Is Trek Marlin 6 Worth the $850? Buyer's Guide

Review Of Trek Marlin 6: Best MTB on a Tight Budget?

Trek Marlin 6
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Trek Marlin 6 is a beginner cross country bike with a 1x 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 Gen 2 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.


Suitable For Every Rider

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.

Trek Marlin 6

It seems that this year, Trek is breaking its tradition of bringing two separate models on the market. Instead, smaller sizes have a lower top tube that tips down.

This feature has always been the main characteristic of Trek’s women-oriented models, so the tradition stays the same in some form.

See the Women's Version on Trek


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 a bit more compared to Marlin 5, you get a better fork, 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 (80mm travel for size XS)
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore M4100, 10 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M5120
  • Number of Gears: 10
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • Rims: Bontrager Connection, double-wall
  • Tire Size: 27.5″/29″ x 2.20″
  • Weight: 14.11 kg / 31.11 lbs


See on Trek


Trek Marlin 6 Main Features

Marlin 6 Gen 2 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 has options for both men and women

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) come with 27.5″ wheels compared to 29″ wheels on the bigger frames.

Then there are colors. This year, there are four colors available, 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 the women’s version


Excellent Geometry

Marlin 6 Gen 2, like other Trek Marlin bikes, comes with an Alpha Silver Aluminum frame. This frame is characterized by low weight, comfort, 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 1x Drivetrain

Marlin 6 is equipped with a 1×10 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 Deore components. That is a slight upgrade from the previous Shimano Altus components.

Read More: Everything You Should Know About Components

As long as you adjust them properly, they’ll shift smoothly and precisely.

Trek Marlin 6 drivetrain


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-M275 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.


Geometry & Sizing

Frame size number Frame size letter Wheel size A — Seat tube B — Seat tube angle Effective seat tube angle C — Head tube length D — Head angle E — Effective top tube F — Bottom bracket height G — Bottom bracket drop H — Chainstay length I — Offset J — Trail K — Wheelbase L — Standover M — Frame reach N — Frame stack
13.5 XS 27.5″ 34.3 73.5° 73.5° 9.0 69.3° 54.4 29.2 5.8 43.8 4.2 8.8 104.9 65.8 37.6 56.5
15.5 S 27.5″ 36.8 73.5° 73.5° 9.0 69.3° 55.5 30.2 4.8 43.8 4.2 8.8 106.6 68.6 38.5 57.4
17.5 M 29″ 41.9 71.9° 73.0° 9.0 69.5° 60.2 31 5.8 43.8 4.2 9.3 110.0 74.8 41.8 60.2
18.5 ML 29″ 44.4 71.9° 73.0° 9.0 69.5° 61.8 31 5.8 43.8 4.2 9.3 111.6 75.8 43.4 60.2
19.5 L 29″ 47.0 71.9° 73.0° 10.0 69.5° 63.8 31 5.8 43.8 4.2 9.3 113.7 75.7 45.1 61.1
21.5 XL 29″ 52.1 71.9° 73.0° 12.0 69.5° 65.9 31 5.8 43.8 4.2 9.3 115.9 76.9 46.6 63.0
23.0 XXL 29″ 55.9 71.9° 73.0° 12.0 69.5° 67.3 31.1 5.8 43.8 4.2 9.3 117.3 80.4 48.0 63.0


Who Is Trek Marlin 6 For?

As 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 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 $630- Has a lightweight aluminum frame, 21 gears, 100 mm of front suspension, and strong mechanical disc brakes.
  • Marlin 5MSRP $740 – Combines a light aluminum frame, plush SR Suntour suspension, entry-level Shimano drivetrain, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes in a good-looking trail package. Men and women-specific models are available.
  • Marlin 6MSRP $850 – This model is built with an Alpha Silver Aluminum frame, a 1×10 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 $1,030 – Trek’s race-worthy model with an Alloy frame, superior RockShox front suspension, quality 1×10 drivetrain, Shimano components, and improved Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Marlin 8MSRP $1,330 – Highest spec’d model from Marlin lineup with SRAM SX Eagle components and more.


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 609 reviews on Trek’s website, 450 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 Trek

Trek Marlin 6













  • Excellent 1x drivetrain
  • Options for both men and women
  • Decent entry-level groupset
  • Dependable hydraulic disc brakes
  • Responsive cross country geometry


  • Wheels are a bit heavy

25 thoughts on “Review Of Trek Marlin 6: Best MTB on a Tight Budget?

  1. I bought the bike keeping in mind to go on trails and daily commute. The bike performs very nice on loose terrains and trails. The bike is almost useless outside trails. The bike feels heavy, the wheels are stopping you always and you can hear a consistent “friction” sound going on the road. Hills are specially challenging as you have to go very slow (and I am used to do well in hilly areas). I ended up changing the bike for a hybrid and could not be happier. Take this into account for your next purchase! Cheers.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Did you have a bike check after getting it out of the box? Most bikes need tuneup from a mechanic after the purchase as some parts are either too tight or loose. Sorry to hear about your experience, but for the benefit of our readers, always get your bike checked and always have a regular bike maintenance even when your bike doesn’t have a problem. This will save you money and discomfort in the long run. Cheers!

  2. I bought my marlin 6 ,just a 10 days back ,while cycling early in the morning the tire got punctured and there occur a small cut on tyre, so will I be able to change the tyre on warranty

  3. 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”

  4. 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 !

  5. 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.

    1. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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 😉

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

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