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  1. #1
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    I've been looking at the Trek 4300 and the Specialized Hardrock Sport, as many have suggested in this forum (a newbie who knows what the search function is!), and I like both bikes. I love the frame on the Specialized, looks-wise, but that's lower on my list of reasons to buy a bike, in my book. Both bikes feel very similar to me when riding them, which I've done several times. The Specialized seems to have a little more aggressive posture to it, but I think that might be because it's 1" bigger, and therefore I have to lean 1" out farther. It's really a small difference, though.

    Anyway, the one thing I seemed to notice was that the 4300 shifted a bit more smoothly than the Hardrock. This would make sense, right, since the 4300 has Alivio rear derailleur and the Hardrock has the Acera rear derailleur? According to what I've read on this site, the Alivio is slightly higher quality than the Acera, so I'm wondering if this is what I'm experiencing, or if this difference should be barely noticeable, and perhaps due to tuning? Finally, if the smooth shifting is what's keeping me from getting the Hardrock, would dropping another $10 on an Alivio rear derailleur on ebay make these bikes shift identically? Would dropping ~$20 on a Deore rear derailleur be even better? Shifting smoothness is a high priority for me, and I'm coming off of my old-ass Diamond Back with Deore LX shifters and derailleurs. Those are too beat up now to transfer over, but I did get used to pretty smooth shifts. Is there more to rear shifting smoothness than the rear derailleur?

    Also, I read on this forum that the crankset on the Hardrock is superior to the 4300. What does that mean to me? It's less likely to break? Do you notice a difference in ride quality?

    Thanks for your help, I hope to pick a bike by tomorrow! How exciting!

    -tslug
    Last edited by tslugmo; 06-09-04 at 09:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    The alivio and acera derailleurs are both low low end and there isnt any real difference between them. That being said, talk to a mechanic at the shop and ask him to go through the shifting on the hardrock. A deore derailleur would be a good upgrade right away.

  3. #3
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    "Is there more to..." - derailleur hanger alignment; derailleur adjustment; chain quality, length, and condition; cassette quality & condition; housing & cable quality, housing length, and cleanliness of the housing and cable sliding through it; shifter quality (When cost is an issue, always upgrade the shifters and downgrade the derailleurs), rider skill & experience; etc. And don't even start worrying about the crankset.

    Go with the bike that makes you smile the most when you're riding it (And accept that you'll likely spend more than you planned). Good luck...

  4. #4
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tslugmo

    Anyway, the one thing I seemed to notice was that the 4300 shifted a bit more smoothly than the Hardrock. This would make sense, right, since the 4300 has Alivio rear derailleur and the Hardrock has the Acera rear derailleur? According to what I've read on this site, the Alivio is slightly higher quality than the Acera, so I'm wondering if this is what I'm experiencing, or if this difference should be barely noticeable, and perhaps due to tuning? Finally, if the smooth shifting is what's keeping me from getting the Hardrock, would dropping another $10 on an Alivio rear derailleur on ebay make these bikes shift identically? Would dropping ~$20 on a Deore rear derailleur be even better? Shifting smoothness is a high priority for me, and I'm coming off of my old-ass Diamond Back with Deore LX shifters and derailleurs. Those are too beat up now to transfer over, but I did get used to pretty smooth shifts. Is there more to rear shifting smoothness than the rear derailleur?

    Also, I read on this forum that the crankset on the Hardrock is superior to the 4300. What does that mean to me? It's less likely to break? Do you notice a difference in ride quality?

    Thanks for your help, I hope to pick a bike by tomorrow! How exciting!

    -tslug
    I think that any kind of noticable shifting differences between the Alivio, and Acera would be due to minor adjustment, since they are pretty close in quality. I wouldn't let shift quality influence your choice because you can always adjust the der, OR, in the worst case, upgrade it if you had to. Also, maybe the cable routing on the two frames is different? I don't know much about the cranks on those bikes, but again, I wouldn't let that influence my choice either. Go with your gut instinct, and have fun...

