2023 Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2
- Price: $1329
- Gear: 1×12
- Travel: Front: 80mm
- Tires: 26″/27.5″/29″
What we like about it: A super cost-effective hardtail trail bike with high-grade hydraulic disc brakes and a lightweight fork for excellent climbing as well as shock absorption.
What don’t we like about it: Too few body color options.
Rating (4.7/5 )
As a hardtail trail bike, the Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 has no better performance than its climbing ability. treacherous ascents.
The Trek Marlin 8 also doesn’t disappoint on the descending terrain where most hardtails don’t excel. The advanced Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc braking system with lightweight RockShox Judy Silver damping fork and 80mm of front travel minimizes the bumps you’ll feel on descending terrain.
Superb performance combined with an excellent price makes the Trek Marlin 8 worthy of being your first choice as an excellent hardtail off-road bike at a great price!
Climbing Review Of Trek Marlin 8
I was particularly impressed by the climbing ability of Trek Marlin 8 during the three-month review. The Maxxis Ardent Race vacuum tires with their superb grip and strong traction and sturdy EXO casing kept the ride smooth even through the rooty forest roads.
When faced with an excessively steep rocky slope, the rich 1×12-Speed shifting range was enough to allow me to take the appropriate speed adjustment in time for the even steeper ascent.
On top of that, the ultra-light Alpha Silver Aluminum body frame chosen for the 8 showed great advantages while doing the climb. The flexibility of the lighter body allowed me to run the bike with less effort during the climbs.
In addition, the long enough Reach value allows me to keep my body as low as possible during the ride, thus ensuring less drag from the air. This also better helps me save effort on long climbs.
The RockShox Judy Silver fork and Solo Air springs play an important role here.
Riding in the same position for long periods inevitably causes some stiffness and discomfort in my body.
But the steeper 73° seat tube angle of the Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 hardtail bikeand the traditional comfort of the Bontrager Arvada saddle greatly alleviated the bumps and discomfort I felt on the bumpy roads.
On top of that, without the Trek Marlin 8 Bontrager’s handlebars to dampen my hands during the non-stop bumps, it would have been hard to imagine that I would have been able to ride the bike afterward. I can’t imagine how numb and sore my arms would have been at the end of the ride.
During the long climbing ride, with no bumps but regular ups and downs, I began to experience a certain fun from it and started to enjoy the ride from my heart.
Trek Marlin 8’s General Riding Review
Back on smoother trails for the Trek Marlin 8 review. I found that the Trek Marlin immediately lost its aggressive edge when facing single-track trails to conquer the rough terrain and replaced it with a more submissive and softer stance.
On smooth trails, the Trek Marlin’s Suspension with locking feature was extremely effective in improving pedaling efficiency on smooth roads.
In addition, the vacuum tires of the Maxxis Ardent Race carried me along in a smooth manner. 29×2.35” wide tires were effective in damping the vibration while providing a strong grip. After a dusty section of road, the Trek Marlin’s internal alignment design made the bodywork look cleaner and more streamlined while eliminating the need to scrub it after it was contaminated with mud.
The Trek Marlin 8’s braking method is the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brake that I am so familiar with. It’s easy to operate and the braking power is amazing, so I trust it fully. Sure enough, when I hit an overly long cutoff, I applied just a little pressure to the lever and the Trek Marlin locked the wheel in time.
When I encountered several small turns while riding in the forest park, the Trek Marlin 8’s 93mm long Trail ensured smooth and agile steering and a smooth enough ride that also gave me plenty of security.
After a long ride, I had to take a break to recharge, and the its water bottle holder allowed me to carry a large enough water bottle to rehydrate on the go.
In terms of color, the Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 has a glossy flame-red body with the classic Trek logo attached to the downtube. The bold collision of black and red shows a courageous and fervent pursuit of the limit. At the same time, the glossy paint is also more convenient to clean.
The Alpha Silver Aluminum body frame is lightweight yet sturdy enough to give you a sense of security and comfort, whether you’re looking for drag reduction on the upside or stability on the downside.
Both the top and bottom tubes can be installed with or without a water bottle cage, and the rear rack can also be installed to carry essentials on long trips. Personally, the installation of the water bottle cage and a rear rack gives me a more convenient riding experience, but it is up to personal preference whether to install them or not.
The Trek Marlin 8 Gen 2 has a long enough Reach to allow me to ride without having to maintain an overly stiff, bent stance. This also eases my fatigue to some extent on long rides, while also ensuring that I can ride most efficiently.
