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Review of Trek Marlin 5

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - February 10, 2022   /  Hardtail, Mountain Bikes, Reviews, Trek

Trek Marlin 5 is an entry-level trail bike perfectly suited for beginner riders and enthusiasts who need a dependable two-wheeler to hit the trails or commute on a daily basis.

Trek Marlin 5 Hardtail Mountain Bike at a forest

BEST FOR Beginner trail riders
FEATURES: Shimano components, Hydraulic Disc Brakes, 100mm travel, 21 speeds

Trek Marlin 5 List of Specs

Frame – Alpha Silver Aluminum, internal routing, chainstay disc brake mount, rack and kickstand mount, 135x5mm QR
Fork – SR Suntour XCE 28, coil spring, preload, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset on 29ers, 100mm travel (13.5: 80mm travel)
Front Hub -Formula DC20 alloy
Rear hub – Formula DC27 alloy
Rims – Bontrager Connection 32-hole double-walled
Tires – Bontrager XR2, 29×2.20˝ front, 29×2.0˝ rear (13.5 & 15.5: 27.5×2.20˝)
Shifters – Shimano Altus M310, 7 speed
Front derailleur – Shimano Tourney TY300
Rear derailleur – Shimano Tourney TY300
Crank – Shimano Tourney TY301, 42/34/24
Bottom bracket – Sealed cartridge, 73mm
Cassette – Shimano HG200, 12-32, 7 speed
Chain – KMC Z51
Pedals – VP-536 nylon platform
Saddle – Bontrager Arvada
Seatpost – Bontrager alloy, 2-bolt head, 31.6mm, 12mm offset
Handlebar – Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 5mm rise
Grips – Bontrager XR Endurance Comp, lock-on
Stem – Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 7 degree, Blendr compatible
Headset – 1-1/8˝ threadless, semi-integrated, semi-cartridge bearings
Brakeset – Tektro HD-275 hydraulic disc (13.5 & 15.5: Tektro HD-276 short reach lever)
Weight – M – 14.59 kg / 32.17 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).

Trek Marlin 5 Full Review

Trek Marlin 5 frame and fork

Photo courtesy: Trekbikes.com

If you’re thinking about buying your first mountain bike or treating yourself to a brand-new bicycle that you’ll use as an everyday workhorse and commuter, Marlin 5 will prove itself to be a pretty good choice. Trek Marlin 5 is an entry-level trail bike that has a lot to offer to the lovers of mountains and rugged dirt roads. If you want to figure out whether this bike is a good choice for you, check out our detailed review below!

Quality Frame and Fork

The essence of Trek Marlin 5 is the Trek’s famous Alpha Silver aluminum frame that has a sleek design and very comfortable geometry, suitable for different types of riders. This frame features internal routing that protects your cables from external factors and adds to the bike’s clean looks.

Marlin 5’s frame is available in SEVEN sizes, so there’s absolutely no chance that you won’t be able to find the perfect one for your height. The SR Suntour XCE 28 fork is basic, but it provides 100 mm of plush travel. This fork has a coil spring which makes it a bit heavy, but it comes with a preload function, which is a nice plus.

Precise Hydraulic Disc Brakes

The star of the show on Trek Marlin 5 is definitely its Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. We are always pleasantly surprised to see them on bikes that cost this little, as hydraulic discs are a rare find in this price range.

Thanks to its hydraulic disc brakes, Trek Marlin 5 is a bike that performs well in all weather conditions and on all types of terrain.

Compared to all other types, hydraulic brakes output the most power and provide the most precision. Trek has even gone so far as to install short reach levers on the two smallest frames – 13.5″ (XS) and 15.5″ (S).

27.5″ and 29″ Wheels and Tires

Trek Marlin 5 Bontrager wheels and tires

Photo courtesy: Trekbikes.com

Depending on how tall you are and which frame size end up going for, your Trek Marlin 5 will come with either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. The XS and S frame comes with smaller wheels, whereas all other sizes are 29ers. This is a great solution we are seeing more and more often nowadays. It decreases the standover height of the bike and ensures a much better fit for all rider heights.

