Is Trek Marlin 5 Worth Buying? [Trek Marlin 5 Review]-2023

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Mountain riding at a low level of difficulty is popular among everyday adventure riders. The Trek Marlin 5 mountain bike has several iterations and is ideal for commuter riders.

Trek Marlin 5, Lithium Grey
Trek Marlin 5

The Trek Marlin 5 impressed our testers with its sleek styling and configuration suitable for both youth and adult trail riding of moderate difficulty.

We were impressed by the Trek Marlin 5’s versatility as well as its performance on a variety of terrain.

That’s why we’ll be doing a more in-depth review of this mountain bike.

The climbing and descending performance, key features, components, and specifications of the Trek Marlin 5, as well as the other versions in the range, are all broken down below.

Hold on to your hats, and let’s get this party started.

Climbing performance

The Trek Marlin 5’s aluminum frame weighs only 30.8 lbs, which is extremely light for an aluminum frame.

Not only did the weight of the frame surprise us, but so did the head tube angle, which is somewhere between comfortable and steep.

On climbs, 69.5° of head tube angle is very smooth. Because this is a hardtail mountain bike, it needs to be much faster than a softtail mountain bike.

The shock fork also has a locking function, which saves a lot of energy when we’re climbing fast on the trails. The 2X8 drivetrain, with its smooth shifting, is not as complicated as you might think.

The relatively short top tube gets a great deal of compensation for seat tube angle on climbs, a frame design that combines comfort and performance.

A variety of tyre sizes make it possible for teenagers new to mountain biking to ride smoothly.

The 2.2″ width tyres are less strenuous when climbing on relatively soft ground, although not as easy when climbing on too steep hills.

I prefer the performance of a competitive mountain bike, but given the purpose of this bike, I really like riding the Trek Marlin 5 for recreational use – balancing the need for price and performance on the one hand, and the comfort of riding the trek Marlin 5 on forested singletrack on the other is a rare commodity.


It is something to get excited about, as it is outfitted with Bontrager XR2 Comp tyres that can be dropped quickly.

The sturdy frame and relatively loose head tube angle. The Trek marlin 5 instills confidence in riders on fast descending roads. There are also hydraulic disc brakes, which are uncommon in this price range, and the braking is very precise.

It stops quickly in the right place whether descending through corners with trails or descending roads with forest roads.

With its 100 mm shock fork, the SR Suntour is the entry-level for off-road riding. On accelerated descents, the slightest bump sends the fork down violently, but the fork, which is always doing its job, absorbs some of this impact.

However, we did not test the fast descents on steep hills because the fork bottoms out very easily in such conditions and does not match 99 percent of the terrain on which this mountain bike is ridden.

I liked how maneuverable the Trek Marlin 5 was when descending and how effective the hydraulic disc brakes were.

General roads

Trek Marlin 5, General roads

On commuting rides or rugged trail rides, the average adventure rider may be more concerned with comfort.

Of course, the Trek Marlin 5 is a versatile mountain bike. There are mounting holes for a rear rack as well as mudguards for commuter riders. At the frame, there are even two mounting holes for water bottle cages.

For longer trips, you can leave without carrying a bag on your back; simply strap a package to the rear rack and you’re ready to go.

If you’re commuting and need to bring some supplies with you, you can also store them on the rack.

Roads, brick-laying or no brick-laying, are terrain that the Trek Marlin 5 excels at, and instead of bumps, it is very well damped.

The commuter rider has few components to complain about thanks to the frame design that can be ridden comfortably.

Muddy roads in the rain can be easily blocked by mud and water with the fenders. As a result, the performance on general roads is close to full marks.

Main features

Frame (4.5/5)

Trek Marlin 5 frame

The Trek Marlin 5’s frame is made of Alpha Silver Aluminium, the same material used in Trek’s low to mid-range mountain bikes.

But with a very good weight-to-performance ratio. The incorporation of numerous features makes this mountain bike even more suitable for the casual adventure rider.

Faced with smaller, younger riders. One of the (XXS-S) frames has a top tube that slopes downward near the seat tube, lowering the standing height and making it easier for young riders to straddle the bike.

The top tube is straight for long-legged riders because they do not have to contend with standing height. Pre-drilled mounting holes for the rear rack and mudguards, as well as two mounting positions for water bottle cages, are provided on the frame. enabling you to ride longer distances.

The frame color is ideal for riders seeking individuality; it is bright but not overpowering.

The downtube has been given some slight flex, which is good for extending the life of the aluminum frame, and the TIG welding is very good, with no frame damage or breakage noted in some reviews from riders as young as three years old.

The overall frame design is conservative and not out of the ordinary, but it meets the needs of commuter riders.

Geometry (4.5/5)

The latest version of the trek marlin 5 features the same popular loose head tube angle. This also seems to be a trend that includes competitive mountain bikes.

With the exception of the XXS frame which uses a head tube angle of 68.6°, all other frame sizes use a head tube angle in the range of 69.3°-69.5°. Somewhere between steep and comfortable.

This is the design that will please the vast majority of commuter riders. If comfort riding is very important, you can opt for a hybrid bike.

The 27.5″ or 29″ tyre has been the most popular tyre size for the last two years, and is better than the 26″ for trail riding in the mountains.

The not-quite-cranky geometry makes it very good for trail riding. Good for climbing and confident descending terrain. Very satisfying for riders who can accept this price point.

Components and specifications

Shimano Altus drivetrain (4.2/5)

Not quite the high-end Shimano Altus, but as good a drivetrain for the money as you’ll find at this price point.

Robust is a word that has been used numerous times. However, our testers had few issues while riding it. The 2X8 gear range is a significant improvement over the previous obsolete 3X7 version.

It’s not as comfortable as the 1X10, but it’s not a feature that can’t be improved. This component has proven to be very useful for trail climbs and commuter rides.

SR Suntour fork (4.0/5)

Internal routing
Internal Routing

As mentioned earlier this is a relatively low end shock fork, but a well known brand that has stood the test of time and is well versed in the manufacture of low end forks.

So I don’t have too many concerns about the quality, and the 100mm fork is a good fit for beginners on mountain bikes.

I was also impressed with its performance. It can be hydraulically locked on flat roads, so commuter riders don’t have to worry about wasting more energy on road rides.

Riders who live in hilly areas will also appreciate this setup, which provides a soft and firm damping experience that can be tossed around on difficult forest trails.

We rode the bike on low-difficulty forest trails 90% of the time with it on, and we also tried out the preload function. We were pleased with how well the fork worked overall.

Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc (4.5/5)

Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc
Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc

The Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic discs installed on the Trek Marlin 5 increase the bike’s value.

When it comes to braking performance, the Tektro is always ready to help out on fast descending roads. The braking stroke is relatively short, and a gentle squeeze of the brake lever is all that is required to bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

It does, however, take some getting used to for those who want to enjoy fast and floaty rides on downhill roads. Even if you prefer a higher-end component, this is one component that does not require upgrading.

Bontrager XR2 Comp tires (3.9/5)

ontrager XR2 Comp tyres
ontrager XR2 Comp tyres

This is the accessory that maintains compatibility with previous versions. This is due to the fact that this tire has an inner tube.

As a result, it is heavier. You can replace it with a tubeless tire if you prefer a lighter tire. 2.2″ tires don’t have a lot of exciting features, but there is a trade-off between performance and price, so I’m not thrilled with this tire’s configuration.

However, it has no effect on the fast roll of the tires on gravel roads or soft mountain riding.

Bontrager stem (4.5/5)

Bontrager stem
Trek Marlin 5 Bike-Grip

The versatile Bontrager handlebar has a phone mount or spotlight that can be easily fitted.

With a length of 720mm (the XXS and XS handlebars are 690mm wide) and an ergonomic design with a 7° swivel back, the Bontrager is more comfortable for riders who like to ride at night.

Other versions of the Trek Marlin 5

Because the Trek Marlin 5 has gone through several iterations, there has been a gradual shift toward mid-range mountain bikes.

For example, the Trek Marlin 5 2021 retains a 3X7 drivetrain. The newer version, however, has a newer 2X8 drivetrain.

Trek Marlin 5 2021
Trek Marlin 5 2021

The frame hasn’t changed all that much. The Trek Marlin 5 2019 weighs 32.17 pounds, whereas the Trek Marlin 5 2022 weighs only 30.80 pounds.

With Trek’s ever-improving technology and the downgrading of some of the higher-end components, the Trek Marlin 5’s accessories are becoming increasingly high-end.

