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Review Of Trek Marlin 6 (2020)

Jeff Balton

Trek Marlin 6 Men's

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.

 

Men’s vs. Women’s Model

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. 

Marlin 6 Women's

Women’s version is sexy!

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.

See The Women’s Version On TrekBikes.com

Marlin 6 Quick Overview

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.

Key Specs:

  • Frame: Alpha Silver Aluminum
  • Fork: SR Suntour XCT 30, 100 mm
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Altus M315, 2-Speed
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus M310, 8-Speed
  • Number of Gears: 16
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • Rims: Bontrager Connection, double-wall
  • Tire Size: 27.5″/29″ x 2.20″
  • Weight: 14.41 kg / 31.77 lbs
  • Full specs on the product page

 

Trek Marlin 6 Main Features

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.

 

Freedom of Choice

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 different sizes

XS & S have 27.5″ wheels and M & ML have 29″ wheels on women’s version

 

Excellent Geometry

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.

 

Light and Efficient 2x Drivetrain

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.

Marlin 6 drivetrain

The Marlin 6 has a 2×8 drivertrain (Shimano Altus)

 

Front Suspension Fork with Lockout

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.

 

Powerful Hydraulic Disc Brakes

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.

Trek Marlin disc brakes

Powerful hydraulic discs

 

Who Is Trek Marlin 6 For?

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.

 

Other Marlin Models

Trek Marlin Series Bikes

  • Marlin 4MSRP $490- Has a lightweight aluminum frame, 21 gears, 100 mm of front suspension, and strong mechanical disc brakes.
  • Marlin 5MSRP $550 – Combines a light aluminum frame, plush SR Suntour suspension, entry-level 3×7 Shimano drivetrain, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes in a good-looking trail package. Men and women-specific models available.
  • Marlin 6MSRP $650 – This model is built with an Alpha Silver Aluminum frame, a 2×8 mid-range Shimano drivetrain, burly tires, and comes with 100 mm of front suspension travel with lockout. It’s available in men’s and women’s versions.
  • Marlin 7MSRP $800 – Trek’s race-worthy model with an Alloy frame, superior RockShox front suspension, quality 2×9 drivetrain, Shimano components, and improved Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

 

Final Verdict

suggestedMarlin 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.

Get From TrekBikes.com
Or see best Trek models

Trek Marlin 6

$650
8.5

Components

8.5/10

Price

9.0/10

Weight

8.0/10

Quality

8.5/10

Durability

8.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent 2x drivetrain
  • Men and women-specific models
  • Decent entry-level groupset
  • Dependable hydraulic disc brakes
  • Responsive cross country geometry

Cons

  • Wheels are a bit heavy

This Article Has 16 Comments

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  • Elizabeth M. says:

    Do you know if you can change the tire size from 27.5 to a 29? I want to get a size small because I’m tiny and don’t expect to get tall, but I prefer 29”

  • Al Gor says:

    Hello Jeff, Thank you for nice overview!
    Just got my Marlin 6 a week ago, after waiting list about 3 month.
    Like bike around and trying riding as can often…
    With the bike in store NOT coming any documentation, any explanation, any components mentions.
    When I was asking sail person about this, he said any bike coming without ANY paper books, anything need to find only on web sites, not even mentioned which ones…
    Is this true? If yes, were I can get exactly information about Marlin 6 components, maintenances, and so on…
    Thank you in advance !

  • Pranav says:

    Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Marlin 6. The insights are helpful. However, I need your opinion and would be grateful for it.
    I live in Mumbai, the roads are as good as unpaved in parts of this city. I’m looking reliable bike for a long term use. Which would be cycling in city for exercise and long adventure trips to mostly hills which might consist some trails.
    I am confused which bike would serve my goals. A Dual sport 2/3 or something like a marlin 6 or a merida 40.
    Which one be an ideal choice which would last long enough with missing much.

    Look forward to your response.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Pranav,
      Those brands will last if you ride them for their intended use. The question is, are you really sticking to MTB or would you prefer a gravel bike?

  • Bigredman41 says:

    Bought my daughter a marlin 4 yesterday, she loves it. Problem is I haven’t rode a hardtail in years and I LOVED it too. So much so that I left the stump jumper at home and bought a marlin 6 for myself on the way to the trails. Great review of a fantastic bike that’ll get you on the trails without the bottom of the barrel components, great frame and easy on the wallet. I do plan on eventually upgrading the fork, I wanted the 7 with rock shox fork but they were out. I think this bike will serve me well and for the price, I think the marlin 4 is a bargain.

  • Don says:

    Hi Jeff. I am new to mountain biking. So new that i still have not bought one. But I have been looking at Marlin 5 and 6 as being my first. I have a question… is more gears better? Does it really make a difference?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Don,

      Good question! Gears do impact your riding quality. They make climbing easier and you go faster.The downside is that more gears can mean more weight. It really depends on your riding style. If you don’t do steep climbs then a regular gear ratio is ok. In the end it’s you and not the bike 😉

  • Can you make the wheels ave tires tubeless?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Victor,
      I am not sure about your question. Do you mean to say if you can convert an ordinary tire into a tubeless tire, or if you can buy a tubeless tire for the Marlin 6? The answer to the latter is yes.

  • Sachin says:

    Nice review ..I have bought Marlin 6 2020 blue few months back & I am enjoying every bit of it .It has a exceptional paint qualitu & ride quality is awesome on roads & on trails too..I just want to know more about the suspension preload feature.

  • Paul allen says:

    Thanks for the review!I’ve just bought a marlin 6 today in blue .one thing you didn’t mention was the paint job quality

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for the feedback and congratulations on your new bike. Will take that into consideration in future reviews.