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Marlin 5 vs a road bike

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Marlin 5 vs a road bike

Old 04-28-20, 11:30 AM
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Ashkap
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Marlin 5 vs a road bike

First time biker here (if you don’t count the childhood years). I am looking to get into biking purely for fitness reasons. At least for the next year or two I am expecting 10-20 miles of riding over the weekend, mostly on the road (live in Atlanta and we have some good slopes that stretch you). Am on a $500 budget (starting low since there is no guarantee I will stick to it). Was looking at road bikes (Giordano Liberio, Motobecane, Wellington etc) but my LBS is trying to convince me to get a Marlin 5 (I love Treks... both my sons have one each, including a Marlin).

Need your help here... what am I compromising by going with the Marlin? I will feel a bit ‘silly’ riding on the road with a Marlin while all the Cannondales, Specialized, Fujis zip by me! Other than that, given my limited ambition do I truly need a road bike? I do love the drop bars (I had them as a child) but the Marlin seems like a more practical choice. Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-28-20, 11:37 AM
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You went in looking for a road bike and they pointed you towards a mountain bike?? I could see them steering you towards an endurance type road bike, but a cross country mtb seems like an odd choice. Did you tell them you wanted to go offroad at all? I could see a gravel bike for something for more all around use, but that just seems like a weird jump for the LBS to make.
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Old 04-28-20, 12:07 PM
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The Marlin 5 is a heavier MTB well over 30 lbs and you will be upright. If all you are doing are rec fitness rides on tarmac, put some slicks on it. You might consider bar-ends as well for varied hand placement. For what you are suggesting it is just Okay. A hardtail 29'er is a fair all purpose bike for beginners. Lock out the front forks if all you are doing is road. It will ride smoother.

Last edited by CAT7RDR; 04-28-20 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 04-28-20, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
You went in looking for a road bike and they pointed you towards a mountain bike?? I could see them steering you towards an endurance type road bike, but a cross country mtb seems like an odd choice. Did you tell them you wanted to go offroad at all? I could see a gravel bike for something for more all around use, but that just seems like a weird jump for the LBS to make.
His point was that the Marlin is not a ‘true’ MTB and fairly well suited to road riding also. He said the aerodynamics of a road bike don’t really kick in until you ride 20+ miles in a single ride (not going to be the case for me for a while!). Plus I have the option of taking it off-road if needed.
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Old 04-28-20, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
First time biker here (if you don’t count the childhood years). I am looking to get into biking purely for fitness reasons. At least for the next year or two I am expecting 10-20 miles of riding over the weekend, mostly on the road (live in Atlanta and we have some good slopes that stretch you). Am on a $500 budget (starting low since there is no guarantee I will stick to it). Was looking at road bikes (Giordano Liberio, Motobecane, Wellington etc) but my LBS is trying to convince me to get a Marlin 5 (I love Treks... both my sons have one each, including a Marlin).

Need your help here... what am I compromising by going with the Marlin? I will feel a bit ‘silly’ riding on the road with a Marlin while all the Cannondales, Specialized, Fujis zip by me! Other than that, given my limited ambition do I truly need a road bike? I do love the drop bars (I had them as a child) but the Marlin seems like a more practical choice. Thanks in advance!
Since it's a Trek, then it must have a review! See below

Is Trek Marlin 5 a good bike?

Personally if I plan to ride road, then I'd get a road bike simply because going fast feels better than going slow, and an mtb bike will be ass-slow on the pavement.
Now if you plan to ride some gravel trails, then get the Marlin, with the understanding that guys on road bikes will not only pass by you, they'll blow by you like you standing still

Last edited by aclinjury; 04-28-20 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-28-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
His point was that the Marlin is not a ‘true’ MTB and fairly well suited to road riding also. He said the aerodynamics of a road bike don’t really kick in until you ride 20+ miles in a single ride (not going to be the case for me for a while!). Plus I have the option of taking it off-road if needed.
I would respectfully disagree with that. 10 miles on the road on a MTB will feel like 20 miles, and it's not just down to the aerodynamics.

