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Old 12-07-11, 09:04 PM   #1
LouisVuitton
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Suggestions for Upgrading a Stock Components 2012 Trek 8.5 DS

So I stopped by my local bike shop and test rode the Trek 8.5 DS and I really like it. They didn't have my size so I pre-ordered it and will have it in within a week. I already have the upgrade bug, so I wanted some suggestions on what I should upgrade. I know it comes with a mix of Shimano Deore and SLX components, but I like my components to be consistent and all the same. What component groupset would you recommend I switch to? I know the road bike groupsets inside/out but I have no clue to the MTB groupsets except that Shimano XTR is better than XT.

I don't want to spend $1,600+ for XTR and since this is going to be my secondary bike for weekday commuting and weekend trail riding, the most I wanted to spend would be for an XT but the SLX seems attractive also. Should I get full Shimano SLX or XT or Saint? Not familiar with the levels of which is better. Are there any SRAM options that are comparable or better performing than the Shimano? Ideally, I'd like to keep it around $600 or less, but if one groupset is light years better and worth it to spend up to $1k, I would highly consider moving up to the next tier.

These are the stock components on the bike:

Shifters: Shimano M590 Deore, 9-speed trigger
Front derailleur: Shimano Deore
Rear derailleur: Shimano SLX Shadow
Crank: Shimano M443 Octalink, 48/36/26
Cassette: SRAM PG-950 11-32, 9 speed
Brakeset: Shimano M446 hydraulic disc brakes w/Shimano hydraulic levers
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Old 12-07-11, 09:09 PM   #2
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I'd go with the fork :/ I'm not sure what use a fork with such small travel is. This is supposed to be like a hyrbid/mountain bike hybrid, yes?
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Old 12-19-11, 10:59 PM   #3
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I would upgrade the front derailleur and the shifters to SLX because you can hardly feel the difference between the SLX and the XT
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Old 12-20-11, 12:12 AM   #4
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For upgrades, what do you plan on using the bike for? If you upgrade to the SLX or XT systems, will you be using them as a 27 speed or 30 speed? Will you be doing more road or mountain biking? If you upgrade to a whole system, know that the gear ratios will change. The stock gearing up front is 26/36/48. For the SLX and XT(MTB based) it is 22/32/44. Better for climbing but much slower for road.

Another thing i have learned from my DS is that the Fork definitely does not have enough travel for heavy mountain bike use. probably the max i would do to keep it safe is Single track. I have taken mine off 35+mph downhills with 4' jumps at the end of them and although i make it..i bottom out so much i am starting to hurt my wrists. It needs 80-100mm worth of travel. But keep in mind, once you start getting longer travel forks, the geometry changes and it will be more twitchy on steering. The stock tires also need to be upgraded to wider tires for more grip when you are going on high speed downhills.

As for Road, there really isn't much to upgrade but tires. It is just as fast as a roadbike, but doesn't have the Aero's of a road bike..

At this point, you might want to ask yourself, "Do you want to upgrade to make it handle like a mountain bike or do you just BUY a mountain bike?"

I upgraded my DS 8.4 to match the components of the 8.5. I have the Deore shifters, Crank, SLX rear derailer, and Shimano Brakes. SO far, they have been STELLAR! I didn't upgrade to a bigger fork because i decided im going to put the $$ into a real mountain bike and keep my DS a hybrid. You may or may not go this route, but it is one way to look at your upgrade goals. Im saving up for a Trek Mamba. =)

Best of luck on our new ride! What ever you decide to do, make sure it is right for YOU and no one else.
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Old 01-12-12, 11:02 PM   #5
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Nice post as usual ZeroG.

I take delivery of my 8.4 next week. Live in Fl, will ride the coastal trails and inland park trails (mostly) year round, will hit the Carolina hills in summer. Will ride 60 - 80 miles a week initially. What immediate upgrade(s) would you recommend for my style of riding?

Thanks for all your detailed posts, you helped me reach a confident decision and info on these hybrids have been scarce.
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Old 01-13-12, 01:05 AM   #6
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Nice post as usual ZeroG.

