Budget bike Trek Marlin 4: upgrade or not to upgrade fork and brakes to disk?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Budget bike Trek Marlin 4: upgrade or not to upgrade fork and brakes to disk?

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    • #250088

      Hi there!
      I’m a total beginner in trekking and XC. In fact, this Marlin I got couple of weeks ago is my first non-NONAME bike. I’m a student, so have very little budget for my hobbies. But I was lucky enough to find this Marlin on sale for 250€. Unfortunately, it’s a 2017 model that doesn’t have disk brakes which seems like a big deal in MTB. So, I wanted to upgrade them first but then realized the fork doesn’t have Postmount for them 🙁 (frame does for rear)
      And Srsuntour M3030 29″ doesn’t seem to get any praise by itself either. Besides, it seems to be too hard for me as it only sags 2mm (2.6%) under my weight (58-60 KG 132 lbs).

      When researching online I have found 2 contradictory thoughts about upgrading budget bikes:
      1. Do it. The G2 frame has good geometry and you can swap out components (especially forks) as they break/let you down.
      2. Forget about it. Budget bikes are not worth it and you’ll be better off putting the money aside for a new higher quality one (probably will take me forever).

      So, I wanted to ask the community what are your thoughts on this, especially with my exact bike?
      Do all components really suck and I should just stick with them on easy trails until I can afford an upgrade?

      Or should I change the fork (I was thinking used Rock Shox Recon TK Solo Air 100mm for ~50€) and brakes as it will improve the bike? Also, will going from 75mm to 100mm fork screw up the handling (I read max +20mm is OK)?

      I’ll attach my bike specs for a complete picture:
      Fork is pre 2018 Srsuntour M3030

    • #250100


      I am also a beginner and just got my first new bike.at the shop I was think the same think as to upgrading the bike over time. They told me because of the layout of the bike you can only upgrade so much and not really worth it because the money you put in you can just bu a new one.

      You can upgrade the fork and I think do disc brakes. I would look up a few vids on how to upgrade and say your self  a few bucks going to the shop. Imop I would avoid used forks as you never know how much they’ve been used or why they are letting it go.

      • #250101

        Yeah, it’s probably not going to be worth it unless you stumble onto some really good parts deals.  They can certainly be out there.  But, one of the biggest things about a new, OEM bike, is that the components are chosen in part on pricing from a supplier for a “gruppo” or other set of components that just aren’t going to be easy for regular folks like us to assemble without waiting an unreasonable amount of time.

        For example, a new fork is going to run around $250USD.  Hydraulic brakes aren’t that expensive, but add in adapters, rotors, and possibly (probably!) new hubs/wheels to mount the rotors, and you’re looking at $3-400 or worse.  Real quickly you have invested the price of a new bike and still may have some fairly severe component compromises.

        One of the great things about a lower-cost bike is that you can “get your feet wet,” see how well and how hard you will pursue this hobby, and learn why the sought-after frames, wheels, and components are so sought after and expensive.  And if you choose to pursue it to that level, you will have a greater appreciation of the differences and probably make better choices for your future bikes.

    • #250340

      Thank you for your thoughts! Indeed upgrade to a disk brake would mean upgrading hubs, etc. so I think I’ll stick with my bike for now and start saving towards the better one once I start hitting more demanding trails

    • #250348

      Good advice from TwiceHorn.  Three years ago, I paid $100 to a good friend for a well used 18 year old 26″ Haro dual suspension MB.  It had cable disk brakes and was in pretty good shape for a bike of its genre.  Before spending $$$$ for a modern geometry MB, I wanted to be sure I enjoyed the sport, so I rode the old Haro for over a year.  Well I was hooked quickly.  However, after some pretty good tumbles, I realized quickly that the old Haro was just too small for me (6′-00″) and its geometry was unable to keep me properly planted in the cockpit.  I test road several different bikes over a six month period, ultimately settling on the 2018 Trek EX8 29er.  I am very happy with my decision to hold off on the purchase until I was sure about the sport.  I am also glad I did not sink any money, aside from tires, into the old Haro.  Good luck!

    • #250382

      Like others have said, do not upgrade that bike. It is essentially a “bike path” bike, meaning tooling around the city and dirt/gravel roads. The $800-1000 range will get you a good hardtail bike with components you won’t have to upgrade for a good amount of time. I’d save for that.

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