Especially if you're going to be riding hilly terrain, on the road, I would be steering well clear of anything with knobbly tires or a suspension fork. Is the store a Trek dealer? Do they not carry hybrids at all? Something like a Trek FX or a Cannondale Quick would seem to me to be more appropriate.
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Old 04-28-20, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
His point was that the Marlin is not a ‘true’ MTB and fairly well suited to road riding also. He said the aerodynamics of a road bike don’t really kick in until you ride 20+ miles in a single ride (not going to be the case for me for a while!). Plus I have the option of taking it off-road if needed.
Run, don't walk away from this bike salesman, as he is full of crap. I don't ride anywhere near 20 mph, and I can tell you there is a huge difference between a road and a mountain bike. I have a mountain bike, and have owned other mountain bikes in the past. They suck at riding on pavement. My 18 year old son can smoke me when he is on his road bike, but when I am on my road bike and he is on his mountain bike, I can smoke him on pavement. Mountain bikes are just not great on pavement. It isn't what they are built to do.

So, shocking but you have a salesman who is lying to you, or maybe he doesn't know much about cycling himself. Either way, don't do business with him.
Now, it may be he doesn't have any road bikes in your price range, as you really can't get into an entry level road bike at your budget. You need to go up by a few hundred, or buy something used.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
I would respectfully disagree with that. 10 miles on the road on a MTB will feel like 20 miles, and it's not just down to the aerodynamics.

Especially if you're going to be riding hilly terrain, on the road, I would be steering well clear of anything with knobbly tires or a suspension fork. Is the store a Trek dealer? Do they not carry hybrids at all? Something like a Trek FX or a Cannondale Quick would seem to me to be more appropriate.
A Trek FX could be an interesting choice, thanks. I believe they carry them.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Run, don't walk away from this bike salesman, as he is full of crap. I don't ride anywhere near 20 mph, and I can tell you there is a huge difference between a road and a mountain bike. I have a mountain bike, and have owned other mountain bikes in the past. They suck at riding on pavement. My 18 year old son can smoke me when he is on his road bike, but when I am on my road bike and he is on his mountain bike, I can smoke him on pavement. Mountain bikes are just not great on pavement. It isn't what they are built to do.

So, shocking but you have a salesman who is lying to you, or maybe he doesn't know much about cycling himself. Either way, don't do business with him.
Now, it may be he doesn't have any road bikes in your price range, as you really can't get into an entry level road bike at your budget. You need to go up by a few hundred, or buy something used.
I believe it’s the latter (no road bikes in my range) so he is trying to still keep me as a customer. A Domane SLR is interesting but I simply cannot bring myself around to potentially ‘wasting’ 900 bucks! Might pivot to cheaper road bikes like a Liberio or Phocus, appreciate your input.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
but my LBS is trying to convince me to get a Marlin 5
Your LBS is likely trying to convince you to buy a mountain bike because their suppliers don't offer any road bikes within your budget.

Need your help here... what am I compromising by going with the Marlin?
Several mph and a ton of liveliness on paved roads. By getting an wrong style of bicycle, you're be increasing the likelihood that you'll end up disliking the sport.

Plus I have the option of taking it off-road if needed.
What sort of "off road" are you looking at? Technical trails, or just unpaved paths and roads? If the former, you'll want an MTB. Otherwise, a road-esque bike with wide tire clearances is likely a better option.

Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
His point was that the Marlin is not a ‘true’ MTB and fairly well suited to road riding also.
It has an MTB geometry, it's fitted with MTB tires, and it has a suspension fork. It's a cheap MTB with a lot of compromises compared to quality MTBs, but in the respects which actually pertain to road riding, it's an MTB.

He said the aerodynamics of a road bike don’t really kick in until you ride 20+ miles in a single ride
When the Earth's atmosphere gets in your way, it does not ask you how far you're riding that day. The drag scales by how fast you're going, and on flat ground, even very slow road cyclists are usually going fast enough that a majority of their resistance is from aerodynamics.

(not going to be the case for me for a while!).
You might be surprised at how easy it is to ride 20 miles on the road. Don't set yourself up for failure.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
I believe it’s the latter (no road bikes in my range) so he is trying to still keep me as a customer. A Domane SLR is interesting but I simply cannot bring myself around to potentially ‘wasting’ 900 bucks! Might pivot to cheaper road bikes like a Liberio or Phocus, appreciate your input.
I think you mean the Domane AL2, as the Domane SLR will cost you way more than $900. What I can tell you though is, don't try to get a cheap road bike. The cheapest I would go is the Giant Contend 3, and even there, I would urge you to go up to the more expensive Contend 1. You are better off getting one of the major brands, or at least a quality product, even if you costs you a bit more. It won't be a waste as a good bike will last you for years, even decades if you take care of it. A cheap bike might last you a year, and you won't enjoy it.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:36 PM
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@Ashkap

cliff note: if for fitness, I assume ride every day right from your house. get gravel bike or fast commuter bike. Stay away from heavy mountain bikes or fragile road bikes unless you just happen to live some where all the roads are smooth with almost
no traffic lights.