In addition, the standard 69.5° head tube angle and long enough Trail value are the best guarantees of head flexibility when I need to steer during the ride. With the comfortable grip of the Bontrager XR Trail Comp, the Trek Marlin 8 allows me to put my upper body in the most comfortable position while riding.
In addition, the steep enough 73° seat tube angle makes it easier for my leg muscles to swing, thus running the bike more efficiently and saving as much effort as possible during the ride.
Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc Brake
Compared to mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes are more efficient, easier to use, and have a longer service life, and the Trek Marlin 8 uses the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brake for braking rather than the more expensive mechanical disc. This shows the 8 is a great value for money.
Compared with the hydraulic disc design, the closed design of the hydraulic disc type not only can completely block the dust in the air but also can block all the grit and dirt in the sandy area, which is less affected by external factors. Obviously, the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brake has a more powerful braking force, a better braking effect, and is less likely to damage tires, making it the ideal braking device for all types of high-end bicycles.
SRAM SX Eagle, 1×12 Speed Drivetrain
The Sram 1×12-Speed used in the Trek Marlin 8 is far superior to the familiar Shimano in terms of quality, with no front shifting issues. Not only does it provide enough options in terms of shifting needs, but it is also enough to face any terrain that requires shifting.
Based oN rich speed options, the 1× shifting is easier to operate and more friendly to novices than the 2× and 3× shifting systems. The weight of the body plays a role in weight reduction, lighter frames can also make the ride more flexible and light.
Maxxis Ardent Race, Vacuum Tires
The Trek Marlin 8 is designed with a variety of different sizes depending on the size of the tire, making it easier for riders to choose according to their needs.
The standard-size Trek Marlin 8 I reviewed has the common 29×2.35” tire size, and the taller tires provide a certain amount of assistance in terms of shock absorption. The extra wide tread has a large tread pattern that is excellent for grip and increased friction.
In addition, the 60tpi and the puncture resistance provided by the EXO shell also greatly enhance the ruggedness of the Trek Marlin 8. This is one of the reasons why the Trek Marlin 8 can easily conquer any treacherous road.
Other Versions Of 2023 Trek Marlin
In the previous article, we’ve provided a detailed and accurate review of the Trek Marlin 8’s performance by component. But to give you more options, we’ve done an unbiased review of the other versions of the 2023 Trek Marlin. We have selected Trek Marlin 6 and 7 for comparison.
2023 Trek Marlin 6
As an earlier version of the Trek Marlin, the Trek Marlin 6 also showed a more naive side to many of its components, despite its better price. Although the Marlin 6 has the same aluminum body frame as the Marlin 8 and the same hydraulic disc design. But in more ways than one, Marlin 6 and Marlin 8 still have many differences.
First of all, the Trek Marlin 6 has only two tire size options, one less option than the Marlin 8. Secondly, compared to the Trek Marlin 8’s 1×12-Speed drivetrain, the Trek Marlin 6 has only 10 speeds to choose from. For a rider like me who cares more about shifting frequently during a ride depending on the terrain, I would prefer to have a wider range of speed options.
But in the choice of body color, Trek Marlin 6 has more options compared to Marlin 8, the body color and color combination are also more jump bright.
I would prefer the Trek Marlin 8 for performance reasons, but the Trek Marlin 6 is also a good choice if you are looking for more color.
2023 Trek Marlin 7
As an upgraded version of the Trek Marlin 6, the Trek Marlin 7 retains the advantages of the Marlin 6 in terms of body color but also upgrades some components.
For example, in the choice of hydraulic discs, the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes and the lighter Alpha Silver Aluminum frame were chosen in line with the Trek Marlin 8.
However, the Trek Marlin 7 still fails to improve well in some important components. The Trek Marlin 7 continues the 10-Speed shifting system of the Trek Marlin 6 and the choice of two tire sizes. All of these determine that the Trek Marlin 7 is not as good as the 8 in terms of performance.
Overall, the Trek Marlin 8 is more expensive than the Marlin 6 and 7. But accordingly, the better performance of the Trek Marlin 8 will bring you a better riding experience. If you have more budget, then Trek Marlin 8 will be your best choice.
What we like about it
- Hard-tailed off-road vehicles with superb value for money.
- 1 x 12-Speed rich speed control system.
- Higher grade, longer life hydraulic disc brakes.
- A super selection of tire sizes.
- Lightweight, yet sturdy aluminum frame.
What don’t we like about it
- Insufficient choice of body color.
- Some people think that the 1×12-Speed speed range is not wide enough.
