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Looking for a second bike next to an Ibis HD4. Looking for something less cumbersome to hit trails. Most of my trails are mixed with chunk, speed, couple drops. I previously had a Meta HT but always felt it short in the reach, hit almost everything on it, but wasn't an inspiring climber.
I want something that can be fun on the trail, fast but won't loose my arse when things get rowdy. I feel the Enduro style HT bikes would be over kill since I have the HD4. I have briefly considered a nuke proof scout but it's always out of stock.
Never rode a 29er or anything bigger that 2.6 tire so both these bikes are a bit of new territory for me. Ive read a bit that the timberjack is a bit of a slower climber. What little I've read on the Marin was great. Not able to ride either before I buy so can't compare.
Any feedback is appreciated.
 

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fairly similar bikes...

pull up each bike's stats/specs and start comparing line by line

note the differences and determine if it's a deal breaker... the bike with the most deal breakers is out.

making a spreadsheet helps
 

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I prefer the geo on the Marin, but my trails may differ from yours, so...

If only for post-sale/warranty support I'd emphatically stick with Marin.
 

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I’ve ridden a TJ pretty hard, both in regards to big climbing days and technical downhill. Climbing wise, I like the ability to really center my weight over the bike and with a 49t low gear, seldom have had a rear traction issue. I ride this bike quite a bit on high country/Backcountry adventure type rides. I’ve also ridden my share of aggressive down hilling on it and shuttle rides and chunky desert rides where I was the only hardtail as well as the only bike with less than 140mm of front suspension. I would be interested in hearing further critique of the bike’s climbing ability because, well, I do a lot of climbing and have generally considered it to be great compromise bike for hard climbing and aggressive hardtailing.

I can’t compare to the Marin though and they appear pretty similar -definitely more in common than there are differences. As someone mentioned above, I’d compare geometry line by line if you can’t ride them both.
 

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I chose my Timberjack over several other bikes (KM, Roscoe) for several reasons. But the Marin that I cross-shopped was the Pine Mtn, not the Nail Trail. The TJ won on REI rebate, dropper post routing, and Alternator drop-outs. It didn't seem especially different to ride, except that it had a suspension fork and the PM didn't.
 

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Assuming you are talking about the $1300-ish priced SLX bikes, the Salsa has a 10mm longer fork. Everything else seems comparable.

Aside from that difference, I suppose it depends on which one you like aesthetically. Since you are asking the community for opinions, I think the Marin looks pretty fugly in color scheme. The Salsa looks cleaner, if a bit too bland.

I used to have a 1995 Marin Nail Trail with the phat 7005 aluminum in a clean polished finish. I wished the new Nail Trail was just as clean looking, it looks too gimmicky graphically. Could get old pretty quick.

On the flip side, the Salsa is no frills looking. Boring, but perhaps timeless.
 
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