Specialized Rockhopper vs Trek Marlin –An in-depth comparison guide

Different bike brands could sometimes share similar features and benefits in their various models. This is the case of Trek Marlin and Giant Talon. We take a look at what’s important when making the right selection.

I came across the Giant Talon bike a few years ago when my cousin received it as a gift for her 17th birthday. I thought it was quite stellar and she even let me take a few trips around the block on it. It felt great!

It wasn’t planned but as it turns out, that one ride piqued my interest in cycling and I started to research more about the bike and others like it.

That’s how I came across the Trek Marlin. It appeared to be similar to the Talon with very minor tweaks on either side. So, I dug deeper and uncovered just how different they were.

What is the difference between Specialized Rockhopper and Trek Marlin?

Specialized Rockhopper
Trek Marlin
Tubeless-ready stout 29 inch
Aluminum Bontrager Connection
RockShox Judy
SRAM SX Eagle, 12 speed, 11-50t
Shimano MT200 hydraulic
Shimano Hydraulic disc
Stout 3D forged alloy
Aluminum Bontrager, Blendr Compatible

Specialized Rockhopper vs Trek Marlin – How do they compare?


Choosing aluminum for the frame of Rockhopper and the Trek Marlin as well as a strategic decision that keeps the weight low while still maintaining the stiffness required. 

Rockhopper features an increased allowance at the crotch, cleanly done internal cabling and it is compatible with a retractable seat post.

The frames are also specially created to fit a specific wheel size. This is done to ensure maximum accommodation for all rider profiles and different wheel sizes. Rockhopper has a 68.5-degree head angle with a long arm-reach.

Trek Marlin is also made of aluminum material. This bike is built for racers but that doesn’t mean it cannot be used for casual rides to the park.

On the Trek XL bike, the seat tube is at an angle of 73 degrees and it is paired with a head tube at a 69.5-degree angle and an 1159mm wheelbase.


Specialized Rockhopper offers up to 12 speeds in SRAM chainset. However, Trek Marlin provides riders with a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain.

Rockshox is the provider of theSoloAir fork. It uses the TurnKey shock to distribute the length of travel needed to maneuver the terrain at hand. This translates into sensitivity for air suspension.

It can afford up to 12 speeds using the SRAM Eagle drivetrain on the tubeless tire and wheel set up. You will find it remarkably enjoyable to climb uphill and when blasting downhill too.

Trek Marlin’s set up is a combination of the Shimano Altus shifters, front derailleur, and the rear derailleur controlled by the Shimano Acera system.

This setup is done like so because Acera is the better derailleur and because most of the shifting is handled by the rear, it makes more sense practically and economically to boost the rear and pair it with cheaper shifters.

At the rear, the Shimano Alivio derailleur plays a huge role in providing up to nine different speeds to ride the gear on.

The front of the bike is operated by the Acera front derailleur which has an inferior spring. it tries hard to fit into the grain of the chain to no avail.

Although the Bontrager Connection wheels are not tubeless-ready, they wrap snuggly around the Bontrager XR2Comp tires and are tied to aluminum quick-release hubs.

Riding Experience

Rockhopper is remarkably enjoyable to climb uphill and when blasting downhill too. The aggressive geometry of the Marlin bike makes for a responsive bike even when riding hard.

For stopping power, the Rockhopper uses Shimano’s MT200 brakes which are unbeatably the best control system any bike could have because they are great all year round regardless of the season.

This makes for powerfully strong and well-regulated energy.

On sharp and sudden turns, the Trek Marlin bike displays good tracking. However, because the wheels are not tubeless, the tires suffer from high tire pressure in extremely rocky terrain which makes it hard to hold the line.

Thankfully, there is a process you can follow to have the tubeless wheel option installed.

In climbing and descending, it is fairly dependable and depends greatly on the rear traction which is noticeably greater than the front.

Specialized Rockhopper vs Trek Marlin: A Comparison Overview 

Specialized Rockhopper Review

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Rockhopper has a 68.5-degree head angle with a long arm-reach. Extras include a kickstand mount, quick release seat clamp, and a rear rack mount.

The Specialized Rockhopper will guarantee riding confidence in the trail. Providing the right balance between performance and quality, you can be sure of a comfortable and reliable ride.

Designed with efficiency, safety, and performance in mind, the Rockhopper is made of an aluminum frame built into modern geometry.

This is what guarantees users a stable and sturdy foundation on which to conquer all tough terrain. The bike is fitted with the Judy SoloAir fork and the all-weather MT200 Hydraulic disc brakes by Shimano.


  • Great quality bike
  • Ergonomic design and geometry
  • All-weather brakes
  • 12 speeds


  • Shifting not as crisp and clear

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Trek Marlin Review

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This bike is available in seven sizes starting from XS to XXL. It features two chainrings in compromise for the smaller number of gear cogs in the 9-speed drivetrain.

These chainrings create smaller jumps between gears which makes the bike perfect for beginners in the world of mountain biking.

The 22/36 gears on Marlin 7’s XS bike are easier to control and the 36×11 on the XXL are more expansive compared to other bike brands and they offer faster rides.

The Marlin bike brand offers two women-specific bikes featuring lower heights in standover, shorter cranks, short-reach brake levers, narrower handlebars, and saddles designed with women in mind.


  • Rack mounts provided
  • Fork lockout
  • 2×9 drivetrain is a fast and effective uphill
  • Gear display on the rear shifters
  • Internal routing


  • Wheels and tires not tubeless-ready

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Specialized Rockhopper is ideal for both new and experienced trail riders. The pro riders can push harder and do more with it and the newbies can challenge their skills as they enjoy a comfortable balance in control and exceptional performance.

Trek Marlin is convenient in the fork lockout function and in the gear displays on the rear. Cable routing is also taken through the inside of the frame which helps maintain the classy bike.

Verdict: So, which is better: “Specialized Rockhopper or Trek Marlin?

Specialized Rockhopper is better than Trek Marlin. This is because it is capable of offering more speeds in riding compared to Marlin. When paired with the tubeless tires, the all-weather braking system, and the ergonomic geometry, the Rockhopper stands out.


Is the trek Marlin a good gift for my 15-year-old son?

Unless your child weighs more than 150 pounds, I would discourage you from making that purchase. This is because the RockShox Suspension on the Trek Marlin is spring-coil which your child is not heavy enough to weigh down. This will create vigorous bounce on the front wheel and lead to discouragement because he won’t get to use it out on the rugged terrain.

Who is best suited for the Specialized Rockhopper?

It is ideal for mountain trailers whether they are new or experienced in the event. Positively, this bike’s geometry is ergonomically done to match the various proportionate riders.