Trek Elite 9.8 2003 Hardtail

4.66/5 (32 Reviews)
MSRP : $2499.99


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 15 (32 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jon C a Cross Country Rider from Acworth Georgia

Date Reviewed: December 19, 2007

Strengths:    Lite, agile, soaks up the trail, looks are important!

Weaknesses:    Nothing so far

Bottom Line:   
I built this bike up to be the best of the best to ride. I agree with a lot of the MTBR review guys. This bike does need to be upgraded from stock to make it worth while. This is my third 9.8 I built up but this is the first time I used full xtr. This is by far one of the fastest bikes I have ever built up. If you ever ride a carbon bike you will never go back to aluminum. That is why I never went back to the Zaskar LE frame. This is the best bike in my opinion that Trek ever put out on the market plus you get the life time warranty of the frame. You can't beat that! If you really want this bike though just look for a frame on e bay. I have seen a 9.8 frame go for 180 bucks which insane. Good luck

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Favorite Trail:   Soap Creek

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   E bay

Similar Products Used:   GT Zaksar LE, Trek 9.9, Giant XTC

Bike Setup:   9.8 Frame, Full XTR w/ XTR 975 Disc Brakes, XTR Rapidfire Chris King Headset, Sid Race Carbon world Cup.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Daniel Scott a Racer from Guelph

Date Reviewed: January 4, 2006

Strengths:    I bought this bike used from my LBS shop last spring and road it for my first season of XC racing. It was awesome. Pros: Light. I've built the bike at 21.6 lbs. and it feels super nimble. I'm only 5'5" and the medium (17") fits me very well. I own both a hard tail and two full suspension bikes and there is something about climbing on this hardtail that is unlike any thing else I've tried; it's fun as can be!

Weaknesses:    I've had some creaking problems crop up once or twice for a week or so during my last season but then they go away. My LBS told me that they would gladly send it to Trek to be fixed as it has a Lifetime Warranty on it. Other than that, it does not bode well on super bumpy courses but that has more to do w/ the fact that its a hardtail than the setup of the bike.

Bottom Line:   
If you are looking for a very light, well spec'ed hardtail for racing w/ a good warranty to back it up then I'd recommend the Trek. They are becoming increasingly more expensive but I've been told that is due to Trek's desire to get people riding their Fuel line-up instead. I'm going to continue to enjoy this bike for seasons to come!!

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Favorite Trail:   GORBA (for this bike anyways)

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   Speed River Bicycle

Similar Products Used:   Trek 4500 (2000), Rocky Mountain Fusion (2000)

Bike Setup:   Trek 9.8 Elite (2003) w/ XTR Goup, Bontrage Race Lite XXX Rims w/ DT Hugii Hubs, Maxxis High Roller 1.9" Tires, Rock Shox SID World Cup fork w/ remote lockout, Race Face Next Flat Handlebar, ODI Rogue Grips, Thomson Elite Seatpost, Specialized Rival Seat, Crank Bros. Candy C Pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Seadawg a Racer from Winston Salem, NC, Good ole usa

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2004

Strengths:    Light weight, agile, climbing stiffness, feels like a full suspension coming down hill. The product was a bargain considering some of the costs.

Weaknesses:    My big fat but is riding this. LOL.

Bottom Line:   
I have enjoyed Trek products. They seemed to be an industry leader. Ken's Bike shop in Winston Salem provides superior service with a superior product. Thanks.

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Favorite Trail:   Winston Lake, Hobby Park

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Purchased At:   Ken's Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Trek 8500, Specialized Epic, Trek 9800 carbon fiber, GT RTS2, GT Avalanche, and Bianchi mountain bike

Bike Setup:   The 2005 will be setup with XT components.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by loid christmas a Racer from wisconsin

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2004

Strengths:    Best climbing mountain bike in the world, absorbs bumbs very well, and is fairly light

Weaknesses:    The frame wears out, The wheel base is increadibly long so its hard to go through tight single trak

