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Photo credits: Trekbikes.com
Trek Marlin 6 is a beginner cross country bike with a 2x drivetrain, front lockout suspension, and men and women-specific models. Take it out on trails or fit it with a rear rack and turn it into a burly commuter.
Trek Marlin 6 is a multi-purpose cross country mountain bike with big wheels and big aspirations. This bike is excellent to take down some trails when you crave adrenaline, but also to commute to work during the workweek.
This aluminum hardtailer has a lot to be proud of, especially when it comes to the geometry of the frame (loads of standover clearance), freedom of choice (seven sizes and two colors), and women-specific features.
No matter if you are a man or a woman, if you’re looking for a ticket into the trail riding world, Marlin 6 is the real deal.
Trek Marlin 6 is available both as a men-specific and a women-specific bike. First and foremost, in terms of components, they are 100% the same. Both have the same groupset, same brakes, wheels, tires, etc.
Where they differ is the frame, colors, geometry, saddle, and such. Naturally, their price is completely the same as well — $650.
The women’s Marlin 6 is available in four sizes (XS, S, M, M/L), whereas the men’s model comes in Trek’s standard seven sizes.
The women’s model also has much more feminine colors — purple and mint-green — compared to the men’s blue and gray.
Marlin 6 is one of the models from the rich Trek Marlin family.
As we go up in the hierarchy, it is the first model that shows some significant improvements compared to the cheaper Marlin 4 and Marlin 5.
For $100 more compared to Marlin 5, you get a better fork, a 2x drivetrain, lower weight, a better groupset, and so on.
But, more about all of that below.
Marlin 6 is a bike that offers high tech and high value at a low price. Beginner riders have a lot to be happy about and not too many things that could give them headaches.
Let’s check out the main features and the most important aspects of this bike, which make it one of the best deals in the entry-level cross country range.
One of Trek Marlin’s main selling points is the freedom of choice it offers. First of all, Marlin 6 is available as both a men’s and women’s version, making it a better fit for both genders.
Size-specific wheels and tires give you the possibility to get the perfect sizing option for your height and inseam. The smallest frames (XS, S) on both men’s and women’s models come with 27.5″ wheels compared to 29″ wheels on the bigger frames.
Then there are colors. Each version of Marlin 6 comes in two colors (four in total), all of which are modern, attractive, and shiny.
The frame is equipped with eyelets for a rear rack, two water bottles, and a kickstand. Thus, you can personalize it to your liking.
Marlin 6, like other Trek Marlin bikes, comes with an Alpha Silver Aluminum frame. This frame is characterized by low weight, comfortable ride, and excellent geometry!
Namely, the two smallest frames (XS, S) have a drop in the top tube, which provides more standover clearance for shorter riders.
Moreover, this bike has a head tube angle of 69.3° to 69.5°, which is right in-between slack and steep. As a result, you’ll get the best of both worlds — swift and responsive maneuverability, as well as good rolling qualities.
Marlin 6 is equipped with a 2×8 drivetrain that’s excellent for the trails. It’s lighter than a 3x setup and eliminates all the gears that you’d never use. You end up just all the gears that you need and none that you don’t
This drivetrain is fitted with Shimano Altus front and rear derailleurs, which are a decent entry-level option. As long as you adjust them properly, they’ll shift smoothly and precisely.
The smallest 22T x 34T gear is easy enough to take you up any hill without pushing your bike or messing up your knees.
Another improvement seen on Trek Marlin 6 compared to its cheaper brothers Marlin 4 and 5 is a better fork. The SR Suntour XCT 30 still offers 100 mm of travel, but comes with some additional functionalities.
Namely, this fork is slightly lighter than the XCE 28, even though it is also fitted with a coil spring. The good news is that it has both a lockout and a preload feature. Therefore, you can lock the fork completely if you’re riding in the city to increase your pedaling efficiency.
Last but not least, we should mention Marlin 6’s excellent hydraulic disc brakes. Tektro HD-M276 brakes are strong, precise, and durable. They’re coupled with 160 mm rotors both front and back.
These are dual-piston brakes characterized by easy adjustment and easy maintenance. When you adjust them once, you’ll be able to use them in all conditions and get the most out of them.
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, Trek Marlin 6 can meet the demands of different types of riders. It’s an excellent cross country bike that’s suitable for trails, gravel, dirt, and any other unpaved challenge.
It also performs decently well on paved roads, even though it can prove to be a sluggish due to burly tires. But you can use it for short urban commutes without any problems.
Marlin 6 is perfect for beginners and occasional adventurers. Even though trails are part of its nature, we wouldn’t use it for anything extreme, such as timed descents, jumps, drops, or rocky singletracks.
Marlin 6 is an affordable bike that has a lot to offer to an average beginner rider. One of its main selling points is definitely versatility, as this is a cross country bike that keeps one wheel on trails and the other one on paved roads.
Out of 284 reviews on Trek’s website, 211 are 5-star ratings. That undoubtedly tells us that Trek has managed to find the sweet spot between price and value.
Marlin 6 is a bike that you can ride and enjoy as is and be pretty happy about it, or you can make some minor updates in the future and take it to the next level.