Weekend warrior seeks multi-purpose machine for mountain and town. Needs a capable, confident machine for legitimate trails. Wants to cruise around town, too, but still maintain mountain biker identity.
Frame: Alpha Black Aluminum w/semi-integrated head tube, formed down tube w/integrated gusset, formed top tube, monostay seatstay, forged dropouts w/rack & fender mounts, replaceable derailleur hanger
Strengths: Excellent value for the price.
Very strong design
Weaknesses: Stock tires were pretty mild and very soft.
Derailleurs could use improvement.
Uncomfortable seat but my LBS replaced it cheap.
Squeaky brakes at the beginning were annoying but after 100 miles the squeaking stopped.
I purchased this bike in Fall of 2010, my freshman year of college. For the money I do not think that it could have been beat, it was on clearance as the shop was converting to ski season. I have put through quite a bit of abuse and as my first "good" mountain bike I have not been disappointed. I have ridden the bike on several black diamond trails and although I have developed a few issues with the derailleurs I have to attribute them to the various crashes and other mishaps I have had on the trail.
After riding mine my father purchased one for himself the following fall. His had the upgraded hydraulic disc breaks that come on the 2011 and up model. I really like them and wish that mine had come with them but he did end up paying more than I did.
I just got back from a spring break trip in Moab where I rented a Trek Fuel EX8 and I must say that it blows the the 4300 out of the water however at over 4x the price it should. I will likely hold onto my 4300 even after I upgrade to a full suspension as a decent trail runner if I break anything.
I would not hesitate to recommend this bike for a beginner as I don't think you will find a better deal in this price range.
Strengths: definatley wheels set and bars did it for me, coming from a bmx back round i didnt not expect mountainbiking to be so much fun. being my first bike and riding it like a horse it has proven to handle anything i throw at it e.g downhill,crosscountry, big jumps and a hell lot more. Love this bike
Weaknesses: coming with plastic pedals didnt make feel completely confident so i went out n got some alloy peddals that do the job awsomely. nothing really else except small stuff ups by my part, great bike
awsome bike to start on, and has definatley got me stuck on the sport for sure, would recomend this bike for any starter !!!!!!! :)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2012
Strengths: Frame, geometry, brakes work good (first set of hydros but seem to work well) wheels are solid. tires worked well to start. handles well and also handles decent size drops have done 4ft drops onto grass and 3ft drops on cement and everything held up. bike decends well
Weaknesses: rear derailleur could be better for a "mountain bike". only an 8spd. weight but cant expect much lighter at price point
this is for the 2011 model year. first mountain bike to really ride hard. has held up great to everything ive thrown at it and im on my bikes. i come bmx so i can trash a bike quick, but the frame is strong and wheels are solid! promax brakes work well, good modulation. the fork was stiff and rear derailleur kept needing adjustment but have since upgraded. i put about 2000 miles of hard trail riding and racing on it last year not the most comfortable to be on for hours but it isnt a "race" bike but its great to build skills and confidence. the only upgrade i actually needed was a rear rim cause i hit a tree, rear cassette and chain needed replacement after 2600miles, cant complain about that. if your looking to get into mountain biking but dont want to break the bank this is a awesome starter bike to build talent and confidence.
Bike Setup: stock cockpit and brakes. Rockshox recon solo air fork, slx 2x8 crankset, slx rear derailleur, sun ringle rhyno lite rear wheel. running bonty xr0 in front and kenda SB8 in the rear.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2012
Strengths: Strong frame , great hydro Hayes brakes
Weaknesses: Derailers, weight
I have a 4300 disc 2012. It was great stock but I ride alot and hard so within 3 weeks I upgraded alot! No you have to understand that 3 weeks is over 350 miles. This is a great bike for the money , I use it 50/50 on off road and for just cruising its fine stock. I ride hard and fast so I'll include the upgrades I've made and am happy with. Xt rear derailer (big improvement!), slx front derailer (huge improvement), richie pro stem , richie carbon riser bar, richie carbon bar ends( all look great and save weight!) I also replaced the pedals they are garbage don't remember name but the upgrade was about 50usd for good platforms. The upgrades made my bike much lighter, smoother and shift better. Good luck you won't be disappointed in this bike even if you leave it stock! PS. Hayes hydro disk brakes are amazing work flawlessly, a bit heavy but not to bad, have a life time warrenty!
Strengths: Value, great frame, decent starter components
Weaknesses: Very poor fork, suntour crankset
I have a 2007 model 4300. For an entry level bike the 4300 is a serious machine. I have put a lot of city and trail miles on this bike and it is still running strong with no issues. I have kept it maintained, lubricated and clean and it has rewarded me with zero issues.
That said, this bike is a XC bike. It's not meant for downhill, freeride, trials etc. This bike is meant for single track and moderate trail use. If you recognize this and use it for it's intended use then I think you will be as happy with it as I have been.
Most of the components are Shimano Alivio which have been surprisingly resilient. The fork is a RST Gila 80mm - probably the second weakest component on the bike and one that has plenty of bad reviews. I haven't had any issues with it yet but I don't enjoy using it either - I'm basically looking forward to the day it seizes so that I can upgrade. The weakest component on the bike is the Suntour crankset: heavy, clunky and not at all smooth. I have lost two crankbolts and am amazed that the square spline bottom bracket didn't get trashed in the process. I recommend getting some blue locktite and nipping the issue in the bud before any issues arise. I plan to upgrade this to a Shimano SLX crankset soon. One issue I have found is that finding a quality 8 or 9 speed crankset is fairly difficult now that the 10 speeds are out so keep that in mind if you are planning on buying one.
My overall impression after 5 years? I still love this bike and I still love riding it. The 4300 is proof that you don't have to spend $2000 on a bike (unless you want to.) This bike is solid and with a few choice upgrades, just as good as a lot of more expensive bikes out there.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2012
Strengths: Iv'e got the 2012 new spec bike in a nice blue....was initially worried about the suntour forks but they are actually better than the Rock shox xt 30 I had on my old bike...alot has been upgraded from the 2011 version, and so far I have no problems with it.....disk breaks are trustworthy so far down hill, and the frame is quite rigid....iv'e had no problems with any of the shifting components so far.
Weaknesses: Seat is uncomfortable and I believe this is a common problem with these spec of Bontrager seats..but this can be changed if it dosen't give. The frame isn't the lightest by any stretch....mines weighing in at about 13.5 kg. The front riding position was too high for me so Iv'e removed spacers and shaved off the steerer tube to fit.The tyres are pretty easy rolling, but not the best for slimy conditions....but most people have different sets for different conditions....so pop my nobby nicks on.
Well iv'e given it a good welly on most type of trails, apart from big drops and it seems to cope well....this bike will be great for intermediate/beginner riders looking to get into the sport and develop fitness and skills before moving on to a high spec bike.....I love mine, and for the money I think it's a guddun once youv'e tweaked it to suit your riding.
a Weekend Warrior
from Chicago, Illinois
Date Reviewed: December 7, 2011
Strengths: Frame- its super sturdy if you treat it right and it has decent geometry, decent crank for an entry level bike. The derailleurs have held up to over 3k miles of trails and streets.
Weaknesses: FORK!!!! It's extremely rigid- compression & rebound are too slow for technical trails- pre load adjustments are a joke, HEAVY- feels like I'm pedaling and Abrams up a hill, Derailleur is okay for entry level but has issues under extreme situations, the brakes have great modulation but power is lacking, front derailleur rubs just a bit no matter how much you fiddle with it, those combo brake/shift pods are COMPLETE crap and complicate any future upgrades in that area. Also, in my opinion the stock tires, grips, and saddle just plain blow.
This bike is an outstanding value for the beginner! If you are reading this as a newcomer, and have never done any real mountain biking, get one and ride! I understand the newer models even have hydro brakes, which makes them even better. I doubt many novices will regret buying this bike, it's been a decent all around rig. That being said, don't expect this to be your first and last bike. Those who already have one in this price range or are moderately experienced; I'm sorry, you're gonna need to up you're budget a little. I Upgraded within two years of purchasing this bike, and now have upgraded about 4 times since that. This is a wonderful setup for those who want to get the experience they need, as it is still capable enough to use on technical trails. Albeit not as capable as more expensive bikes, it gets the job done.
I've rated this bike in value, and overall, by what else is available in it's category and my overall experience with the bike. Therefore, I think it deserves a solid 4 stars. Not the best, but pretty darn good,
This bike feels comfortable and looks good. The big is tough; it's taken a ton of hits. Rims stay true and frame is strong.
The fork is garbage. Might as well be riding without one. The drivetrain is lowest grade shimano. I bought the bike before I knew much about MTB; I would NEVER buy the same bike now. Why Trek puts a $20 rear street D on a MTB bike puzzles me. The all-in-one shifter brake assy. is junk. I really like the frame, but it almost doesn't make sense upgrading it. I might start tossing used parts from my other bike on it as I updgrade; we will see. Or just sell it.
Weaknesses: The wheels are garbage, warp easy. The brakes howl like a wild banshee and the rotors warped. The fork might as well be rigid, rear derailleur broke off, broke chunks out of the rear cassette. And it's really heavy.
I have dumped way too much cash into this bike for what its worth. You might be better off with a Sette or just doing a custom build of some sort.
Bike Setup: Sun Ringle wheels, Avid rotors, XT brakes, all components are XT; 9speed cassette, shifters, derailleurs, and cables. Easton bars.... the list goes on.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Antonio TX
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2011
Strengths: Promax Hydraulic Brakes, Frame
Weaknesses: Seat, Crank
Its been 20 years since I went mountain biking so it took a little to figure out what bike was right for me. After 3 months of research I bought the Trek for 2 reasons, 1) it was the only one left in stock for my size, and 2) after the road test I loved it. Rode it twice now on some good single track trails as well as the road, the bike is awesome, shifts when you need it, handles perfect and the shock works great. So if your just getting back into the sport or a first timer, this is the bike for you.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Juan, PR
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2011
Strengths: Frame. 2011 model upgraded several components, so keep that in mind when reading reviews of earlier model years. Bike comes stock with hydraulic disk brakes, and a fork with a hydraulic lockout. I weigh 210 lbs and the drive train is holding up well.
Weaknesses: 2011 bike with an average sized 18" frame weighs 32 lbs. I did remove the unforgiving Bontrager Evoke 1 stock seat and replaced it with a heavy Planet Bike gel padded ARS comfort seat. It probably added an additional pound to the bike. My wife's 16" Skye SL (WSD version of the 4300) weighs 30 lbs stock (smaller handlebar, stem, and rim brakes). The frame is light and strong, and weight can be reduced over time by upgrading other components such as the wheels, seat post, fork, stem, etc. Stock platform pedals are wide and comfortable, but bulky. Swap them out for lighter pedals (cage) and reduce 8 oz.
I considered the top end 3 series as an entry level bike, but opted to upgrade to the Trek 4300 because of the light weight formed and butted frame (the 3-Series is straight gauge like big box store aluminum bikes).
I followed the advice of a friend to invest a bit more for a good frame that is worth upgrading over time. So far, I've had no issues with the stock components, but I haven't put it to the test with aggressive riding since I've focused in the beginning on building up my strength and skills. I rode mountain bikes for 3 years 12 years ago, and I'm still too rusty to push the bike to its limits.
Wheels are slow on roads, but they were intended for traction, and I've had no issues so far. I've avoided wet conditions because my wife has rim brakes, so I haven't tested it on muddy trails. My aggresiveness is at 60%. When I get to 100%, I'll update my review of the brakes, and traction.
I ride 3 times per week average, so I haven't put my bike to sufficient use to determine the long term reliability of its components. Keep in mind that the 2011 model year updraded several components from past years, perhaps to address quality complaints from customers. That may account for the weight difference between my bike and another reviewer.
I rate this bike as average in value because you are essentially getting what you pay for, a weekend warrior mountain bike competent for tackling real XC and single track trails. The frame is good enough to build upon. If I sustain an interest in mountain biking over the next few years, I'll likely invest in higher end components. Part of the fun of the sport is the thrill of installing better parts.
The frame geometry of this bike is designed to put the rider in a slightly more upright riding posture than race ready bikes (for ex. top tube is 2 CM shorter and the head tube angle is smaller than the more expensive 6 series Treks). Since I'm on the short side for an 18" frame (5' 8.5"), the top tube length suits me, and my riding posture is perfect. A slightly taller rider may feel too upright for aggressive trail riding. Check out how the 6000 feels by comparison, but be prepared to pay $300 more.
Bike Setup: Stock, except for Planet Bike ARS comfort saddle for non-downhill riding.
a Weekend Warrior
from DFW Texas
Date Reviewed: May 9, 2011
Strengths: Gearing is great and brakes stop very well. Looks awesome with the design and tough frame.
Weaknesses: 34lbs off the floor. It is a heavy bike which does help with absorbing vibration but takes away the agility of the bike and the freedom of movement. The shock is cheap and not as great on bumpy trails when it keeps clunking. For the price I was hoping a little more quality. My old 08 3700 trek felt more solid then this bike. Very bulky bike but does feel more forgiving and luxury in the ride. Not something I want.
For a 600 dollar bike I was hoping more out of it. These newer bikes now day have step out of heart pounding rush days into more comfort luxury ride style which is pure stupid. The quality is somewhat there but it just feels cheap compare to older bikes unless you step into the very expensive bike. Also at 34 lbs (Measured it on a weight scale) this bike is heavy!!!!!!
Great for beginners who has confident but not for people looking to upgrade from. My old 08 3700 trek was more solid and even my carbon giant feels and rides better.
Similar Products Used: Trek 3700
Many other custom built bike.
Bike Setup: Stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Spartanburg, SC
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2011
I love this bike. Besides needing regular adjustments, it hasn't given me any problems. I've had it on the trails 2 or 3 times a week over the past two years without any issues. Given the option of upgrading this bike or finding another, I believe I will be upgrading.
a Weekend Warrior
from ivoryton, ct, usa
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2011
Strengths: good geometry,good rims
Weaknesses: fork has no rebound control at all, heavy, paper weight. also the brakes are annoyingly loud, tires wore out in a month, need constant tuning and adjusting.
will get you to where you need to go, good exercize, but wont last you all day on the trail. i would reccomend this bike for anyone on a very tight budget, and not willing to spend anything towards quality.