Trek Marlin 5 Review

Trek Marlin 5 Review
Trek Marlin 5 Review

Trek Marlin 5 is an entry-level bike from Treks’ Mountain Bikes series. It offers a lot of features you’d expect from an expensive bike like internal cable shifting and hydraulic brakes. Some of the recent updates to the model leading up to Trek Marin 5 2020 made it the best in the budget category and very easy to recommend to any trail riding beginner.

Trek Marlin 5 is one of the best entry-level mountain bikes and it’s perfect for you if you are

  • trying to get into Mountain Biking or trailing and not sure if you’d like the sport. In this case, Marlin 5 makes for a great beginner-friendly bike which you can use to test and level up your training skills before upgrading to something more advanced. The Drivetrain of this bike provides you with a huge combination of speeds which can come handy.
  • looking for a commuting bike for school, and your path involves a few rough roads or would enjoy a bit of trailing on the side as a hobby. If your commuting path involves some roads which need repair, Marlin 5 might be the perfect bike because unlike a hybrid at this price range you will be getting a good suspension with 100mm travel and a preload adjustment for switching between smoother rides and a bit rougher ones.
  • trying to get the best of both worlds bike and not ready to spend big bucks on the more expensive bikes then Trek Marlin 5 is a match made in heaven. With the price range of 500-600 dollars, you will be getting a solid experience without breaking the bank.

This is our Trek Marlin 5 Review which provides a detailed overview of the bike with a comprehensive review of all the components and parts. There is also a specs list sorted down below for ease of access.

Trek Marlin 5 Specs

Frame Alpha Silver Aluminum, internal routing
Fork SR Suntour XCE 28 with Preload, 100mm max travel
Rims Bontrager Connection 32-hole double-walled
Tires Bontrager XR2  29×2.20˝ both front and rear
Shifters Shimano Altus M310, 7 speed
Front and Rear derailleur Shimano Tourney TY300
Cassette Shimano HG200, 12-32, 7 speed
Handlebar Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm with 5mm rise
Grips Bontrager XR Endurance Comp, lock-on
Stem Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 7 degree, Blendr compatible
Brakeset Tektro HD-275 hydraulic disc


Trek Marlin 5 Internal Cable Shift and Brake Hose Routing
Trek Marlin 5 Internal Cable Shift and Brake Hose Routing

Trek Marlin 5 comes with a light-weight Trek Silver Alpha aluminium frame which offers sturdiness for your trails while still being light enough to not wear you down during long rides.

You can expect some pretty good welding with internal cable shift and brake hose routing which you see on more expensive bikes and it protects your cables from getting damaged from varying weather and landscapes.

This becomes all the more relevant in the mountain trail picture where the terrain does not side with the best of the conditions. The frame manages to hide all the cables inside the frame which also makes for a stunning look.

Going with the theme of Trek Marlin 5 making the best of both worlds when coming to Mountain Biking and Commuting, It has good rack mounts if you want to load your bike for longer trails.


We got a wide Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm with Blendr compatibility which enables you to mount accessories like lights, mobile phone dock, or a GoPro for your next adventure.


We got a matching Bontrager alloy with a 5mm rise and oversize clamping diameter which increases control and stability during the shakiest of rides.


Bontrager XR Endurance Comp on this bike provides a good grip for better handling and control. Although its non-traditional shape can feel a bit weird, they make for a good resting place for your palms, which you will appreciate on longer journeys.


Saddles in Marlin 5 are pretty straightforward, they use two variants of Bontrager Arvada depending on male/female versions.

Sizes and Variants

This particular model is very popular with beginning Mountain Bikers because it has a wide range of sizes to choose from which ensures that you are always on the best possible fit for you. 7 sizes are ranging from XS all the up to 2XL and come in two variants in frames depending on the version.

The Female version is almost the same as the Unisex version of the bike only changes being a different saddle variant and If you choose a Female XS or S size then you’ll be getting a curved upper tube for some extra standover.

There aren’t many good trail bikes for Women in this price range but Trek Marlin 5 is a good choice considering the women-specific saddle and frames.