The rims on all variations are Bontrager Connection. They’re double-walled and have 32 spokes, which means they’ll take plenty of abuse. The Bontrager XR2 tires are not tubeless, but they will give you plenty of grip on both the 27.5″ and the 29″ diameter.

Shimano Drivetrain and Components

Trek Marlin 5 Bontrager parts

Photo courtesy: Trekbikes.com

Another positive aspect of Trek Marlin 5 is that the entire drivetrain is composed of Shimano parts. Sure, they are entry-level quality, but they offer more than enough in terms of performance and precision for the average beginner trail rider. In total, Marlin 5 has 21 gears on a 3×7 drivetrain and comes with Shimano Tourney front and rear derailleurs. However, the shifters are Shimano Altus, which is one quality class higher than Tourney.

Dependable Bontrager Parts

Bontrager is Trek’s in-house brand that makes numerous parts and accessories. The Bontrager label on Trek Marlin 5 can be seen on the saddle, seat post, handlebar, grips, and the stem. Trek makes all of these parts specifically for their bikes, which means they are 100% compatible and perform for a long time without any issues. One of the downsides this bike has is that the headset is not tapered, so you might have a harder time upgrading the fork if you ever decide to do that.

Trek Marlin 5 Sizing Chart

  • XS — 4’5.9″ – 5’1″ / 137 – 155 cm
  • S —  5’0.2″ – 5′ 3.8″ / 153 – 162 cm
  • M —  5’3.4″ – 5’7.7″ / 161 – 172 cm
  • M/L — 5’6.9″ – 5’10.5″ / 170 – 179 cm
  • L —  5’9.7″ – 6’2.0″ / 177 – 188 cm
  • XL —  6’1.2 – 6’5.2″ / 186 – 196 cm
  • 2XL — 6’4.8″ 6’7.9″ / 195 – 203 cm

Marlin 5 PROs & CONs


  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 100 mm of front travel
  • 27.5″ and 29″ wheel options


  • Entry-level Shimano Tourney components

Who Is Trek Marlin 5 Best Suited For?

Like any other bicycle out there, Trek Marlin 5 will not be a good buy for everyone. This is an entry-level machine mainly intended for beginner riders and those who do not take cycling too seriously.

Trek Marlin 5 should be shortlisted by beginner riders who are looking for their first mountain bike to commute or explore the dirt roads in their area.

If riding a bike is a weekend activity or a mode of transportation for you, then Marlin 5 will meet and exceed your expectations. You’ll be able to cover thousands of miles on it without any upgrades and explore farther than before. However, if your idea of cycling is to hit trails as hard as you can and test your skills and limits, then you should save a bit more money and invest in a bike that comes with slightly better components.

Is Marlin 5 a Good Buy?

Comparing the money you need to invest and the value you get out of this bike, anyone can conclude that Trek Marlin 5 is an excellent buy. For around $550, you get a high-grade aluminum frame that’s light, nimble, and durable. It’s even found on some much more expensive Trek bikes.

Trek Marlin 5 trail bike

Photo courtesy: Trekbikes.com

The drivetrain is entry-level, but the brakes are powered by hydraulics which is the best setup you can get right now. For this amount of money, that’s a bargain. Therefore, all in all, if you’re the right type of rider for Marlin 5, it’s a purchase that will put a long-lasting smile on your face if you go forward with the buy.

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3 thoughts on “Review of Trek Marlin 5

  1. David says:

    Great review. One question .. is this the old 5 or new 5 model? The new Marlin 5 design as I understand it being the old 5 plus aspects of Marlin 6 bike & otherwise that’s led to discontinuance of the Marlin 6 and only selling a Marlin 5 & 7 model going forward?

    Much appreciated!

  2. Todd Sternberg says:

    I am still riding my 2017 Marlin 6 its been too Hell and back. I live in the woods near Downtown Nashville 32 Thousand miles all pavement. riding in Hurricanes and Polor Vortex. Just got new breaks and Maxxis Hook Worm tires.I do circules around Gravel bikes.

  3. Tricycle says:

    Thinking about buying one of these and as an entry level rider seems like the best choice.

    thanks for the review! it has made my mind up

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