Now, I'm a sucker for hardtails, and it doesn't matter much how much it costs; it'll thrash you around just the same. Yet, like any other bicycle ever created, the Marlin 4 is designed for a particular style of riding. In the case of this bike's aluminum frame and remaining components, which we'll discover shortly, the Gen 2 is meant for the all-around cycling needs of the average Joe.
What does this mean? Well, as you can expect from a bike that only costs you a tad over $600, you shouldn't be catching any airtime with this bugger; it simply isn't built for that. Instead, as Trek puts it, the Gen 2 "is the perfect gateway to trail riding. Ideal for new riders who want a mountain bike with knobby tires that can double as a rugged commuter," and with that, you should have a clear idea of what you can achieve with this machine.
sidetracking on your way home.
With the work day over, you take to the bathroom, change into your cycling outfit, and start riding towards the sunset. Along the way, you'll encounter plenty of curbs and cracks in the asphalt, but an SR Suntour XCE 28 fork will be offering up to 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of travel, ensuring your ride is smooth and pleasant. There's no mention of lockout, but if you want a fork with this feature, it shouldn't cost you too much to buy a new one. I'm not sure this frame is worth investing in, but hey, it's your commuter vehicle; do as you please.
As for the drivetrain, don't expect to see some top-shelf gear. After all, the price should tell you a bit about what to expect from the bike. With that in mind, expect to find a Shimano Tourney drivetrain with 3x7 speeds. Sure, it's not the best out there, but it should be more than enough to help new riders get a feel for what it means to work shifters and to ride trails. In time, you can always buy up as you get better at this sport. All that and the remaining Bontrager components amount to a trinket weighing 31.75 pounds (14.4 kilograms).
unpaved roads, some rocks and gravel, and those ups and downs you've been looking for. After 30 minutes or so, your body should be tired and ready to wind down with a nice warm bath. May the weekend commence!
At the end of the day, if you've been looking for a bicycle that isn't limited to asphalt or trails and costs nothing more than what you saved up in your piggy bank, then the Gen 2 Marlin 4 is one cycle worth considering for a Christmas in July.