Got a Piggy Bank With Change? Break It Open and Get Yourself a Trek Marlin 5

I remember my first Trek bike like it was yesterday. Why? Because when you buy into the Trek family, you’re getting much more than just a bike, you’re receiving a bit of history and tradition.
2021 Marlin 5 10 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
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We have all heard of Trek. Aside from countless trophies and tours won, this company brings with it a level of bicycle manufacturing seen only amongst few competitors. If you haven’t heard of this team, I apologize if this next comment comes across a bit strong, but where have you been living? This team has been at the forefront of bicycle culture since its birth in 1975. Today, they manufacture not only bikes, but components too, including the Bontrager brand.

As for the bike we’re seeing in the cover photo, it’s known as the Marlin 5, the 2021 model. And even though it’s not some massive ground-breaking e-MTB, it is one of the most affordable hardtails Trek puts out. How affordable? How does $569.99 dollars sound? Sounds good is all I've got to say. It seems that today it doesn’t take much to be a part of this family. But that’s not all you get when purchasing the Marlin.

Now, for this kind of price, you can bet your bottom dollar that the frame isn’t carbon, and it isn’t. What we’re working with here is aluminum. But don’t fret, the way technology has developed in recent years, aluminum can even rival its carbon cousin. For the Marlin we are offered an Alpha Silver frame with internal cable routing, and a funky looking seat stay.

2021 Marlin 5
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
One thing we notice right off the bat is the MTB geometry of the frame. Sure, it does have a ton of MTB heritage crammed into its design, but the inclusion of rack mounts and a kickstand, tell you that it’s also ready to be your aid through the urban jungle.

Because it’s a hardtail, don’t bother looking for a rear suspension, but do bother to include the SR Suntour XCE fork that offers 80-100 mm (3.15-3.9 in) of travel depending on the frame size. Let’s say you don’t like the fork, then just change it.

I’m sure you’ll find one out there that will fit your needs just right. Another aspect of the bike affected by frame size is the wheels. For the XS and S-sized frames, we’ll find 27.5 in wheels, while M through XXL include 29ers.

2021 Marlin 5
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Since no motor or other components are there to handle any shifting or to simply give your legs an easier time to get to the top of whatever you’d like, the Marlin is equipped with a 21-speed setup. A Shimano Altus 3-speed and 7-speed shifter are there to take care of your energy expenditure. Derailleurs too are covered by the Shimano family, and the cassette too.

For remaining components, we are to find Bontrager, furnishing saddle, seat post, handlebars, and everything in between. But braking is offered by a pair of Tektro hydraulic disc and short reach lever. All decked out the Marlin comes in with a weight of 31.84 lbs (14.44 kg) for the size M frame.

One thing I remember about the time I too bought my first Trek was receiving their famed lifetime warranty. Great feeling knowing it’s yours for life. 14 years later, this warranty is still something you’ll receive when purchasing this bike. All in all, I think I've found the next all-around bike that I'd like to add to my inexistent garage. Do let us know the feeling of knowing your bike is covered for life.
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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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