Get Yourself Into the MTB Game With a Mega-Affordable 2022 Marlin 4 Hardtail

2022 Marlin 4 Hardtail MTB 18 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
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There comes a time in everyone’s life when you’ll want to get out and explore a little more. One way to do this is with a bicycle. Let’s say that you’re at the beginning of your cycling career and are looking for a bike with some prestige at a low cost. Well, cue Trek and the 2022 Marlin 4 hardtail MTB.
In the spirit of American Month here at autoevolution, I decided to let my appreciation of bicycles to shine through and decided to bring to light one of America’s renowned bicycle manufacturers, Trek, and one of their entry-level beasts that sure to help you fall in love with the MTB and bicycle lifestyle.

Trek is the sort of team that requires very little introduction. Heck, they were founded in 1975, but their cycling experience goes back a bit further than that. Years later, Trek has grown to be a team with bicycles and other cycling gear in just about every level of the cycling industry, all the way up to being seen on TV during Tour de France and other major cycling events. Heck, some of their machines cost well into the $15,000 range and even end up in museums.

However, the Marlin 4 (M4) is on the opposite end of the money spectrum as it comes in with an MSRP up to $580 (€494 at current exchange rates). Why so cheap? Well, it’s the sort of bike that’s meant to be an introductory machine into the ways of the MTB and trail-riding lifestyle.

2022 Marlin 4 Hardtail MTB Magenta \(Color\)
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
As it stands, the M4 is built using Trek’s proprietary Alpha Silver aluminum, which may not be the most prized of Trek’s aluminum stock but coupled with a solid hardtail geometry and a beautifully dropped rear triangle, the M4 does offer a solid feel even when you just see it. Internal cable routing keeps lines free of any snagging, especially if you’re a bit under-experienced, and rack mounts are there to also give you a taste of bike-packing trips.

Now, hardtails aren’t the sort of bikes made for massive drops and fast-paced downhill riding, but they do offer a good experience if you’re looking to learn how a bike through off-road settings. However, a hardtail will feel just as home in a rugged urban jungle. The lack of a rear suspension helps direct all energy your little legs can exert directly into the ground and will get you moving just as easily on the tarmac.

To soften things up, Trek includes an SR Suntour XCE 28 coil spring fork with 80 mm (3.15 in) to 100 mm (3.9 in) of travel depending on the frame size. Another component set to bring about a softer ride are the tires, of which, the M4 is equipped with a set of Bontrager XR2 Comp 27.5-inch or 29-inch tires, with a diameter up to 2.20 inches (5.58 cm). If you want something else, tires are a rather inexpensive component to replace, so do shop around.

2022 Marlin 4 Hardtail MTB \(Action\)
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Like most other bikes that Trek offers, the M4 is equipped with a Shimano drivetrain. With up to 21 speeds, Shimano Tourney front and rear derailleurs are controlled by Altus shifters and spinning a KMC Z7 chain. To help you stop, Tektro MD-M280 mechanical disc brakes pinch down on 160-mm (6.3-in) rotors. Since the medium-sized frame comes in with a weight of just 30.82 lbs (13.97 kg) and can support up to a total weight limit of 300 lbs (136 kg), these brakes should do fine in helping you learn how to control an MTB and also keep you safe, as long as you use the bike within its functional limits of course. Components like stems, handlebar, seat post, headset, and the likes, are all furnished by the in-house Bontrager brand.

Sure, the Marlin 4 may not be sporting some wirelessly shifting drivetrain or even a rear suspension meant to handle hundreds of pounds of force, but it does have traits like those thousand-dollar monsters experienced riders are blasting around on. In time, maybe you’ll progress towards a $15K beasts as well. In the meantime, you can start on a Marlin 4.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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