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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    Using my Trek 4300 for Some Downhill

    Hey guys, I tried to do as much research as I could before taking up everyones time with a thread, but I cant seem to find the clearcut answer that I'm looking for (and it may not exist).

    So I have an 07 Trek 4300 that I've been riding since I was in middle school/early high school (currently finishing up sophomore year in college), and I really love the bike. It's served me very well since I've gotten it and it has been used for everything from trail riding to getting me to class today on campus. I'm from Long Island, and when I'm home from school I mostly stick to trail riding around the area. With summer coming and the school year winding down I've been thinking about things to do besides work this summer and I really want to try some dedicated downhill biking. Being in the northeast, there are a multitude of mountains (Mt. Snow, Mountain Creek, etc.) that offer lift service and downhill biking in the summer, and I really want to head up and try it out when they open.

    The big question for me is: will I be able to take my bike on some easy/intermediate dh trails at ski resorts? I know that this type of riding isn't what the 4300 was designed for, but I'm wondering if with fork and wheel upgrades the bike would be up to the task. I'm not planning to take it off cliffs or do anything "completely" reckless and stupid, just get it down the mountain and have fun doing so. That being said, I don't know a whole lot about downhill still, at least in terms of firsthand riding experience, and don't want to wind up completely in over my head. I guess I just want to know if this would be very reckless and put me at risk to seriously injure myself or snap my bike frame. I also don't know if I'm being over cautious (and I don't really know how intense the terrain is at Mt. Snow), but from what I've gathered so far dh can be extremely straining on the bike and rider.

    I'm definitely not opposed to doing upgrades to the bike like suspension and wheels, even if its going to be costly and time consuming. For some reason I'm sort of attached to my Trek and not really ready to upgrade to a full suspension bike. Even if I were to buy a full suspension bike now or down the road, I'd still want a hard tail and keep my trek anyway....so I feel doing some upgrades to it wont really be in vain. However, if the frame really is a dead end then I understand that even if I put fox 32 floats on it the bike will still be limited; I just want to know if that is the case. Bottom line: if I can make the bike dh worthy ill lay down the cash.

    Sorry for the long post, and any input is greatly appreciated. Any advice on modifications I can do to make it work, or straight up telling me its not going to work is fine. I guess I should also probably add that Im 20 years old, about 5'10", and 160lbs. Also I have disc brakes on the bike that I added the year after I originally got it. Thank you everyone for your time

  2. #2
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    Hire a proper DH bike.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  3. #3
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    If you can rent a DH bike it's probably worth the money.

    However, when I was younger and in your situation in the mid - late 90's, hardtail XC bikes were very common at the ski resort downhill trails that I went to (Loon Mtn & Bretton Woods in NH) Shoot, I remember once going with my younger brother, who rode his rigid KHS and somehow managed to not die.

    Yeah, you can't go as fast or get mega air, but it's still fun.

    I had a blast on my 2.5-ish" travel Rockshox Judy XC, canti brakes, and 1.95's on my '95 Marin on the DH courses.

    If it's only once in a while, you can go and have fun, as long as you're not out to set any speed records.

    One big advantage you have over what I did is the brakes...those canti's got hot and lost effectiveness, and on one ride I destroyed a set of pads and really gouged up my rims on my Univega (RockShox Quad 5 fork - 48mm travel!) because it was very muddy. A blast, but hard on the bike. At least with disks you'll have confidence in stopping power....those canti's made for a white knuckle ride by the bottom of the hill!

  4. #4
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    Can you make it down the hill with it? Maybe Will it be as much fun as a DH bike? Nope.

    No matter how many upgrades you do it's still going to be a cross country hardtail. Rent a DH bike if you can and if you find that you really enjoy it start looking for a used one.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the input guys, I think its probably what I needed to hear. I really don't want to destroy the bike, and rentals aren't that expensive anyway. I still think it would be kinda cool to at least try it on my bike; maybe ill do a run with one of my friends dh bikes and scope out the terrain to be safe.

    However, I've had this Trek for a while and wouldn't mind doing some upgrades whether I ever take it down a mountain or not. I know that it's an entry level bike and that some would probably say its not worth upgrading, but if I don't intend to replace it anytime soon and since it fulfills everything I need in a cross country bike I don't mind spending money on it. Plus the original RST shocks that are on it are so stiff at this point that they really might as well not be there lol. I'm assuming new wheels/tires and a fork would be a good place to start? Any recommendations on specific ones? Still kinda new to the cycling parts scene and whats good/not (aside from top shelf name brands). I was thinking about trying spank tweet-28 evos for wheels but figuring out what hub I would need is a little confusing.

  6. #6
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    I say go, just try it on your Trek and have fun. If I were you I would just service that RST fork myself. It's not worth spending hundreds of dollars on a new Fox/RS/Manitou/Marzocchi/Suntour for such an old mid-level bike. Your RST is stiff because it hasn't been cleaned and regreased for a very long time. Open it, clean it, apply lots of new grease and keep using it. It should feel like a brand new fork. Your wheels also should be fine, maybe they will need a bit of truing after a few downhill rides but I'm sure they wont fall apart. In short your Trek is a good bike, use it, love it and if it breaks during a downhill run, next time rent a DH bike

  7. #7
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    Thats what its looking like, a couple of the other people I'm going with have Trek 4 series bikes and are fine sticking to some of the easier terrain and riding with care, so I'll probably use it at least a little. If I really want to tackle harder terrain or break something on the Trek I'll just have to rent!

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