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Old 02-04-11, 09:54 AM   #1
tycho7
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Just bought a Trek 400

Hey everyone, I just got home with a Trek 400. I'm new to the cycling world, and a friend of mine that works at a bike shop told me to go "80's steel." So I did, anyway I feel like the bike is a little slow, the only other road I've ever ridden was a Trek 1.1 at the bike shop and it was pretty quick, so I don't know if that's a fair comparison.

I'd just like to know if you all have any suggestions for me to increase speed. I figured maybe buying some new gears and chain and all that stuff but like I said I'm still learning. I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have.

Thanks,
Jon
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Old 02-05-11, 07:45 AM   #2
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My first real road bike was a mid 80's trek 420 (could have been a 400..I forget). I rode that bike much faster and with less effort at 165lbs than i do now at 185lbs on a 2.1 Trek. I wouldn't sink too much money in that bike. Just ride it, enjoy yourself, work on your motor, and save your cash for something more current down the road. I would go with clipless pedals if it doesn't have them since you can take them with you to the next bike (and there will be a next bike..or at least another bike). You could have your buddy check to make sure the bearings are all good and greased. You could play with the gears some depending on what it has and what you want. It wasn't really a race caliber bike when it was new, but you can definitely get some great riding out of it. You'll get faster by spending time in the saddle and having fun with it.
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Old 02-05-11, 09:11 AM   #3
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The more you ride, the faster you'll go.
Replace stuff that needs to be replaced.
Clean, lube and adjust what doesn't need to be replaced.
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Old 02-05-11, 10:28 PM   #4
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The best way to increase speed is upgrade the engine.
Depending on year that may be a 531 framed bike and they are quite nice. A bit more of a sport/touring geometry for a softer ride.
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Old 02-06-11, 12:03 AM   #5
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Congrats on your classic Trek. The 400 has a sport touring geometry with longer chain stays, and combine with standard size steel tubing, the frame will flex a lot more than the 1.1. So the 400 has a slower handling, less efficient power transfer, but what you get in return is a more relax, comfy ride with better road feel and a sought after US made classic steel Trek.

To increase speed, try light wheels and tires, and ride more.
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Old 02-07-11, 06:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of the replies. I kind of got excited and ordered a bunch of parts to start work on my bike, but I think I'm going to return them/sell them because as some of you mentioned it would be better to just ride the bike as is to get used to riding in general. I just wanted to make it my "own," by changing stuff out and making it how I wanted it, but I suppose there's always time for that down the road when I have more experience with bikes. Probably rather start with just a frame. Thanks again for your input, it's much appreciated.
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Old 02-07-11, 08:03 AM   #7
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THe 'less efficient power transfer' argument is bull.

If moving parts and bearings are all properly maintained, and you have good quality wheels and tires and the tires are inflated properly then the bike will be fast. The frame has the least effect on speed of all factors.
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Old 02-07-11, 02:34 PM   #8
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THe 'less efficient power transfer' argument is bull.

If moving parts and bearings are all properly maintained, and you have good quality wheels and tires and the tires are inflated properly then the bike will be fast. The frame has the least effect on speed of all factors.
Hate to say it but the frame has a lot to do with handling and a lot on the way the bike rides. You have to take into consideration the geometry of the bike on how it handles and the difference in materials will affect how it feels to ride. I ride C.F and Aluminium and occasionally steel. Each bike feels different but I have a race spec Aluminium bike that is my favourite ride and also a Basic aluminium that is the least favourite- so you cannot even say that "Material" will affect the ride. It is the frame characteristics that denotes how it will ride.

And on the power transfer argument- certain things like a stiff Bottom Bracket and shorter- stiffer chainstays do affect the way power is transmitted to the rear wheel and the way it will climb hills. One of the reasons I still have the C.F.bike. That frame climbs hills easier than the other bikes I have so a long hilly ride and that is my bike of choice. Just a pity that it gives a harsh ride on out rough roads over here so doesn't get used on the faster flatter rides.
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Old 02-07-11, 03:38 PM   #9
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Hate to say it but the frame has a lot to do with handling and a lot on the way the bike rides. You have to take into consideration the geometry of the bike on how it handles and the difference in materials will affect how it feels to ride. I ride C.F and Aluminium and occasionally steel. Each bike feels different but I have a race spec Aluminium bike that is my favourite ride and also a Basic aluminium that is the least favourite- so you cannot even say that "Material" will affect the ride. It is the frame characteristics that denotes how it will ride.

And on the power transfer argument- certain things like a stiff Bottom Bracket and shorter- stiffer chainstays do affect the way power is transmitted to the rear wheel and the way it will climb hills. One of the reasons I still have the C.F.bike. That frame climbs hills easier than the other bikes I have so a long hilly ride and that is my bike of choice. Just a pity that it gives a harsh ride on out rough roads over here so doesn't get used on the faster flatter rides.
Geometry will affect handling but have very little effect on speed - unless the geometry is so mismatched to the rider that he cannot get a reasonably powerful pedal stroke.
And while different materials or designs or construction methods can make a bike more or less flexy, the actual impact on speed is arguable - but reasonable arguments vary from 'a little difference' to 'no difference.' Remember the Vitus bikes from back in the '70s? THey were extremely flexible and people still managed to win high level races on them. If flex directly resulted in considerable power loss then this would have not been possible. I personally believe that you can go slightly faster on a stiffer frame (all other things being equal), but the difference would be so small you would need to set up a double-blind study with multiple riders to really get a conclusive answer. There are many many other things that contribute more to the 'speed' of a bike - tire construction, width, pressure, wheel flex, rider position, aerodynamic ride position, maintenance or lack of...

IN the end, if there are two guys on different but equally well maintained road bikes and one guy is faster then the other it is because that guy is a stronger rider - not because he has a better bike.
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