Trek Marlin 6/7 or Specialized Rockhopper Sport/Comp?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Trek Marlin 6/7 or Specialized Rockhopper Sport/Comp?

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking to get a new mountain bike (currently riding a pretty old Specialized Hardrock) I live in Phoenix, so do some street riding around my neighborhood and dirt trails, and hoping to get on more mountain bike specific areas like South Mountain trails in this area, etc.

    I am trying to figure out which bikes are the best purchase out of the models listed. I want to get something a little better than the base models, and have been looking at Trek Marlins and Specialized Rockhoppers. From what I've tested at the bike stores the Treks felt a bit better overall for some reason. Smoother in way.

    I know the main differences on the models are the brakes, fork, derailers, and gear upgrades. . Problem is even with research I'm having a hard time finding out how big a difference the upgraded derailers will make,same thing with the gears, and all the other model differences on each.

    If anyone has any recommendations and expertise on these models I would greatly appreciate it. Hoping to keep the cost in the$500-600 range, but if the Rockhopper Comp is that much better than the rest I would consider it.

    I try and ride about once a week 10 to 20 miles, but with the new bike would like to increase that and also hit more trails too.

    Any advice on these would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
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    Hi! I'm brand new to this so just take it for what it is. My opinion. I just made this exact decision yesterday.

    I poured over specs and found that the Specialized just has the next level up on its components (derailleurs/forks) vs the comparable Marlin. While it's not night and day between the bikes I figured if I am spending essentially the same money I would rather get the next level up on the components. So in that regard the points went to Specialized. To me the Specialized did seem to be just a little smoother when shifting especially the RH Comp with the 2x9 drivetrain vs the 3x8 on the other bikes. Also liked the idea of the remote lockout. One less thing to take your hand of the handle bars for should you feel the need to go fixed fork mid ride. The fit if the Specialized seem to be a little better for me as well. I am 6'6" and rode the 23" trek frame and the XXL Spec frame and the Spec just seemed a little more fitting me. Obviously your mileage may vary on that.

    While going through this process with these 4 bikes I kept trying to get an opinion out of my LBS. He finally just told me that I couldn't really go wrong with any of these. The components are fine if they are cared for, all the frames are worth upgrading in the future and both companies do a good job of standing behind their bikes. He said go off feel, fly through the gears and see which one you like the looks of best.

    For me that was the RH Comp. The 2x drivetrain is really what made the decision as I felt it was just a smoother better system. Also the comp has an adjustable air shock though like you I'm not sure how much it matters on these entry level bikes. I just read that air shocks were better than non but couldn't find much specific about these exact ones to compare. I did like the looks of the Specialized bikes more from the get go so I'm sure that had an effect on the decision as well. Overall from what I've read and put to use with other hobbies, go with what feels good to you.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frantic29 View Post
    Hi! I'm brand new to this so just take it for what it is. My opinion. I just made this exact decision yesterday.

    I poured over specs and found that the Specialized just has the next level up on its components (derailleurs/forks) vs the comparable Marlin. While it's not night and day between the bikes I figured if I am spending essentially the same money I would rather get the next level up on the components. So in that regard the points went to Specialized. To me the Specialized did seem to be just a little smoother when shifting especially the RH Comp with the 2x9 drivetrain vs the 3x8 on the other bikes. Also liked the idea of the remote lockout. One less thing to take your hand of the handle bars for should you feel the need to go fixed fork mid ride. The fit if the Specialized seem to be a little better for me as well. I am 6'6" and rode the 23" trek frame and the XXL Spec frame and the Spec just seemed a little more fitting me. Obviously your mileage may vary on that.

    While going through this process with these 4 bikes I kept trying to get an opinion out of my LBS. He finally just told me that I couldn't really go wrong with any of these. The components are fine if they are cared for, all the frames are worth upgrading in the future and both companies do a good job of standing behind their bikes. He said go off feel, fly through the gears and see which one you like the looks of best.

    For me that was the RH Comp. The 2x drivetrain is really what made the decision as I felt it was just a smoother better system. Also the comp has an adjustable air shock though like you I'm not sure how much it matters on these entry level bikes. I just read that air shocks were better than non but couldn't find much specific about these exact ones to compare. I did like the looks of the Specialized bikes more from the get go so I'm sure that had an effect on the decision as well. Overall from what I've read and put to use with other hobbies, go with what feels good to you.

    Hi there, and thanks so much for the detailed reply! That helped a lot with questions I had. I hopped on the Specialized Comp yesterday at the bike shop near me and it felt good. The remote lockout that you mentioned was also a cool feature and I can see how it will come in handy. I am 6'0 and around 225. Rode the Large. Felt a little stretched out for me, but the guy there said it looked about right and I've been riding a 17.5 26" for years which was probably a little small so it will just take some getting used to something that probably fits better for me. The large says it fits 5'9 to 6'1 and the guy at the LBS said I would be way too scrunched on a medium. I did feel a little touch while standing over the bike on the large but I think it will be fine.

    What exactly is the benefit of the 2x drive train that you mentioned? I also talked with the guy at the shop for awhile about the upgraded components and the air fork. He said air fork is way better especially if plan to do some serious riding which makes sense and you can fine tune the air to your body weight so you can get exactly the right amount of air in the fork unlike the spring in the others which can't be adjusted like that. I'll just have to figure out how to use the add on component to adjust the air accordingly when need be.

    Have you done any trails with good terrain yet and if so did the fork work really well for you?
    I am getting a hitch put on my car next weekend so shortly after I'm sure I'll be getting the comp. thanks again for your reply appreciate it greatly!

  4. #4
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    To be honest I just liked it better. It seemed to shift a little better an I get confused enough anyway I don't need another 8-9 gears thrown into the equation. Also most of those gears added by the 3rd sprocket are redundant anyway and by the time you get to the ones that aren't the chain will be at a very difficult angle.

    Haven't had it in any real good trails. It's been about 8 years since I have really rode at all. Spending some time just getting miles in on gravel and creating little lines around the house, over small obstacles, on and off the porch, re learning how to bunny hop wheely and kick etc. basically just learning how to control the bike. The fork does seem very adjustable but honestly it's going to take some for me to know what I like and what the adjustments feel like.

    The lockout is awesome. Easily my favorite feature. Can go on and out and never have to take your hand off the bar. Locking that fork makes up hills way easier.


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  5. #5
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    I used to have an old rock hopper(early 2000's) and now own a 2016 marlin 5. Didn't ride the Rock hopper that much due to being old and worn out, got it used and traded for a trek 4100. That being said I like my marlin but regret not spending the extra money on an xcalibur. Much better suspension hydro brakes and better shifting components.

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