Review: 2021 Trek Marlin 5

In the world of entry-level hardtail mountain bikes, Trek stands among the best! The Trek Marlin 5 offers the best bang for your dollar.

Holy moly!  COVID has had a major impact on the biking industry.  Bike stores are dried up and the demand has not stopped. 

In fact, I am one of those who had plans to buy mountain bikes upon our arrival to Colorado Springs, but I was met with limited inventory and really only top-level bikes that were way out of my price range. 

Even in Charleston prior to us leaving, the inventory was all but gone.  It seems like this pandemic has cause more and more people to get outside and enjoy some activities like riding bikes again. 

After all the research I had done and after speaking with some mountain biking experts I knew I wanted to get me and the family into some hardtails.  While I am new to the mountain biking scene, my wife and I are definitely not new to cycling in general.  We have both owned road and triathlon bikes from Trek, Giant, and Scott.  So we were pretty familiar with the top brands of the industry…or so we thought. 

Mountain biking is a whole different world!  And we just so happen to be located in the mecca of mountain biking in Colorado Springs.  For information on mountain bike trails check out our helpful guide here. After much consideration, we knew we wanted a quality entry-level mountain bike for our daughter.  For reference, she is 5ft 2in, turns 12 soon, and wears a women’s size 7-8 (depending on the shoe brand). 

We had our hearts set on Trek.  Like previously stated, we have owned Trek bikes before and liked the quality and looks…yes looks are important.  So when a 2021 Womens Trek Marlin 5 came available we jumped on it immediately for her…we knew she would grow into this bike quite well.

Trek Marlin 5 Quick Facts:

  • Price: $549.99
  • Four Sizes: Extra Small (27.5’ wheel), Small (27.5” wheel), Medium (29” wheel), and Medium/Large (29” wheel)
  • Three Colors Schemes: slate/aloha green, purple flip, and crystal white

Trek Marlin 5 Components:

  • Saddle: Bontrager Ajna Women’s
  • Seatpost: Bontrager alloy, 31.6mm, 12mm offset, 360mm length
  • Handlebar: Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 720mm width
  • Grips: Bontrager XR Endurance Comp, lock-on
  • Stem: Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 60mm length
  • Headset: Semi-integrated, 1-1/8”
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc

Trek Marlin 5 Drivetrain:

  • Shifter: Shimano Altus M315, 7 speed
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Tourney TY300, 34.9mm clamp, down
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tourney TY300, long cage, 34T max cog
  • Crank: Shimano Tourney TY301, 42/34/24, 175mm length
  • Bottom Bracket: VP BC73, 73mm, threaded cartridge
  • Cassette: Shimano HG200, 12-32, 7 speed
  • Chain: KMC Z7, 7 speed
  • Pedal: VP-536 nylon platform
  • Max Chainring Size: 3x: 42T
  • Suspension fork: SR Suntour XCE 28, coil spring, preload, 46mm offset for 29” wheel, 100mm QR, 100mm travel
  • Weight: 30.88lbs
  • Weight Limit: 300lbs

Our Experience With The Trek marlin 5

What we like about the Trek Marlin 5 is it perfect for family rides around the neighborhood and hitting the trails.  It is an ideal choice for those new to trail riding.  Now for reference, we did buy my daughter a size medium in the slate/aloha green. 

The color scheme is sweet on this Trek Marlin 5!  I like the contrast of the aloha green off the slate.  And we actually lucked into this bike.  I had a few minutes at work while my laptop was being fixed, pulled out the phone and searched new listed items on Facebook MarketPlace, and this bike popped up.  Sent the usual “is this still available” message, and low and behold it was. 

The lady purchased this Trek Marlin 5 brand new, had only ridden this bike a few times and had purchased a Specialized mountain bike in a color scheme she really liked. Now, I’m always hesitant when it comes to buying used items, but this Trek Marlin 5 looked brand new with no signs of wear. 

They were an awesome couple, that let my daughter take the Trek Marlin 5 for a couple spins, and welcomed us to the Colorado Springs area sharing some great information on places to ride, bike shops to visit, and just general conversation. 

And in our current COVID environment where it seems people are a little more on edge, it was a breath of fresh air to just have some random conversations with complete strangers that allow you to get to know someone for a brief moment and vice versa.  And it is always good to know some locals who can fill you in on places to eat, visit, etc.

Ok, back to the Trek Marlin 5.  We knew this frame size was a stretch for her, but with the market so dry and the ability for her to grow into this bike, it was just meant to be.  I knew there were some minor modifications I could make to help her feel a little more comfortable on this Trek Marlin 5…I did this by trimming an inch off the bottom of the seat post. 

If there is one thing I do not like about this bike it is the 3x drive-train.  I wish Trek would swap for this for a 2x because let’s be honest, who really uses the big crank?  Especially if you are trail riding or just out on a family ride around the block. 

I feel like the 3x is just plain old.  And in my daughter’s situation, the big chain-ring will probably never get used.  Maybe a few years down the road I will look to convert this Trek Marlin 5 drive-train into a 2x, but for now it will work. 

The Trek Marlin 5 has been a big transition for my daughter.  She was previously riding a hybrid Trek that my mother-in-law had given her a couple of years ago.  Yes, this bike had a 3x system as well, but the shifter was a hand turn dial, versus the shift levers her new Trek Marlin 5 has.  And this has helped me to teach her the importance of which crank she should be in given the terrain and slope of the trail. 

She has also shown that fearless mentality, that while concerning as a parent, makes me smile inside a little because I want my children to show that grit and courage to get outside of their comfort zone and go for it. 

You can check out more here.

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