  5. #5
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    As others have said, I doubt the derailers themselves make a difference. The Specialized could just be slightly out of tune too. I have a 2003 Hardrock that shifts fine. When I bought it I thought shifting was decent, but a bit slow. After about 1500 miles I picked up a PC68 chain and put it on with 1 less link in the chain. I found that shifting was quickened up a fair amount and chain slap was also reduced.

    The Deore derailer may or may not make a huge difference. It should last longer at least though. If the bike shop is willing to swap it out when you buy the bike they might be willing to take a few bucks off for your old derailer.

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I think at that level of bike, the shifter has more to do with the smoothness than the rear derailleur (all things tune-upwise being equal). Other things that effect shifting include routing of cables, type of chain, position of chain before shifting, chainline alignment, spacing of gears in the cassette, quality of cassette. Some of these things can be adjusted and tuned and others can be made better by swapping components but things like cable routing might not be changable. There are some supplemental devices which help improve shifting too such as the Avid Rollamajig.



    Did you do an absolute one-for-one comparison by keeping the shifting circumstances (load, gear-to-gear position, etc) consistant?
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  7. #7
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    So I guess there are a lot of factors that make rear shifting better or worse. I did compare one-for-one with load and gear-to-gear positioning, at least as well as any human can do. But that wasn't even necessary, since there was a relatively clear difference between the two. Seemed that the Spec was skipping a couple teeth when shifting quite often, and didn't respond at the same time every shift. With the Trek I felt like I didn't have to ease up as much when shifting for it to jump smoothly and quickly into the next gear. I could make it shift worse if I did it on purpose, timing it incorrectly and putting a lot of pressure on it, but it was harder to make it screw up on purpose than the Spec, or at least that's what my impression was. I've ridden then 4x each now, and I'm still left with that impression.

    But I think that the point you guys are making is buy for the frame and not the tranny, right? Maybe the Spec can be tuned up to be better, and upgraded eventually. I'm just having a hard time discerning the diff between the frames, and am having a hard time even telling which one I feel more comfortable on. It's hard to tell when I haven't ridden in 10 years, and am just putting around on the sidewalks. I think the Spec might be 1/2" too big in the crotch clearance region, but I'm not sure.

    Thanks for your help so far. This time I really think I will make a decision tomorrow. It probably doesn't really matter which one I get, I'm just anal about dropping a sizeable amount of my income like this.



    -tslug

  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Definately let the bikeshop know you are encountering harsh shifting. Have them do their best tuneup on it before they let you take it for another ride and then do another comparison. I too would buy for the frame rather than the components if the components were so close in match. But if the frames fit equally well and felt equally as comfortable then by all means go for the smoother shifting.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  9. #9
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    Is the point that you can make pretty much any frame/bike shift like a dream?

  10. #10
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    yes it is possible.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tslugmo
    Is the point that you can make pretty much any frame/bike shift like a dream?
    Maybe not quite, but all bikes sold by reputable manufacturers should be able to shift well. Shifting like a dream is usually pretty expensive and not completely possible. The stock Hardrock is capable of shifting well and it can be easily made to shift better with better shifters and or derailers. I am in the process of upgrading mine with LX shifters and XT derailers. If you are not comfortable with the frame or it is too weak to do what you want you are stuck with it unless you want to spend quite a bit more money.

  12. #12
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I would suggest sticking with the TREK (Wow!, did I just say that?)

    Here's why. First impressions. You've experienced a bias towards the Trek, through no intentions, just something that happened.

    If you buy the Specialized, it will always have a bit of a stigma attached to it in your sub-conscious. The Trek won't.

    I know they're inadimate objects, but they "know" when we're mad at them or unhappy with them and they break/fail at the most inopportune time.

    Seriously, get the TREK, or a DIFFERENT Hardrock.

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  13. #13
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    Wow! asuoperstishus2psyklnut.

    I'm going to take one more test ride today and see what happens. 29 of the 61 reviews on mtbreview.com (just under half) complain about the shifting or derailleurs, so I guess it's not just me. For the 4300, complaints seem to be a mixed bag, with many mentioning the seat, spokes, pedals and other stuff.

