old trek 4300
Hey all. Looking for some tips. My main interest is using my road bike, but to stay in shape on the down times i like to hit the trails. I have an old 4300 trek, im guessing around 2003. Most of it is beat to s**t, front derailleur broke off, brake cables are shot..etc. But it gets the job done. I was thinking of upgrading most of the components on my bike. I dont have money for top of the line things or a new bike. My goal is to replace the main working parts derailleur, crank, chain, brakes, cassette, than later on, little by little replace handle bars, seat, forks...etc. My questions are...am i wasting my time putting better quality components on a mediocre frame? And if i do, how do i find out if the parts will fit on my model bike? Thanks for everyones help.
Regarding whether it will be worth it.... I think that fixing the bike to a ride able state by getting the new parts you mentioned would be worth it, however you should realize that even after getting these new parts you will have spent probably a little over $100 for a new crank set,derailleur, chain, brakes and a cassette. I think by upgrading the handle bars, seat, fork and what not wouldn't be the best choice. You would probably be in the bike about $450 (For all the rest of the parts and the later ones listed) or more if you plan on getting the LBS to install the parts. For $450 you are getting close to a pretty good quality HT.
I think that any time it starts being "most of the components," it's no longer worth it unless it's a special frame or you've decided you'd rather start on a bare frame and select everything to personal preference. That being said, not too much of my Hardrock is stock anymore. Next bike had better be a transfer onto a really nice frame.
Focus on keeping the bike rolling and shifting. Don't worry too much about upgrading.
Start with new cable runs and a new chain. You'll be able to tell better if your cassette and rings are worn out with a new chain on. If your rear shifting doesn't improve, or gets worse, you need a new cassette. If your front shifting gets worse or you start getting chainsuck, you need a new chainring.
Normally, I'd say not to run out and get a new crankset, but it looks like you have one with a non-standard bolt pattern. So if any of your rings is worn, you pretty much have to. I've got a Shimano SLX crank I'm very happy with; I think the LX and Deore cranks probably give comparable performance.
Do you have the disc or non-disc version of the 4300? If you've got the non-disc, upgrading to discs will probably require a whole new wheelset. Kool Stop brake pads will give you better performance, though. If it's already disc, you can upgrade more easily but going to hydraulic discs would still be expensive. Upgrading to disc or upgrading to hydros are both likely to be comparable in price to getting a whole new bike, although if you shop around and do EBay, you can do it for less.
As far as the other components... If you never got around to fitting the bike to you, it's always worthwhile to do that. Otherwise, it probably won't effect your riding experience much to replace things. A new, better fork will give you a pretty big improvement in performance, but it's quite expensive. Good tires are relatively cheap, and can make a night-and-day difference in how the bike performs.
Figuring out parts compatibility is pretty much the same as on a road bike, except that you need to be careful about putting a longer-travel suspension fork on a bike - stick with something that matches what you have.
For bang-for-the-buck expenditure on an existing bike, stick with replacing things that are worn out, get a stem that makes the bike fit you right, and get good tires. Then stop.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx