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
The frame is really tough, but the rest of the parts suck. I ended up single speeding mine (shortening chain and disabling derailleur) because the drivetrain is terrible and got a new stem and bar for a more agressive ride (funn fatboy and kore repute). I also got new brakes and lock on grips. This frame really deserves a higher level spec. I have hit some really steep descents and have had no complaints on the frame. The wheelset is also not bad and the stock fork is pretty stiff.
I bought this bike used and after a few years the original parts were still very usable and in good shape. The fork is pretty firm, which is not always a bad thing. While the ride on rough terrain may still be bumpy, that doesn't mean you can't handle it. You can enjoy basically any terrain and the firm fork keeps the bike faster on flat or level terrain. I borrowed a friend's REALLY nice full suspension Marin and noticed on the pavement how awful the suspension was on the way to the trail. Not to say this bike is better, but this bike is widely useful. Don't count it out. Get a bike and ride it.
Strengths: solid, solid, and solid. My bike is the 2006 version and I bought it new. I have NOT used this bike as a streethopper, but a true all-mountain bike on all types of gnarly terrain. The thing is all stock still.... after 5 serious years of riding. (I've changed tires, brake pads, a few links on the chain, and handgrips a few times...) The geometry is fantastic for my body type and it's a very comfortable bike to ride.
Weaknesses: HEAVY beyond functional. The bicycle weighs WAAAYYY too much for serious riding; even though i competed on it for years. (Money reasons, you know. :) Also, that front fork on mine (RST) is terrible. If you dont know about forks, then you're alright, but the day you get on a bicycle with a good fork, you'll really begin to hate this thing.
For the money, there are fewer better values available. This bike has handled my abuse for years (I'm 6'0 - 183 lbs) and i ride very, very hard. I actually pride myself on my ability to beat guys on their 4000 dollar bikes with this thing. This bicycle has given me far more than i've expected. One of the things i've always said to guys when they ask me what i think of the bicycle is that it's really good enough to go as hard as your body can possibly push itself without having to worry about equipment failure. I feel safe on this bicycle and i have for years.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm one of those guys with a 4000 dollar bike now. (a modded cannondale carbon flash 29er with lots of extra goodies.) One of the reasons i'm writing the review now is because of that. I got the new bike and it IS night and day, but i'm a better rider for having stuck with the trek for so long.
i consider the trek 4300 the single best beginner mountain bike you can buy in its price range. (and there's some pretty decent stuff in that price range re: hard rock, fezzari, etc.) The thing is a beast, man.
Have the 2011 version. Gotta say that Trek hit the value equation on almost every front with this one. Alpha Aluminum frame is strong, reasonably light, good looking. Shimano Alivio drivetrain gets the job done, not light, but solid, dependable. Bontrager stem, bar, post, saddle are quality. Wheelset ( shimano hubs, Bontrager Ranger rims) actually compare pretty favorably with much more expensive gear. Bontrager XR2 tires are great for everything I ride it in(sand, rock, hardpack, loose over hard), don't konw how they'd do in mud or wet, I live in a desert.
They failed in two ways. Promax Hornet hydraulic disc brakes just plain suck. Thank god I bought from a good LBS. They've had to service those brakes repeatedly. Last bleed showed lback specs int he oil, which mechanic says indicates seals are starting to fall apart. These will be getting replaced, one way or another. Spinner 300 fork works fairly well (good progressive compression, reasonable rebound) but it weighs a ton, parts for it are basically unavailable (at least under the Spinner name), and I have no confidence in its longevity (remains to be seen).
You could upgrade fork and brakes, but at that point you've probably pushed yourself into a higher pricepoint and should just upgrade the whole bike.
All that said, this bike has been fantastic on the local trails. Climbs and descents are great. It's a fun, nimble ride.
from wheeling, wv, us
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2012
Strengths: Overall I feel that the bike seems very strong and dourable. Im a 270pound rider and tend to be very hard on my equiptment. I can't say how the factory fork is, but over all I think the 4300 is a perfect intry level bike for any one wanting a general alpurpose bike to get started with.
Weaknesses: As much as i appreciate the strong feel of the frame, it is darn heavy. It isn't like a walmart junk bike kinda heavy but... it sure doesn't come near that light as a feather area of the bikes on the market today. Tires are kinda lacking, and does a little ghost shifting ( only been as issue two days and considering i ride every day .. not to shabby)
It is a great entry level bike that is strong and dourable. the components might not be the best out there but they are great for getting started. I don't find the geometry to be the best for going down hills, but that might have something to do with my decision to go one frame size up. But good bike to start out on, but i won't be planning on upgrading it to much due to weight.
Bike Setup: rst fork, Toe clips, inverted stem (helps me get up hills)
a Cross Country Rider
from New Jersey
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2012
Strengths: As some people have mentioned, this bike is a real tank. Over the past three years, it has done everything from daily commute to technical singletrack rides. For obvious reasons, the bike is not suitable for downhill or large drops. The vast majority of components are aluminum, which makes maintenance in crummy weather less of a chore, as you can ding up the finish and ride in the wet without fear of rusting. The stock fork (RST, or Spinner fork on later models) is more than sufficient for general use--they are not the lightest, but are stout models using the tried and true coil spring. Earlier models of the bike lack a lockout for the fork. Shifting is accomplished through the 8-speed Alivio integrated shifter/brake pods. They are entry level, but completely serviceable, with smooth shifting if everything is kept in working order. If you move on to other braking systems, but want to not buy shifters, you can knock or drill the brake arm rivets out of the pods with a little work. The derailleurs included on the bike are not top of the line, but I have had zero trouble from the Alivio with careful maintenance. Ditto with the hubs, though the stock Shimano rear has a lot of cassette wobble when the pawls are not engaged. Thankfully, the wheels come built as standard 32 hole models, so those looking to upgrade their hubs (I have no complaint for the rims, they are trouble free with all their use) have many options. Both the stock A-Head-Set headset and Shimano bottom bracket are well protected and have given me no trouble.
Weaknesses: As with many entry level bikes, the initial kit is on the heavy side, but still fully functinoal. On older models, the crankset is a stamped steel Suntour with solid aluminum arms. Great for taking hits, but heavy and not visually appealing. Thankfully, newer models have a Shimano crankset that is much nicer looking and much lighter. The V-brakes are perfectly adequate to stop the bike in most conditions, but the rear brake has a particular flaw: with no seatstay connector, the brakes can easily flex the seatstay tubes apart, robbing braking power. This is usually not an issue, but in wet winter weather, every little bit of power is necessary. The stock saddle is hard and unyielding. If you wear padding, you can live with the old seat...but if you ride every day, it's worth investing in a higher quality saddle. While the bike comes standard with platform pedals, they are heavy aluminum deals that are difficult to mate clips to, if desired.
There are two ways of looking at this bicycle: an investment to upgrade, or a good, all-round beater. I choose the first way, and as the Alpha Series frameset is shared by other, higher-end bikes in the family, upgrade-ability is there in spades. There is no shortage of ways the enthusiast may decide to upgrade the bike as components wear out, and it can provide a great learning experience to boot. It is always important to remember that one can't hold an entry level machine to the same standards as a top of the line model, and with this in mind, the 4300 performs admirably.
Bike Setup: Stock, upgraded with Brooks Team Pro Saddle, SRAM hubs and Avid Elixir brakes, Shimano M424 pedals, QBP rebranded bar ends.
a Weekend Warrior
from Charlotte, NC
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2012
Strengths: Everything is bulletproof; nothing major has broken due to any fault other than mine.
Weaknesses: The components are all relatively bottom-of-the-line, but I knew this would be the case, and was looking for an entry-level bike.
This bike really is bulletproof. I've owned it for just over three years, and I've been all over the east coast with it. When I was 14, my dad gave it to me as a birthday present, and I thought it was the best thing in the world! My previous bike had one speed, no suspension, and brakes than functioned only when you pedaled backwards, so to me it was a huge upgrade. I spent the majority of my time riding it on the road, and kept it fairly well maintained throughout it's life. Now I am a lot more into XC biking, and still keep it well maintained. Everything that broke was because of me. I have never had to replace anything because it was defective. The brakes still work. The drivetrain still works. The gears still switch. All of it is running on original parts except for the rear wheel and tire... I'm about ready for an upgrade now, but this bike has shown me the ropes. I love it..........................
If you want to get someone in to mountain biking (or really, any kind of biking) before they know all about what expensive luxuries that they're missing out on, this is the way to go.
a Cross Country Rider
from Ocala, Florida, U.S.
Date Reviewed: November 27, 2011
Strengths: Good beginner bike
I have had this bike for 9 months and have put over 1000 miles on it. The components leave a lot to be desired. after 5 months I had to replace the derailleur cables and housings do to corrosion. the bike wouldn't shift properly anymore. I do take care of the bike. I lube all of my cables once a week, keep my drive train clean and lubed, clean off the bike every time I hit the trail-head after a ride, but 5 months to me seems like a really short time for cables to last. The brake cables and housings should have been changed but that hasn't become a critical issue yet. I had to replace the cassette and chain at 800 miles, this is due to normal wear and tear, (the local trails I ride are mostly packed sand). At 1000 miles is where I started to get irritated. The freehub on my rear wheel is starting to go bad and is causing miss shifts. Also the Bottom bracket is going bad.
THOSE ARE 2 MAJOR COMPONENTS ON MY DRIVE TRAIN WHICH ARE FAILING IN 9 MONTHS OF USE.
I realize that I didn't purchase a top of the line bike, I was looking for something to start me out in MTB riding.
I purchased a Trek for the perceived quality and that has not been the case with the 4300 non disc I have
Other then the above mentioned components I do not have any complaints about the rest of the bike build. I have the 21" frame, which has handled all the abuse I could throw at it. The bike shifts nicely, (when the cable were new and after I replaced them) the brakes cause me to stop.
I would recommend this bike to someone just getting into the sport of MTBing, but if you do find you love it as much as I have I would get rid of the 4300 and upgrade to a bike with much nicer components.
Bike Setup: Shimano pd-m520 pedals, 130 mm stem, Bontrager lock on grips, xr3 team issue front tire, xr2 expert rear tire, Selle Italia xo flow seat
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2011
Strengths: Solid frame
Weaknesses: Every component
It's a good beginner bike. I was riding it on the pavement to and from work (about 5 mi each way). But being in Germany I decided to start taking it off road, after all it is a mountain bike.
The Promax hydraulic brakes were the first to sh** the bed. I had to bleed them down after every ride. They are horrible. The fork was the next. The suspension just stopped working and became a solid fork when the travel adjustment broke after the first ride.
I have replaced about half the components and will replace the other half over time. Solid frame, thus the 3 chillis. Great entry level.
Bike Setup: Trek 4300, avid BB7 brakes, rock shox recon fork, shimano spd pedals
a Weekend Warrior
from Miami, FL, USA
Date Reviewed: October 9, 2011
Strengths: Good entry level "off-road" bike. Very confortable and forgiving frame. Good for riding off the pavement.
Weaknesses: Weak components. Wheels are not for any significant trail riding. Not made for technical trails.
This is a good entry level bike if you want to give Mountain Biking a shot without a serious investment. If you decide Mtn biking is for you, and start to frequent intermediate and expert trails, you will soon be looking for an upgrade.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale F8, Specialized Hardrock
a Weekend Warrior
from Marion, OH USA
Date Reviewed: September 1, 2011
Strengths: Seems pretty tough after a few trees, one endo with the bike falling off the side of a low drop off. I've ridden urban and trail almost every day for a few months. Has me hooked on the sport.
Weaknesses: Have had it adjusted twice due to chain slipping and shifting problems. Saddle hurts - replaced when I bent it.
