Trek Marlin 5 review: Is It a Good Bike to Have?

Trek Marlin 5
trek logo
8.5/10

This Trek Marlin 5 review will detail some of the top features and benefits of this mountain bike. But first, why would you want to purchase a mountain bike? 

This type of bike is specifically designed for tough trail and terrain and riding up and down hills with ease. Their vigorous build and body make them suitable for off-road conditions without causing any damage to the bike.

The Trek Marlin 5, in particular, is awaiting an adventure, both on and off the trail. It’s equipped with 21 speeds, a front suspension fork, and mounts to accessorize with a rack. It’s ideal for a stable commute or exploring vigorous routes in the wild. All of these features, plus it’s excellent price, makes it a must-have for avid cyclists.

The bike’s wide tires and huge wheels combined with reliable hydraulic disc brakes make it suitable for you if you love to spend most of your time cycling in forests and on mountains rather than smooth pavements.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Mountain Bike 

Trek Marlin 5

Your bike’s chosen suspension system will depend on your riding style, the conditions you’re exposed to, and your budget. Here are some ways to decipher which suspension system is best for you.

Firstly, consider the weight. A full-suspension is heavier than a hardtail version, as the additional rear shock and extra tubes increase the bike’s weight. However, if full suspension is something you’re strongly considering, you can increase your budget and opt for a bike with a lighter frame material, such as carbon fiber or titanium.

If general comfort is an essential factor for you, your chosen mountain bike should absorb as many bumps as possible. Fortunately, a full-suspension model is tailored to ride on rocky surfaces and rough terrain without affecting the bike’s longevity or your comfort.

You should also pay considerable attention to the mountain bike’s frame material. Aluminum is one of our top choices as this material is lightweight, easy to maintain, and durable. Alternatively, if you’re willing to increase your budget, carbon fiber makes a great choice as you can pick up speed quickly with less effort.

Features and Benefits

The Trek Marlin 5 has many incredible features and benefits that make it ideal for an intermediate cyclist. Below are some of the bike’s top features to help you decide if this is the best choice for you.

Frame

Frame

First, the Marlin 5 has a silver aluminum frame that most similar mountain bikes have. This material refrains from adding excess weight to the bike while also remaining durable for tough riding conditions. 

This mountain bike also has a versatile head tube angle of 69.5 degrees, which means you don’t have to compromise between steep and slack geometry. As such, you can use this bike in an array of conditions, such as cornering, climbing, and even for descents. 

All of the cables are internally stored in the bike, helping it to have a cleaner, more stylish look as well as improve the durability of the cables. 

The bike is available in three attractive colors, including black, green, and teal. These shades are uniquely beautiful and well-selected, so every cyclist will find the right color for them.

You can add a rear rack and kickstand to the Marlin 5’s frame, which makes this model a great choice for commuters, as well as adventurous cyclists. 

Alternatively, if this mountain bike was made of carbon fiber, it wouldn’t weigh the frame down as much, but the Trek Marlin 5 would come in at a much higher price point.

Fork

Fork

Next, the Marlin 5 features a low-ranked SR Suntour SCE 28 fork with a coil spring. Although this feature has many benefits, it can be a little heavy for beginners with little experience in off-road riding. But it does make the ride more comfortable in tough terrain.

You can adjust the fork to your liking to make sure it offers a comfortable ride and better responsiveness for all cyclists. Bear in mind that most frame sizes offer 100mm of travel in the fork, unlike the 13.5-inch frame, which comes with 80mm of travel.

More: Best Fat Tire Bike Under $1000 [Review and buying guide]

Brakes

Brakes

This mountain bike comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, which have many benefits for cyclists. They require less strength during use and ensure that your fingers remain relaxed and unstrained. Plus, you don’t have to adjust the brakes as you would with mechanical brakes, resulting in far less maintenance and bother.

The Trek Marlin 5 also accommodates short riders with smaller hands with the 13.5 and 15.5-inch frames. This incredible diversity allows all cyclists to feel comfortable during all routes.

Gear Drivetrain

Gear Drivetrain

One of the best features of the Marlin 5 mountain bike are its derailleurs that operate a 21-speed drivetrain. These derailleurs can last for many years and miles if you take care of them and ride the bike carefully. But if your bike often falls, these can become sensitive and damaged easily.

More: Trek X Caliber 7 Review: Is It A Good Bike To Buy?

Wheels and Tires

Wheels and Tires

We’re impressed by this mountain bike’s beefy wheels and tires. In fact, they’re one of the first things you notice about this bike and are available in numerous sizes.

The wheels are Bontrager Connection and come equipped with 32 spokes that are strong and double-walled to withstand some beating. The tires are also wide, measuring two inches in width, enabling them to withstand plenty of traction and muddy environments. On the other hand, if you purchase the bike with 29-inch wheels, the tires are much narrower at two inches.

More: Schwinn Sidewinder Review: Is It A Good Entry Bike?

In fact, 29-inch wheels provide more momentum, so once you reach a high speed, they’ll continue rolling. Also, this larger size makes the bike easier to climb uphill and for cycling over rough terrain.