I take delivery of my 8.4 next week. Live in Fl, will ride the coastal trails and inland park trails (mostly) year round, will hit the Carolina hills in summer. Will ride 60 - 80 miles a week initially. What immediate upgrade(s) would you recommend for my style of riding?
Im not familiar at all with the trails in FL being that im from Cali, but i think the surface of your trails will make the biggest decision on how you want to upgrade. Stock tires are great, but if you have a lot of Loose Sand, then you will need wider tires. Are your coastal trails paved or dirt? Are the Carolina Hills gradual climbs or are they very steep? If they are and you need more help climbing, you can change your rear cassette from 11-32 to BIG 11-34! The 34T Cog makes climbing so easy! Are they smooth downhills or are they similar to the youtube vids i have been posting? Assuming your 60-90 miles a week averages to 20 miles a day, how will your comfort on your bike be?

I guess what i am trying to say is before you start changing your bike up, find out what your needs are. My original goals for my 8.4 is to have the same components as the 8.5 as a BASE since the 8.5 wasn't available to me at the time. After riding my 8.4 for a month with my 8.5 Components, the one thing that never went away was Saddle Sore. SOme people LOVE the stock Saddle. Some, like me, just didn't feel good. I got a little used to it, but wasn't perfect. I got measured to find out what size saddle i needed and turns out i needed a 130mm saddle. The stock was 140mm. I ended up with this saddle from Nashbar for $30.

It was a lot more firm than the stock one, and ALL of my buddies who started riding with me said it was too hard. It was firm for maybe 10 minutes, then after a 4 hour bike ride, and many many more after, i have yet to be sore at all.

My point is, other than the upgrades to match my ideal bike, the saddle was my first real upgrade. Yeah, i got a drink holder and bar ends for comfort, but i find that i hardly ever use the bar ends now. I also got a seat bag to hold my tools, bike computer, and spare tube. They all add up..i agree, but the best way to know what you need is to ride it and see. I hope this helps!
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Old 01-13-12, 06:35 PM   #7
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I have the 8.5, and I really don't think upgrading the front derailleur is necessary, as it shifts very easily and smoothly. The rear derailleur on mine has never shifted as well as I think it should, but I'm not sure if that's a problem with the way it's calibrated or if there's an issue with the cable sticking (it takes a few seconds to shift sometimes).

For road riding, I have found the forks work well; if you want a serious mountain bike with a little more of the hybrid speed, it's my opinion that it would be better to buy a mountain bike and add a larger front crank (I've done that, and it's fairly simple to do).

The only upgrades I have done to my 8.5 are slicker tires for road riding, a Thudbuster seat post and better saddle, and grippier pedals. I am in the process of adding a higher stem and handlebars for more comfort, but I would say that the 8.5 is pretty much ready to ride as is.

Last edited by Deathly Hallows; 01-13-12 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 01-13-12, 08:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice guys, I'm going to take your advice and ride the 8.4 stock for a while before tweak it. My LBS said i can change out anything in the first month or so for full credit toward upgrades and they've already thrown in a very good WB cage, flat kit, riding gloves and two tubes....

From what I hear, I'm lucky to be getting my bike next week as the 8.4 is on back order till March.
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Old 01-13-12, 11:54 PM   #9
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Good call! Yeah...the 8.4's don't stay in very long. Although i have not seen another on the streets or trails...4 LBS here can't seem to keep them in. GO Figure.
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Old 01-19-12, 08:54 PM   #10
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picked up my 8.4 Tuesday, (the bike is stunning to look at by the way, had one guy offer to buy from me wheeling it out of the shop)... anyway , enough gloating. I have 30 miles on her and think I want to upgrade the pedals right off - not ready for clipless yet but would like something with more bite. I currently have the stock welgo nylon / aluminum pedals.

Question - what are the good options for lightweight platform pedals?
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Old 01-19-12, 10:53 PM   #11
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picked up my 8.4 Tuesday, (the bike is stunning to look at by the way, had one guy offer to buy from me wheeling it out of the shop)... anyway , enough gloating. I have 30 miles on her and think I want to upgrade the pedals right off - not ready for clipless yet but would like something with more bite. I currently have the stock welgo nylon / aluminum pedals.

