Trek Marlin 8 Vs Specialized Rockhopper Elite | PedalChef

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Trek Marlin 8 and Specialized Rockhopper Elite are likely to be at the top of your list if you're seeking a more adaptable hardtail mountain bike.

Many different bicycle brands now share a lot of similar features in many of their models. When attempting to choose one such model over the other, even more confusion and doubt arise. The same is the case with Trek Marlin 8 and Specialized Rockhopper Elite.

Considering the fact that these two bikes have many similar features, which one is better? Is it Rockhopper Elite or Marlin 8? The Trek Marlin 8 has a higher price tag than the Specialized Rockhopper Elite. Geometry, materials, and user experience are some of the other variables.

But before you make the final decision, it is always best to analyze all the features that matter the most to you. Would you pay a few extra dollars for a bike like the Marlin 8 because of its features? Or, like Rockhopper Elite, is it possible to get nearly the same specs for a slightly lower price?

To help you choose the best of these bikes, we have listed out all the features of both the models to let you have a side-by-side comparison of these. In the end, you'll be able to select the one that best fits your requirements and is worth your money.



Comparison: Trek Marlin 8 Vanalyses Specialized Rockhopper Elite

Both the Trek Marlin 8 and the Specialized Rockhopper Elite are hardtails. If you don't know what a hardtail bike is, let's learn a little about the term. Otherwise, you may skip this part and jump directly to 'geometry'.

Hardtail bikes are those which feature a shock only on the front end of the bicycle. Contrary to these are full-suspension bikes. These are the bikes that offer shocks on both the front end and the rear end of the bike.

In practice, a rider on a full-suspension bike will experience fewer jumps on a bumpy trail, but a hardtail bike with no rear shock may jump around more as the rider hits rocks and stumps while traveling on a rugged trail. Hardtails maybe a little less advanced in terms of the number of moving parts; they are lighter than full-suspension bikes and are easier to maintain.


For the geometry, we mean the dimensions of the bicycle. Different models differ in length and angles of different components like crank, handlebar, stem, saddle, seat post, frame stack and reach, head-tube, trail, fork rake, wheelbase, stand-over height, and seat tube, etc.

Let's compare a few important of these components for Trek Marlin 8 and Specialized Rockhopper Elite.

1. Size of the frame

Frames of Rockhopper Elite are built for individual heights. The bicycle comes with a guide to help you choose the appropriate frame according to your height. It has a 68.5° head-tube angle and comes with a long-arm reach. Rockhopper Elite also has an XXL frame size for heightened riders on its list. This size is not available in Marlin 8.

Trek Marlin 8 also comes in 7 different frame sizes. The XL of Marlin 8 has an approximate head angle of 69.5°. The frame is available in XS and XXS sizes as well. The bent top tube and decreased stand-over height of Marlin 8 models in the XXS make it much easier for shorter riders to get on and off the bike.

2. Trail

Generally, the bikes with large trails are more stable to steering. The trail length of the Trek Marlin 8 is 9.3 cm. On the other side, the trail length of the Specialized Rockhopper Elite is 9.7 cm. The comparison shows that Rockhopper Elite is far more stable to handle on unpaved terrains.

3. Fork offset and length

The Trek Marlin 8 has a fork offset of 42mm. The complete length of the fork in the Specialized Rockhopper Elite is 515mm. Its fork offset or rake is 46mm.

4. Saddle width and seat-tube length

The saddle width varies for the Marlin 8 where it has a seat-tube length of about 52.1 cm for its XL size.

Rockhopper Elite provides large saddle width for small-sized bikes and vice versa. Its XL size has a 143mm wide saddle. The same size has a seat-tube length of 50.0 cm which is angled at 73.5°.

5. Stack and reach

For the XL size of Marlin 8, the frame stack is 63 cm in length. The frame reach has a length of 46.6 cm.

On the other side, for the XL size of Rockhopper Elite, the frame stack is 64 cm in length. Whereas, the frame reach is the same as that of the former one.

6. Wheelbase

The wheelbase is the horizontal distance between the axis of rotation of the front and rear wheel of a bike. The larger the wheelbase, the more comfortable the rider is with handling and steering the bike.

The Trek Marlin 8 has an 1159mm wheelbase in its extra-large size. Whereas for the Specialized Rockhopper Elite, the wheelbase is approximately 1178mm for the XL size of the model.

Technical terrain performance

Both of these bikes are ideal for entry-level riders who want to use their mountain bikes for everything from commuting to touring. Although each of these hardtails is robust enough, these are more suitable for cross country racing than for technical terrain traversing.

The Trek Marlin 8 works pretty well on rugged trails though. If you are a weekend warrior, you can consider it a good option. The Specialized Rockhopper Elite, on the other hand, is extremely suitable for professional bikers and die-hard race fanatics. If professional bikers can use this bike, you can also use it to explore new trails.

Suspension forks

Rockhopper Elite has an advanced suspension system that uses a TurnKey shock to disperse the length of commute required to navigate the terrain. The suspension fork provided by RockShox has been upgraded to a greater extent as compared to the previous models. SoloAir fork by RockShox provides air suspension. It has 100mm of travel for its small and large-sized bikes and 80mm for the extra small-sized ones.

