Trek Marlin 5 Review: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying

Trek Marlin 5 is a fantastic mountain bike for the trails. The 2022 model is an even better trail-worthy daily rider for most people looking for an affordable option by an excellent bike brand.

This bike has everything you might need in a trail bike – a 2×8 drivetrain, a good suspension fork, many mounts for racks and a kickstand, and decent mechanical disc brakes.

The previous model ( 2021 ) of Marlin 5 has been featured ( “Great Value and Performance” award ) as one of the most incredible budget mountain bikes of the year. Read the full article here.

Trek Marlin 5 ( 2022 ) Breakdown Components

Trek Marlin 5 ( 2022 ) in a glance:

FrameAlpha Silver Aluminum
ForkSR Suntour XCM 30 Coil Spring 100mm
ShiftersShimano Altus M315
Front DerailleurShimano Altus M315
Rear DerailleurShimano Altus M310
HeadsetSemi-integrated, 1-1/8”
BrakesTektro HD-M276 hydraulic disc
TiresBontrager XR2 Comp
WeightM Size – 30.80 lbs / 13.9725 kg

The Frame & Suspension Fork

Trek Marlin 5 features a high-quality Trek Alpha Silver Aluminum frame from the last model, Trek Marlin 6 ( 2021 ), but in a different color scheme. The frame looks and feels great with the internal cable routing, which means all your shift and brake cables go inside the frame for a clean and simple look.

You also get a rear kickstand mount (sold separately ) and rack mounts if you plan to use the Marlin 5 for long rides.

The front fork is the same as the Trek Marlin 6 from 2021 and is the most significant upgrade from the Marlin 5 of 2021 – SR Suntour XCT 30. It offers a hydraulic lockout to have a fully rigid fork or a full suspension fork. This is an excellent option for anyone who wants to ride Marlin 5 on extended road sections where efficiency should be much better with a rigid fork.

Drivetrain and Other Components

Everything here also matches the Marlin 6 ( 2021 ), which means many exceptional components on top of the aluminum frame. Let’s start with the most important one – the drivetrain.

Trek Marlin 5 is now set up with a 2 x 8 drivetrain, with just 2 rings in the front ( the previous model had 3 ) and 8 speeds at the back ( the previous model had 7 ). As you might expect from a Trek bike, the entire groupset is Shimano Altus – a second-tier groupset in the Shimano hierarchy. We love Altus for its affordability and the amazing shifting it offers.

As a result of this change from the last model, you get a similar range with 2 rings up front, which means you will need to do quite a bit less shifting.

The shifting itself is commanded by simple Shimano Altus trigger shifters. They are simple to operate and very reliable in the long run.

Trek Marlin 5 Brakes

Similarly priced mountain bikes often come with simple mechanical disc brakes, but we have a better braking system here.

To bring the bike to a slow, you’ve got some Tektro hydraulic disc brakes – these will be mineral oil brakes, which means they will perform amazingly in all types of conditions. They use a two-piston caliper on 160mm front and rear rotors.

Read more: Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc Brakes

Smart Wheel Size

Trek is a brand that is well known for the wide variety of sizes that are available for most of their mid-priced and high-end bikes. But now, you can find the best bike size for you, even for entry-level models like the Marlin 5.

Trek Marlin 5 comes with the so-called smart wheel size. This means you get a different wheel size on the various frame sizes. The bike can roll on 26”, 27.5”, or 29” wheels.

Here’s a simple table with the sizing:

Frame SizeRider’s HeightWheel Size
2XS4’5.0” – 4’9.0”26”
XS4’9.1″ – 5’0.9”27.5”
S5’1.0” – 5’4.9”27.5”
M5’5.0” – 5’7.9”29”
M/L5’8.0” – 5’10.0”29”
L5’11” – 6’1.9”29”
XL6’2” – 6’4.9”29”
2XL6’5” – 6’8” 29”

Trek Marlin 5 ( 2022 ) – The Verdict!

Should you buy it, shortlist it, or avoid it? Here’s our conclusion. We think that you should buy the Trek Marlin 5 ( 2022 ). If you can spend around $700 for an entry-level mountain bike for the trails, then this bike should be on your list. If your budget is less than that, but you still want a decent mountain bike, check the Cannondale Trail 8 ( 2021 ).

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One Comment

  1. Hello, i have a Trek Marlin 5 Gen 2
    2023 and i need a middle axe replacment. Please can anyone point me in the right direction? Thank you.

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