Trek’s Marlin series is an awesome lineup of hardtail mountain bikes. If you aren’t familiar with hardtail mountain bikes – they are a style of mountain bike that has a front suspension, but no rear suspension. They are a versatile style of bike, great for hitting small jumps, riding street or riding mountain bike trails. The lack of rear suspension makes this a light weight bike that is perfect for those who don’t want to load and unload bikes with a heavy full-suspension setup. This is a Trek Marlin 6 review, but the information applies to the entire Marlin series.
The bars on most mountain bikes are wide. The Marlin comes with 720 mm wide bars. They will have you feeling in total control on most green trails. The non-tapered head tube was a disappointment. If you are looking for an entry level bike to turn into a project, the Trek Marlin 6 is not the bike for you. It is an affordable and capable entry level mountain bike, great for developing skills. The lack of a tapered head tube means you will be limited on front end updates.
The frame geometry is solid and will give you that mountain bike feel. The mountain bike feel is an aggressive position for a fast downhill ride. It is nothing like the aggressive position of a road bike. You will be in a slacker position and won’t have your bottom touching the seat as often as you do on a road bike.
One big consideration we made when buying the Trek Marlin 6 was the price. Its an entry level price point for most local bike shops. The Marlin is not so expensive you are scared to take risks. Parts can easily be upgraded as they wear out if you decide you enjoy the sport but don’t want to step your game up with an upgraded bike.
Trek Marlin 6 Problems
While there are a lot of great things about the Trek Marlin 6, its not without problems. The newer models come with a 2X drive train, and some used models and others in the series will have a 3X drivetrain. You can get chain cross if you aren’t familiar with how to shift on a nicer bike. Chain cross is when the chain is sitting diagonally across your front chain ring and rear cassette.
You also deal with a lot of drain dropping because their is no clutch on the rear derailleur. Chain drop is an easy fix with a chain guide or tensioner. I personally have the Venzo, but due to limited supply the price of the Venzo is way too high right now. This is an upgrade that should cost less than $20 and a Quientessentialz Guide will work just as well as the Venzo. (Check Price on Amazon.) I would recommend immediately putting a chain guide on the bike because nothing is more frustrating than constantly dropping your chain on a ride. It can also cause serious damage to the frame.
Another problem with this bike is the front fork sucks. It comes with the SR SunTour XCT 30. Upgrading a major part like a fork is expensive and I’d recommend buying a higher end bike rather than going through that upgrade process. If you are the kind of person that likes to tinker with your toys then check into the SR Suntour upgrade program. You can get their RAIDON fork for a solid price. Personally, I would go with RockShox Recon RL if making that upgrade.
The Trek Marlin 6 is not a cheap bike you can neglect maintenance on. Performing maintenance is not a problem, but it is something to be aware of if you are new to mountain biking. Post-ride cleaning and chain maintenance will ensure you have a bike that lasts. The 29 inch wheels will kick up a lot of dirt!
Best Accessories For Beginner Mountain Biking
No bike comes from the factory with the perfect setup. The three contact points are going to need upgraded to your personal preference. Those are grips, saddle and pedals. If you don’t want to worry about the saddle you should look into cycling shorts.
I have found the best saddle in the world can’t compare to the improved ride feeling a pair of cycling shorts can provide. I would recommend reading my Pearl iZUMi Escape Quest review before buying your first pair. They aren’t made for mountain biking, but you can throw a pair of athletic shorts over them for style.
Hydration is also a big factor when mountain biking. Getting dehydrated out on the trail can be dangerous and life threatening. Make sure you have a bottle cage installed and a large water bottle. If you are going on a long adventure then forget the water bottle and carry a hydration pack like an Osprey or CamelBak.
The final accessory I would recommend is installing a dropper post. I only make this recommendation because you can take the dropper post with you to your next bike. A dropper post will allow you to adjust the seat height quickly and easily while riding. Up for climbing and down for descents. It makes a huge difference in ride quality and efficiency. Its also much safer to have your seat down when going full send downhill.
Is The Trek Marlin 6 A Good Mountain Bike
In summary of this Trek Marlin 6 review, I feel like it is a great beginner bike for riding trails. You can even hit jumps with confidence. I would even say the Marlin is the best entry level mountain bike on the market. You will quickly learn what’s important to you on a mountain bike, and it should hold its value well when the time comes to upgrade.
If budget is not a concern I would definitely not recommend the Marlin 6 as a first mountain bike. The Marlin is a great first mountain bike for kids, or those who won’t be looking to advance their skills as a rider. For anybody not on a tight budget and looking for a bike that will last longer as your skills improve the Trek Roscoe 6 would be a great starter bike. The Roscoe 6 has a tapered head tube will provide better handling and confidence. It also puts you in a frame that can take high end upgrades without having to replace the bike altogether like you would with a Marlin.
If you enjoyed this Trek Marlin 6 review, please consider favorite placing our website. We have lots of different bike reviews from entry level to advanced. We also share riding tips and accessory/apparel reviews. If you are looking for an excellent entry level fitness bike, check out this Trek FX 2 review.
2 thoughts on “Trek Marlin 6 Review – A Guide To The Best Beginner Mountain Bike”
I enjoy tinkering in the garage with my bikes. I went with the Trek Marlin and plan on upgrading things as they wear out. Definitely agree with the chain tensioner recommendation.
My 2017 marlin 6 is refusing to die. I now live in the woods near Downtown Nashville two Polar Vortex and Hurricanes and saltwater swamp 20 miles a day 6 days a week The Marlin 6 is still rocking. Just got new brakes and Maxxis Slicks. I do circles around wimpy Gravel bikes. I want a 2022 Marlin I just hope 2017 does not get jealous.