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  1. #1
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    2012 Marlin Fork Upgrade

    I purchased a 2012 Marlin off Craigslist about 2 months ago for what I think was a good deal. After putting about 100 miles of Singletrack on it, I have decided to start upgrading it a bit. I know alot of people will say the Marlin is not worth upgrading, but I dont have the money to buy a nice bike, so I figured I would upgrade this little by little as I go and improve my skill.

    My fork feels like it wants to throw me off the bike on rooty downhill sections. I started looking into forks and was thinking either the Rockshox Recon Gold or a Manitou Tower Pro. Does anyone have experience with either of these on this frame? Also, what am I looking for as far as axle size (probably a dumb question but im trying to learn)? What is a Marlin's stock front axle? Any help or recommendations is greatly appreciated. Or if someone has a used fork they are willing to sell, I may be interested in that also.

    I am 170 lbs, with a 19" frame. Riding in rooty Mississippi with some surprising good hill climbs and fast downhills. Obviously nothing mountainous or too rocky.

    Thanks alot

  2. #2
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    I have a 2010 RS Recon Gold on my hardtail. It is an excellent fork, just as smooth as my coil-sprung Revelation (08) and smoother than my wifes Fox F120 (09). I bought mine with the remote lockout as I also use this bike for commuting.

    As long as your frame is in good shape (no cracks or dents), then this bike is definitely worth the fork upgrade and I think the Recon would be a great match. According to Trek's site:

    2012 Marlin - Bike Archive - Trek Bicycle

    ... the current fork uses a Quick-Release, so you would want to look for a model that doesn't use a thru-axle like this:

    RockShox Recon Gold TK Solo Air 100mm 29er Fork 2013 | RockShox | Brand | www.PricePoint.com

  3. #3
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    The frame is worthy of the upgrades imo. I put a tower expert on mine and I love it.

    The thing to be aware of with these trek 29ers is the geometry. The stock fork has a 51mm offset. The standard is usually 46 which is what that recon is. The Manitou's are a popular choice for trek's because their offset is 48 so its like a happy medium. There are countless threads on here about the g2 (51mm) offsets and how changing them affected people. The general consensus is depending on how sensitive of a rider you are you may or may not even notice the difference but most people notice it and then adapt to it. I dont think i've come across someone who has changed it and had a problem. I think mine handles better with the 48mm offset. I'm sure i would have gotten used to the 46 too.

    Both are great forks for that bike though and you can find good deals on both.

  4. #4
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    and yes you want a 9mm qr 1 1/8 steerer tube

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    Thanks for the replies. I have been reading about the offsets. I have really only been riding for about 2 months, so hopefully I wont notice much of a difference. I have my eyes out looking for anything I can find. Looking forward to doing the upgrade soon.

  6. #6
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    I have found a few forks on Ebay that I have my eyes on...does anyone know the stock steerer tube length on the Marlin? I tried to measure mine why still on my bike, but dont know how accurate that is. My rough measurement was 7.5" or ~190mm. Some of the forks I have my eye on are 170-180mm. Is that going to be a problem? Thanks for any insight.

  7. #7
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    I have mine at home, I can measure it tonight and let you know. Its possible there could be some variation based on the frame length? not 100% sure though.

    The issue will be if its too short then your bars could be too low. If its too long that's great because you can have the bars set where you want and cut the excess. If you buy used on ebay make sure you get a reputable seller and factor in that you may have to pay to get the fork serviced (unless you can do it yourself)

  8. #8
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    i have a cobia and went from a 9mm recon to a reba 15mm. i would just go all out and get a fork with the bigger axle night and day difference i got a mavic wheel for like 90 bucks

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    how did you get a mavic for 90bucks? used?

    I just checked the stock suntour I had taken off my bike. It has 7.25 inches of steerer on it. Like I said, I dont know if that can vary bike to bike but I would think anything over that and you are fine.

  10. #10
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    Just an update for the thread, ended up getting what I think is a good deal on a Manitou Tower Expert from Ebay. Pictures show very little use and the guy said it game on his 2013 Salsa and he switched from it to a rigid fork for preference. Since I am still new to all of this, it was hard to justify putting alot of money into a really nice fork. I am still learning and think this will be a great upgrade for my bike based on the reviews I have read about it. If my terrain was a bit more hardcore, I probably would have sprung for a Tower Pro or Reba, but for my use, I think this will be perfect. Will update in a few weeks with my thoughts on it after some use. Thanks for the help.

  11. #11
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    What did you end up paying for it?

    The tower expert can handle plenty of abuse man. The pro is lighter and can be more fine tuned but the expert is no slouch.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hankscorpio View Post
    What did you end up paying for it?

    The tower expert can handle plenty of abuse man. The pro is lighter and can be more fine tuned but the expert is no slouch.
    Paid $185

  13. #13
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    That's great man. If there is any issue with it Manitou's are supposed to be pretty easily serviceable. They also have great customer service. I think you are going to be pretty happy with that set up. I have been loving mine.

  14. #14
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    Post ride update...I have put 2 rides on my Tower Expert and have to say it is a night and day difference from the Suntour. It is about 2lbs lighter and amazing offload. I have put about 15 miles on it and I no longer get the feeling the bike wants to throw me off and is much more plush over the roots. I am super pleased with the way everything turned out and could not be happier.
    2012 Trek Marlin

  15. #15
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    sweet. I'm also very happy with it. Going downhill over the roots is obviously noticeable but what i didn't think about before getting the new fork was how much easier going up hill would be. With the suntour I used to have to lift my tire over obstacles when climbing....now i just go over them and keep my line.

    I was riding the other day and came to the top of the hill where this kid had a stock 2012 marlin and I made him get on mine and try out the same bike with a different fork. He was surprised how much difference it makes

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