Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Home alone
Bikes: Trek 4300 X 2. Trek 1000, Trek 6000
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I am very familiar with these bikes and the Trek line. I have two Trek 4300's and a Trek 6000. The thing I would use to decide is: How much money do you have for accessories? $120 worth of accessories, like pump, spare tubes, shorts, jersey,computer,seat pack, shoes, clipless pedals, new saddle, etc. will be money much better spent when compared to any minimal gain you will get from going from the 4300 to the 4500.
Remember they are the same frame. I have a Rock Shox dart and I've had two RST forks, they are pretty similar. Very entry level forks which are basically just a spring with no dampening. They will be fine for most casual trail riding, but if you plan to do anything aggressive, there are much better forks for that.
Again, get the 4300 and buy $120 worth of accessories if you don't have money to buy them otherwise.