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  1. #1
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    Looking to upgrade - shed some light.

    I'v been riding the same mid-90's Trek 830 for quiet some time. It's a full-rigid, and I've never had any components break, out side of normal wear and tear items. I've logged miles upon miles on this thing, and it keeps ticking. I've had normal service on it, and I suppose thats why it's lasted so long. I love my bike. However, it's beating me to death. I'm doing more moderate + trails now, so this bike is not cutting it.

    I'm not wanting to shell out over $500 at the moment, as I have other hobbies that control my bank account. With that in mind, I was wanting a decent frame with okay components. I'd like disc brakes, other than that... I'm open.

    The two bikes I have been looking at are the Trek 3900 Disc and the Fuji Nevada 3.0. Both bikes fit me well, and seem to have nice frames for the money. My thinking is, A.) if a component breaks, I will upgrade the component, or B.) If I'm not satisfied with a component, in time I will upgrade it. I can get both bikes for $479 at my LBS's.

    In my experience, every Fuji owner I have spoken to has had a previous Trek, Cannondale, or Specialized and loves their Fuji in comparison. On the other hand the Trek I have currently has been a tank. I couldn't have had a better investment in the past 12+ years.

    I'm not necessarily a beginner, but I'm just really getting into the more aggressive side of the sport. Shed some light please! Give me some direction!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    When I bought my Hardrock a few years ago, I was shocked out how much better cheap bikes are now than the Schwinn I rode in college. However, the forks that come on cheap bikes tend to track really badly. Root sections you're used to rolling over may throw you sideways instead. And cheap mechanical disc brakes aren't much of an improvement over V-brakes on dry trails, although they're a lot better in wet conditions.

    If you get one of those bikes, go with the Trek. It's got a 100mm travel fork, rather than an 80mm fork like on the Fuji. There are some great 80mm forks on the market... for cross-country racing. At 100mm, you'll have your choice of some much better forks when (not if) you destroy the stock fork. And if the travel length keeps trending longer, you're more likely to still be riding the 3900 in 12 years.

    Another thing to think about is changing out your front end for a rigid disc fork and wheel, a really fat tire, a disc caliper, and whatever is involved in supporting that - maybe a new headset and new stem. It would be really expensive if you got new parts, but if you spend some time on EBay and Craig's List, it can be done cheaply. Whether or not this is practical for you really depends on how much of your own work you do and whether or not you'll enjoy hunting down the parts.

    Nothing on the two new bikes aft of the head tube is really any better than what you've got - the improvements over the last several years have mostly been better suspension forks, somewhat better shifters, disc brakes, and maybe slightly better cassettes and front derailleurs. Unfortunately, the suspension forks that will stand up to a lot of off-road use and track well don't show up until fairly expensive models. With the aftermarket prices on the RockShox Tora, though, it might also make sense to buy the Trek and get an aftermarket Tora for $250 - you'll still spend less than the $1150 it costs to buy a Trek that ships with a Tora in the first place.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    quick question, if the fork on the Fuji is 80mm and has a 30mm spacer on the headset, theoretically if I were to go to a 100mm fork, and only use a 10mm spacer on the headset will the geometry stay the same? I'm sorry I'm new at this, but I'm mean my rigid Trek isn't equipped with this kind of stuff.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kouki_Monstah
    quick question, if the fork on the Fuji is 80mm and has a 30mm spacer on the headset, theoretically if I were to go to a 100mm fork, and only use a 10mm spacer on the headset will the geometry stay the same?
    No.

    The angle of the head tube is really important to how the bike handles. Putting a 100mm fork on a bike designed for an 80mm fork isn't necessarily bad, but it will definitely give you a different feel and probably void your warranty. Longer forks really can break a frame not designed for them - one of my friends did that to his a while ago.

    In choosing a new fork, the axle-crown measurement is very important. If you lengthen it, the head angle gets slacker. That slows down the handling. Too twitchy a bike might hit its sweet spot, but a bike with nicely balanced handling is likely to feel a bit truckish. IMHO, it's better to find a bike that rides well in the first place, because you never know until you spend a whole bunch of money how a bike will handle with a different-length fork. The rule of thumb is that an extra 10mm of travel slackens the head tube by about half a degree. It's effected by a lot of things other than travel, so that's pretty approximate.

    Many forks have the option to install some spacers within the fork to reduce the travel. That requires a rebuild - not too difficult, but if you don't do your own work and have a decent set of tools, it's at least a $50 labor charge at most shops (and you have to buy the spacers.)

    If possible, I think it's better just to start with a bike that has nicely balanced handling with the fork size you see yourself sticking to. The 80mm fork on the Fuji doesn't have to be a dealbreaker if you prefer the bike, but you should be aware that sourcing a new fork will be a little harder.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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