Strengths: Great Weight... Components... and Build Quality
Weaknesses: Tires & Saddle
It's been a year since I bought this bike and I am still extremely happy with this bike!!
Absolutely no major problems so far with hundreds of miles tracked out. From XC to downhill... this thing is a beast!
The only issues I have noticed like others have pointed out are the tires when on loose soil and they are definitely not great for climbing... my back tire usually just spins out on 6% or greater climbs.
Components are great! Reliable shifting... the stock pedals are awesome, I'm not sure if it's my shoes but most of the time it feels like I'm clipped in - great feel to them!
The saddle also isn't very comfortable, but not terrible. I've ran this stock for about a year, and just now want to upgrade to better wheels and saddle. All around, I definitely recommend this bike. For the price, this is a great mid-level bike. I don't seem myself getting rid of it for another hardtail... maybe if I look to get a dual suspension.
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2012
Strengths: Low standover height and for the price is is pretty light. The geometry is perfect for climbing, the frame sizes are accurate (I have had issues with this in the past) and above all else after hundreds of miles of beating the tar out of it the frame has not broke!
Weaknesses: The rear triangle has a lot of flex in every direction, the same geometry that makes it climb like a scalded ape makes her twitchy at speed. stock shifters suck the stock rear derailler is designed to make your chain fall off over any succsesive bumps ( I had to hack the chain to the point of almost losing first to keep the thing on)
I picked my 05 marlin up at a pawnshop for 80$ as a way of blowing all my money on 5000% mark up lbs parts. Many moons later I have a bike that rolls on rims worth more than the msrp so this is more accurately a frame review. I love this frame and when it finally gives up the ghost I will by another. It climbs like no other ht I have ever ridden and for its intended purpose is more than strong enough, an added bonus is that when you drop the seat it feels almost like a djer. It jumps much much better than a xc bike should and has handled some serious drops and hucks. In its stock form it is a great beginner/step up from crappy walmart bikes kinda bike and with a few upgrades (fork, bar, seat, rear derailler, tires) is an acceptable race machine for a weekend warrior but for the snobs and fast guys it will be too flexy. As a side note a 130mm fork seems to put her at the perfect angle for stability at speed and keeps the most of the carvability.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 18, 2012
Strengths: Looks great, awesome frame geometry, fits right. Brakes are very responsive and bike is surprisingly light for the price
Weaknesses: The seat sucks, and the tires are not the best
I love it I was given this bike by the regional trek rep. when my Advance disc was found to be irreparable. Instead of forcing me to own a broken bike, (less then two months old), he gave me the Marlin disc in exchange. I have no real complaints. I have crashed it, beat it, raced it and used it, and after two years, it shifts perfect, drives true and stops on a dime. There is always better products on the market, but for the money of this one, its hard to beat! Unless you plan to run a competition with it, its worth it. Great first "entry-level" bike.
Strengths: Fairly lightweight, strong, good price. Components get the job done.
Weaknesses: The Bontrager Jones XR tires are terrible for anything but hardpack. They have ZERO cornering ability on loose terrain.
The stock Wellgo pedals were junk, as the plastic spindle actually sticks out above the pedal cage if the pedals are upside down, making the bottom side very slippery. I don't think this is a big weakness because most riders would probably put on their preferred after market pedals anyway. Why have the additional expense of higher quality pedals included with the bike when you're probably going to just replace them right off the bat?
The Deore rear derailleur is apparently very delicate, because I managed to turn mine into an "auto-shifting" version on my 3rd ride without even crashing. I guess I must have clipped a rock with it since I always lay the bike down on the left side to protect the drivetrain.
You get a good frame with decent componentry for a reasonable price. It climbs and handles really well. Switching to Excavators completely changed the riding experience for me. I went from sliding out on every turn to pinning it around corners, even in loose gravel.
