Trek Marlin Mountain Bike Review
The 2012 Trek Marlin is a mountain bike designed for both cross country and trail use, its 29 inch wheels giving greater stability and its SR Suntour XCM fork offers 100mm travel and full lockout, something you will not find on the more basic Trek Wahoo bike.
The Marlin features an Alpha Gold alloy frame which has been tweaked once more for 2012 in order to stiffen everything up and give you a great way to put power down without compromising the composure of the bike. With 29 inch wheels composed of Bontrager AT-850 rims and 29-2 tyres from the same manufacturer you will be able to pick up momentum quickly, enjoy greater clearance over obstacles and ensure that the bumps and jumps are not going to knock the wind out of you.
The fork comes from the SR Suntour XCM range and has the option to initiate a mechanical lockout. It also has G2 geometry which has been specifically customised for the Trek Marlin and provides 100mm of travel, complementing the hardtail setup to cushion the battering the bike will take off-road and compensate for the contours of the road to keep you in control.
Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors are affixed at the front and rear and while these will not be as smooth as the hydraulic options found on more expensive models they are still capable enough to allow you to pull the bike back into line when things get a bit hairy and control the speed as you approach a bend. The 24 gears use Shimano and SRAM components, albeit entry-level kit, while Bontrager is responsible for components including the saddle, seatpost, handlebars and grips.
The Trek Marlin has a simple silver and white colour pallet on the frame and there are no annoying decals or over the top brand logos to worry about. The Bontrager tyres are in keeping with its multipurpose setup, with tread that is able to dig in when you need to find some traction while still letting you roll fast and free along flat surfaces such as tarmac or gravel.
What really sets the Trek Marlin apart from other budget-oriented mountain bikes is the versatility of its setup. It is just as happy cruising across open countryside as it is taking on a steep, slippery slope or a technically complicated downhill course. It is an affordable all-rounder that may not be as capable as more specialised full-sus bikes on the descent or as light as 26ers of equivalent pricing, but on average it offers good performance for the price. The Trek Marlin is perhaps more suitable as an everyday bike which you might want to use for commuting in the week before you take it out for a ride in your down time. Of course it is not as well suited to city life as a proper hybrid bike, but if your budget will not stretch to two different models and your heart is set on off-road action then it might be the best choice.