This has been a great bike this summer and has been a great entry into the sport - I imagine it will last a long time. I was looking for something to do to stay in shape/stay outside until snowboarding is an option again; and this is sweet! I plan on upgrading the tires, brake (new pads), and possibly some of the drive train before I save up for a FS bike.
Similar Products Used: Giant 29er test ride (awesome), a friends trek fuel and 6000.
Bike Setup: Tall rider 6'5" on a 22.5 inch frame. Fits good but I lower the seat for my local rooty trails.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2011
Strengths: Good entry level bike from a noobies stand point this seems like a very good entry bike to get me on my way to becoming a mountain bike enthusiast.
Weaknesses: The only thing I have seen so far is the seat is super uncomfortable but has started to finally break in and the rims so to be out of alignment after a couple of good 3ft jumps which I did expect since it is an entry level bike.
This is a good beginners bike and would recommend it to anyone, I just wished I got the disc brake version but that one was close to $600 and I just wanted something that was cheap to see if I even like the sport and well I do so I plan to get a new wheelset and some Avid BB7 discs. Other than that this is a great bike and I enjoy riding it 20+ miles a week in canyons. I do see myself trading up to a better hardtail or maybe even a full suspension bike in the future.
I give this bike a 5/5 for those looking into getting into mountain biking.
Similar Products Used: None I just go into the sport
Bike Setup: Trek 4300 stock
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2011
Strengths: Cheap entry level MTB. Good for Beginners. Nothing really weak on the bike. Brakes are ok. Wheels feel good. Tires are some kind of allround tires.
Weaknesses: The RST Gila Fork. Needs good care to work well and is not adjustable much enough to be usabe for lighter Riders.
this Bike belogs to my Girlfriend and is 16" tall. Fork might be usable by people 200lbs+. But for avarage people buying 16" frame, this is a totally wrong configured fork.
Might have been equipped with 9-times derailleur to be able to upgrade once in a while without having to change too much
(shifters and cassette too).
Good starter bike. RST Fork only for heavier people usable. Would have loved to see 9-speed gearing. Other than that. Frame looks ok. Components are ok. Fair deal from my point of view. Nothing broken in the last two years.
Bike Setup: Basically Stock. Replaced fork with older Suntour Axon and used a shorter stem.
a Cross Country Rider
from Exton, PA
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2011
Strengths: Nice frame, some good components stock.
Weaknesses: Stock tires (connection trail), cranks (CREAKY, within first few months cranks started to creak, eventually left crankarm needed replacement, still creaky), fork (during the winter when it is cold the fork hardly works at all for whatever reason).
Great bike for starting out. Give you some decent trail performance at a reasonable cost of entry. I would recommend going with something nicer like the 6000 or 6500, you won't regret spending the extra cash.
Hey everyone. First post here. I bought a 2006 Trek 4300 about a month ago and I am loving riding! I installed a roof rack and bike rack ( Rhino Rack and Mountain Trail Carrier) so I'm pretty sold. I spent more on the racks then bike actually, $400 to $260. Anyway, the bike is great, but I am gettin ... Read More »
I'm looking to replace the front rotor and brake pads on my 2011 Trek 4300, but I'm not quite sure what to buy. Can anyone offer any advice?
It has the stock promax dsk-907 installed however a simple google and amazon search yields no useful result.
Thanks!Read More »
Hi guys, need some advise on this bike, my brother wants his first ever MTB and he has his eyes on the 2013 trek 4300 disk with hayes hydro brakes, he loves the green finish lol.
Ive never ridden a Trek, never been on one of these models of bikes, i basically want to know if its an ok entry level ... Read More »
I'm pretty new to mtbing and have a few questions about my trek 4300, I was thinking about upgrading my rear derailleur but I'm not certain what kind to put on any suggestions? Also if I were to upgrade the cassette, could I go from an 8 speed to a 9? These might be dumb questions but I'm a nube so ... Read More »