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  1. #1
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    2008 Trek 4300 vs 2011 Trek 3500??

    I'm new to mountain biking and have been researching and trying to decide on a bike. I've come across these 2 for the exact same price. Just want to know some people's opinions. Both bikes are in great condition.

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    Both are low end bikes, the 3500 is significantly lower than the 4300.

    On the basis they are both in good condition, the 4300 would be preferable, but if you intend to ride off road, don't expect either to last long.

  3. #3
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    if you intend to ride off road, don't expect either to last long.
    Why not? I have a cheap hardtail with entry level components I throw around sometimes. Its frame is a bit burlier than that of the 4300 and 3500, but the frames on those bikes should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    Why not?
    Everyone I ride with who has started on a cheap (normally better than the 4500 level) has moved up to a higher range bikes after a few months; if you ride off road, not just on MUP / fire roads, you will wear a bike out quickly, the cheaper the bike, the faster; cheap forks, especially Suntour are disposable, where the stanchions can wear very quickly, brakes can wear out, especially Avids, which can require a re-build kit / replacement after a couple of months use, wheel bearings etc, the list goes on. Even if the frame is still good, and the 4500 is good starting point, the cost of replacement parts can soon make it more cost effective to replace a bike with a better spec'd one than replace individual parts if major items like forks and wheels are needed.

    Everything depends on how much / where you ride, the assumption has to be made, that if you post in an MTB forum, you use an MTB for it's proper purpose, and don't just have it to look nice and never ride it hard.

  5. #5
    Ride On. Underground's Avatar
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    My friend has a Trek 3500 from around '05 that he just replaced most of the bearings on. That bike has been through some punishment and still asks for more. The wheels won't even true up anymore, but he still rides it and will ride it until the wheels fall apart.

    On a side note: the bike does kind of feel like complete rubbish.
    Last edited by Underground; 03-21-13 at 10:02 PM.
    '10 Trek 1.5; '10 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er; '12 Trek Transport; '11 Gary Fisher/Trek HiFi Plus 29er; '96 Cannondale M400 - Sold = Regret
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    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    I raced a full season on a 2006 Trek 4300, I will say that it had many updates but it did fine. My old body needed a full suspension bike which I went to years ago but I liked that bike and regret selling it. I think the Frame was the only thing NOT replaced on it when I sold it.

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    Thanks for the reply's! I'm really new to mountain biking so I don't think I will be doing anything to aggressive for a while anyways. I haven't owned a bike period in like 10+ years. I just moved to a new area that is great for mountain biking and want to give it a shot without investing a ton of money right off the bat. Once I decide if I'm for sure into it I'm sure ill want to get something nicer I'm just looking for something that won't give me trouble right away.

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    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Jimc, I'd argue it's better to start on a cheaper bike for two reasons: 1) you don't know what you want in a bike and what type of riding will appeal to you yet (this makes the second purchase easier, and you can spend more money on a bike where you know what you want, and 2) new riders are hard on bikes...and not in the same way that an experienced rider abuses their bike by pushing its limits. I broke so many components on my first bike just from being stupid and having tons of stupid crashes. They weren't dirt cheap super low-end components either...they were Deore, maybe LX (can't remember if the LX was on there or if that's what I replaced parts with). I actually break less on my hardtail with very entry level SRAM now (and not because SRAM is more durable). I mean if you have the money to blow, sure, start out on something nice. But don't expect to "go expensive from the start and buy once" because it doesn't work that way.

    And you can break expensive components too. I once rode with a guy with a POS Walmart Mongoose where he had upgraded everything but the frame. Partway through the ride, he crashed, and I came up behind him to see him examining his bike and looking unhappy. Figured he finally cracked that frame. Nope, he broke his brand new X.9 rear derailleur.

  9. #9
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    Actually now have 1 2008 4300's, 1 2007 4300 with new crank chain sprocket and derailer, and the 1 2011 3500. All at $250 right now.
    2007

    2011

    2008
    Last edited by TreyTRD; 03-22-13 at 08:31 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    2) new riders are hard on bikes...and not in the same way that an experienced rider abuses their bike by pushing its limits.
    Totally agree with that, last year I was on a group ride with and a couple of new guys turned up on borrowed high end bikes (Ful XTR etc), they were the only ones to have mechanical issues, one managed to rip the XTR RD off, and the other had multiple chain breaks.

    Point 1 is good as well, no point in throwing a lot of money into it without knowing what you will like, would always take your first bike to be a learning experience.

    Would stick with my original suggestion of the 4300 over the 3500, as TreyTRD as given photos above, either the 2007 or 2008 model looks like good options from what is visible, the 2007 model has disc mounts on the frame and fork (the 2008 model should also, but this is hard to verify from the photo), which the 3500 doesn't, which limits any future upgrades (the 4300 frame is a step up over the 3500) There are a few spec differences between the 2007 & 2008, the 2007 has better hubs, the 2008 more travel for the fork, but at this level, would be interested in does it fit you, and overall condition of the bikes, and you need to see this in person

  11. #11
    Senior Member gunner65's Avatar
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    After commuting 2k plus miles on my 08 model 3700 I decided to use it as a mtb bike when I built my casserole for commuting on. Bone stock except for a really nice set of tires it has about the lowest available components that work and the awful suntour fork but I abuse the crap out of it on local mtb trails and it does fine. Mind you I aint out dropping off 6' drops or flying through the air. I want to replace it with an FS frame but refuse to do so until it breaks......or I do....

  12. #12
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    Went and rode the 3500 and the 2007 4300 yesterday, turns out the guy was wrong on the frame size for the 3500 and it is to small so it is out. Really like the way the 4300 rode, paint and everything was a little rougher but the guy said he did use it for mountain biking for the last 5 years so its kinda what you expect. He did just replace all the drivetrain components and it shifted fine. Going to drive the other 4300 Monday. Thanks for the comments, think I'm definitely gonna be happier with the 4300. I just want to be able to get as much time out of whatever I buy so better upgrade possibilities is a huge plus.

  13. #13
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    Someone bought the 2008 before I could come look at it so now I'm just looking at the 2007 4300. What do you guys think is a decent price for it? It has a few scratches here and there but nothing major. All new drivetrain parts.

  14. #14
    Senior Member gunner65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TreyTRD View Post
    Someone bought the 2008 before I could come look at it so now I'm just looking at the 2007 4300. What do you guys think is a decent price for it? It has a few scratches here and there but nothing major. All new drivetrain parts.
    Considering they are only about $450 new with the latest equipment I d offer no more than $150. I bought an 09 4300 for my wife last year for $75 in mint.

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    Well I ended up actually finding a 2011 3500 with a 19.5'' frame that an older guy bought and put about 18 mins on. I got it for $200 with a computer already installed on it. I think it was a good buy, I'm not planning on beating it to death, I just wanna have something capable to do some off road to see how I like it and be nice and reliable on the street. Ill save up for something more serious for off road once I decide if that's what I like doing more.

  16. #16
    S'toon trail rider! MisterK's Avatar
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    Sounds good. Ride er til she breaks. Good bike to learn the basics plus some

  17. #17
    Senior Member gunner65's Avatar
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    You did good.

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