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  1. #1
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    Rebuild Trek Gary Fisher Marlin 2011...

    I bough an inexpensive Trek GF Marlin 2011 as a project. I'd like to lighten it up a bit and add some better performance parts to it. For those who don't know the bike, this is it here...

    TrekBikes.com Bike Archive | 2011 Marlin



    Has anyone really upgraded their 2011 Marlin? How did it go? Any recommendations?

    My first priority is going to be the fork as the shock stinks. As far as I can tell, there is no rebound adjustment. Any wheely or bunnyhop results in a THUD with the fork dropping out to full extension.

    The brakes need to be addressed as well. My other MTB has decent hydrolic brakes and stops on a dime. This bike with the X4 is really low end. I may try new pads first.

    If you did upgrade yours, were you able to get the weight down?
    Last edited by xycarp; 12-16-2012 at 08:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    wheels and tires, with tires being the obviously MUCH cheaper option. Spend 80 or so, maybe less, and save a half pound or better. You could prob. even put yellow Stans tape in there with some stems and make it tubeless to save more.

  3. #3
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    I just picked up a 2011 Marlin cheap on CL and am doing the same thing. I picked up a Rock Shock Reba on Amazon ($349) and had the LBS install ($30) and man has it made a difference! I bought set of Avid BB7's brakes and can't wait to ride!

    BlueSkyCycling.com - 2011 Avid BB7 Disc Brake Combo Kit

  4. #4
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    Glad to hear about your project. I intend to do the same.

    Does the fork you added have a high offset - G2-ish? If not, how do you like the change?

  5. #5
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    It is not a G2 fork. I love it, very responsive (might be due to being 2-1/2 lbs lighter) I honestly can't tell the difference.

  6. #6
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    I have the SS version of the 11 Marlin and I love it. I have been slowly building it up due to budget constraints and other bikes getting more love. I work at a bike shop for a 2nd job occasionally, so I get things pretty cheap but still has taken a while. Here is what I have done so far:

    Avid Elixir 9cr's on closeout ---love the hydros
    Crank Bros Iodine 2 stem -- Stiffened things up quite a bit
    Bontrager Race Light 31.8 Handlebar --- works well with the stem combo.
    Shimano Deore Crank --- Picked up used from a friend for $20 still much better than the original crankset.

    Due in the next week ---- Rock Shox Recon once I get it ordered.

    Up next will be wheels....not sure what I will do yet.

  7. #7
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    I bought some older components at a swap meet. Cheap Rockshox, decent wheels and an old Shimano 8 speed shifter set with derailleurs.

    I am having trouble getting the rear derailleur to fit. The nut opening doesn't seem to align with the hanger. Will this only support Sram components.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xycarp View Post
    Has anyone really upgraded their 2011 Marlin? How did it go? Any recommendations?


    I have a 2011 Marlin that I've been riding for about 2 1/2 years now and in that time I've done some upgrades to it as parts have worn out/broken. I don't really consider saddle, grips, pedals and tires replacements to be upgrades as those are personal preference items that I would replace immediately on any bike, but I've changed all those out as well.

    The first thing I changed out pretty early on were the brakes. Not because they wore out or broke but because they sucked. They had a pretty long stopping distance at higher speed and the front rotor kept over-heating and warping. I replaced them myself with a set of Juicy 3.5s chosen mainly because I got a good deal on them in a closeout. Much, much better.

    Last spring, when the fork wore out, my LBS was able to get me a pretty good deal on a G2 Reba. I had them do the install on it as well.

    Last month I put a stick through the rear derailleur and broke it off. I went with a 9 speed cassette and X7 rear derailleur and since one of the shifters was cracked I went ahead and replaced both shifters with X7s, all of which I also got on closeout. Since I've never been happy with the front shifting I went ahead and got an X7 front derailleur which a different LBS was able to get me a good deal on. Well here's where it got interesting. This is my first 29er and I didn't realize that the chaninstay angle was different (66-69 as opposed to the usual 69-73). And guess what? SRAM doesn't make any front derailleurs that fit this chainstay angle. So the X7 derailleur went back to the bike shop and I found a Shimano XT derailleur that would fit. The only one to be found anywhere was an OEM take-off. Of course, now I was no longer happy with the crankset, so I went shopping for an XT. Back to the internet because all higher-level 3x9 stuff has been discontinued. Apparently the bike shop just got lucky on that X7 front derailleur. So between necessary replacement and upgrade fever I have a whole new drivetrain which I also installed myself.

    All told I've spent $1000 on the upgraded replacement parts. I haven't weighed my bike but it is considerably lighter. Obviously there's a dramatic difference in performance going from an X4/Altus to an X7/XT drivetrain but I think I got the most noticeable difference in both performance and weight from changing out the fork.

    Edit: I almost forgot, when I installed the Shimano XT (3x9) crankset I followed the tech doc's instructions and used one spacer on the drive side. This is not correct and the chainline was off. I had to take it back apart and move the spacer to the non-drive side to get the correct chainline. Not sure if that would be a problem with any other crankset.
    Last edited by skullcap; 02-20-2013 at 06:10 AM.
    I'm enjoying my childhood way too much to ever give it up.

  9. #9
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    As others said. Fork and Tires are huge. Decent 2x10 or 1x whatevet crankset could lighten it up also. I've got a 2012 Marlin frame and put a XFusion Slide 29 fork on it. Not a G2 fork but it's been great and it' quite light. Not sure what the stock wheelset is but you can probably save at least a pound and a half on that without breaking the bank. It's been a few months since the original thread.... how's the bike now?

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the replies....

    I have the bike built backup, ready for the first ride. I just installed new brakes hose and bled the brakes last night. Updates are:

    Cheap rockshox (dart 3 - new, never installed) $75
    Some mid level specialized take off wheels $80
    Specialized tire, racing ralph $5 / $25
    XT derailures $25 + $20 (new cables)
    Shimano 595 hydro brakes. $70 + $25 (bleed kit) + $18 (hose kit for longer rear)
    Crank bro candi pedals $20
    New chain. $22

    Certainly a better step up. We'll see how much once I take it out. A quick ride last night felt like a totally different bike. Total cost so far is around $650 (initial used bike $260 + all used parts).

    My goal was to turn it into a serviceable hardtail for gravel and fire road ride. I will upgrade from here as needed. I have a feeling I will still prefer my soft tail for anything with some bumps.

    The best part is that I have learned a heck of a lot on how to setup and tune a bike. :-)
    Last edited by xycarp; 03-09-2013 at 06:06 AM.

  11. #11
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    HA! I had an awesome ride on my "new" bike!

    I live in Michigan and today was 60 degrees out. We ended up riding on a relatively level trail (with a few big climbs). The trail was covered in a few inches of ice / snow, with mud in between. Nasty riding. We did 27 miles and it was brutal... but the bike was great. Nimble, sharp shifting... it felt very agile.

    I think this will work out well... Based on this first ride, I couldnt be happier.

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