And, of course, there’s the Marlin 6. This makes me excited for the new Trek Marlin 5 with some technical improvements.

Trek Marlin 5 Specs


FrameAlpha Silver Aluminum, internal routing, chainstay disc brake mount, rack and kickstand mount, 135x5mm QR
*ForkSize: XXS
SR Suntour XCM 30, coil spring, lockout, preload, 100mm QR, 100mm travel, 26” wheel
Size: XS
SR Suntour XCT 30, coil spring, preload, hydraulic lockout, 42mm offset for 27.5” wheel, 100mm QR, 80mm travel
Size: S
SR Suntour XCT 30, coil spring, preload, hydraulic lockout, 42mm offset for 27.5” wheel, 100mm QR, 100mm travel
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
SR Suntour XCT 30, coil spring, preload, hydraulic lockout, 46mm offset for 29” wheel, 100mm QR, 100mm travel
Max compatible fork travel100mm (XS & S: 490mm axle-to-crown, M & up: 509mm axle-to-crown)


Hub frontFormula DC-20, alloy, 6-bolt, 5x100mm QR
Hub rearFormula DC-22, alloy, 6-bolt, Shimano 8/9/10 freehub, 135x5mm QR
*RimSize: XS, S
Bontrager Connection, double-wall, 32-hole, 20 mm width, Schrader valve, Black
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager Connection, double-wall, 32-hole, 20 mm width, Schrader valve
*TireSize: XXS
Bontrager XR2 Comp, wire bead, 30 tpi, 26×2.20”
Size: XS, S
Bontrager XR2 Comp, wire bead, 30 tpi, 27.5×2.20”
Size: M , ML , L , XL , XXL
Bontrager XR2 Comp, wire bead, 30 tpi, 29×2.20”
Max tire sizeFrame: 29×2.20″ (XS & S: 27.5×2.4″) Fork: See manufacturer


ShifterShimano Altus M315, 8 speed
Front DerailleurShimano Altus M315, 34.9mm clamp, top swing, dual pull
Rear DerailleurShimano Altus M310
*CrankSize: XXS
Prowheel TM-CY10, 36/22, 160mm length
Size: XS, S , M
Shimano M315, 36/22, 170mm length
Size: ML , L , XL , XXL
Shimano M315, 36/22, 175mm length
Bottom bracketSealed cartridge, 73mm
CassetteShimano HG200, 12-32, 8 speed
ChainKMC Z8.3, 8 speed
Max chainring size1x/2x: 34T, 3x: 42T


SaddleBontrager Arvada, steel rails, 138mm width
*SeatpostSize: XXS
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
*HandlebarSize: 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
*StemSize: XXS
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 35mm length
Size: XS
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 50mm length
Size: S
Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, Blendr compatible, 7 degree, 60mm length
Size: M
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
HeadsetSemi-integrated, 1-1/8”
BrakeTektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc
Brake SetTektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotor


WeightM – 13.97 kg / 30.81 lbs
Weight limitThis bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).

What we like about Trek Marlin 5

  • Affordable price to make it easier for more riders to own
  • Lightweight and versatile frame for the everyday adventure rider
  • 100mm shock fork for light off-road or rugged trails
  • Clean and tidy internal alignment and stylish paint colours
  • 2X8 drivetrain
  • Trek Marlin 5 weight is impressively light, making it easy to handle and maneuver on the trails.

What we didn’t like about Trek Marlin 5

  • Not wide enough wheels to limit rough mountain riding
  • Hard seat is not suitable for long rides
  • Loud chain sound on the ride


  • What sizes are available for Trek Marlin 5?

Trek Marlin 5 size chart:

SizeRider HeightInseam
XS145 – 155 cm4’9″ – 5’1″69 – 73 cm27″ – 29″
S155 – 165 cm5’1″ – 5’5″74 – 78 cm29″ – 31″
M165 – 176 cm5’5″ – 5’9″79 – 83 cm31″ – 33″
M/L173 – 180 cm5’8″ – 5’11”81 – 86 cm32″ – 34″
L177 – 188 cm5’10” – 6’2″84 – 89 cm33″ – 35″
XL188 – 195 cm6’2″ – 6’5″89 – 91 cm35″ – 36″
2XL195 – 203 cm6’5″ – 6’8″91 – 97 cm36″ – 38″
  • What is the most weight that the Trek Marlin 5 can handle?

This bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).

  • What is the difference between Trek Marlin 5 and Trek Marlin 6?

The Trek Marlin 5 has a relatively wider range of shifts.The Marlin 6 is a 2×8 shifting range, and the fork locking feature of the Marlin 6 is relatively bright.

Comparison Table

BicycleFrame materialWheel sizeSpeed numberPrice
Trek 820 mountain bikeTrek Custom Steel26-Inch21Click View
Trek Marlin 6 mountain bikeAluminum27.5-29 Inch10Click View
Schwinn Moab 3 Adult Mountain BikeAluminum2924Click View
EVIL The InsurgentCarbon[front] 27.5 x 2.5in, [rear] 27.5 x 2.3in12Click View
Cannondale Catalyst 2Aluminum27.5 x 2.0”24Click View

Trek 820 mountain bike vs Trek Marlin 5

Trek 820
Trek 820

The Trek 820 shares many of the same features as the Trek Marlin 5.

For example, the steel frame weighs less than 3 lbs. However, the riding experience is far less impressive.

However, the lower cost makes it more appealing to low-income commuters.

Careful maintenance will extend the life of the Trek 820 mountain bike. The difference between them is the shock fork, which appears to make the Trek 820 mountain bike a strong competitor to the cheaper mountain bikes, but there is less terrain to ride more comfortably against its better sister, the Trek Marlin 5.

If you’re a beginner just starting out, the Trek 820 has a more durable frame, allowing you to rough it up a bit and thus improve your riding skills over time.

If you’re a more demanding everyday adventurer, the Trek Marlin 5 will make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.

Learn more: Is The Trek 820 Mountain Bike Really Suitable For Newbies?

Trek Marlin 6 mountain bike vs Trek Marlin 5

Trek Marlin 6
Trek Marlin 6

The Marlin 6 is the Marlin range’s little sister. The configuration is nearly identical to that of the Trek Marlin 5.

It is available for an additional $100 budget. Shimano Deore 1X10 drivetrain It’s a scaled-down version of a race bike drivetrain. However, it allows you to have more fun on mountain rides.

A brighter paint color so you don’t blend in on the commuter trail. Try the Trek Marlin 6 mountain bike for a more efficient trail riding experience.

Learn more: Is Trek Marlin 6 Worth Buying? [Trek Marlin 6 Review] 2022

EVIL The Insurgent X01 Eagle Mountain Bike vs Trek Marlin 5

EVIL The Insurgent X01 Eagle Mountain Bike
EVIL The Insurgent X01 Eagle Mountain Bike

The EVIL The Insurgent is a no-nonsense enduro/cross-country competitive mountain bike that comes equipped with a slew of high-quality accessories.

The Trek Marlin 5 comparison will be crushing. The EVIL The Insurgent, which can crush all kinds of rough surfaces at will, is designed for cranky cyclists, as the name suggests.

If you want to get into more enduro/off-road racing, the EVIL The Insurgent can be your best friend.

The RockShox Zeb fork, with up to 180mm of travel, combined with the RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate, a 168mm rear travel rear shock, will keep you calm in high-speed crashes and send you deep into drops and gaps.

Rough riding conditions will be your preferred terrain for controlling the EVIL The Insurgent. The EVIL The Insurgent you deserve is a challenge for a more indulgent ride.

Cannondale Catalyst 2 vs Trek Marlin 5

Cannondale Catalyst 2
Cannondale Catalyst 2

While the 2017 version of the Canondale Catalyst 2 is a strong competitor to the Trek Marlin 5, There are numerous similarities, including body design and accessory composition.

Although the Cannondale Catalyst 2 is not as well known as the Trek (in my opinion), the quality of the Cannondale Catalyst 2 is still very good.

The Trek Marlin 5 will have more selective tyre sizes, and a XXS frame has been developed for teenagers.

As a result, the Trek Marlin 5 is well worth a shot.

Final rating (4.5/5)

The Trek Marlin 5 is one of the best mountain bikes to buy with its affordable price and cost effective component stack. Ideal for everyday adventures its novice riders. Both novice and intermediate riders will find a fun ride on the Trek Marlin 5. All this means that the Trek Marlin 5 is a great mountain bike at great value for money. Worth buying!

That’s why we ended up giving it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

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