike fully loaded with around 15KGS luggage + my weight (78KGS) and honestly the mechanical Brakes were awesome. After long steep climbs some downhill sections were as long as 22/35 KMS ( All offroad/Broken tarmac/Hard pack) and the brakes never let me down. Not once did I get into trouble, but Yes, very Noisee.
The only downer were the Forks I had to lock em up every time I had to climb but on the other hand being too soft I went completely crazy on downhill sections without worrying too much. I broke just 1 spoke on the rear wheel.
I also felt the need for a mega range sprocket due to the nature of the climb and low oxygen levels, but was still doable.
The confidence this bikes brngs in on downhill/off road is amazing and very strudy and well built, if it could take the terrain it did, it can pretty much take everything else. 5* rating for this bike.
The Mountain Tamer
Date Reviewed: January 8, 2013
Strengths: G2 geometry, Gary Fisher style, 29er, price.
Weaknesses: Front shock, weight.
I bought this bike in June of 2012 and have put over 500 miles on it. I am an beginner to intermediate rider and have really enjoyed this niner. I have upgraded the pedals to clipless shimano spd. Next upgrade will be tires and fork. I can not wait for winter to be over. This is a great starter to intermediate bike if you want a good fun solid ride that has tons of upgrading possibilities as your skills improve at a reasonable price. But if you can afford an $2-6,000 bike, by all means go for it because you are awesome.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2013
Strengths: - Smooth Riding
- Good for Trails
- Comfy Grips
Weaknesses: - Saddle is hard and painful after a while
- Gears are a little clunky
- Pedals are quite small for people with size 13+ shoes
Overall I like this bike a lot! For the people having problems keep this in mind, its your dealers who assemble the bike so mainly they are too blame for incorrect installation.
Strengths: Looks good with the Gary Fisher paint job. Nice fit for me; at 2 meters the 23" frame on the 29er is comfortable. Frame is sturdy, shifters are ok, derailers ok.
Weaknesses: brakes are garbage. You see lots of complaints - probably had same issue as me, one brake pad was installed backwards! good QC job trek! otherwise they still are the cheapest brake setup you can find. So much better after I upgraded to Avids. Crankcase - really Trek? Shimano states that the Altus crank is for "youth" bikes. How dare you put it on this bike! Also, SRAM shifter with Shimano front derailer and the wrong crankcase makes or very poor shifting, esp when going into low at start of a hill. Tires are poor and wear out on a few rides. Hubs do not do well in mud and puddles. Had to re-pack them after one muddy ride. New wheels on order. Within 1 year I upgraded: brakes, pedals, seat, crankcase, tires and wheels are on order. replaced: chain and cassette. So many crappy components and one very heavy bike.
Beginner bike. Anyone else would recognize what a load of junk this bike is and go with something else. If you plan to ride it, plan to spend some ca$h to upgrade the garbage they put on it. Or, just look for something else.
I read the reviews here and people complain about all the junk components on the Marlin, then they rate it a 4 or 5. Others have barely owned it and some ride 5 miles at a time. I think they are just happy to have a bike. After you actually ride it for a while, improve your skills and put it to the test - major FAIL. Now go spend some $ to upgrade or buy another bike.
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2012
Strengths: great price, good materals, Frame is strong and shifts smoothly
Weaknesses: Front fork sounds and feels week. Tires slip easy and wear out easy.
Love the bike its my first MT 29er! Bought it to get serious and to see if I would like MT bikeing as a alternative to runnimg. It turned out a good hobby. Yes I it has changed me and I love it. Im 6" 225 lbs! I've had the bike for a almost a year now.(in AZ summer too;)) Ive ridden at least twice a week if not more for a average of 5 miles at a time ,90% on trails. I always make it back and nothing as broken on me. Ive had two flat tires and agree the tires need to be upgraded. But on a budget like most I've upgraded the pedals, seat, and grips. I've had the bike tuned once from the Trek dealer and thats it. The front fork is weak and sounds like its not happy, it creaks and rattles under heavy stress. However for my size I think its acceptable. Overall happy with the purchase it does shift smoothly, and it does pick up speed on down hills or slight grades! It has done its job and has helped me improve my skill and advance in my biking endurance.
