The 2020 Trek Marlin 6 is a mountain bike that’s definitely trail worthy and offers an affordable entry point. The name of this series used to belong exclusively to Gary Fisher, but the brand has since gone away leaving the bikes with its original maker, Trek, who now produces them as their own line.
The Marlin series has had several generations, this is the latest one for the Marlin framesets. Trek’s engineers have outdone themselves with an even more significant componentry upgrade touching on all aspects of what it takes to make these bikes sing and dance at their best. The frame itself was made from alpha silver aluminum which offers excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio while also being extremely durable.
This bike is a beauty! Not only does this frame have some nice, clean welds, the cables are internally routed for an extra aesthetic touch. It’s got an amazing paint job, its like someone dropped a glitter bomb in the spray gun and Trek said run with it.
The other neat thing about this bike is that it comes with what they call “smart wheel size.” The small and extra-small frames will get 27.5in wheels while mediums, larges, and XL sizes have 29-inch wheels.
Not only do the smaller frames sizes get the smaller 27.5-inch wheels, but they also actually get shorter brake levers to make it more comfortable for those riders who have smaller hands. Trek put a lot of thought into engineering this bike.
It seems as though the frame is designed from the ground up for bikepacking. It features rack and fender mounts as well as an integrated kickstand mount in case you need it.
One of the major upgrades that they did for 2020 was the new drivetrain. The Marlin 6 will be running a 2×8 instead of 3×10, which most entry-level mountain bikes are equipped with. This upgrade makes it easier to shift and reduces chain drops.
The Marlin’s Shimano Ultra SEM 310 rear derailleur pairs up with the Shimano HG 31 1134 eight speed cassette. A front mounted Altis M315 derailleur is paired to the 36 and 22 tooth chainrings that spin around an aluminum crankset from the same manufacturer, completing this component set.
The fork on the 2020 Trek Marlin 6 is a cushy Suntour XCT30 with 100mm of travel. The 1 1/8 headset is semi integrated and the 100mm of travel helps you roll over those nasty bits with much less effort otherwise.
It’s got some generous tire clearance to actually fit up to 2.3-inch wide tires, and the Marlin 6 comes stock with Bontrager’s XR 29×2.0 rear tire and a 2.2mm wide tire up front.
This bike has a set of double walled Bontrager Connection wheels. The front hub is Formula DC 20 and the rear is a DC 22, both six bolt compatible with a 160mm rotor on the back wheel and 180mm rotor up front.
Tektro M276 brakes provide instant stopping power in any situation thanks to their mineral oil hydraulic fluid which also provides great stopping power when wet so that braking performance isn’t compromised by rain or humidity.
The Shimano M315 2×8 shifters on the new bike have a really nice feel to them, and what’s great is that there are separate brake lever. This means if you were to crash your bike then you won’t need replace both the brake lever and shifter.
For the handlebars, it’s running a Bontrager alloy 31.8 bar that has a 5mm rise and an aluminum stem that’s Blender compatible, it’s a built in adapter for lights or computers on the front.
The saddle they have fitted is Bontrager’s Arvada saddle with steel rails and a Bontrager aluminum seat post that’s 31.6mm with a 12mm rear offset. The typical rider that would buy this is probably a beginner mountain biker. Somebody that wants a bike that can ride with their family as well as be able to hit the trials for some weekend fun. And finally, the 2020 Trek Marlin 6 weighs in at 32.3 pounds, a little heavy for an aluminum framed bike but replacing the fork with a better/lighter one would help significantly.