Question - what are the good options for lightweight platform pedals?
A lot of riders here like Crank Brothers. I am clipless myself..but i would probably get something like this for platforms.
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product..._10000__202460
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Old 01-20-12, 12:35 AM   #12
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You could go with something like these pedals. SPD on one side and pins on the other.

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._#ReviewHeader
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Old 01-20-12, 03:35 PM   #13
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Cool

Thanks again ZeroG (and Pendergast)

Tweaked the bike today.

Spent some quality time at the LBS where they had an extensive stock of pedals - all the options. I went with the Crank Brothers 5050 /3's in a gold/silver color combo, not only do they look fantastic on the bike they are very smooth and have a nice sticky pin pattern ( http://crankbrothers.com/pedals_5050_3.php). Splurged on a Serfas Terrazo TRS 1 saddle (https://www.serfas.com/products/view...|index|saddles), put a new stem on and ordered the continental hybrid tire, get those next week.

Toughed out a 15 mile Siesta Key ride in the brutal 75 degree sunny blue sky winter weather we have to endure down here in paradise and could not have been happier with my upgrades. The pedals and the saddle together make a HUGE difference in comfort. The stem allowed me to ride in a more comfortable upright position when I wanted. I can only imagine the smoother tires will add to the level of satisfaction.

Thanks to everyone on the thread - especially ZeroG, really great sound honest advice that helped me make a good decision on a great bike. I'm in a little over $1,100 with all the upgrades and have a bike that suits my needs perfectly.
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Old 01-20-12, 04:52 PM   #14
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Way to go Mr Mojo! Now, we will be eagerly awaiting some pix of your adventures! Happy Riding!
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Old 01-25-12, 07:40 PM   #15
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I had a question for those riding the DS/Montare/Utopia models. Did any of you look at the Marlin 29er? The price is pretty sweet and the 2012 looks REALLY sweet in the green. I think it is slightly more MTB where the others might be more road oriented if possible? Just wondering if it would serve as a do it all type bike just like the others? Maybe just slap a skinnier tire on it and get the same ride with a cool green color?
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Old 01-28-12, 02:12 AM   #16
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I had a question for those riding the DS/Montare/Utopia models. Did any of you look at the Marlin 29er? The price is pretty sweet and the 2012 looks REALLY sweet in the green. I think it is slightly more MTB where the others might be more road oriented if possible? Just wondering if it would serve as a do it all type bike just like the others? Maybe just slap a skinnier tire on it and get the same ride with a cool green color?
The Green Marlin looks Killer!!! You can easily put some road tires on it and ride with no issues. The Marlin's frame is a TRUE 29er frame allowing you to use the wider 29" tires on it (29x2.25) unlike the DS series where the rear tubes are shorter therefor your clearance for a larger rear wheel is very limited(up to a 29x2.0" tire)

The Marlin also has 100mm of travel on the Fork compared to the Ds with only 60mm.(It just isn't enough for MTBing IMO). If you were more of a Roadie compared to a MTBer, then this wouldn't be an issue. The only other thing to consider also is that the Marlin only has 24 speeds compared to the 8.4/8.5 with 27 speeds. The Marlin also has MTB gears for steep climbing on the cranks(22/32/44) while the Ds series has more road gears(26/36/48) for more top speed on the streets.
SO the question is, what will you be riding on more? Paved or Dirt? If your paved runs are not very long then the Marlin will be fine with street tires. But if you are mostly on the road with SOME dirt, then the DS series is the way to go. Both great bikes. DS series does both Road and MTB, although not great, it is very capable. The Marlin is a SPECIFIC built bike which will do most of your MTB needs very well for the price. Obviously the more expensive Hardtail 29er MTB's will be even more capable..but for the price range of the Marlin, if does great..one of my MTB buddies ride one with his dad and has done very well with it. SO, if you can answer what kinda riding you wanna do, that should help you with your decision..hopefully.
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Old 01-28-12, 04:30 AM   #17
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Any progess pics????
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