Best Bike for the Buck

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Best Bike for the Buck

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    • #97451

      I am looking at upgrading from my Trek 4300 and I was wondering what the best bike is out there in the 500-600 dollar range? I’m not brand loyal by any means and I’m willing to give just about anything a shot, but I want to know what you guys found works best. I like to ride a lot of dirt paths, single track, and some pavement as well. I’m hopefully looking for something with disc breaks and a decent front fork. I don’t care if it is a hard tail or soft tail. Any advice?

      Patrick

    • #97452

      I’m not an expert, but from my "research" before I bought a bike, I found the Trek 4300 to already be perhaps the best bike in that price range. Perhaps you might be best to spend your money on upgrades to it?

    • #97453

      The Trek 4300 is a perennial "best buy" in that price range. You might find something "different" but you’d be hard pressed to find something "better". Trek skimps on components to meet the price point (as do other manufacturers in this price range), but the frame is built like a tank and is worthy of upgrades.

      Probably the only option for something "better" in this price range is to buy used.

      -BR

    • #97454

      Sounds like you might have an older Trek 4300, without disc brakes? Maybe just update to the current model. The Kona Fire Mountain is also an excellent buy.

    • #97455

      I’d keep the 4300, even with rim brakes only for general riding. Good frame. Upgrade the fork if you’d like something more plush and less weight. I’d upgrade it!

      Unless the frame doesn’t fit you completely.

    • #97456

      Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. With that in mind, any advice on what forks and discs to get?

    • #97457

      Just one more vote for the Trek 4300 – I rode one from `06 until mid-season last year (when I upgraded to a Trek Fuel EX) – loved it. 😀

      The RST shock mine came with definitely led something to be desired, though – maybe move up to a RockShox or something plusher?

    • #97458
      "pcfiegen" wrote

      Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback. With that in mind, any advice on what forks and discs to get?

      Fork? Depends on your wallet. You could get a Reba or SID. A Tora air might be a nice budget air fork. I like my Tora coil u-turn after I had the right spring put in for my weight. Just make sure you match the original length….I think it has a term, but I’m not sure what that is, sorry.

      http://www.blueskycycling.com/product61 … y-2009.htm

      Brakes? Avid BB7. Solid and easy to setup.

    • #97459
      "tonkota" wrote

      [quote="pcfiegen":3j165vbe]….I think it has a term, but I’m not sure what that is, sorry.

      [/quote:3j165vbe]
      "frame geometry"

    • #97460

      .I think it has a term, but I’m not sure what that is, sorry.

      I think he is talking about "fork travel" madd,if pcfiegen buys a new fork,tonkota wants him to make sure he doesn’t buy a fork with more travel than the frame is built to accept.Although frame geometry can be defined as such,but I think fork travel is what tonkota was looking for,,,,,,,,,,,,I think………hahahahahahah.

    • #97461
      "steve32300" wrote

      .I think it has a term, but I’m not sure what that is, sorry.

      I think he is talking about "fork travel" madd,if pcfiegen buys a new fork,tonkota wants him to make sure he doesn’t buy a fork with more travel than the frame is built to accept.Although frame geometry can be defined as such,but I think fork travel is what tonkota was looking for,,,,,,,,,,,,I think………hahahahahahah.

      I was thinking about the distance from the top where it meets the headset to center of axle and how far forward the axle is from the center of the headset. I dunno if that really makes that much difference in the end though. Just wouldn’t want to put a 140mm fork on a frame designed for 80mm or 100mm.

    • #97462

      Just wouldn’t want to put a 140mm fork on a frame designed for 80mm or 100mm.

      That’s what I was thinking you were talking about.

      The measurement from the top cap would be the steerer tube cut length and is measured from the top of the steerer to the top of the fork crown.

      The fork rake would be how much angle there is in the stancions as opposed to the steerer tube/head tube angle tohow far forward the front axel sits.G2 technology on the gary fisher bikes uses this to the advantage in there bikes.

    • #97463

      My buddy got a 4300 and couldnt ride much with us, he sold it then bought my 2010 Fuel Ex 5 for $800. Maybe u can find a deal on a good used Full Suss somewhere. I dont know what kind of riding you do but I wouldnt think a better fork and disc brakes are gonna do it for you. Maybe try to get into a 6 series trek?

    • #97464

      Personally, I thought the 2008 and 2009 Gary Fisher Wahoo http://fisherbikes.com/bike/archivemodel/457 was the best bike in that range, but since the branding re-org at Trek it is out of production. The bike you are on now has a very upright riding position, and was designed to appeal to novice mountain bikers and people who were likely to spend a as much time riding bike path as actual trail. The biggest difference you are going to find between it, and say the above Fisher, or the Trek 6000 series will be the bike’s geometry. Higher-end hardtail mountain bikes will, as a rule, have a more aggressive riding position, meaning you will be leaning forward more. This will require better hamstring flexibility and strength to be comfortable and efficient, as well as force you to shift your weight back more on descents to avoid endo’ing.

      Your other option is to look a full suspension bikes, but in all honesty, unless you can find a ridiculous deal, any full suspension bike that retails for less than 1,200 bucks new is going to be a disappointment, because one or more serious corners will have been cut in order to get the price any lower. That said, the world of full suspension bikes is practically limitless – a "cross country" bike – traditionally in the 3-4"/80-100mm front and rear travel – will ride like the hard tails described above. A "trail" bike, often in the 4-5"/100mm-130mmm range, will be more upright, have a longer wheelbase, and a shallower headtube angle, making it much better descending and more comfortable to ride.

      You could consider trying to find a 29" hardtail in your price range. New, they tend to be significantly more expensive and heavier than similarly equipped 26" bikes, primarily because the market will allow it (a Gary Fisher Marlin, for instance, has about the sames parts as your 4300, but costs about $100 more). However, the difference in traction and control over your 4300 will be immediately noticeable.

      I would strongly dissuade you from spending serious money on upgrades to your 4300. It is more cost effective to simply get a new bike, there is almost no resale value for the parts you are replacing, and you will have a hard time finding a market for an upgraded 4300, when you will most likely have little problem getting a good price for your bike as-is. If you are going to upgrade the bike, the biggest bang for the buck is brakes. It sounds completely counterintuitive, but you will ride faster, crash less, and have more fun with a quality set of V-brakes (XTR, etc), or if you are on a bike already running discs or have disc-ready wheels, a mid-tier set of hydraulics (Juicy 7s, Lousie BATs, Shimano LX, etc).

      Hope this helps

      stack

    • #97465
      "tonkota" wrote

      [quote="steve32300":12d7f2pz].I think it has a term, but I’m not sure what that is, sorry.

      I think he is talking about "fork travel" madd,if pcfiegen buys a new fork,tonkota wants him to make sure he doesn’t buy a fork with more travel than the frame is built to accept.Although frame geometry can be defined as such,but I think fork travel is what tonkota was looking for,,,,,,,,,,,,I think………hahahahahahah.

      I was thinking about the distance from the top where it meets the headset to center of axle and how far forward the axle is from the center of the headset. I dunno if that really makes that much difference in the end though. Just wouldn’t want to put a 140mm fork on a frame designed for 80mm or 100mm.[/quote:12d7f2pz]

      I think the term you are looking for is the Axle to Crown measurement (or A2C), which is the distance from the axle to the top of the crown, as the crown is where the fork meets the bottom headset cup, and this dictates headtube angle. You can fudge this distance approx. +/- 15mm and not affect the geometry of the bike too much.

      I would recommend a better fork, lighter wheels, and disc brakes as the first upgrades anyone puts on a bike. The 4300 is a fine hardtail when matched with good components.

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