Strengths: fork lockout
29 inch wheels are awesome stepping up from 26"
lifetime warranty on frame
Weaknesses: stock tires slip easily on loose dirt
wet rocks have proven to be a challenge
brakes are hard to activate
seems to be difficult to maneuver on sharp turns, may just be tires though
grips really screwed up my hands without gloves
this is my first mountain bike that i ever bought, though i am definitely not a newbie. i've just had some very old bikes for most of my life. i weigh 140 pounds and am 5'7". i had a fully rigid steel bike that was older than me. i bought this bike for $610 brand new because of a 20% off deal for black friday. now let's start off with some good about the bike...
i have taken it on single track trails in my area and found that it climbs very well and picks up speed very rapidly, it was amazing to be able to descend one steep hill and climb the next without pedaling at all (both were approx 14 feet high). people complain about the suntour fork but i see no problem with it, it is the first front suspension i have ever owned and am fairly sure that people compare it to high end suspensions they have tried/owned. it helps quite a bit getting over bumps and roots, and having to pop the front wheel up to go over a root while slowly going downhill.
the weight of the bike is a little bit more than my old steel bike. i feel like i will get used to it though, and am not sure how much bikes of this class usually weigh. the weight definitely helps descents. also with the efficiency of pedaling, it feels great. the bike seems to move forward very well and going uphill on dirt takes less energy than on my previous bikes (including my other road bike).
now the cons...
the brakes were the first thing that i noticed. at first it was stopping kind of slowly, as if it didn't have enough power. the shop workers said that it's due to a layer of polish that will be rubbed off after some use. so far it is getting better, but very slowly. also i have to pull hard to activate the brakes, minimum of two fingers which makes the grip on the handlebars weaker.
the maneuverability of the bike is odd. i'm not sure if it is the tires or the bike itself, but when i was trying to do some corners i felt as if i couldn't turn hard enough. not only were the tires slipping on the moist dirt (not fully muddy), the bike itself wouldn't turn as hard as i wanted it to. it has to be a combination of wheel size and tires.
overall though, i love this bike. i think it's a very good bike so far and haven't had anything break on me during its rough time beneath my taint. if you have any questions about the bike, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Weaknesses: Handle bars, a bit heavy than expected
Trek's Marlin 2012 has definitely lived up to the Trek performance brand. I ride with a team and commute with this bike. Yes it's an entry level bike, but I make it roar. The shifters work well as rapid fire and the rear derileur is extremely quiet. It climbs well and picks up speed downhill. Overall the bike is a bit heaver than expected, but when you get her moving you don't notice it as much. I upgraded the handle bars because the stock ones were too wide for my comfort and didnt provide enough stability for very rocky terrain. I am 1851bs and this bike fits my frame well. This is great bike to stat off with, and ofcourse you can upgrade anytime you like. I love it.
Strengths: Frame, good entry level, value and geometry, comes in lots of sizes
Weaknesses: Suntour Fork, crankset, Rear Derailluer, and tires, pedals-this bike shouldn't even come with them.
I bought this for my first real mountain bike so I could enjoy the rest of my days. I purchased the Silver Gloss color.
A few things to do first before riding, if you intend to XC or All mountain with this bike: Get rid of the tires, the pedals & saddle; tires have very little tread and zero grip, I washed out in very light loose dirt and nearly wiped out in silt, gravel and dirt combo on a XC trail, pedals are nylon get something with substance, saddle its not the greatest to put your butt on you'll be sorry after a while even with padded shorts. Next if $$$ permits get a good fork the Suntour fork will work for you while you improve your skills but beyond that be ready for a beating. The brakes are not noisy or at least mine aren't (YMMV) I have no issues with my brakes, I did however have to adjust the pads so that they DID NOT contact the rotor causing drag, this was a simple adjustment after I fiddled for an hour trying different things - just turn the zinc colored hex plate on the inside of the fork a little bit. I'll keep these brakes until the fail and replace with something better.
I dislike the shifters and would prefer something like the Shimano SL-M390 Acrea pods push/pull, my thumbs are tired after a few hours on the trail. This is very suitable for this bike, I just have my own preferences for some things.
Rear Derailluer is an SRAM X4 I'm not really fond of it as I can't hear the gear change with the clunk like Shimano has, but it is very smooth, I do have to make adjustments about every 3rd ride or right after cleaning the chain, I guess that is typical of a new bike. The Fork is heavy, it has a lockout which I use for uphill or hard-pack surface like asphalt, you can not lock the fork while riding the bike, I have to dismount to lock it, pre-load adjustment is not variable as it locks with each half turn. I weigh 225lbs with no gear, and about 250lbs fully geared up I have noticed that I tend to bottom the fork out on really hard bumps, I'll be upgrading the fork & RDR soon. Crank set, well you can't add a bash guard to it but it is working.
Chain slap is very common, I plan on adding a chain stay guard to keep from beating the frame. I subjected my chain to the oven and a treatment of MiliTec 1 gun lube it is forever lubed just clean, hose off and dry, so far this has been the best idea for the bike. It was considerably hard to make the lube and heat even but worth the 2 hours or so of application, where I live dust and dirt collect on oiled surfaces.
Note to the Newbies that get this bike with the AT850 rims, if you want to go tubeless buy the rim-strip and rim tape from Stans and select a tubeless ready tire, do this yourself and follow the instructions from the manufacters website, you will love your bike more. I was able to get the bonny TLR tire and a Spec 2Bliss ready tire to mount and hold air. I've been riding on low pressure and its nice to not feel every bump.