I've ridden it all over the CO front range, and it's handled just about everything really well, with the exception of the rockier parts of the Ponderosa loop at Heil Ranch, which I think would be pretty rough on any hardtail. I did find it took a while to get used to the geometry, but I'm sure that was partly because my old 4500 was a size too small.
I'd recommend this to anyone on a budget because you get a good frame and you can always upgrade components down the road. It's not fancy, but it is a solid rig that can tear it up on most any XC terrain if you're a good rider.
Only 4 chilis overall rating because of the stock tires
Favorite Trail: Strand Hill in Crested Butte, Hall Ranch
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Boulder Trek Store
Similar Products Used: '00 Trek 4500 (the Marlin is a gigantic step up from that), '95 Fuji Sandblaster, Norco Fluid 2 (demo'd in Moab)
Bike Setup: Time ATAC pedals, Kenda Excavator tires (26x2.1 rear, 26x2.35 front), Stan's sealant in the tubes
a Weekend Warrior
from st. cloud mn
Date Reviewed: May 7, 2010
Strengths: Great price, tough as nails, my second Gary Fisher and I wasnt let down. Handles great and takes a beating
Weaknesses: Set up from store, brakes were horrid, shifting was unreliable
I picked this bike up due to the almost halfprice sale the local store was having and wow did I get my money's worth. This bike is light enough for the Weekend Warrior and plenty reliable, the tires weren't the best and new tires made a big difference. I was about to replace the brakes til I learned to set them up correctly. I am very pleased with this bike and it has taken quite a few beatings on the trail. I would suggest this bike for anyone who wants a bike they can ride as a commuter and an occasional Black Diamond
a Weekend Warrior
from Illinois, USA
Date Reviewed: September 17, 2009
Strengths: Price,good geometry and responsivenss.
Weaknesses: Stock tires has poor rolling abilty.
A very good bike for the price. Climbs like a goat. Good geometry, good components. Thanks to the Mythos IRC tire that my buddy gave me. Gary Fisher Marlin disc 2008 did not fail me. If you plan on buying this kind of bike first thing you needto upgrade is the tire. Then just replace any broken parts wlong the way.
Similar Products Used: Specialized hardrock,specialized rockhopper,cannondale f5.
Bike Setup: As is when I bought it exceptfor the wheelset.
from Rogers, Arkansas
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2009
Strengths: Lightweight, Good Geometry, Durable, Comfortable, Handles Well
Great bike. I went back and forth before purchase between the Marlin Disk and Cannondale F5. In the end I decided on the Fisher. The bike climbs well and the G2 really allows you to stand-in and grind up those hills. Balance is excellent and the bike is very stable during high-speed descents. I have seen a fair number of complaints regarding the tires being prone to pinch flats, but haven't encountered any problems thus far. The only (and I mean only) complaint I have are the small platform pedals. The teeth are the same size on the top and bottom so I frequently end up riding with my feet on the bottoms of the pedals. Will swap out for SPDs soon and that should remove my complaint. All-in-all, fantastic bike. So far it's taken whatever I've thrown at it and begs for more!!!!
Weaknesses: Jones XR Tires, BB5 Breaks Tough to Dial-In, Rock Shox Dart 2 opposed to the Dart 3 Shock.
After doing extensive research on the internet and at local bike shops between various Trek's, Gary Fisher's and Cannondale's, I finally narrowed my search down to a Trek 6000 or Gary Fisher Marlin Disc. Both bikes are pretty comparable aside from the Trek having the newer Dart 3 front shock. Overall the feel, ride, and fit 17.5" (5'9" x 165 lbs.) was perfect for me with the Marlin over the Trek. I think most of that is attributed to the geometry of the G2 frame design on the Marlin since I am a lanky type with long arms and legs.