What is the tire size of the 2023 Trek Marlin 8?
Tire size options for the 2023 Trek Marlin 8 are 26×2.40”, 27.5×2.35”, 29×2.35”, 29×2.20”.
What is the drivetrain of the 2023 Trek Marlin 8?
The 2023 Trek Marlin 8 has a 1×12-Speed drivetrain.
What are the brakes on the 2023 Trek Marlin 8?
The brakes on the 2023 Trek Marlin 8 are Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes.
How do I choose the size of the 2023 Trek Marlin 8?
|13.5||135 – 146cm|
|15.5||154 – 166cm|
|17.5||164 – 174cm|
|18.5||172 – 181cm|
|19.5||179 – 189cm|
|21.5||189 – 196cm|
2023 Trek Marlin Specs
|Frame||Alpha Silver Aluminum, internal routing, chainstay disc brake mount, rack and kickstand mount, 135x5mm QR|
|*Fork||Size: XXS , XS|
RockShox Judy Silver, Solo Air spring, rebound adjust, TurnKey hydraulic lockout, 42mm offset for 27.5” wheel, 100mm QR, 80mm travel
RockShox Judy Silver, Solo Air spring, rebound adjust, TurnKey hydraulic lockout, 42mm offset for 27.5” wheel, 100mm QR, 100mm travel
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
RockShox Judy Silver, Solo Air spring, rebound adjust, TurnKey hydraulic lockout, 46mm offset for 29” wheel, 100mm QR, 100mm travel
|Max compatible fork travel||100mm (XS & S: 490mm axle-to-crown, M & up: 509mm axle-to-crown)|
|Hub front||Formula DC-20 LW, alloy, 6-bolt, 5x100mm QR|
|Hub rear||Formula DC-22LW, 6-bolt, Shimano 8/9/10 freehub, 135x5mm QR|
|*Rim||Size: XXS , XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL|
Bontrager Kovee, double-wall, Tubeless Ready, 28-hole, 23mm width, presta valve
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager Kovee, double-wall, Tubeless Ready, 32-hole, 23mm width, presta valve
Maxxis Ardent, tubeless, EXO casing, folding bead, 60tpi, 26×2.40”
Size: XS , S
Maxxis Ardent Race, tubeless, EXO casing, folding bead, 60tpi, 27.5×2.35”
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Maxxis Ardent Race, tubeless, EXO casing, folding bead, 60tpi, 29×2.35”
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Maxxis Ardent Race, tubeless, EXO casing, folding bead, 60tpi, 29×2.20”
|Max tire size||Frame: 29×2.20″ (XS & S: 27.5×2.4″) Fork: See manufacturer|
|Shifter||SRAM SX Eagle, 12 speed|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM SX Eagle|
SRAM SX Eagle, 30T steel ring, 49mm chainline, 155mm length
Size: XS , S , M
SRAM SX Eagle, 30T steel ring, 49mm chainline, 170mm length
Size: ML , L , XL , XXL
SRAM SX Eagle, 30T steel ring, 49mm chainline, 175mm length
|Bottom bracket||Truvativ Powerspline, 73mm, threaded cartridge, 118mm spindle|
|Cassette||SRAM PG-1210 Eagle, 11-50, 12 speed|
|Chain||SRAM SX Eagle, 12 speed|
|Pedal||VP-536 nylon platform|
|Max chainring size||1x/2x: 34T, 3x: 42T|
|Saddle||Bontrager Arvada, steel rails, 138mm width|
Bontrager alloy, 31.6mm, 12mm offset, 300mm length
Size: XS , S , M
Bontrager alloy, 31.6mm, 12mm offset, 330mm length
Size: ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager alloy, 31.6mm, 12mm offset, 400mm length
|*Handlebar||Size: XXS , XS|
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 690mm width
Size: S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 720mm width
|Grips||Bontrager XR Trail Comp, nylon lock-on|
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 35mm length
Size: XXS , XS
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 50mm length
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 60mm length
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 70mm length
Size: ML , L
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 80mm length
Size: XL , XXL
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 90mm length
|Brake||Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc|
|*Brake rotor||Size: XXS , XS , S , M , ML , L , XL , XXL|
Shimano RT26, 6-bolt,160mm
Size: L , XL , XXL
Shimano RT26, 6-bolt,180mm
|Brake Set||Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc|
|Weight||M – 13.20 kg / 29.1 lbs (with tubes)|
|Weight limit||This bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).|
2023 Trek X-Caliber 8
|$1599||1×12||27.5×2.35”/29×2.35”||Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc Brake||Click View|
Specialized Rockhopper Expert 27.5
|$1400||1×12||Front: 27.5×2.35″, Rear: 27.5×2.35″|
SRAM Level Hydraulic Disc Brake
|Scott Scale 970||$1499||1×12||29×2.25″||Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc Brake||Click View|
|Giant XTC SLR 29 2||$1500||1×12||29×2.25”||Shimano BR-MT201 hydraulic disc brake||Click View|
2023 Trek X-Caliber 8 vs 2023 Trek Marlin 8
As different series of hardtail off-road bikes from the same brand, Trek X-Caliber 8, and it has a lot in common. For example, they both use the very classic Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes and the popular 1×12-Speed drivetrain.
