Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Somewhere between heaven and hell
Bikes: '09 Jamis Komodo, '09 Mirraco Blend One, '08 Cervelo P2C, '08 Specialized Ruby Elite, '07 Yeti AS-R SL, '07 DMR Drone
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Needless to say, the fork on the higher-end bike is a better fork. The sad fact is though, they're both pretty much crap. Just about any fork on a bike at that price level is going to be weak. The nicer fork will treat you better, but if you're really concerned about the fork, plan to upgrade when you get the money, no matter which of the two bikes you go with.
If you have the money, I'd say get the 4500. You get a Deore RD, Avid brakes, and a slightly nicer crank. The shifters and FD are nicer too, though Alivio and Acera aren't really anything to phone home about, but if you get into the sport, you can upgrade them to Deore for not a lot of money. The other differences I see are the stem and tires. A good bike shop will swap out the stem when they're fitting you, so that shouldn't be a concern. And the tires...I hate Bontrager Jones, but that's because they're bad for the conditions I ride...they might be fine for you. No idea what Connection Trail are.