Trek Marlin 8 features a low-weight and high-quality suspension fork which is provided by RockShox. RockShox Judy Silver fork with a Solo Air spring and TurnKey hydraulic lockout offer smooth and sensitive air suspension just like that of Rockhopper Elite. There is also a  preload function in suspension lockout and the rebound adjustment to increase the pedaling efficiency. The extra small-sized bike and the other that features an XXS frame have up to 80mm of travel. The rest have 100mm of travel.


Both bicycles have aluminum frames which are lighter in weight but provide greater strength to the bike while maintaining the necessary rigidity.

Specialized Rockhopper Elite has the latest and greatest streamlined geometric frame. This highly finished butted alloy frame and the A1 butted aluminum tubes are made of premium material imparting a lighter weight to the bike while making it comfortable for the rider at the same time. The bike also has an XXL frame that is best suited to bikers who are 6'3" or 6'6" in height.

Trek Marlin 8 is available in multiple frame sizes to meet individual preferences. The smaller frames have short-range levers which the riders with short heights can access easily. The bike also has a rear kickstand mount that supports your bike to stand but doesn't get in your way while pedaling. The frame also flaunts a rack mount to carry your luggage while commuting.


Shimano MT200 hydraulic disk brakes in Rockhopper Elite are friendly for all types of weather. These hydraulic disk brakes feature a two-way damping circuit.

The Trek Marlin 8 contains Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes. Both of these bikes have a plus point in their brake system over other bikes. As compared to mechanical disk brakes, hydraulic disk brakes are far less susceptible to wear and tear. They are more efficient in their performance as well.

Internal cable routing

The Specialized Rockhopper Elite flaunts a very sleek internal cable routing that is designed for less clutter. This keeps the cables and hence the brakes protected from damage by preventing exposure to surrounding conditions.

Marlin 8 also has an internal cable routing system to give the bike a neat look while protecting the cables at the same time. This feature makes these two models more durable and long-lasting.


Trek Marlin 8 has an optimized Shimano drive-train which prevents you from stopping on a rough trail. The drive-train offers 9 levels of speed. Its alloy cranks are far more durable and provide greater quality than many of the other bikes in the same price range. Front and rear derailleurs controlled by the Shimano Acera system are paired up with Shimano Altus shifters to make shifting between the gears easy and effortless.

On the other hand, the SRAM chainset of Specialized Rockhopper Elite offers up to 12 levels of speed. It has a simple drive-train with no front derailleur. But the bike features a wide-range 11-50 cassette and a smaller jump between the gears due to two chainrings. Overall, the shifting between gears is less smooth as compared to that of the Trek Marlin 8.

Wheels and tires

The Trek Marlin 8 rolls on Maxxis Ardent Race tires and Bontrager Kovee wheels. While many sizes of the Trek Marlin 8 come with 29-inch diameter wheels, the small frame size bicycles allow you to pick between 27-1/2 and 26-inch diameter wheels.

The wheels of Marlin 8 are tubeless-ready, meaning that the tire and wheel rim are designed to seal each other, and can be utilized with or without an inner tube. If you wouldn't install tubeless wheels, the tire sometimes may suffer from large pressure on rocky terrains.

The Specialized Rockhopper Elite also features tubeless-ready wheels. Both the front and the rear tire are made up of high-quality gripton compounds. The wheels are manufactured to exhibit a great extent of ground control. The inner tubes contain a 40mm Presta valve. Rims are made of high-quality alloy for durability.

Dropper post compatibility

Not all bikes are compatible with a dropper post. But Rockhopper Elite has the compatibility for a retractable seat post. By installing a dropper post, you will be able to adjust the height of your saddle quickly without getting off the bike. You can easily adjust your saddle height even on a moving bicycle.

On the other hand, there is no internal dropper post routing in Trek Marlin 8. Thus, this bicycle is not compatible with a dropper post.


The comparison of Marlin 8 Vs Rockhopper Elite is not complete without comparing their price range. By now, you are well aware of the technical specifications and benefits of each bike. But how would you make a decision without considering the price?

The prices for both models belonging to two different brands can be seen varying on different websites. But you may consult the official website of Specialized and Trek to track the prices of these bicycles. It will save you from the confusion of searching on different retailer websites or shops.

At this time, the Trek Marlin 8 is available for a price point of $1,329.99. Whereas, you can buy the Specialized Rockhopper Elite for a slightly lower price of $1,100 (as stated by their official websites)

Which one is better?

No doubt both bikes are great for entry-level riders, you should choose the one that fits best for you depending on your preferences, your budget, and the trails you are going to master.

Personally, we will prefer the Specialized Rockhopper Elite if we had to buy a bicycle to master various trails. (It's merely our choice and not a suggestion for you.) The reason is that this bike offers more range of features with an incredible design in a lower price range as compared to the Trek Marlin 8. However, if you are someone with a shorter height, you should definitely go for Marlin 8 as they have more size options that suit short riders.