Upon taking the bike home I was a bit disappointed with the BB5 disc break set up as trying to dial them in proved to be a bit challenging. The rotors on the front and back were rubbing a bit when the bike shop delivered the bike to me, but a bit of tweaking and a little bit of saddle time to break the bike in properly has seemed to cure the rubbing problem for the most part. Here is a good write up with pictures on how to adjust the BB5 breaks. http://bluecollarmtb.com/2006/10/30/how-to-dial-in-avid-bb5-mechanical-disc-brakes/ .
The only thing that I really wish is that the Marlin Disc came with is the newer Dart 3 Rock Shox, but I can see that they opted for the Dart 2 to keep the price under a respectable $800.00. The Dart 2 does quite well on the roads and Trails around town, and all in all this bike is perfect for someone looking to do some mild single track riding and have something that they can still ride around the city and commute in comfortably. For the price I paid on sale it was a steal!!!
a Weekend Warrior
from Park Ridge, IL
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2009
Strengths: Rigidity and handling, Deore all around, Sticky BB5's (if adjusted properly)
Weaknesses: Grips, stock cable stretch
I had the luxury of thoroughly testing a Trek 6000 Disc and a Felt Q620 in addition to the '09 Marlin Disc. Here's the rundown on these three similarly priced bikes...
The 6000 felt loose and the SRAM X5 shifters were clumsy and slow. I felt like I was wasting a lot of energy taking off. The Q620 felt amazing, but I was wary of the Alivio setup and low end Tektro hydroulics. It was a rocket.
The Marlin feel was slightly below the Felt in responsiveness and quickness, but way above the 6000. In the end, the Marlin won out over the Q620 due to the Deore setup and the BB5's ($70 cheaper also). I know hydraulics should win out, but if adjusted properly, the BB5s are more than capable of easily stopping the bike. They're a bit touchy in the modulation department, but it just takes a little getting used to.
I've had the bike only a few weeks, but I've put over 300 miles on it in a mix of pavement, leasure trails, technical single tracks and a little jumping.
The bike feels like it's in the mud on pavement, but seems to really be at home on trails. I average about 4mph faster through technical singletracks than I did on my old tank (98 Performance M407), which averaged about 3mph faster on pavement.
The bike seems to lean right a little bit more than usual, though that may just be me getting used to a different balance than my old bike. My first jump on it of only about 3ft resulted in a whole lot of scratches and bruises.
One word of warning... Due to the G2 geometry, when test-riding make sure you test the correct frame size for yourself. On most bikes, you can get a good idea what a 17.5" frame feels like by riding a 19" frame... not so on a Fisher G2. If you test-ride the wrong size, you'll think I'm nuts in praising this bike.
Bike Setup: Stock with inconsequential add-ons - bar ends, etc.
a Weekend Warrior
from Severna Park, Maryland
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2009
Strengths: Light, nimble, climbs hills like a goat, shifts as smoothly as butter, and the G2 frame results in a comfortable, confident position. I have a grade 2 Spondylolisthesis (a vertebral slip) at my L4 vertebrae, and the G2 was the only bike frame that I could use that was comfortable (translation: if you have sciatica, this frame will put you in a riding posisiton that will not aggravate your sciatica). I can ride this bike 30-50 miles without the least amount fo discomfort. I liked the Cannondale G5 and a couple others, but their more upright position bothers my back.
The components on this bike are quite adequate, although I would have liked Avid BB7's instead of the BB5's. But the BB5's do a great job. I love my old Ross Mount Hood, but when I get on my Marlin, the comparison is like an old ranch horse to a thoroughbred or a pony. The light weight makes this bike a breeze to ride on trails.
Weaknesses: Two things: The pedals ($10 Wellgo's on an $800 bike?), and the awful Bontrager Jones XR tires. I just broke down in desparation and bought a tube with goo in it because I have a flat almost every time I go off road with these tires, despite the fact that my son is riding right in front of me on Kendas, and he NEVER gets flats with cheap K-Mart tubes.
