Trek Marlin 5 Upgraded, Newb Question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Darthvader
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    Trek Marlin 5 Upgraded, Newb Question

    Good day!

    I Just started biking this year 2020, and ended up buying a Trek Marlin 5 17.5" 29er for me to develop the skills I needed in mountain biking, After a month or so I realized the bike cant handle some abuse as many people have said online and by some researches I've done. Later on I upgraded my drivetrain to shimano deore and changed my fork to a manitou machete 120mm travel.

    I was just wondering if the bike now can take a beating on some technical trails. I am not that type of an aggressive rider but I want to go in that direction. and also I'm not yet planning to buy a new bike, I just love the Volt Green of Marlin.

    Can you share some of your thoughts or insight for a newbie like me?

  2. #2
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    Welcome!

    What issues were you having that prompted the upgrades you already listed?

    As a beginner rider, as you develop skills and preferences for the trails you like, youíll naturally find components that may need upgrading. Either because you find out the entry level components canít take the abuse and break, or they donít offer the performance you need.

    Generally speaking, entry level hardtails typically have low end wheels, brakes and forks (among other things). Since youíve taken care of the fork, Iíd be watching out for if your brakes are overheating, or your wheels canít stay true. It may be a while before you reach the point that they are holding you back.

    Two things that I would consider actually, is adding a dropper seat post, and making sure your tires are suited to your riding. Both of those will set you up for success.

    I started out on a 7yr old cross country hardtail, not too far off from your Marin. I had a great time with it, but did eventually upgrade.

    Enjoy the process .

  3. #3
    Darthvader
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    Thank you!

    as for the issues, i feel like the 7 speed was limiting me. and the preload of forks was so hard to adjust. everytime i try jumping on the stock fork there's always loud noise when bike takes off the ground like its firing back fast. with the upgrade it feels much better and lighter, I even started doing some wheelies and its fun.

    Thanks for the heads up, I'll keep my eyes on that breaks and wheels.

    I was just skeptical to do some technical trails, as people always said that for doing those things I must have a trail ready bikes like having a slacker head angle. i guess i was being paranoid? for me thinking of these things holds my confidence back i don't know. 😂

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by klargarner View Post
    ...
    Thanks for the heads up, I'll keep my eyes on that breaks and wheels.

    I was just skeptical to do some technical trails, as people always said that for doing those things I must have a trail ready bikes like having a slacker head angle. i guess i was being paranoid? for me thinking of these things holds my confidence back i don't know. 😂
    Is your bike the ideal bike for technical downhill riding? No, its not. But as a beginner (I lump myself into that category btw), you're not likely to be riding anything truly extreme.

    Mountain bikes have evolved a lot in the last 5-10 years or so. The changes have helped make it easier/more confidence inspiring to ride down fast/steep things, as well as going over rough technical terrain at speed.

    But the thing is... most (but not all) of the trails out there were created with bikes that are much more similar to what you're riding, than most new bikes. Its just that riding technical features/trails is a bit "easier" on modern bikes (at the same speed anyway), and the riding style/position on the bikes is a bit different.

    I started riding a year or two ago now, and so far, I've not ridden any more difficult trails than I was riding on my hardtail that was similar to yours. What has changed is now I am hitting all of the features that I used to avoid/ride around before, and I'm also going faster.

    I'm still adjusting to the new bikes different riding style, but I'm still having lots of fun .

    Anyway, while it may be true your bike isn't the best bike for truly technical riding, with practice, you will be able to do a pretty large percentage of it, just at a bit slower pace (which isn't a bad thing).

    Good luck out there .

  5. #5
    Ride what you like!
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    People will say a lot of things aren't possible. They are wrong. People were biking down rough hills for YEARS before suspension was even invented. You might not be as fast or comfortable, but a big part of that is your ability level. It will increase while you learn what type of bike is right for you, and save for that one.
    The revolution starts now
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  6. #6
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    I would check with Trek about changing the fork length. Manufacturers design frames to be strong enough for a certain component setup. If you go outside of that, you subject the frame to stresses for which it was not intended. You may have voided the warranty on the frame.

    I am not surprised that the fork felt like garbage. It's a flimsy fork, and anything nicer than that probably creates a night-and-day difference!

  7. #7
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    Like Matt said above, bikes can take a pretty good beating from a new rider. Ride it as you wish and within reason (it's designed for xc trail use, not downhill, etc). I think most of us started out with similar bikes and hammered them pretty good.

    If you decide to keep it, spend your money on key upgrades such as wheels.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    ...People were biking down rough hills for YEARS before suspension was even invented...
    Yes, but we never laughed or had any fun. We were totally miserable the whole time.
    What, me worry?

