Looking for an E-Bike to Age With? Trek's Hot New Marlin+ 8 Hardtail Has What It Takes

Marlin+ 8 9 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
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Whenever a cycling team like Trek unveils a new machine, you can bet your bottom dollar it's going to be a monster. Well, one of their freshest electric hardtails is just that: a monster ready to be your cycling answer.
Folks, I love myself a solid hardtail, and for years, Trek has been cranking out a particular model, the Marlin. It was always identified as being a go-to bicycle for just about anyone on a budget, with machines well under the $2,000 mark.

Well, to go hand in hand with the mechanical Marlin, Trek also has the Marlin+, the electrified brethren of the initial lineup, and this time around, we take a closer look at the freshest unit to join the family, the 8. Before we go on, be sure to explore the images in the gallery.

First of all, what we're looking at is an MTB designed with an aluminum frame and a geometry that looks damn good, not to mention suitable for an array of terrains; we'll talk about that shortly. The top tube slants beautifully and blends into the seat stays, while a dropped BB (Bottom Bracket) means you'll feel nice and stable either on trails or while weaving through traffic on your way to work.

Marlin\+ 8
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
From here, the frame is opened up to allow for internal cable routing and best of all; this puppy is dropper post-ready. A motor, frame, and chain guard are then thrown on, but the final trick up this bike's frame has to do with all those cargo mounts tattered all over. First of all, the mounts within the main triangle are sure to prove necessary whenever you decide to whip out your Marlin for a calorie-burning spin, but there's more to it than that.

Suppose you like to start your weekends with an exploration of your town's outskirts, and often, you even like to camp out away from the city's lights and get a clear view of the sky above. Well, the Marlin+ 8 can be used to achieve just that.

All you have to do is switch out the water bottle cages for cargo mounts, throw in a bag or two here and there, and once you've added a rear cargo rack, you'll start to see the true potential of this machine. These days, suspension fork mounts also exist, so go all the way. You may want to change the tires if you plan on riding asphalt for extended periods of time, and it shouldn't cost you too much to make this switch.

Marlin\+ 8
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Speaking of costs, allow me to point out that the Marlin+ 8 isn't necessarily the cheapest two-wheeling EV on the market, cruising in with an MSRP of $3,500 (€3,200 at current exchange rates), so nearly double what the new e-bike rider is willing to spend on something like this. Now, I understand that this is a price that most people will consider outside their budget for a bicycle, but there are reasons why you should consider it actually being within your budget.

For starters, every inch of this EV is powered by Bosch, a component manufacturer with a history dating back to 1886 and one that's even considered one of the grandfathers of e-bike drivetrains. Gear like a RockShox fork with 120 mm (4.7 in) of travel and Trek's lifetime warranty on their frames only adds to that value.

Overall, Trek throws on an Active Line Plus motor with a CompactTube battery with 400 Wh of juice. According to Bosch's range calculator, this setup can achieve a range of 91 km (56.5 mi) while cruising in eco and at a speed of 15 kph (9.3 mph). At 21 kph (13 mph), the range drops to 79 km (49 mi), so pretty good. If you need more range, an extender can be opted for.

Marlin\+ 8
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
The rest of the drivetrain is completed with a Shimano Deore setup tuned to run on just two gears with a 10-51T cassette. The brakes are from the same manufacturer: 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes with 203 mm (8 in) rotors. It's the sort of stopping power you need when hauling around a bike that weighs 21.3 kg (47 lbs) as a size medium and can be loaded up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

Take all that, throw on some in-house Bontrager gear, place yourself in the center of the action, and what do you have? An e-bike that you're sure to enjoy for more than just a season or two, and with proper charging and recharging techniques, you should be able to squeeze as much life out of that battery as possible.

Now, I understand that it may be rather difficult to feel this machine from where you're standing or sitting, porcelain throne and all. So, what you can do is find a local dealership with one of these in stock and take it out for a spin. Just be sure to bring your checkbook because you might be leaving with a new bike the moment you feel that motor kick in.

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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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