I replaced the Wellgo's with my old Suntour XC II beartraps, and the difference is astounding. The bike climbs much better, and my feet never slip now.
Two minor points: Lightweight aluminum bikes require more effort on pavement when riding into the wind, and sometimes when climbing a real steep grade, the front end tries to rear up on me. But I imagine all light bikes do that. I just have to adjust my position.
This is a great bike, so far. It's a little flashy, the unusual frame shape makes mounting it on a bike carrier a pain, and I wish Gary Fisher hadn't pasted his name in 8 places on the frame, but everyone who sees the bike says "Nice bike," so I guess it's me. The silky smooth Deore shifting makes it easy to run into a hill and then gear down when the terrain starts heading toward the sky. And when the going gets impossible, it's as easy to carry as a briefcase.
This probably deserves a 5 rating for value, but the poor pedals and tires force me to give it a 4. Overall though, it's a 5.
a Cross Country Rider
from Tupelo, MS, USA
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2008
Strengths: The bike climbs like a goat and descends wonderfully. It's very stable at extremely low as well as very high speeds. Cornering is great as far as the bike is concerned, although the stock tires hider the bikes ability. Mine is ridden 15-20 hours a week and I have yet to have any real problems.
Stock components are very good, but not perfect. (think trail/recreation not race/competition) Either replace some of them immediately and sell the stock ones or wear them out and replace with better components later. I?ve opted to upgrade when the components actually need to be replaced, because there is nothing really wrong with them to begin with. I read the reviews that say toss the stock parts anytime I read about a MTB. I wonder why a pro rider doesn?t just build from the frame up with the components they desire.
Weaknesses: The tires, Bontrager Jones XR, should perform great on hardpack. But I would suggest replacing them if you are in an area with thorns, loamy/loose soil, mud or standing water. They do not grip well in cornering, which has caused a few falls for me. They also have next to zero puncture resistance. I was changing tubes after literally every ride. The thorns we pick up are black berry thorns and are about 1-2mm long, something that you might miss in your own skin? but they puncture these tires like they were hot tacks. I replaced my tubes with self sealing tubes (Slime or similar product) and have had no problems so far. I?m upgrading the tires once I get these worn down or after the new tubes fail a few times. Bottom line if you plan to ride where you might get a thorn or hit some loose soil, consider investing in a better set of tires.
The cables need to be routed so that there is very little touching the frame itself. I have a huge spot rubbed to the aluminum frame on the front of my bike as does a few of my friends with the Marlin Disc setup. The brake cable rubbed through the paint after about five hours of riding. If I did it again I would place a frame protector type patch on the frame where the cables touch and where they could touch.
Hey guys. So it's time for me to finally do some mx on my bike. Runs great, but the shop told me that my chain is done for (something about it's too stretched out) as well as the rear cassette (due to the chain being too stretched)..So, i need a new chain and cassette according to Trek. I don't th ... Read More »
I recently bought a new 2012 trek marlin for $500 :cool:. For $500 the only part that i can really complain about are the brakes. I've probably ridden 30-40 miles so far, and I've adjusted them twice. This is my first disc brake experience, and i can't stand the feel compared to rim brakes. They ... Read More »
I am new to the mountain biking world but I have been to two different stores with a friend and these two bikes stuck out to me, they are both about the same price and both seemed to ride well. I do not know too much about mountain bikes, what do ya'll think of these bikes and the pro's and con's o ... Read More »
I'm seriously looking at the Marlin Sports Disc 29'er (2013): a lot of posters have complained about noise issues, seems mostly about brakes.....which to me could easily be fixed just by replacing with BB7's....
I know a weak point of the Marlin is the Suntour Fork, no argument there-
[I]But a ... Read More »
So first off, completely new to mountain bikes. I used to ride all the time but got out of it due to not having any time. I've been doing research for about 6 months and I have the choices for my first bike narrowed down, but I cannot decide.
So what I would like to know is what you guys think. ... Read More »