1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    New Bike Options

    Okay, I have been looking at lots of bikes the past few weeks and Im finally down to a handfull of choices at Trek 4 series bikes.

    08 4300 - $399
    09 4300 disc - $569
    09 4400 disc - $???
    09 4500 $629

    I mainly do road, single track, and some XC biking I really want to get the biggest bang for the buck. I do not do any crazy offroading but do do commuting. I have been told that the fork on the 4300's is a joke not sure on the 4400, the 4500 has a nice fork but no disc brakes but has the ability to be upgraded. I really just want a quality bike that I can rely on. I really liked the style of the Gary Fisher Kaitai but Im to tall for the bike at 6' 3. Please help this noob out

    -mtnben

  2. #2
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    The products have matured and the popular brands all make good stuff. With that in mind buy what fits you the best and do consider a better fork and brakes if you plan on some more spirited single track riding. If metro type trails and commuting is the main priority you'll have a lighter and best riding bike without suspension. For that I use a large tire on the front that offers some suspension effect and good control when not on pavement.

    I'm sure any of the Treks you mention are fine. I live near Trek and Pacific headquarters and know some of their product managers. They all try to do a good job at their respective price points. Trek's full suspension bikes are much improved and it looks like Pacific's brands are much improved for all models. That gives you Trek, Fisher, Mongoose, GT, Schwinn and Cannondale for a bunch of choices from people that seem to do a good job. You'll only find Trek at traditional bike shops. Pacific's offerings are split between the quality lines for bike shops and discount store lines.

    You'll see lots of opinions here and those are mine. No to little suspension for simple riding and I ride 130 to 140 mm suspension front and back for rougher and spirited trail riding.

    You should also consider renting demo bikes for a real world taste of what's out there.

    Have fun.

  3. #3
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    Check out the Raleigh Mojave 8.0. I just picked one up a week ago at my LBS for $615. It has a better Fork than all the bikes you listed (RockShox Tora) and for the most part has better components. Just an idea

  4. #4
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    There's a pretty big difference between the Kaitai style of bike that you say you like and the Trek 4000 series that you show in your list of options. The Kaitai has larger-diameter tires, but they are thinner. The gearing is higher, which is aimed at making the bike more suitable for road use. The fork has only 63mm of travel, which is more to take the edge off of small bumps on road or on smooth dirt trails. The Kaitai should handle smooth singletrack, fire roads, etc., but I would not take it on anything with a lot of roots, logs, big bumps, drops, jumps, etc.

    What size Kaitai did you try? There is an XL version (21 inch frame). Were you able to try that size?

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Hi,


    This is my opinion and i know that many bikers will disagree, but i would go for the 4500 and that's because it has v brakes. You wanted something reliable and i'm not statisfied with those disc brakes. They need more adjustment and service. A v-brake only need adjustment for installation and than goes on and on and on. The pads are easily self to replace at low cost.

    a friend of me has got the 8500 with disc brakes and he needs to adjust the brakes regulary.

    Disc brakes are good if you go downhill and need that kind of brake power, but if you do mainly road v-brakes is all you need and those avid's are good quality. (Seen any race bikes in tour de france with powerfull disc brakes?)

    The fork of the 4500 is good also.

    You also can consider to buy the 4300 and if that fork isn't what you're looking for, you could replace it by a rigid mountainbike fork. Such a rigid fork (steel/ aluninium) is cheap and good quality.
    The total costs shouldn't be over the price of the 4500.

    Both the frames (4300 and 4500) are exacly the same (not the colors; if you care about that). And both are disc ready; if you really want to place them on later.
    price difference is because of the components installed (check their website).

    You can always upgrade a bike, but at what costs? That's up to you to decide.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    There's a pretty big difference between the Kaitai style of bike that you say you like and the Trek 4000 series that you show in your list of options. The Kaitai has larger-diameter tires, but they are thinner. The gearing is higher, which is aimed at making the bike more suitable for road use. The fork has only 63mm of travel, which is more to take the edge off of small bumps on road or on smooth dirt trails. The Kaitai should handle smooth singletrack, fire roads, etc., but I would not take it on anything with a lot of roots, logs, big bumps, drops, jumps, etc.

