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  1. #1
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Trek 400 model year 1992

    I just bought an older lugged Trek 400 with True Temper Steel. It's white with red decals. I did a little research to find out what year it was and I think it's a 1992 model based on the information I found on this site http://www.vintage-trek.com/model_numbers1.htm.

    I have a couple of questions:
    Were these decent bikes (quality steel, components, etc.)? I'm mostly wondering if the frames were good quality since everything else I'm willing to upgrade over time.

    Is it worth putting money into it to restore it and replace components?

    Any information and or opinions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    It is a lower-end Trek. But that makes it a respectably good bike.


    Is it worth putting money into? Impossible to answer this question without more info. What needs to be replaced? What do you want to do with the bike?

    In short, if you are interested in making this bike really modern, then it is probably not a good deal to start with this bike. If you are interested in tinkering and then riding around on a cool old bike, then probably it is. Assuming it is a good condition, you might find that new cables are needed. They seem to never hold up. Might need new tires/tubes.

    jim

  3. #3
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Thanks Jim.

    The rear derailleur seems to be in bad shape. It works but would probably need to be replaced soon. The frame is in great condition. Some paint chips here and there but no rust.

    I have a Cannondale R800 that I bought last november that is more or less my Cadillac or perhaps my Porsche. I live in New York and would never lock that up outside for more then 15 minutes, so I was looking for something that was a little less theft worthy.

    That being said I don't want to ride a complete bomb. I was hoping to get this in great riding shape, so I'll enjoy riding it but not be too concerned about it getting stolen.

    Since it's a low end model does that mean the frame isn't very good?

  4. #4
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    Since it's a low end model does that mean the frame isn't very good?
    No, not at all. Treks have always been pretty consistently good. I have a "low end Trek" (330, to be specific. It is lower than yours, I think.) that I think very highly of. It will never be collectable, but it is a very nice bike. Great ride and decent components. I think mine is doubled butted TrueTemper CroMO, btw. Not all fancy, but certainly respectable.


    For the use you describe, this is a good bike. Maybe even too nice? A few little things like a rear derailleur can add up quickly. If you can find the time to scrounge for used and are willing/able to do the work yourself, then definitely this bike is worth doing. But, if the answer to the two above questions are no, then you may find yourself having to put quite a bit of money into it.

    Here is how to make the decision easier: Determine what a mechanically fully functional Schwinn World will sell for in your area. (Here, that would be around $50-$100 or so.) Those types of bikes can be found readily. It would be just fine for your purpose. So, if your repair bill is going to be much higher than that, then you may be wasting your money.

    Unless you just like the challenge of it. Or would rather not ride the bare minimum. Or would like to have the option of actually riding it on the road as it was intended.

  5. #5
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    I definitely need to get a new stem (it's way too long now). It also needs new pedals. The seat post and seat clamp are HEAVY. I don't think it's original, so I might want to replace that. I also think it has tubular tires on it, so I'd eventually need to get a new wheel set.

    It's probably going to be a bit more money then I originally wanted to spend on this bike. Perhaps I'll do it over time. Get the essentials first like new pedals and stem, and get everything else like wheel set and derailleur once they fail.

    Thanks for your input Jim.

  6. #6
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    I also think it has tubular tires on it, so I'd eventually need to get a new wheel set.
    If the wheelset is original, as spec in the 1992 brochure, they're clinchers. Matrix Titans? I recently purchased an '87 400T with a Matrix Titan wheelset. They look like good, solid wheels: 36 14G stainless spokes, double-walled eyeletted rims. I'd keep them if I were you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    If the wheelset is original, as spec in the 1992 brochure, they're clinchers. Matrix Titans? I recently purchased an '87 400T with a Matrix Titan wheelset. They look like good, solid wheels: 36 14G stainless spokes, double-walled eyeletted rims. I'd keep them if I were you.
    I'm not really sure what they are. I don't have the bike next to me. When I take a look at it again I'll post the details. They're black anodized aluminum rims and what looks like tubular tires. They're 700 19, which doesn't seem like what would have been on there originally.