Bottom Line:   
HC technoligy hasn't been figured out yet. caron starts to flex more and more when you use it, just like a hockey stick the more it flexes the faster it wears out and is easier and easier to flex. My 9.9 frame wore out to the point were my chain rings rubed hard core on both sides of the fornt derailler. It also made weird creaking noises. However when the head tube's carbon started chiping off, and peaces from inside the frame started falling out is when I got it warenteed. I have also had problems with there rolf wheels. before the chewamigan last year I went to spin my wheel to see if the brake was rubbing and found my wheel would only spin a few times around because there was somthing screwed up the berings. I had to use an 11 year old wheel. after the race I took it to the Trek tech. He blamed the problem on me. at first I listened to what he had to say but when i relized he was talking out of his butt I got a little mad and started yelling about how rolf wheels are terible. He then said that I was the first person that had problems with the wheels, then some of the trek riders took his side. During my argument at least five people came up claiming to have problems with there rolf wheels. I also talked to a person that works at a bike shop and told me all about the propblems of rolf wheels. I went back to the trek teck and he wisperd to me that they do have problems and that I would get new wheels. I never did. I wrote a 7 page report on the poor design of my rolf wheels. So if u are at a race and u see a trek tech name Ken don't trust him. I am however happy that trek replaced my frame and believe it is the best frame in the world as long as it lasts. Thank God for warintees. If you only want a frame that last four years this is the bike for you, if you want your frame to last longer and don't trust trek. Don't get this bike. Even with my ordeal with the trek tech, I can't let one person give the company a bad name. I do trust there warenty department

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Favorite Trail:   kill me thrill me in BC

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   BCF

Similar Products Used:   trek 9.9, trek 9800

Bike Setup:   stock 9.9 set up in 2000 except now with 9.8 frame and egg beater pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by greco jason a Weekend Warrior from burbank ca usa

Date Reviewed: June 5, 2004

Strengths:    the looks, its cool!!!

Weaknesses:    the price $$$$$$

Bottom Line:   
This is an awesome frame. Like others say, buy the frame and build the ultimate bike. The stock components are weak, but the manufacturers have to do that to keep the price down. Tubeless tires suck, try getting a thorn in one on a ride, i could not patch it. It was a long walk home. Damn those tires!!

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Favorite Trail:   the happy trail, towards a girl

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2300.00

Purchased At:   pasadena cyclery

Similar Products Used:   nothing compares to it

Bike Setup:   cook bros cranks, stock most of it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Craig MacIntosh a Racer from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: March 26, 2004

Strengths:    Responsiveness, cushy, light weight, carboness, looks, technology - all the changes made to the oclv frames have made an already great frame absolutely unbeatable.

Weaknesses:    looks - I'm not crazy about the big honken Trek stickers, or the decal striping. not pleased it's heavier than the fisher or trek 9900 (been spoiled, ah well...)

Bottom Line:   
Love this frame! I had the Fisher oclv (procaliber) that I could have kept forever. Sadly a spill took my forks out and after chopping the steerer on my new ones, installing them, and looking closely I noticed a newly developing crack behind the headtube at the top and down tube junction. Dealing with the local cyclepath dealer and trek was a no-pain process. I expected some troubles considering I had a fisher and now wanted a trek (I did not want aluminum). the dist. for fisher took in my frame, trek sent me a '04 9.8 one month later - simple as that (except of course, now the steerer on my new forks is too short...but nothing a simple swap from a syncros to raceface deus stem didn't solve - big diff in stack height)

Without running at the mouth any further - top-notch professional quality frame from an awesome bicycle company. Service and products like this - I'm definitely a Trek rider for life...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Is there any that aren't?

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   warranty (Local cyclepath)

Similar Products Used:   '84 specialized stumpjumper (steel), '86 ritchey montare (steel), '88 bianchi supergriz (steel), '89 kuwahara team (steel), '91 klein attitude (aluminum), '93 specialized s-works steel, '94 mongoose team sx carbon, '96 Norco team steel, '98 Fisher oclv carbon,

Bike Setup:   cup of syncros, pint of raceface, pound of xtr, pinch of sachs/sram, dash of mavic - stirred with white bros and hammered to glaze

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Anna the Biker Grrrl a Cross Country Rider from Transylvania

Date Reviewed: March 16, 2004

Strengths:    Well, I have to agree with all the other reviews: it IS light, it DOES soak up bumps, plus it LOOKS really kool.

Weaknesses:    None so far.

Bottom Line:   
If possible,get the frame ONLY and build it up for yourself (the factory setup doesn't do it justice).OCLV rocks.This frame kicks butt ! It's everything a cross country rider/racer can wish for.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Too many to mention

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   This is the 1st carbon frame for me.

Bike Setup:   9.8 frame,Skareb Super,New XTR cranks & front der.,X.O rear der. and shifters,Ritchey WCS handlebar and stem,Bontrager Race seatpost,Selle SLR etc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeremey Rodriguez a Racer from Kenosha, WI

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2004

Strengths:    Light, stiff, soaks up all the hits,and climbs like a goat.

Weaknesses:    I don't understand?