In the choice of frame material, Trek X-Caliber and Trek Marlin also choose the same choice of aluminum frame that combines lightness and strength. This is a reflection of Trek’s continued pursuit of quality manufacturing.
The Trek Marlin 8 has a wider selection of tire sizes than the Trek X-Caliber 8, and the Trek Marlin 8’s wider selection of tire sizes makes it easier for consumers to find the right size for them. In terms of price, the Trek X-Caliber 8 is more expensive than the Trek Marlin 8.
All things considered, the Trek Marlin 8, which offers better performance and better value for money, would be my first choice.
Is The Trek X-Caliber 8 Worth Buying? [Trek X-Caliber 8 Review]
2022 Specialized Rockhopper Expert 27.5 vs 2023 Trek Marlin 8
The slightly more expensive Specialized Rockhopper is a close second to the Trek Marlin 8 in terms of ride and performance. They both have easy-to-adjust but not monotonous 12-speed shifting systems, and they both have premium, high-performance hydraulic disc brakes.
The only regret for the Trek Marlin 8 might be that it doesn’t have a wide enough selection of body colors like the Specialized Rockhopper. But if you’re more focused on riding performance like I am, then that can be overlooked.
In terms of tire design, the Specialized Rockhopper uses a more durable, longer-lasting front and rear hybrid design, but doesn’t offer as many tire size options as the Trek Marlin 8. This may pose some difficulties for some consumers.
On the other hand, both the Trek Marlin 8 and Specialized Rockhopper are designed with a specified travel value depending on the size. This is reflected in the riding experience: more ergonomic, more comfortable, and more relaxed riding.
Given that the riding experience and component performance are roughly the same, I would undoubtedly prefer the more affordable Trek Marlin 8.
2022 Scott Scale 970 vs 2023 Trek Marlin 8
Also a hardtail, the Scott Scale 970 shares many of the same components as the Trek Marlin 8. But in more ways than one, I think the Scott Scale has a performance gap compared to the Trek Marlin 8.
In terms of braking, the Scott Scale 970 and Trek Marlin 8 also chose the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc braking method. In terms of drivetrain, both also choose the more popular 1×12-Speed. but in terms of travel value, Scott Scale does not design different travel according to different sizes like Trek Marlin 8, which may have some effect on riders of different heights.
Besides, Scott Scale 970’s Syncros Belcarra Regular 2.5 saddle has a certain difference in riding experience from Trek Marlin 8’s Bontrager Arvada. I prefer the more comfortable seat of the Trek Marlin 8, which I think is a great relief for the fatigue I feel during my rides.
In comparison, I prefer the Trek Marlin 8 which has a comfortable riding experience.
Learn More: Scott Scale 940 Be A Good Cost Performance Hardtail Bicycle? [Review]
2022 Giant XTC SLR 29 2 vs 2023 Trek Marlin 8
In conducting a comparison review of these two bikes, I was surprised to find that the Giant XTC SLR 29 2 was highly similar to the Trek Marlin 8 in terms of appearance.
The same bright red body with a black logo on the downtube and tough aluminum frame and the same 1×12-Speed shifting system with a wide selection of gears. In terms of braking, both the Giant XTC SLR 29 2 and the Trek Marlin 8 have opted for the classic Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
In terms of geometry, both the Giant XTC SLR 29 2 and Trek Marlin 8 have long enough Reach values. This helps the rider to stretch their body better during the ride, which effectively relieves the stress of riding.
But the Giant XTC doesn’t give consumers as much choice in terms of size as the Trek Marlin 8, making it difficult for more petite riders to choose the right bike for them.
So if you need a more suitable size bike, the Trek Marlin 8 will give you more options.
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learn more: Giant XTC Advanced 29 3 Review - Is This The XC You Want