Hello. I am just a few months ahead of you. I owned zero bikes from 1991/92 ish unitl xmas 2019.

My first bike was xmas 2019 redux 2 urban bike with fat 47mm road tires.
https://www.raleighusa.com/redux2-r143

If you think are never going to want to upgrade or go faster I can't recommend that bike enough. I typically road it every day for an hour for fitness. 17/18mph easy. I could do 20 ish but not for very long.
That bike handled the bumpy streets and gravel trails like it was nothing. I would not recommend it for weekend 2+ hour ride with you other guy friends with spandex on road bikes.

2nd bike mar 2020 Cannondale SystemSix Carbon Ultegra road bike with tiny 23mm tires @ 100psi feel every little bump on the road. Not great for the streets or trails. This bike is really meant for the weekend on some smooth road 2+ hour ride.
https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bik...n-ultegra/2019

3rd bike apr 2020 Cannondale Topstone AL 105 Bike gravel bike 37mm gushy gravel tires. This is my favorite bike by a LONG shot. has shimano 105 11spd 700 wheels/tires. Easy to upgrade. faster than the commuter bike. has 16 degree drop bars.
The 16 degree flared top and bottom at least for me is way more comfortable than my commuter flat bar or my road bike with regular drop bars. Probably as fast as my road bike on typical streets with stop lights cracked roads, man covers, etc. and I can take it to the the gravel trails. On a long smooth surface with no traffic lights the road bike will pull away of course.

https://www.cannondale.com/en/bikes/.../topstone-105/

I would not get any bike with suspension on it unless it's expensive bike and you really need it. On the low end bikes they don't work that great and it's just dead weight you have to lug around.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I think you mean the Domane AL2, as the Domane SLR will cost you way more than $900. What I can tell you though is, don't try to get a cheap road bike. The cheapest I would go is the Giant Contend 3, and even there, I would urge you to go up to the more expensive Contend 1. You are better off getting one of the major brands, or at least a quality product, even if you costs you a bit more. It won't be a waste as a good bike will last you for years, even decades if you take care of it. A cheap bike might last you a year, and you won't enjoy it.
This ^^^. I would just spend a little more and get a bike you will enjoy for years to come.
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Old 04-28-20, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
A Trek FX could be an interesting choice, thanks. I believe they carry them.
I just noticed your last line in your OP about being used to drop bars from before; it might be well worth your while looking into a gravel bike or road bike from one of the other big brands (Cannondale Optimo, Diamondback Haanjo, Specialized Allez) with a Shimano Sora or Claris group. You'll stretch your budget a little, but it'll be more than enough bike for the riding you're describing, and you can easily upgrade after a year if you like it.

A big city like Atlanta has to have bike shops all over. Don't just go to your Trek dealer, it really seems they don't have the bike YOU want.
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Old 04-29-20, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashkap View Post
His point was that the Marlin is not a ‘true’ MTB and fairly well suited to road riding also. He said the aerodynamics of a road bike don’t really kick in until you ride 20+ miles in a single ride (not going to be the case for me for a while!). Plus I have the option of taking it off-road if needed.
He's lying and disregards the ergonomics of drop bars where the hoods are most comfortable and allow access to the controls without moving your hands.

Aerodynamic drag is over half the resistance you overcome on level ground at 10 MPH.

Assuming 75 kg bike/rider 0.004 Crr and .780 Cd / 0.4 m^2 A

10 mph / 4.4 m/s: 16 of 29 watts
15 mph / 6.6 m/s: 55 of 74 watts
18 mph / 8.9 m/s: 135 of 161 watts
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Old 04-29-20, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
He's lying and disregards the ergonomics of drop bars where the hoods are most comfortable and allow access to the controls without moving your hands.

Aerodynamic drag is over half the resistance you overcome on level ground at 10 MPH.

Assuming 75 kg bike/rider 0.004 Crr and .780 Cd / 0.4 m^2 A

10 mph / 4.4 m/s: 16 of 29 watts
15 mph / 6.6 m/s: 55 of 74 watts
18 mph / 8.9 m/s: 135 of 161 watts
Haha! Thanks for the flashback to my engineering days!! Point taken... your example and many others above have walked me back from expecting a Marlin to behave similar to a road bike even on short tarmac rides.
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