Bottom Line:   
I raced the 2002 9.8 frame for 2 seasons problem free and then found a crack in the seat stay last december. Turned it into the shop and had a new 2004 frame in five days. Pretty good customer service from my shop manager and from Trek. The new frame rides as well as the old and I expect to get a bunch more seasons out of this one. If you want a hardtail that soaks up hits like a softtail this is the frame to get. plus after replacing most of the stock parts you can come up with a pretty light racing bike.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any trail I am riding

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Grassroots deal

Similar Products Used:   Fisher

Bike Setup:   9.8 frame, SunRingle' RPMlite wheelset, Maxxis Tires, Sram 2X9 drivetrain, with SunRingle' bar, stem, and post. Weight is just over 21lbs depending on what tires I have on.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by endodepa a Cross Country Rider from SLC,UT,USA

Date Reviewed: December 4, 2003

Strengths:    Very light and resposive frame. Climbs like a animal

Weaknesses:    My frame has major cracks around the bottom bracket sleeve. Other cracks at the carbon joints but Trek says they are common. That is no big deal.

Bottom Line:   
I am rating my 2000 9.8 on the newer bike section just so other can know that the frame is very strong but can have problems. I took my frame into the local dealer just yesterday. I have had to deal with Trek's warranty department a couple of times. My frame came cracked brand new out of the box. I had to wait 3 months to get it back. Instead of them just sending a new frame they fix the old one and sent it back. I hope that there warranty department has gotten better and will take care of this problem. I have read several post that claim that Trek is very bad at handling warrany issues. That was my experience the first time we will see what they do this time. I hope they will take care of because there are way too many good bike companies out there to be errogant and not stand behind you "lifetime warranty". We will see. I will post later once I find out how Trek treats this problem. But for now it will get a low rating only because of the warranty problems from the past.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Trek 8500, Marin Bear Valley

Bike Setup:   XTR, Race Face North Shore, Thomson stem and seat post, Rolf Propel, Black Elite Air.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eric R. a Cross Country Rider from Decatur, Il. U.S.A.

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2003

Strengths:    Light, strong, cool color scheme, doesnt flex when hammered like aluminum hardtails.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
This frame is a warrenty replacement for the aluminum frame I broke (had to fork up extra loot), so its built up as a frame set. I'm an agressive rider and have pushed this frame to its limits and it begs for more! Does not flex when hammering climbs yet smooth like a soft tail on small bumps. accelerates like a striped bass and carves single track. Best frame I've ever ridden. Kudos to Treks warrenty dept. for excellent service. I will always ride Trek bikes! Buy This Bike if your a hard tail retro grouch like me! I never touch my X.C. full susp. bike anymore after riding this one.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Local trails

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   L.B.S.

Similar Products Used:   Diamondback V10, Gary Fisher h.t.,

Bike Setup:   Speed Dream Wheels (sweeet!), Sram XO, Thompson, Race Face cranks, Ti b.b.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mike a Cross Country Rider from brewster, ny

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2003

Strengths:    The frame, wheelset, fork, handling at any speed. climbs like a champ. light.

Weaknesses:    sid sometimes a little whimpy, crank must go. (the 2001 had a bontrager p.o.s. the '04 has the new xt...)

Bottom Line:   
i picked up a leftover 2001, the frame is unchanged, the 2001 sid is light but sometimes flexy, this bike climbs, accelerates, and descends even faster than my 6700, in fact it makes riding my old bike seem sluggish. i absolutely love the frame. it takes the edge of of pretty much anything, i like the rolf wheels that came on the bike too, they seems light and strong. words cannot desribe the all around feel of this bike, its truely amazing. the '04 still seems like a really solid bike even with the price hike, give this bike a chance, its worth it.

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   lbs

Similar Products Used:   trek 6700, moots rigor mortis, demoed

Bike Setup:   2001 frame, 2001 sid sl, easton ct2 bars, sette stem, rolf dolomite wheels, xtr levers and breaks, xt rear dr. lx front dr. sram 9.0 cassete, crap bontrager crank (not for long)

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by David a Cross Country Rider from Sonoma, CA

Date Reviewed: October 6, 2003

Strengths:    Light, strong frame. Absolutely flies when you mash the pedals. Nimble on the single-track, carbon frame rides smooth like my Trek 5200 on the road. Very comfortable for a big rider- I'm 6'4" 230 lbs. I haven't put it through a heavy workout, but the carbon is pretty much bullet-proof.