A detailed overview of sizes and measurements for finding the best fit for you is provided in the table below.

Trek Marlin 5 Size Chart

Marlin 5 Size Chart for XS, S and M
Marlin 5 Size Chart for M/L, L, XL

Wheels and Rims

Marlin 5's Bontrager XR2 Tires
Marlin 5’s Bontrager XR2 Tires

When it comes to wheels, Marlin 5 has smart wheels size which means that you are going to roll with the largest wheels size possible depending upon the size. The wheels come in the two most popular sizes, 27.5” for XS and S and 29” for everything from M to 2XL.

So an L or M is a Trek Marlin 5 29er while an XS or S is a Trek Marlin 5 27.5er

Both wheel sizes are big enough to provide a smooth riding experience on an MTB and also offer a low center of gravity for a sturdier control.

The Merlin 5 rolls on a Bontrager XR2, 29×2.20˝ in the front, and 29×2.0˝ on the rear but you should know, however, that these wheels are not tubeless but I don’t think that’s a deal-breaker because we are focusing on getting the essentials right at this price point. Having said that, a quick-release front wheel is a plus for quickly swapping your front in case of any damage.

Forks and Suspension

Trek Marlin 5 Suspension
Trek Marlin 5 Suspension

Coming to the Forks, Marlin 5 runs an SR Suntour XCE 28 which is a 28mm stanchion fork with 100mm travel which falls into the recommended range of 80-120mm by most mountain bikers. The suspension also comes with a preload, which can be used to adjust the shock and spring of the bike to an optimum range of operation. When it is raised, the bike will be on top of its travel and the converse closer to the bottom of its suspension travel.


Trek Marlin 5 Tektro Disc Brakes
Trek Marlin 5 Tektro Disc Brakes

Marlin 5 comes with Tektro HD-275 hydraulic disc brakes as opposed to Marlin 4’s Mechanical disc brakes which offers a more responsive and reliable experience in all types of weather conditions.

Hydraulic brakes are more relevant when it comes to Mountain Biking because you often need to make quick turns and pace changes. Using traditional mechanical caliper brakes can not only wear your brake pads quickly but also become unreliable during damp weather conditions. You can completely count on disc brakes on this situation because it is proven to be more weather resistant and pairing it up with hydraulics will ensure that you don’t have to pull the brakes as hard.

Most people coming from bikes using non-hydraulics quickly appreciate how game-changing hydraulic brakes are.

Trek also paid close attention to smaller sizes and equipped XS and S sizes with short reach levers to make it easy for bikers with smaller hands.


Marlin 5 Shimano Drive Train
Marlin 5 Shimano Drive Train

Most of the components on this bike are from Shimano which are known to be very reliable in the Mountain Biking space and rightfully so. The drivetrain consists of shifters, derailleurs, chain, cassette, and crankset.

Trek Marlin 5 is set up with a Shimano HG200, 12-32, 7-speed cassette in the rear, and a Shimano Tourney TY301, 42/34/24 in the front. They both operate with the Shimano Tourney TY300 front and back derailleurs which offer a great variety of speeds and good shifting for both country trailing and rugged commuting.

One big pro with the Tourney setup is that they all work together perfectly with no off-brand components and there is no chance to cause any compatibility issues.


Marlin 5’s got Shimano Altus M310, 3X7 speed shifters which is a trigger shifters set up which you can easily operate with your thumb and index fingers quickly during your trial.

Trek Marlin 5 weight

So, How much does a Marlin 5 weigh? The Medium size comes in about 14.59 kg or 32.17 lbs when tubes and other components are attached.

This model has a combined weight limit of 136 kg or around 300lbs, this includes the weight of the biker, the bike and the cargo carried.

Trek Marlin 5 Price

Are trek bikes worth the money? let me tell you price is one of the main advantages for Marlin 5 because there are very few bikes that have a budget-friendly price tag while still maintaining that middle-ground between quality and price. This makes a huge difference because when a bike manufacturer wants to get the price down it is often reflected in the quality of the bike’s components.