    What size Kaitai did you try? There is an XL version (21 inch frame). Were you able to try that size?
    They did not have the Kaitai in the 21 inch but I did try a differnet Fisher in the 21 and it was not a good fit. Should I track down Kaitai in the XL frame, or can I assume that all fisher XL frames are about the same. Sorry for being naive about this. It sounds like the Kaitai is a hard bike to track down these days.

  7. #7
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    I was told that the basic 4300 without disc are not upgradable to disc without replacing a lot of the equipment. I was basically told that if I want disc either buy a bike that already has it or the 4500. If this is not true and I can get away with buying the 4300 and upgrade to disc if I see the need then fantastic. Im really looking for the biggest bang for the buck.

  8. #8
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    Its all about the wheels - or more specifically, the hubs.

    If the hubs have 6 bolt holes (for the disc rotor), or a centerlock spline - then you can fit a disc rotor and thus a disc brake.

    From what youve been told, I would guess that the 4300 doesnt have disc hubs, but the 4500 does - if not, either bike would need upgraded wheels to fit disc brakes to.


    Also, ignore the guy above about brakes - discs are worth it if you can afford them.
    Sounds like he's never owned/run a bike with them on, takes a little time to learn the stuff, but its worth it and only a matter of getting used to adjusting. It IS worth doing.

  9. #9
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    I liked the 22.5 inch frame size on the 4300 I was just giving a look at the 6000 and the largest appears to be 21.5 Looks like if I want the biggest bang for the buck and least hassle in the future I would have to go with the 4500 does this seem correct?

  10. #10
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    If I was you I would go for the 4500 hundred. It has better components and it can be upgraded to discs easily if you wanted to in the future if you ever desired it. I agree somewhat with what the guy mentioned earlier about discs. Good V brakes are better than bad disc brakes. Bad disc brakes can over heat and leave you without good stopping power. I've experienced this first hand, but we were descending from the main top of a very large hill in ky down a road to the bottom. Good or great disc brakes are much better than v brakes. They're also relatively cheap now. I'm assuming the 4500 has a better fork and that would be great if you start riding off road more. If you have the money for the 4500 I would get it if I was in your shoes.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  11. #11
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod
    If I was you I would go for the 4500 hundred. It has better components and it can be upgraded to discs easily if you wanted to in the future if you ever desired it. I agree somewhat with what the guy mentioned earlier about discs. Good V brakes are better than bad disc brakes. Bad disc brakes can over heat and leave you without good stopping power. I've experienced this first hand, but we were descending from the main top of a very large hill in ky down a road to the bottom. Good or great disc brakes are much better than v brakes. They're also relatively cheap now. I'm assuming the 4500 has a better fork and that would be great if you start riding off road more. If you have the money for the 4500 I would get it if I was in your shoes.

    That is kind of where I'm leaning. I will be giving it a test drive this weekend. Its a shame the 6000 does not have a larger frame. Thanks for all the input folks I appreciate it. If I do go the route some day with the 4500 and disc brakes I should not have to buy new rims correct, just the breaks and I'm off is my understanding please correct me if I'm wrong.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnben
    That is kind of where I'm leaning. I will be giving it a test drive this weekend. Its a shame the 6000 does not have a larger frame. Thanks for all the input folks I appreciate it. If I do go the route some day with the 4500 and disc brakes I should not have to buy new rims correct, just the breaks and I'm off is my understanding please correct me if I'm wrong.
    Well, I bought the 2009 4500 I tried a 22.5 and a 24 and I liked the 24 and bought it. The rims are not ready for disc breaks so I would have to buy new rims but the frame is ready for disc breaks. So if you are looking at the 4500 and your planing on shelling out for disc braks maybe some day expect to spend a good $300+ if your short and can fit on a 21.5 inch fram then the 6000 is definitly the way to go if disc brakes are your thing. The 4300 is a great entry bike but you may be looking at upgrades or future repairs sooner than later. The 4400 does not exist except in Europe from what I have been told so dismiss it unless you live in Europe. I tried specialized frames, Gary Fisher, Raleigh, Giant, and even the Trek police bike but the 4500 was a perfect fit. I have to give thanks also to north central cyclery http://www.northcentralcyclery.com/ who let me try a boat load of bikes before I decided they were very knowledgeable and helpful and never tried to upsale me. I would also like to thank all of you for your input! I look forward to contributing to this board in the future I started today with a Raleigh M20 that was falling apart and did not fit my build to a new 4500...today was a good day

