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Ben-Jammin
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678 Posts
They both have extremely an extremely similar parts spec and warranty.

There are a few discrepancies in the geometry between them, but nothing too huge.

Ride both and choose the one you prefer.
 

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105 Posts
I just had to make the same decision and went with the Marlin. Both bikes are similarly equipped, the Trek has a lockout, the Spec does not, the Trek is an 8 speed where the Spec is 7, those 2 things swayed me to the Marlin. And I think that blue is a lil too much even tho I am a huge Magic fan lol. If I had to do it over again I would have sprung for the Mamba, for the better fork and components, The Scott that was mentioned above is a nice deal as well.

One thing about the Trek GF hardtails is that the Marlin frame is the same as the $2100 Paragon, so upgrading components later on makes a lil more sense, where I consider the Hardrock a strictly beginner bike.

Here's my bike with new grips, pedals and saddle...


 

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You really have to ride them and compare for yourself to be sure. I had toe overlap problems on the Spec Hardrock. The GF Marlin frame seemed to be more upgrade-worthy than the Felt Trail, although I liked the fit and feel of both (although I liked the hadling of the Marlin a bit better). They all have similar component specs and I ended up going with the Marlin, but it took riding all three to be sure.
 

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FYI the Marllin frame is not the same as the Paragon. The marlin frame is the same as the X-caliber. Paragon has bress fit BB and tapered head tube. According to my LBS the Paragon frame alone is almost 1/2 lb lighter than the x-cal so there could be some other differences as well.

Either way the Marlin, Mamba, x-cal all have a very nice frame that can handle upgraded compenents well.

Whatever you have or get, ride it and enjoy it.
 

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Truly Doneski
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541 Posts
Just ride the hardtails in your price range at the LBS and pick the one that fits you the best.
 

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I also recently got the Marlin, I was hesitant to buy a bike I couldn't test first, and the Marlin felt great at the LBS. I often ride on the road to get to trails, so the lock-out was something I wanted. It seems like a decent bike for the price range, which I can either sell or upgrade later. Like the others said though, get whichever feels best!
 
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