Marlin 5 mountain bike

However, this additional size contributes to an increase in weight on the bike, which can affect the frame and make it more difficult to maneuver through twisty trails and corners. You may want to avoid 29-inch wheels if you’re a short rider as the extra size can make it difficult.

Bear in mind that these tires are heavier than some other mountain bikes. But once you’ve got used to this extra weight and you learn to put your trust and weight on the handlebars, you’ll be amazed at how much support they can offer. Also, 27.5-inch wheels are more popular for enduro and trail riding, if that’s your preference. They’re more agile and responsive than larger wheels while still capable of traveling through technical terrain. 

More: Trek 1120 Review: Is It The Best Touring Bike?

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Frame Aluminum Remains lightweight for the rider while also ensuring that it’s durable.
Fork SR Suntour SCE 28 fork with a coil spring The fork is adjustable for a more comfortable ride and better responsiveness. The frame also comes with 100mm of travel in the fork.
Brakes Hydraulic disc brakes, which have many benefits for cyclists These disc brakes require minimal effort from cyclists with excellent response.
Gear Drivetrain Derailleurs with a 21-speed drivetrain Long-lasting drive tail if you maintain and care for the bike. It can be sensitive to damage.
Wheels and Tires 29-inch wheels The tires are heavier than on most mountain bikes, but provide more momentum to help you pick-up speed quickly.

Social Proof 

We know that purchasing a mountain bike can be a huge commitment, which is why we’ve scoured the Internet to compile some of the top reviews from previous customers. Below are our discoverings that honestly represent the Trek Marlin 5’s performance and offerings.

Social Proof
Social Proof 1
Social Proof 2
Social Proof 3

Alternatives

Standing alone, the Trek Marlin 5 has many outstanding features, but how does this mountain bike compare to other competitive models? We’ve discovered some similar bike models to compare this incredible bike with.

Trek Marlin 5 vs 6

The most striking difference between these two models is that the Trek Marlin 5 price is significantly less, making it ideal for those on a budget or first-time buyer. However, for this increased price, the Marlin 6 comes with a more durable fork, a 2x drivetrain, lighter weight, and a better groupset.

Another big difference between these two mountain bikes is that the 6 model is available as a men’s and women’s version, enabling both genders to purchase it. There’s also more choice over customized features, such as the wheel size. In particular, with more choices, you’re able to choose a model that best suits your height.

The 6’s fork is much lighter than the Marlin 5, which reduces any unnecessary weight on the bike, making cycling a little easier. Plus, the fork has a lockout and preload feature. These allow you to lock the fork completely when you’re riding so you can increase your pedaling efficiency. check our complete review of Trek Marlin 6.

Trek Marlin 5 vs 7

Next, we compared the Marlin 5 to the Marlin 7. The 7 model has been voted as the best mountain bike for beginners, as it’s much lighter and smoother to ride. You also don’t have to put as much work into cycling, which is a huge benefit for beginners.

The Marlin 7 features hydraulic disc brakes instead of mechanical. This brake system is more efficient as you don’t have to apply as much pressure to reach an equal level of stopping power. This model also comes with a low riser handlebar to add more weight on the bike’s front wheel for precise cornering. You’re also less likely to encounter an understeer around corners.

Finally, the Marlin 7 offers seven speeds, with more variety than the Marlin 5. Having a large variety of speeds allows you to customize your ride more and venture on more terrain and road conditions without impacting the bike. Check our complete review of Trek Marlin 7 here

Trek Marlin 5 vs Giant Talon 3

Finally, we compared these two popular models, which have presented many similar features. There’s also not much difference in the price of these two mountain bikes.

We noticed that the Giant Talon 3 mountain bike has more traction on the pedals, enabling you to feel safer on your routes and less likely to slip. However, the Trek Marlin 5 is available in more color choices, which gives you the option of personalizing your ride more.

The Giant Talon 3 comes equipped with 27.5-inch wheels, which is more ideal for shorter riders. This smaller size also reduces any excess weight on the mountain bike, allowing you to ride uphill easier. In fact, the highlight of the Talon 3 having smaller wheels, means you can cycle faster overall and have quicker acceleration. 

A similarity both bikes have is excellent steering and control. This is purely due to the bike’s design and the 100mm suspension fork that soaks up obstacles and bumps, putting you in control in the most difficult environmental conditions. 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading this Trek Marlin 5 review and it’s clarified many of the highlights and features of this mountain bike. It’s a highly capable and fun bike that allows cyclists to explore more routes and have fun along the way.

One of the main reasons you should consider this particular mountain bike is its SR Suntour XCE 28 Fork. This fork is ready to tackle and handle the most demanding trail and enduro rides, so you never need to hold back throughout those off-road trails.

Another highlight of this mountain bike is the Tektro HD-275 Hydraulic Disc Brakes. These are designed for reliability and consistency that you can count on throughout your bike rides. As such, you can travel downhill at high speed without a fear that the bike won’t come to a halt when you apply the brakes.

Plus, with a range of wheel sizes, you can choose a shape that suits your height, riding conditions, and preferences to have the most fun you’ve ever had when riding. With so many impressive features, it’s no wonder that this mountain bike is a popular choice right now.

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