You might have experienced this first hand if you used one of those target/Walmart bikes which try to sell people bikes with poor quality while still maintaining their profit margins. But unlike those other bike manufacturers, Trek found the perfect middle ground for a budget-friendly mountain bike which gets all the essentials right.

Looking at the specs sheet makes it quite apparent that Trek didn’t make many compromises with the quality as they use reliable components made by Shimano and Bontrager and not some off-brand company.

Like every other Marlin bicycle, Marlin 5 also comes with a lifetime warranty which is rare to see at this price range and always a sweet thing to have.

Trek Marlin 5 upgrades and accessories

As I previously mentioned above this is a great bike to get into trail riding and off-roading or just to see if you like the experience of Mountain biking before investing too heavily into it. But if you seem to enjoy and want to take the whole thing up a notch, upgrading some components will be in your best interests.

Marlin 5 is a great bike for normal to intermediate trail paths but if you are past those trails and want to enjoy more technical routes like mountain trails etc then investing in these components can make a great difference.

Trek Marlin 5 fork upgrade is one of the most recommended upgrades if you wish to improve your stability on a rocky/hilly path. This bike uses what’s called a G2 Geometry which means you can easily find and replace parts that fit your needs. If you have some good number of miles under your belt, I also recommend upgrading your grips and pedals but I would stop there.

While this is a good starter bike, I would suggest you switch to a better model specifically suiting your needs if you are willing to invest more in upgrading the components because investing in upgrading a starter bike has diminishing returns as you upgrade more and more as you have to worry about the core parts like frames and stem in the future.

With that being said these are some good upgrades you might want to consider for a more smooth riding experience.

There are some great accessories for Merlin 5 on the market because of its Blendr integration capability. After choosing a good mount for Blendr integration, I recommend this, your bike is ready for these cool accessories


I for sure think that some portion of Trek Marlin’s popularity comes from its design aesthetics and cool graphics. The design of the bike is easily on par with the more expensive bikes. And the colors of this model are very well chosen and suit all terrains and settings perfectly.

Trek Marlin 5 comes in three color options

  • Matte Trek Black
  • Volt Green
  • Teal

Many fans anticipated an improved Trek Marlin 5 Red version (like the one in the past) which would have been very cool to see on the road but in my opinion all three look stunning.

We hope that you find this Trek Marlin 5 review useful, to clear a bit more on the topics there is a FAQ’s section below where we have included most frequently asked questions by customers.


When did trek start making marlin 5

According to Trek Bike Archives, Trek started making Marlin 5’s from 2015.

How much does a new Trek Marlin 5 bike cost

Trek Marlin 5 ranges around 500-600$ price range which makes for a budget-friendly bike for trail riding as well as commuting. Check the price here.

How are front tires mounted on trek marlin 5

Front tires are mounted on Trek Marlin 5 using a quick-release front wheel, which enables you to swap out the damaged wheel and mount a new one with relative ease.

What size trek marlin 5 should I get

This depends on many factors like your height and inseam measurements. Find a comprehensive specific measurement table here.

How to add oil to brakes on trek marlin 5

Trek Marlin has disc brakes which means you should not oil them. Oiling aside even touching the rotors with your bare hands might contaminate the rotors with your body oils and decrease the braking capacity.

Oiling disc brakes are considered the number one cardinal sin so make sure to avoid it all costs. If by any means oil made its way to the rotors use alcohol or de-greaser with a kitchen paper or dry clean cloth to remove it.

What stem size for Trek Marlin 5

It comes with a Bontrager alloy, 31.8mm, 7-degree stem which is Blendr compatible enabling you to mount different accessories.

What Metal is Trek Marlin 5 made of?

The frame and most of the other skeleton are made of light-weight Trek Silver Alpha Aluminium which offers very good manoeuvrability and sturdiness still being pretty light.

Can the Trek Marlin 5 be equipped with a child seat?

With rack mounts available on the back of the Marlin 5, you can easily mount a child seat. One good suggestion would be this.

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