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    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    You live in NYC, your RD is shot, you have horizontal drops - this bike needs to be converted to a fixie, and you can start cheaply as a single speed. Ditch both derailleurs, freewheel and shifters, buy a rear SS freewheel to match either your big or small chainwheel, a 16T would be a good start to go with the small 42T front - correct chainline, too. Shorten your chain, move any washers on the rear axle needed to get a 42-43mm chainline, redish the wheel (no new spokes required). See if you can swap your removed drivetrain parts and stem for another stem and cash to pay for the SS freewheel and single-stack chainring bolts. No additional investment required (or very little).

  9. #9
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    You live in NYC, your RD is shot, you have horizontal drops - this bike needs to be converted to a fixie, and you can start cheaply as a single speed. Ditch both derailleurs, freewheel and shifters, buy a rear SS freewheel to match either your big or small chainwheel, a 16T would be a good start to go with the small 42T front - correct chainline, too. Shorten your chain, move any washers on the rear axle needed to get a 42-43mm chainline, redish the wheel (no new spokes required). See if you can swap your removed drivetrain parts and stem for another stem and cash to pay for the SS freewheel and single-stack chainring bolts. No additional investment required (or very little).
    You mean like all the cool kids?

    That's not a bad idea but I think it has vertical drops. I'll take another look at it tonight. I just got the bike yesterday and can't remember what it has.

    You know your bike jive. I kinda have no idea what you just said. I'm still learning about building up bikes and fixing them etc., but I have a friend that knows more than me so I'll talk to him about the possibility.

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinnah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgedwa
    It is a lower-end Trek. But that makes it a respectably good bike.
    I think the issue is the quality of the frame, not the componentry. I'm not sure I would rank this as a lower end frame.

    The tubing is True Temper RC2. My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong on this) is that RC2 is high quality seamed Cr-Mo. In fact, I thought that True Temper was one of the tubing manufacturers that really got it right on producing seamed tube sets on par with drawn tube sets. Also, the 92 400 is Cr-Mo through out, including the fork and stays. See http://www.vintage-trek.com/refurbish.htm for the butting info.

    If there is any potential complaint about the quality of the 92s is that I think (repeat, think) that by this time Trek was using a cast head tube that integrated the upper and lower "lugs" and the head "tube" into a single unified cast piece. That is, 1 piece, not 3! This added a bit to the total weight but drove production costs down.

    Still, I wouldn't right this off as a low end frame. I would rather have one of these fully Cr-Mo frames than a handbuilt production frame with hi-ten forks and stays.

    Last comment.... you get funky RD cable routing issues with the through the CS routing. Many folks have gotten indexed RDs to work with some fiddling.

  11. #11
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinnah
    I think the issue is the quality of the frame, not the componentry. I'm not sure I would rank this as a lower end frame.

    The tubing is True Temper RC2. My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong on this) is that RC2 is high quality seamed Cr-Mo. In fact, I thought that True Temper was one of the tubing manufacturers that really got it right on producing seamed tube sets on par with drawn tube sets. Also, the 92 400 is Cr-Mo through out, including the fork and stays. See http://www.vintage-trek.com/refurbish.htm for the butting info.

    If there is any potential complaint about the quality of the 92s is that I think (repeat, think) that by this time Trek was using a cast head tube that integrated the upper and lower "lugs" and the head "tube" into a single unified cast piece. That is, 1 piece, not 3! This added a bit to the total weight but drove production costs down.

    Still, I wouldn't right this off as a low end frame. I would rather have one of these fully Cr-Mo frames than a handbuilt production frame with hi-ten forks and stays.

    Last comment.... you get funky RD cable routing issues with the through the CS routing. Many folks have gotten indexed RDs to work with some fiddling.
    Thanks for your informative post. It sounds like basically what your saying is that this frame is neither great quality nor low quality sort of middle of the road. The bike does feel pretty heavy although I have no idea where the weight is coming from frame or components.

    I would like to get this bike in great riding shape and looking really nice, but I just don't want to spend the money on it for a frame that is considered worthless or at least not worthy of an upgrade.

