Looking for an excellent cross-country bike for a beginner, a 27.5 or 29er? A bike with a front lockout suspension, 2×8 drivetrain, and with men and women-specific models? Your search ends at Trek Marlin 6.
The Marlin series are multi-purpose cross-country MTBs with big aspirations and excellent wheels. The Trek Marlin 6 is one of the best trek bikes to hit the trails with if you are looking for comfort without breaking into a bank.
The bike will certainly meet your expectations. Here is an honest review of the Trek Marlin 6.
Trek Marlin 6 Review
- Frame: Alpha Silver Aluminum alloy, with internal routing.
- Fork: SR Suntour XCT 30, 100mm coil spring with lockout & preload
- Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disk brakes
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Altus M315, 2-speed
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus M310, 8-speed
- Rims: Bontrager Connection, double wall
- Hubs: Formula hubs
- Sizes: 13.5, 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5, 23 inch
- Weight: 14.4 kg
It’s important to weigh a bike’s worth by looking at the features and benefits that come with it. For the Marlin 6, these features draw the line between the model and other models in the Marlin line and other entry-level MTB designs. Here’s the up-close review.
The Trek Marlin 6 bike comes in men and women-specific framesets, but it doesn’t mean that women can’t ride on men’s bikes.
The striking difference between the framesets is the color and the tube running from the headtube to the area under the seat post clamp. While men’s is straight, the women’s frameset has a slight drop just in front of the saddle to aid in mounting.
The frames are made of Alpha Silver aluminum. In case you didn’t know, although the material is more prone to damage than the Alpha Gold aluminum used to build frames for some Trek bikes, alpha silver is one of the best and most lightweight materials.
The remarkable frames are also relatively rugged and capable of handling small jumps. The routine bumps and bruises from mountain trails have nothing on this frame. However, the frame may not be able to handle extreme and highly challenging mountain trails.
In other words, the frame is perfect for letting you learn some MTB techniques, pick up some speed, and also allows you to do your day-to-day commute effortlessly. However, when it comes to the most advanced trails, you better leave this bike at home.
One of the things that make Trek Marlin 6 better than its cheaper siblings, Marlin 4 and 5, is the suspension fork. The SR Suntour XCT 30 offers 100mm of travel like the forks fitted on marlin 4 and 5 and comes with some additional functionalities to improve the quality of your riding.
The fork is lighter than XCE 28, even though both are fitted with a coil spring. The XCT has a lockout and preload feature. The lockout allows you to lock the fork and ride through the city efficiently.
The Suntour XCT is a durable fork and is very common in beginner bikes. It’s also very affordable hence features in budget bikes. The only shortcoming of this fork is the lack of other adaptations to minimize trail vibration and jostling on the trail. It will give you a reasonable smooth ride but not as smooth as a high-end fork would.
Marlin 6 comes with a 2×8 drivetrain, as you’re already aware. The combination is excellent for the trails. The 2×8 setup is lighter than the 3x one, and it simplifies all the gears that you hardly use. You only get the gears you need to the ones you don’t are excluded to make your bike lighter.
The drivetrain also includes the entry-level Shimano Altus derailleurs. As long as a professional bike mechanic adjusts and tunes them correctly, they will shift smoothly and efficiently. The smallest 22T crankset ring and the largest cog, 34T, are enough to push you uphill without the need to push your bike or hurt your knees.
The Shimano Altus is an entry-level drivetrain, but it still does the job well and meets the standards. The Altus 16-speed system is flexible and the best to help a beginner learn how to play around with the gearing system for speed and flexibility.
It may not be one of the most advanced mountain bikes out there, but Marlin 6 with the current drivetrain is the perfect bike for a beginner on a budget.
You would want a bike with hydraulic disc brakes. Would you not? Trek is fully aware of that, and Marlin’s series of bikes come equipped with this type of braking system, including the subject of our review, the Marlin 6.
This particular bike is fitted with Tektro HD-M276 brakes which are strong and precise enough to stop where you intend to, and they are also durable. They include 160mm rotors on both wheels.
These brakes are dual-piston and are easy to adjust as well as maintain. After your first adjustment, you’ll be able to utilize them in whatever conditions mother nature throws at you and enjoy your rides to the fullest.
One thing to note about disc brakes is that they perform in both dry and wet and dry conditions, and therefore, more consistent than rim brakes. It’s also difficult to jam these brakes due to their designs. Tektro is a fantastic bike components manufacturer, and you can be sure that these brakes will never let you down in your time of need.
The wheels are crucial parts of every bike. They are also important to talk about because they determine how your bike will react to bumps, jumps, and also your overall bike performance while under stress.
The Bontrager rims are designed to absorb the stress of mountain trails. They are double-walled to hit the bumps stress-free and also feature some durable spokes and hubs.
For the tires, expect your bike to come with Bontrager pair of tires, which are reasonably grippy and work effectively on all terrains.
They can also take a lot of punishment with less risk of going flat or getting damaged. However, the wear and tear will always be there, and you may want to upgrade to another tire set, depending on how frequently you ride your bike.
Unfortunately, the rims don’t come tubeless-ready, and you may need to change the rims as well if you intend to shift to tubeless, which many cyclists are opting to. It’s also possible to try a complete tubeless conversion kit and see if it can work for you.
