Picked up an '05 this week
I haven't tried the '04 out, so I can't offer you much in the way of comparison. However, I picked up my '05 a few days ago (it took about a week to arrive here in Virginia), so I can offer you some insight on this year's model. The only color available was green (blue/silver out of stock). I have to admit, I really didn't like the green from what I saw on the Fisher website. However, once I got the bike, it looks pretty nice with the bright green and black combo, including the black decals. I've put about 50 miles on the bike so far, and here are my impressions (I ride mostly on moderate hills on gravel and pavement, nothing too extreme):
-Nice frame geometry. The genesis frame puts you slightly further back, more over the rear wheel. I've heard some complain that they feel that this makes the front tire come up faster going up a steep hill. For "just riding for fun," I think you'll really like it, because it takes some weight off the front tire and makes it a little easier to steer. I really like the way the bike handles.
-Nice quality for the price. The bike is solid and well built and most of the components are pretty nice for the cost of the overall bike.
-Seat isn't the greatest if you're going to do a fair amount of riding. The first thing I did was replace it with the higher end seat from my old bike.
-The gears shift smoothly, although the front derailleur (Shimano Alivio) is a little clunky. I've heard others complain that it rubs. Mine did too in the higher gears when I first brought it home, but a quick adjustment took care of the problem. I can see that I'll probably upgrade this component a few months down the road.
-I don't like the cables running under the top tube...I don't like the way the bike sits on my bike rack as a result (although I don't think it will damage anything).
-I swapped out the grips....their bulbous shape is uncomfortable on long rides.
Keep in mind that my gripes are pretty trivial...I ride about 100 miles a week on the bike, so comfort is a big factor for me. Overall, I think it's a great bike for the price. I think you'll be really happy with it.
I hope this helps...good luck with whatever bike you choose!
I've been reading over the specs on the 05 Marlin's and the 04 Marlins, however, it would probably help if i knew somethings about all these component changes. I had my mind set on getting an 04 in blue for $409 tomorrow, but am not sure now after checking out these new specs. Is the 05' better in any sense? Also, the frame geometry looks like its gone through some changes. For the better?
I'm not a big fan of the 05 colors or the wait, but, if it's better, i dont mind spending extra for it. I'll just be riding it around for fun, would rather not have it break or be all bouncy as i've read with the 04 forks. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
link to 05 specs
link to 04 specs