  9. #9
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    I started on a Marlin 7 about 4 years ago. I upgraded the rims to be tubeless ready, and that was it. I beat the hell out of it for 2 years before upgrading to something much better. I sold it to a friend getting into riding, and it still runs like new. Bikes are tough as long as you know how to maintain and tune them before other things fall out of line. My advice would be to upgrade your rims to be tubeless, and don't spend much more on other components. Ride it for a couple years and upgrade. A $400-500 bike will never be a $1000 bike. Go demo a better bike, and you will understand how much better the geometry of the frame is along with better brakes, drivetrain, etc.

    And most importantly, welcome to the world of mountain biking!

  10. #10
    Thinking about riding.
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    Just ride.

  11. #11
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    Bikes are more than just the sum of their parts. In some cases, individual parts can be used on many types of bikes intended for riding in different ways. The frame of that bicycle dictates most, but not all, of the purpose of a bike. The components bolted onto the frame dictate some of it, and mostly through their general quality, adjustability, and durability. This reflects mostly with how quickly they wear out or how easily they break, but the increased adjustability can make a huge difference on something like suspension components that need to be tuned for specific riders and sometimes specific terrain. The basic, inexpensive stuff simply can't be adjusted enough to make much of a difference.

    Where this leads me is to the fact that you can put better components on any frame to help the bike function better or be more adjustable, but you cannot change what the bike IS by putting different components on it.

    Being a basic frame, the Marlin isn't built with ride quality in mind, for example. Other, more expensive hardtails can be more "comfortable" but with hardtail frames, that's a difficult thing to quantify, and it takes some experience as a rider before you can even perceive such a difference consciously. The geometry of such basic frames also puts the rider in a more upright position that might feel better for beginners, but for more advanced riders, makes it more difficult to pilot the bike through more advanced situations. The basic frame will also oftentimes lack certain refined details that you find on more expensive frames. New components won't change any of those things. You also find at higher prices more diverse options. For hardtail frames, you'll find stuff intended for xc racing, for bikepacking, for riding in the snow or on beaches, for more aggressive riding, and so on. Full suspension frames can vary even more.

    So, coming back around to it, as a beginner rider, you simply don't know what you don't know. If you really take to mountain biking, you can grow out of an entry level bike pretty quickly. The frame less so, but it's usually the limitations of the components that become obvious first. You CAN upgrade what you have, but there becomes a point where the cost of upgrades doesn't make sense for what you have, and the frame becomes the obvious weak point of the whole thing. As a beginner, it can be difficult to figure out where that point is. Modest upgrades aren't generally an issue, but they'll only take you so far.

  12. #12
    Darthvader
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    Thanks guys for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I'll keep in mind what you guys have said!

    I'll just use this bike for a while and learn myself the limits i can throw on it. It maybe a bad frame for what I intended to use it for. If it brakes, i guess ill be more careful on picking new frame.

  13. #13
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    Breaking the frame is unlikely, saying someone who has broken Steel ,Ti and AL. If you have the chance to ride other bikes ,you should do so, you will learn what you like or don't. Look for demo days ,borrow or rent. The more you ride , the more you refine what suits you.

  14. #14
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    return it. get one of these. thank me when the **** ever

    Big Al Complete Bike 2020 | Ragley Bikes

    Trek Marlin 5 Upgraded, Newb Question-prod188255_turquoise_ne_01.jpg
    Last edited by nauc; 03-03-2020 at 01:26 PM.

  15. #15
    Ride what you like!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Yes, but we never laughed or had any fun. We were totally miserable the whole time.
    Yeah. Charlie looked so glum...
    Trek Marlin 5 Upgraded, Newb Question-ckrepack76.jpg
    The revolution starts now
    When you rise above your fear
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    The revolution starts here

  16. #16
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    Hi, a little bit off-topic but can you please expand on your upgrade to the Shimano Deore?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    return it. get one of these. thank me when the **** ever

    Big Al Complete Bike 2020 | Ragley Bikes

    Click image for larger version. 

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    LOL! That's not a bad suggestion. I have a Ragley and really dig it a lot.

    I'd say that bike would be a great way to really get into trail riding without spending too much. Upgrade worthy too.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  18. #18
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    I have, and love, my marlin 5 too. I bought it instead of a gravel bike, so its setup pretty mild. Its a stiff ass frame, its not comfortable or complaint like a high end steel bike... but whatever, its $550.

    I had a wheelset and 11s drivetrain ready to go on it the day I bought it... be aware that for the 5, you must replace the rear hub to change to 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 speed. Realistically that means a whole new rear wheel at a minimum.

    I wanted the green one, so I got the 5 on purpose. Its all getting changed out anyway, I have spares. If you dont, its really worth getting at least the marlin 6 to get away from the 7 speed hub.

    Also, its a 44mm headtube. It can run a tapered fork even though its a straight 1 1/8th stock.

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