See the Marlin 6 in Action Below
Who Should Buy Trek Marlin 6?
- One who is on a tight budget but looking for a versatile crossover bike.
- Someone who plans to hit a bit of trail and looking for a bike they can use to commute and ride on flatter terrains.
- A rider looking for an excellent performance bike with great breaking, terrific drivetrain, includes a dropper post, and built with silver aluminum alloy.
Trek Marlin 6 Pros
The Trek Marlin 6 is built with light aluminum to help mountain bikers easily handle the bike on mountain slopes.
This bike will melt your heart if you are looking for a lightweight and affordable bike to conquer less challenging trails.
Everyone looks for a mountain bike they can count on in terms of braking, and the Trek Marlin 6 does not fall short of that. It’s equipped with a reliable brake with shorter-reach levers so that you have complete control of your bike.
Forget about the 3x drivetrain. The Marlin 6 comes with a 2×8 drivetrain that offers you less but manageable options and minimizes the weight factor.
You can climb the steepest hills like a boss without using too much energy and having to overthink which gears to use, thanks to the customized gears the bike comes with.
Great Price Point
One of the pros of these bikes that you cannot ignore is the price tag for that bike. Considering the bike features, including the wheel size, you can be sure that it’s quite a bargain.
The Trek Marlin 6 is a very customizable bike. That means you can change the seat if you desire a more comfortable option. You can also change the tires and the rims to tubeless-ready. Also, switching to a better groupset, maybe from Altus to Deore, is still possible to look into the options you have available.
A Handy Commuter Bike
What’s the need to buy a bike if you cannot ride it from home to work or the playground? Almost all bikes can be used for commuting, though it depends on the terrain. The Trek Marlin 6 can ride on all terrains except extremely rocky areas.
Some riders prefer thru-axle. Many would choose a bike with a set of these over a bike with just the standard quick-release skewers.
Doesn’t Ride as Well on Trails
The Marlin 6 is built for softer trails and not hard ones. Changing the tires to more trail-worthy ones might improve your experience.
Can be a Bit Stiff/Unforgiving
The bike is not a dual suspension, and just like most budget hardtails, it may feel stiff in your hands and unforgiving when rolling through a rough trail.
Price Vs. Value
When talking about mountain bikes that are perfect for rough terrains and daily commutes, we will indeed mention Marlin 6 among those bikes.
It’s a great entry-level bike that will take you wherever you want to, especially if you are an adventure-loving person.
However, the model also has its flaws, and there are some models in that price range that have better components and outshine the Marlin 6.
Despite that, this bike will fulfill your needs as an entry-level bike. You can upgrade the bike if you need to.
Is Marlin 6 a Good Buy?
Understanding whether a mountain bike is the right bike for you means understanding your priorities and expectations.
Does the bike you intend to buy meet them? You have to question that before you can order the bike, you have been admiring it.
If you have been looking for a reliable entry-level bike with a reasonable price range, the Trek Marlin 6 is going to be one of the few best options you’ll have available.
The bike is comfortable and stable, and you will love the feeling of riding on it all day long. If you plan to embark on a mountain bike ride through the woods, the Marlin 6 will meet your expectations.
Do you intend to ride only on softer trails? This is your kind of bike. The bike is not suitable for extremely tough terrains. What’s more, the entire design of the bike, the frame forks, etc., was inspired by the needs of riders like you.
All the components of this bike are oriented toward hitting the trails and completing your day-to-day adventurous expeditions.
While the model has its downsides, such as entry-level parts, the overall look and makes of the Marlin 6 are eye-catchy. You got to appreciate Trek for manufacturing such a fantastic bike in that price range. The bike is built to suit different types of people, and that’s the true beauty of the Marlin 6.
The men-specific and women-specific bikes are 100% the same in terms of components. The groupset, brakes, tires, wheels, seat posts, etc., the bikes only differ in saddles, geometry, colors, and such. Their prices for both frames are also the same.
Is the Trek Marlin 6 a good bike?
Yes, Trek Marlin 6 is a good and excellent budget bike. It’s an ideal all-around MTB with room for customization and upgrades. You can upgrade by changing the drivetrain, seat, tires, or rims. You can upgrade if you need to.
What is the difference between Trek Marlin 6 and 7?
Marlin 7 is the most expensive Trek bike in the Marlin line, and it defers with Marlin 6 in the level of components. The Marlin 7 comes with a RockShox, which is a better fork than that of the Marlin 6.
The Marlin 7 also has an upgraded rear derailleur, while its younger sibling comes with a standard one. The Marlin 7 is also designed for amateur riders, while Marlin 6 is a beginner bike.
Which is better, Trek Marlin 5 or 6?
Trek Marlin models are ranked by the quality of their components, specifically the forkset and the drivetrain. Marlin 6 features a 2×8 drivetrain and an SR Suntour XCT with a lockout. Marlin 5 is equipped with a 3×8 drivetrain and XCE forks.
The Trek Marlin 6 is everything you would ever want on a bike. It will make your riding experience enjoyable.
At about 32.0 lbs, the bike was built for greatness. If you need any assistance or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to talk to us.