Mountain Bike Review: Trek Marlin 6 vs Co-Op DRT 1.1

mountain bike review

This mountain bike review is for anybody getting into biking and looking for a quality mountain bike. Our Trek Marlin 6 and Co-op DRT 1.1 are the nicest bikes we’ve owned, so far.

The Trek Marlin 6 was purchased at Village Bicycle in Colorado Springs, and the Co-op DRT 1.1 was purchased at our local REI.  Technically they are mountain bikes, but we use them as hybrid bikes because they are fun to ride on the pavement as well as the dirt trails.

We are looking to purchase two more bikes in the near future, but with a lot of the bike shops still shut down its something that will have to wait until we can get in to actually sit on them.  We are looking for hybrid bikes that can handle the trails but are also comfortable on the road.  Please let me know in the comments what bike you ride and would recommend we check out.

In this article I am going to go over the main things I considered when picking out my bike as we compare these two.  We are going to cover size, suspension, weight, quality, as well as subjective topics like design and the feel of the bike in general. 

Co-Op DRT 1.1 Mountain Bike Review

co-op drt 1.1 mountain bike review

The Co-op DRT 1.1 is a hard tail mountain bike. Co-op is the house brand for REI. Our local REI store has very knowledgeable staff in their bike department. They showed me many bikes that were not part of the Co-op brand, and many of the parts were comparable what comes on the Co-op.

Co-op DRT 1.1 Size

The wheels are 27.5 inches and it has a standover height of about 74 centimeters or 29 inches.  The wheelbase is 113.5 centimeters or just over 44.5 inches.  This bike is a large, which according to REI is made for people 5’9-6′ in height.  Christy is 5’6″ and she has no problem riding it.

Co-op DRT 1.1 Suspension

The Co-op bike comes with the SR Suntour front fork suspension. It has 100 millimetres of travel., the Trek bike also lists 100 millimetres of travel for their suspension.  For pavement riding I definitely prefer the Co-Op over the Trek. Even with both bikes having the same amount of suspension travel, the Co-op is smoother on pavement.

Typically a locking suspension is better for riding on the road, which would get the Trek the advantage. The stigma that non-locking suspensions make bad road bikes doesn’t hold true here.

Co-op DRT 1.1 Weight

Weight is my biggest complaint for this bike. In terms of how much weight it can handle, 300 lbs is max capacity. The weight I don’t like is the weight of the bike itself. The Co-op DRT 1.1 weighs in at a hefty, albeit lighter than the Trek, 31.63 lbs.

Trek Marlin 6 Mountain Bike Review

trek marlin 6 mountain bike review

The Trek Marlin 6 is the most expensive bike in our house, so the expectations were high when we bought it. We haven’t been disappointed with the quality, but the Co-op bike costs $100-150 less depending on if you’re a Co-op Member.

Trek Marlin 6 Size

The Trek Marlin 6 has 29 inch wheels with a stand over height of 74.8 centimetres.  The wheelbase is a slightly smaller than the Co-Op at 110 centimetres, or just over 43 inches.  According to the Trek website it is made for people that are 5’4-5’8, but I am 5′ 10″ and don’t notice much difference from the co-op in terms of size.

Trek Marlin 6 Suspension

The suspensions on both of these bikes are similar.  The Trek has the ability to lock the suspension, while the Co-op has pre-load, but no locking option. Both bikes are hard tails so they only have the front suspension.  In the dirt I like the feel of the Trek’s suspension, although on Trek’s website you will see the suspension on the Marlin 6 is one of the biggest complaints.

We have no complaints about either suspension, but the Trek gives you confidence on the trails, while the Co-op rides like a dream on the road. Flip them and the Trek is still a solid road bike, and the Co-op handles the trails perfectly. Its personal preference, and your favorite will depend on how you ride.

Trek Marlin 6 Weight

Weight is my biggest complaint for both of these bikes.  We do a lot of loading and unloading when we travel… and we travel a lot. The Trek weighs in at 31.97 pounds which is almost half a pound heavier than the Co-op. For a price

Look, neither bike is that heavy.  In fact, Preston, who is 9, has a much smaller bike that weighs over 40 pounds.  These bikes are great, but I’m saying if there was something to complain about, it would be the weight.

Final Opinion

As far as budget goes the Co-op from REI has a big advantage.  The DRT 1.1 is very comparable to the Trek Marlin 6 in overall quality, but it is $549.00 at REI, and it was recently on sale for almost $100 off that price.  When its not on sale if you become a Co-op member you can get 10% back in member rewards which gives you over $50 back.  I used mine on some accessories. 

The Trek on the other hand is an extra $100-150 at $649.00.  I don’t think I have seen it on sale, but I haven’t paid a lot of attention to that either. 

Speaking of accessories, we’ve made some minor modifications to both bikes.  For the Co-op I replaced the grips.  I like the style that came on the Trek a little better, so I picked up a set that matched the bike from REI.  I also had to upgrade the seat. 

serfas dorado review

Mountain bike seats are notoriously uncomfortable.  I went with the Serfas Dorado (check price on Amazon) and absolutely love it.  It’s sleek, like a mountain bike seat should look, but comfortable to sit on for extended rides through town. 

The last thing I changed on the Co-op was the pedals.  I love these RaceFace peddles by Chester (check price on Amazon) because they really grip my shoes, but I can also detach easily since I’m not actually hooked in anywhere.  Matt changed the pedals on the Trek too.

raceface chester peddle review

Mountain Bike Design

As far as the design goes, I do love the look of the Trek.  It has the brake cables hidden inside the frame, and the shape of the frame with the logos just looks great.  Don’t get me wrong… the Co-op bike looks cool too, but The trek looks awesome. 

I prefer the color options of the Co-op to the Trek, but the overall look and design definitely goes to Trek.

Mountain Bike Quality Review

In terms of overall quality both of these are great bikes.  We used to ride cheap bikes from big box retail stores and I think one of the biggest thing I noticed when upgrading to a nicer bike was the quality of the derailleur. If you don’t know what a derailleur is, it’s the part of your bike that moves the chain when you change gears. 

Both of these bikes have a really nice derailleur. They change gears much smoother than any other bike we’ve owned. They also have amazing brakes, which is a must for any new mountain biker.

trek marlin 6 brakes

Seriously, if you’ve only ridden bikes from retail stores, find a local bike shop or outdoor specialty store and ride a nicer bike.  Changing gears is so much better, but so is the overall feel of the ride.  Its hard to explain or put into words, you just have to experience it to understand.

Like I said in the beginning of this mountain bike review, we are looking for two more bikes. If you have a recommendation please let me know in the comments.  If you enjoyed this mountain bike review please share via social media with the easy share buttons at top and bottom of this article.

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