Speed on a Budget: The Trek Marlin 4 29er Mountain Bike

December 9, 2021
29er mountain bike

If you're going to start a cycling hobby, it's best to start within your budget.

Before you’ve picked up an interest in these two-wheeled babies, you're most likely just looking to get a nice ride that could take you to your usual destinations without breaking your wallet. But what if you can also get there as fast as possible without breaking a sweat? What do you do if motorcycles are not within your budget and cars are out of the question?

The solution: Get a Trek Marlin 4 Mountain Bike (MTB) with a 29-inch wheelset.

The 29er Mountain Bike Wheel Characteristics

The 29er is the biggest wheel size option for MTBs. The measurement of 29 inches, however, isn't exact. It's more an estimate of the wheel's diameter with a 2-inch tire incorporated on both ends. That means if your wheel is a 29er, your diameter from rim to rim would be 25 inches, with an approximate 2-inch tire allowance outside of the rim on both ends.

Nevertheless, whatever approximate measurement a 29er has, its prominent feature is the size, making this a top choice for speed freaks and endurance riders. But there's more to the 29er's characteristics than its size, which makes this an excellent wheel option for your MTB rig.

Heavier than other wheel types

The 29er's heaviness is commonly attributed to its size, but apart from that, more materials are used to make this wheel from its rim, hub, spoke, and actual tire.

The heaviness of this tire is pleasing because it adds to the stability of the wheel, allowing you to stay grounded, especially in wet or muddy conditions.

Brings a broader wheelbase

Another thing that adds to the stability of the 29er is a wider wheelbase. The size of the wheel tends to widen the horizontal distance from one wheel's contact point to the next. A wider wheelbase means you're more likely to stay on a continuous linear motion if you keep your momentum. This is ideal when you're pedaling on smooth and wide roads.

Larger surface patch

The surface patch is the part of the tire that comes in contact with the ground. The idea is that the wider the surface patch, the more grip it can hold on the ground and the more traction force you'll have.

29ers have a larger surface patch than other wheel sizes, and because of this, it's easier for you to maintain a steady course grip on smooth or rough surfaces than the smaller wheel types.

Higher approach angle

The 29er's diameter allows for a higher approach angle for big and small obstacles. As a result, it can roll over a big rock more smoothly and easily than any smaller wheel size. Add to this the wheel's weight, which gets distributed forward onto the obstacle, and you get an unstoppable roll-over force with less effort than when you're wheeling over a small one.

Things to Consider Before Riding a 29er

29er has a lot to offer based on its characteristics, but before you decide that it's the size of the right wheel for your bike, you have to consider several factors that don't form part of the bike or the wheel. Some of the things you should consider are the following:


How tall you are would directly affect your handling of a 29er. The bigger wheelset would push up the bike's standover height, and how far your leg reaches the ground relative to the frame's height is often proportional to how tall you are.

If you couldn't stand on both feet over your bike pre-pedal, it would be difficult to get the bike to take off. You'll also have a hard time balancing the bike if you come to a full stop. So it's important to check if your height, particularly your leg reach, can handle an MTB with a 29er wheel.


Why you want to ride a bike is a huge factor in choosing whether or not you should get a 29er hardtail mountain bike. Do you want to ride your bike on smooth pavement or steep trails? Are you planning on doing long-distance cycling? Do you mean to ride your bike on straight roadways? If that's the case, a 29er is your best choice. The 29er would keep you on a steady momentum on a straight path. It will be a friend if you want to achieve top speeds and climb steep roads easier.


29ers are definitely a bit more expensive than other bike sets with smaller wheels. That has something to do with the volume and kind of materials used in making the wheel. So, if you're planning on buying a 29-inch wheel separately, expect to get set back about $200 if you're looking for an entry-level wheelset. These are usually made of aluminum. On the other hand, if you're going for high-end, high performance, the 29-inch carbon wheelset would cost you around $600 – that's roughly the cost of a starter MTB.

In Focus: Trek Marlin 4 29er Mountain Bike

The Trek Marlin 4 29er MTB is the best 29er mountain bike for any entry-level and aspiring rider. That's why we're putting the focus on this bike because it's the cheapest. It costs less than $500. Yet, it's also the most functional for all novices looking to get a bike for recreational purposes. Here's what the Marlin 4 is packing.


Frame type: The frame screams of hardtail given the welded seat stay. There's a front suspension integration on the fork as well, which characterizes a hardtail type of MTB. Based on the steep head angle, a narrow top tube, a thin handlebar, and a thick down tube, this style falls under the Cross Country (XC) hardtail category.

Paint Job: The main color scheme for Marlin 4's pain job is black and white. Pretty sleek for a hardtail but not ideal for night rides. Good thing Trek has other color scheme variations such as Aloha Green, Anthracite, and Magenta, making you visible even at sundown.

Components & Drivetrain

Bontrager – The handlebar, seat post, and stem are all made of alloy. The saddle is made of steel. Bontrager creates all these components for the default parts of Marlin 4

Shimano – The crank, shifters, cassette, and chain are all supplied by the reputable Japanese component supplier, Shimano.


Internal Routing - The frame's down tube has an internal wire routing for neat bike cable management. This also helps protect the cables from outside elements.

Lightweight and Robust - The TIG-welded aluminum alloy frame is lightweight at 32 lbs and is also built for strength. It can withstand bumps on rough trails easily.

Wide Gearing Options - The Trek has a 21-speed gear option, so you can have more control over how fast you're going relative to the difficulty of the terrain.

Lifetime Warranty - You can get a lifetime service warranty for a Trek bike you purchase. This ensures you get the utmost care and maintenance for your bike in case it's damaged.


  • Affordable
  • Has many speed options
  • Reputable component and parts suppliers
  • Stable and can retain top speed (29er version)


  • The number of gears will require a lot of maintenance
  • Could do with at least two chainrings for more calculated speed

Your Affordable Speed Machine

The Trek Marlin 4 29er mountain bike is your best choice if you crave speed with little effort. The speed options of the Marlin 4 are sufficient enough for your play around with. Shift up and gain speed easily on concrete roads and hit your mileage goals. Conversely, crank down if you want to achieve a fast climb up a steep road or terrain. Whatever the challenges you face on and off-road, the Marlin 4 will never let you down.

The price is also cost-efficient for a cross-country MTB that packs good quality parts and components. Novices will undoubtedly froth over such a beautiful machine with a substance that's right for the price. So if you're looking for an exciting way to commute or even a reliable ride for long distances, but you don't want to burn holes in your pocket, the Marlin 4 is your go-to setup.

Cycle Buddy

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