    I also tested a Rockhopper, which definitely should shift better than the 4300, right? It was similar to the Hardrock, and it felt like you had to try to make it work every time, or it wouldn't. With the 4300, it was like, you had to try to make it fail, or it wouldn't. Well, almost, but not quite that good. The 4300 has Shimano EF29 shifters, compared to Altus on the Hardrock. I don't know which are better. But id the Rockhopper isn't better than the 4300, it makes me wonder if it's something about the Specialized bikes, like chain length or something. And makes me think that even after spending money on upgrades, the Hardrock will not be very good....?

    If it's just bad tuning, and a properly set up Rockhopper would outshift a 4300, and if it's not too much money to upgrade the shifting on the Hardrock, that might be my solution. Of course, I'll wear a disguise if I decide on that, so that the Hardrock doesn't recognize me. Or maybe we'll have a heart to heart about my buying it despite its "problem", and it will make us closer for the experience.

    -tslug
    Last edited by tslugmo; 06-11-04 at 10:25 AM.

  14. #14
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    The Hardrocks can be made to shift butter smooth... I used to sell a lot of them and I can't say anyone has ever come back to us and complained about the shifting before the 30 day check over (when shifting starts to get sloppy on any new bike). Anyways something to consider is that probably 3/4 of the people who wrote the MTBR reviews for the Hardrock are first time riders that don't know how/when to shift to begin with and will therefore complain about it. Not to mention I imagine a LOT more Hardrocks are sold than 4300's. Typically I would sell 3-4 Hardrocks for every 4300 we sold.

  15. #15
    Senior Member slcpunk21's Avatar
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    I seriously can't believe this thread is still floating around on here...

    If you have to ask the question maybe you should stick to a huffy..

    Hell I can make a huffy shift freakin good too...
    if you aren't having fun, then you get rigid, stiff, crash, cry and then you make your new friend run away..... (there don't you feel less nervous now?)

    when it's snowin check this place out http://www.treelinemedia.ca/phpBB2/index.php

  16. #16
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    Thanks for your patience, slcpunk21. I'm comparing 2 frames that feel comparable to me, not an S-Works and a Huffy. Don't worry, you'll be rid of my annoying newbie buying questions shortly, as I'll buy within 24 hours. Then you'll only be faced with my annoying newbie riding questions. I hope you'll understand that I won't know everything you know about biking instantly, just from reading a good number of posts on this forum. At least I'll admit that, and if people are annoyed by my questions, they can ignore them, and we'll all survive somehow.
    Last edited by tslugmo; 06-11-04 at 10:32 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member slcpunk21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tslugmo
    Thanks for your patience, slcpunk21.
    This is easy.. get the one you really like as A2 said.. stuff is going to break. Replace it as you do with better stuff...

    you can make any bike shift better, lighter, cost more, last longer whatever with different parts.


    here's my question....

    DOES ANYONE after they buy a bike and post millions of threads about buying it actually go and ride them? Cause I sure don't ever see anyone posting about their actual "rides" on here...

    You'd think after we all spend our time here answering questions about what bike/parts/fork... that these people could at least give us the privaledge of blessing us with a thread about the ride.. with ooooooh a pic even if we were really nice...

    Sorry dude, didn't really mean to pick direclty on you... just wonder sometimes if with all these posts on here if from reading them all if anyone actually learns something... if they did then I think alot of these questions wouldn't be here

    if you aren't having fun, then you get rigid, stiff, crash, cry and then you make your new friend run away..... (there don't you feel less nervous now?)

    when it's snowin check this place out http://www.treelinemedia.ca/phpBB2/index.php

  18. #18
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Wohoo..but when you do get the bike we have requirements...

    1 - pic of the bike
    2 - pic of trails and bikes
    3 - storey of how you love mtbiking

  19. #19
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    Ok, I understand. I think part of the problem is that newbies don't have the experience to be able to even tell the difference when riding one inferior bike from another. There's the concer, though, that we will develop the ability to discern between them in a few months, and we don't want to realize then that we've made the wrong choice. There's so much confusing information out there, it gets a bit overwhelming, and it's a good chunk of change to drop when you consider my average bike budget over the last 10 years has been zero. Maybe all the people who post a ton of questions about buying love their bike so much that they've given up the internet, and are on them 24/7, thanks to your good advice. Thanks for yours, I appreciate it. Sometimes I worry too much about purchases like this, when I should really just go out and flip a coin. I think I'll go with my gut on this one.

  20. #20
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Bikes are big purchases. Not only are they an investment in money but sometimes, if you find you love it, it is time and emotion (some people get really attached ) I am definately a gut buyer. I tend to overthink things when in the end bike stuff is pretty simple. (hindsight is 20x20) Now I just need something and go with my gut. It works out that I am happier this way and not so stressed about what is perfect. I have 2 2002 bikes both which I bought in 2003 or 2004, 2002 parts and nothing above LX. To some people these are 2 crappy low end bikes. But they are my rides, they work and make me happy. Thats all that matters

  21. #21
    Senior Member slcpunk21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tslugmo
    Sometimes I worry too much about purchases like this, when I should really just go out and flip a coin. I think I'll go with my gut on this one.
    Dude, you could not have said a better statment! You are 100% sure... here's why

    A no matter what or which bike you buy.. there is ALWAYS something you'll change or find a better deal somewhere.

    Now if you figure in your time waisted and the cost of this time on trying to pic apart each bike and figure that into the final price... and how much actual riding time you lost.. then it may end up not even being worth buying a bike.

    The way you learn the most honestly is by riding the bike.. it helps you understand how and why all the parts do what they do.. and why each on is better in a certain way...

    No you realize we all EXPECT a post ride thread from you!

    P.S. Sorry about being a little harsh ealeir....
    if you aren't having fun, then you get rigid, stiff, crash, cry and then you make your new friend run away..... (there don't you feel less nervous now?)

    when it's snowin check this place out http://www.treelinemedia.ca/phpBB2/index.php

  22. #22
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I tend to be a lot more patient than some others (whom I won't mention but NOT Mael or SLC. Like umm k....mp...).

    The reason, I remember my first "real" mountain bike. Now realize, I've worked in shops since I was 15. So I knew about the "test ride as many as you can" principle which was ingrained into me by my first boss.

    So, I spent the better part of a month, test riding bikes on Saturdays. I visited EVERY shop in town, traveled N and S and test rode everything I could throw a leg over. (I wasn't working in a shop at the time.) I finally settled on a bike that was $100 out of my price range. Why? By the time I spent test riding so many bikes, I knew I HAD to have that bike. I knew I wouldn't be happy with anything less. Sure, I wanted more, but I was reasonable.

    I rode the CRAP outta that bike and loved EVERY minute of it. I never upgraded a thing. I just rode and rode. By the time I was ready to upgrade, it made more sense to just buy a whole new bike.

    Plus, I was buying my then "New Wife" a bike as well, and we got a deal on 2 bikes. But guess what? I drug her butt around for 3 weeks until she found the bike she liked best. (And we spent an extra $200 on our bikes than our original budget.)

    We BOTH rode those bikes until they were falling apart. We did some minor upgrading, but nothing significant.

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom
    Bikes are big purchases. Not only are they an investment in money but sometimes, if you find you love it, it is time and emotion (some people get really attached ) I am definately a gut buyer. I tend to overthink things when in the end bike stuff is pretty simple. (hindsight is 20x20) Now I just need something and go with my gut. It works out that I am happier this way and not so stressed about what is perfect. I have 2 2002 bikes both which I bought in 2003 or 2004, 2002 parts and nothing above LX. To some people these are 2 crappy low end bikes. But they are my rides, they work and make me happy. Thats all that matters
    i think the same way realy; i have a floor limit of £400 when buying a bike and i'm allways happy with what i get, personal enjoyment is what riding its all about and not about cost or ability

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