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    If the wheelset is original, as spec in the 1992 brochure, they're clinchers. Matrix Titans? I recently purchased an '87 400T with a Matrix Titan wheelset. They look like good, solid wheels: 36 14G stainless spokes, double-walled eyeletted rims. I'd keep them if I were you.
    I just took a look at the wheel set. They are a brand called Wolber. They're made in France. They also say "Hard Anodized" "GTX 2" "700 Brake Micro Flashing Treatment"

    The tires say Prologue VRS 700x19c Hook Bead Rim. They also say Schwinn in very tiny type. The "Hook Bead Rim" I assume confirms that they are clinchers and not tubulars as I thought. Is that right? Does anyone know anything about these rims? Are these rims any good, and can I put fatter tires on them?

    Any one else care to chime in about the worthiness of upgrading such a bike.

    Thanks again for all your input.

  13. #13
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Right on clinchers. I still vote for the cheapest route - the single speed conversion. Then you can lighten up the seatpost, wheelset (although the rims are alloy and maybe a reasonable weight), handlebars and such at your leisure while still having a perfectly enjoyable ride. The TT tubing is fine, but from old reviews the ride is a little less compliant than 531 or SL.

  14. #14
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinnah
    Last comment.... you get funky RD cable routing issues with the through the CS routing. Many folks have gotten indexed RDs to work with some fiddling.
    The cable runs underneath the chainstay not through it. Did all the 400's run through the chainstay, or am I misunderstanding what you mean by routing through the Chainstay.

  15. #15
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    Right on clinchers. I still vote for the cheapest route - the single speed conversion. Then you can lighten up the seatpost, wheelset (although the rims are alloy and maybe a reasonable weight), handlebars and such at your leisure while still having a perfectly enjoyable ride. The TT tubing is fine, but from old reviews the ride is a little less compliant than 531 or SL.
    Good to know about the tires being clinchers. The dropouts are vertical can it still be converted to a fixed gear or single speed?

  16. #16
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    I thought from the 92 brochure they looked like short horizontal dropouts. A little work is in order. I'll be back.

    Are you sure? - the pic in the 92 brochure has a dropout adjustment screw, so it has to be horizontal. If from the serial number it was a late '92, it may really be '93 specs. checking that one out.

    No cromolly 400 in '93 so has to be a '92. Assuming it has verticals, the chainstay measurement is 43.0cm. With that info you take it to this calculator
    and decide your gearing. Most SS/FG riders use from about 70 to 80 gear inches on the street. We'll start off with the cheapest out and at the lower end of the gearing, and a 52*19 gives you 71 gear inches, fits a 43cm exactly, and you have a 52 front chainring already, so your only purchase is the 19 tooth single freewheel. (+ SS chainring bolts)
    Last edited by vpiuva; 04-02-07 at 08:02 PM.

  17. #17
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    Good to know about the tires being clinchers. The dropouts are vertical can it still be converted to a fixed gear or single speed?
    Wolber GTX were decent middle of the road rims, I believe. I had a pair, and they served me well for a couple years before I sold the bike. I think they are double-walled and eyeleted.

    What hubs are they laced to? You can purchase inexpensive conversion kits to build a single speed. It's easier with a freehub (cassette hub rather than a screw-on freewheel), because you don't have to redish the wheel. However, with vertical dropouts, you would need a chain tensioner, but you can always use an old derailleur as a tensioner! See here for Sheldon Brown's write-up on SS conversions. If you do go that route, you might also want to check out the Singlespeed & Fixed forum.

    Your other option is to find an inexpensive rear derailleur and ride it geared. If I were you, I wouldn't dump tons of money into it just yet. Whip it into shape with new tires, brakepads, cables, etc. and ride it for a while. If you like the feel and performance of the bike, then it's a keeper. If not, you can strip whatever new parts you got for it and put them on something else.

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    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Boo creepy chain tensioner. Big negative style points. That's why we used that linked calculator to avoid it.

    Redishing the wheel is a positive, not a negative because you are removing some (to all) of the dish.

    My '94 Trek is a SS conversion with vertical drops running 47*17 (70 gear inches) and no chain tensioner. Click on the bottom right in my signature for pics.

  19. #19
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    Wolber GTX were decent middle of the road rims, I believe. I had a pair, and they served me well for a couple years before I sold the bike. I think they are double-walled and eyeleted.
    Cool. Good to know. Can I put fatter tires on them. The 700 19c are a bit too skinny.