  13. #13
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    I heard the 4300 was essentially poo. Mainly the name on a wal-mart quality bike. Poor frame, single wall wheels, etc. Or maybe it was the 3700. Can't remember. All I know is that I went with the Spec Hardrock and it's GREAT for me (except the front shock). I mainly use it for urban commuting that takes me through parks, side trails, and unimproved shoulders.

  14. #14
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    This bike has been great! I have done some single-track, multi-track, and commuting on the bike and things have been just great! Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Picked up a Trek 4500 while back, and yeah, they're a heap of fun. Especially for the price. Definately allows you to go more places then people say they should be able to. One thing you will want to look into as you gain more confidence/speed on the 4500: the Bontrager tires WILL wash out. Had it happen a few times, and that was the end of those. The saddle isn't garbage, but for 40 bucks or so, you can get a HECK of a lot better. And the alloy platforms are a little slippery, especially if you're doing AM. My shin has a few good gashes to prove those pedals are not worthy platforms. My wife runs a 4500, and she even replaced them. Go clipless, for the price of decent platforms, its not much more for entry level clipless and shoes. Well worth it.
    1x9 Hardtail, yummy.....

  16. #16
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    I guess this is a P.S, but more of a 4500 side note.... Had a guy tell me the other day that the trail my WIFE AND I were about to head down was "definately not a begginers trail, i would recommend..." This was said from a multi grand FS, and said rider was with other much more expensive rigs, and one old Fish. Well, after only dismounting once on this "not begginer friendly" trail, and getting back just in time to see their last rider dismount, perhaps its not all about the equiptment. Little endurance and line picking and that 4500 will suprise not only you, but people who disregard it as a junky little entry hardtail. I'm sure there's plenty of other bikes out there for the price that can do the same, just makes the people that own em feel a little better at night.
    1x9 Hardtail, yummy.....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndysTrek
    I guess this is a P.S, but more of a 4500 side note.... Had a guy tell me the other day that the trail my WIFE AND I were about to head down was "definately not a begginers trail, i would recommend..." This was said from a multi grand FS, and said rider was with other much more expensive rigs, and one old Fish. Well, after only dismounting once on this "not begginer friendly" trail, and getting back just in time to see their last rider dismount, perhaps its not all about the equiptment. Little endurance and line picking and that 4500 will suprise not only you, but people who disregard it as a junky little entry hardtail. I'm sure there's plenty of other bikes out there for the price that can do the same, just makes the people that own em feel a little better at night.
    I believe that applies to pretty much all situations. A rider's skill makes 90% of the difference, the last 10% is contributed through properly tuned bike. I am not ashamed to admit that my buddy on his cheap IH dept. store bike handled the uphill sections far better than I have ever done; his first time out on the trails too.

    But to the OP, buy within your budget and ensure that if you do want to upgrade, the frame can handle it. The 4500 should be able to handle whatever you throw at it (partswise and rider abuse) if you're starting out, it's got pretty good entry level components.

    About the disc brakes; I'm more than certain that 4500's V brakes will outperform the 4300's discs in dry conditions. I have the same disc brakes on my 08 Wahoo Disc and in all honesty, they aren't throw you over the handlebars strong; good in the wet conditions though... You should only worry about getting disc brakes if the trails you ride on are really muddy or really wet weather, until then v brakes work fine.

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