Weaknesses:    Components are good but average for a high-end bike like this. People are complaining about the price hike on an '04 9.8 considering the change from XT and XTR to full XT on the new models. My bike guy says that new XT is better than full XTR- they've reconfigured the XT so its not really comparable to the old stuff.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike- even if you are a weekend warrior and you think you might want start carving out some bigger and badder rides, this bike will grow along with your abilities. Unless you decide to start making 10-foot drops, you won't ask too much from this bike. Perfect option if you don't want full suspension. Awesome bike if you do a lot of road riding to get to your mountain rides.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $2300.00

Similar Products Used:   Fisher Suger 2

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mike a Racer from FIB

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2003

Strengths:    Light
Carved through Single Track


Weaknesses:    See bottom line

Bottom Line:   
Really impressed with bike and set-up. It just carved through the single track, seemed to absorb some of the jolting when compared to aluminum. Did I say light! If I get a new rig and stay true with hard tails, this 50+ year old body will choose this FRAME.

Looking at Traks 2004's it is mind numbing that the bike has gone way up in price, yet the componetry has gone down. As a previous writer stated, get the frame and build it up with the componentry you want

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Trek 8000 and trying to make decision between HT and FS

Bike Setup:   Stock except for Sram shifters and rear der
Sun Ringle (?) Rims King Hubs,Maxxis minitaurs 380

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Doug Helling a Weekend Warrior from Ankeny, Iowa, USA

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2003

Strengths:    Power transfer, stiffness, weight.

Weaknesses:    It is a little dicey on soft sand, I get thrown around a little more than my previous heavier bike. Pricey, but worth it. It could use more XTR considering the price. I'm positive that the Trek factory is experiencing a substantial profit margin on these.

Bottom Line:   
I am not a hard core racer like many of the other reviews. I just like to go out and have fun. If you are thinking about a bike and have the budget, this is your bike. It climbs like a billygoat and is a lot faster than my old bike with the same amount of effort. I never new what they meant about power transfer until I purchased this bike. When I push it goes and it goes fast. That is why I can easily get it up hills that my old bike made me struggle on. This bike rocks and it has a great warrantee to back it. It is a little pricey for all XT with one XTR component.

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Favorite Trail:   Sycamore

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2250.00

Purchased At:   Bike Country, Ankeny

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Earl a Cross Country Rider from Texas

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2003

Strengths:    The carbon frame is stiff, light, and responsive and yet it soaks up vibrations to provide a fast and comfy ride. It also looks great.

Weaknesses:    None so far.

Bottom Line:   
I bought the 9.8 frameset and built the bike with the components I really wanted rather than buying the complete bike with parts I didn't want. The bike looks sweet and rides great. It puts my old Specialized RockHopper to shame. Every aspect of my riding has improved since getting on this bike. I was amazed at how the carbon frame takes the harshness out of the ride. Life is too short to ride aluminum. Long live hardtails!!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Various aluminum hardtails.

Bike Setup:   Marzochhi Marathon SL fork, Mavic Crossmax XL, Chris King headset, Thomson stem, Easton ec70 flat bars and ec70 post, Avid SDti brakes

Reviews 1 - 15 (32 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


2007 Elite 9.8

Picked this up off of eBay and immediately noticed two problems. 1) Big crack in the back of the seat post. No Big deal I guess. That is a replaceable part. 2) Joint is separated from the chain stay and drop out. Got a few emails into some of the Carbon Frame Repair shops but I would I think I w ... Read More »

2012 Trek Elite 9.8 Bottom bracket, compatbile with Raceface atlas cranks?

Hi all Tried running a search for some info but didn't come up with anything, so if anyone can help that'd be awesome! After 3 years out of the MTB'ing game, Ive got my eye on a 2012 Trek Elite 9.8 frame to build up as a commuting rig (with the weekend off road bash thrown in to) The frame ... Read More »

'13 superfly elite SL vs '14 superfly 9.8 SL

In theory, same bike . Both products of the Apollo project. I was told the 13/14 are "identical except paint" However, the 14 has the new front/rear remote shock controller. (Not sure if it's a gimmick or cool.) Otherwise they appear to be the same. I see conflicting info from people who seemed to ... Read More »

TREK ELITE 8.9 vs TREK FUEL EX 4

I live in Thailand and own TREK mamba 29er, which I have upgraded with a complete Shimano XT drive train, DT SWISS 1600 Spline wheels and a DT SWISS XMM 100 SS fork. I am now looking for a second bike for more technical single track and because of where I live availability is somewhat limited espec ... Read More »

2011 (I think) Elite 9.8 Build Help

Hi Trek Crew - My story - Broke an old GF Big Sur, bought a Mojo, decided to check warranty replacement on the GF, got a NOS Elite 9.8 carbon (mostly red and black - google fail on the image search for which year and Trek website fail on showing the 2011) I was originally thinking about sellin ... Read More »

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