    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    What hubs are they laced to? You can purchase inexpensive conversion kits to build a single speed. It's easier with a freehub (cassette hub rather than a screw-on freewheel), because you don't have to redish the wheel. However, with vertical dropouts, you would need a chain tensioner, but you can always use an old derailleur as a tensioner! See here for Sheldon Brown's write-up on SS conversions. If you do go that route, you might also want to check out the Singlespeed & Fixed forum.
    The front hub is Shimano 105. I'm not sure about the rear it doesn't say. That Sheldon Brown is a genius! Thanks for the link I'll read up on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    Your other option is to find an inexpensive rear derailleur and ride it geared. If I were you, I wouldn't dump tons of money into it just yet. Whip it into shape with new tires, brakepads, cables, etc. and ride it for a while. If you like the feel and performance of the bike, then it's a keeper. If not, you can strip whatever new parts you got for it and put them on something else.
    This is probably what I'll end up doing. I like geared bikes. I'll fix the essentials and see how it goes. If I really like the bike then I'll consider putting more money into it.

  20. #20
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    Boo creepy chain tensioner. Big negative style points. That's why we used that linked calculator to avoid it.

    Redishing the wheel is a positive, not a negative because you are removing some (to all) of the dish.

    My '94 Trek is a SS conversion with vertical drops running 47*17 (70 gear inches) and no chain tensioner. Click on the bottom right in my signature for pics.
    I attempted one SS build on a frame with short horizontal dropouts. Not much room for error! I was building it on the cheap, so I used the existing front 42 ring, had to buy some single stack chainring bolts, and went with a 16T rear for the supposed benefit of running even front/rear teeth. Didn't know about that calculator.

    I also tried redishing the cheap Araya rims (R.A.D. - your Wolbers are far better) and I got the chainline damn near perfect, but I ended up with a hop in the rim. Retensioned it 3 times but couldn't get it out. Umpteen hours of labor down the drain. I finally just ordered a SS conversion kit I hope to use on an old set of wheels with a freehub...no need to redish! I just hope the kit is compatible with a 7 speed freehub!

  21. #21
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    Boo creepy chain tensioner. Big negative style points. That's why we used that linked calculator to avoid it.
    Yeah I don't want negative style points. I'm all ready nerdy enough I don't need any extra help.

    Quote Originally Posted by vpiuva
    Redishing the wheel is a positive, not a negative because you are removing some (to all) of the dish.

    My '94 Trek is a SS conversion with vertical drops running 47*17 (70 gear inches) and no chain tensioner. Click on the bottom right in my signature for pics.
    Wait I'm confused so you can convert it to a single speed just not a fixed gear right?

  22. #22
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    Cool. Good to know. Can I put fatter tires on them. The 700 19c are a bit too skinny.
    I ran 25s on mine no problem. Again, it's back to Sheldon Brown! He's got a chart (look near the bottom of the page) giving "safe" tire and rim width matches. You just need to measure the inside diameter of those rims...you can get an inexpensive micrometer at most hardware stores. Good tool to have when working on bikes.

  23. #23
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    Wait I'm confused so you can convert it to a single speed just not a fixed gear right?
    You can do anything you want!

    But for a fixed gear on the cheap (without buying a dedicated rear hub), you'd need a thread-on hub, not a freehub, to "fix" the gear to the hub. With fixed gear, there's no coasting - the pedals keep moving until the bike comes to a rest. Personally, I wouldn't try it in NYC, but lots of people do...without brakes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member R.A.D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    I ran 25s on mine no problem. Again, it's back to Sheldon Brown! He's got a chart (look near the bottom of the page) giving "safe" tire and rim width matches. You just need to measure the inside diameter of those rims...you can get an inexpensive micrometer at most hardware stores. Good tool to have when working on bikes.
    Cool. The 19s are crazy thin.

  25. #25
    * vpiuva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.D.
    Wait I'm confused so you can convert it to a single speed just not a fixed gear right?
    I proposed a single speed first: 1. to get you started into this before going fixed, and 2. cheaper to start out with - no rear hub replacement. Putting a fixed cog on a standard road freewheel hub can be done, but it's referred to as a "suicide" hub because it will break loose at just the wrong time.

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