1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Trek Marlin Frame vs Specialized Hardrock Sport 29 Frame?

    For a beginner bike, which of these offers the best long term platform for eventual upgrades or modifications? I am looking for some good starter 29er bikes for my wife and I, and am on a rather tight budget. As I understand it, both models come stock with some pretty crap parts, but considering that we are both beginners I am confident that the stock components will be fine for us until we gain more experience and start looking to upgrade. The question is, if we were looking to upgrade later on, which bike has the better frame, etc?
    Last edited by Snypr18; 02-20-2013 at 07:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    I like the slacker head tube angle Trek and Scott use. That is less intense to ride fast. Spec and Giant have a steeper angle-- more concentration.
    Your best bet is to ride them for fit and use the ditches and grassy areas around the parking lot to see if you can feel any differences. But it may take some trail riding to see which is comfortable for you.
    The Suntour fork upgrade to Raidon for 175 will completely change the bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    I like the slacker head tube angle Trek and Scott use. That is less intense to ride fast. Spec and Giant have a steeper angle-- more concentration.
    Your best bet is to ride them for fit and use the ditches and grassy areas around the parking lot to see if you can feel any differences. But it may take some trail riding to see which is comfortable for you.
    The Suntour fork upgrade to Raidon for 175 will completely change the bike.
    Deja Vu! I think we have done this before. It is just mostly suggested to test them and which ever one your most comfortable with you purchase. Some shops have bikes you can rent and/or just take to the trails, try to see if your shop would do that so you can get the more complete test ride. And yes the fork upgrade is supposed to make a world of difference and would be a good thing for the future.

  4. #4
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    I just went through this exact same choice. I found the shifters/deraileurs on the Hardrock just a tad closer to my liking and the fork on the Marlin a little better. The store owners made my decision for me since the Specialized store was very friendly and helpful and the Trek store was awful. Got quite a bit off MSRP and bought the hardrock.

    Just an FYI but upgrading the fork to the Raidon (good deal) will slacken the Hardrock by just a bit and make it feel more like the Marlin stock. I have to say I don't think it's enough for me to notice. Also might want to research if the Marlin use G2 geo since that might make upgrading the fork more challenging.

  5. #5
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    You will definitely feel a difference in wheelbase and HT angle between those two frames. You really need to ride them both to see what you like best. I personally prefer the Hardrock geometry.

  6. #6
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    you need to try both. I ended up on a wahoo (same frame as the marlin) mostly because no one had or was willing to get bring in a hardrock in a bigger frame size. I'm 6'4" and the one 18inch hardrock frame I tested on I felt really compressed.
    Keep access to public lands open.
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  7. #7
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    What did you think of the bike shops you have visited? Back when I first got into biking one of the main deciding factors for me was the shop I was going to work with. They were very friendly and helpful. They also offered lifetime tune ups on my bike and would do any labor free of charge if I bought products through them. But when I went to a Trek store they would hardly acknowledge me and they only offered tunes up free for a year and no discounts on labor. I dont know if its all Trek stores or just this one but was in there the other day looking to upgrade my bike and nobody came to help or even talk to me. Do other people have this same experience?

  8. #8
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    They're the same...

    Quote Originally Posted by Snypr18 View Post
    For a beginner bike, which of these offers the best long term platform for eventual upgrades or modifications? I am looking for some good starter 29er bikes for my wife and I, and am on a rather tight budget. As I understand it, both models come stock with some pretty crap parts, but considering that we are both beginners I am confident that the stock components will be fine for us until we gain more experience and start looking to upgrade. The question is, if we were looking to upgrade later on, which bike has the better frame, etc?
    Both are fine bikes and answering your specific question: They're both at the same level regarding upgrade value.

    The comments from the others regarding fit and local shops are spot on. The other comment I'll make is that you and your wife don't have to (and probably shouldn't) by the same model or even the same brand of bike. What works for you probably won't work for her and vice versa.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  9. #9
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    Weight is going to be the deciding factor for me. Which one is lighter?

    I cant believe you don't get given the weight in 'Full product details'!

    I know some are different spec... just use the lightest. Its better than nothing! ^^

    Try and sell a motorbike without this spec.

  10. #10
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    If you are going for weight then I would imagine the Marlin to be the better platform to start with since that frame is used all the way up to the cobia (and maybe beyond).

    There's a lot of things you can do drop the weight of a Hardrock though...starting with handlebars (they are very heavy), stem, fork, and wheels.

  11. #11
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    Trek Marlin Frame vs Specialized Hardrock Sport 29 Frame?-784360d1364227099-13-hardrock-sport-29er-102_3727.jpg
    My cheepo luggage scale tells me my 2013 Hardrock Sport 29er is aprox 27.5lbs.
    Keep in mind Hardrock Sport has the lighter frame than the standard Hardrock..
    I freakin love this bike but I haven't rode in 15+yrs so I assume any new bike that feels as good as mine I would love too :-)
    I just did a 3mile up and 3mile down ride yesterday and Oh SO SWEET it was!!! Hydro brakes are a bit tricky going down fast on the slippery hiking paths..Whhhhoooooo good thing I have a bell...Ding Ding DIng watchout!!!!! Yeeeehaaaa
    LOL too much coffee this am...
    Ride MORE = Live Longer
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  12. #12
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    Lol @ Burt Glad to hear your happy with the buy.

    Thanks for the feedback chaps

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