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I have a Trek 4300 with stock everything V-Brakes. After going to a local trail and riding the very fast downhill i realized i didn't have enough stopping power as i would have liked to have. I don't want to upgrade to disc brakes because i just got into MTB'ing and if i get disc brakes i'm just gonna wait til i upgrade to a whole new bike. Instead i'm just looking to get some new pads cause usually stock brakes and wheels are junk. I want to know if any pad will work on my bike or do i need to look at something specific in order for it to work. Keep hearing about Kool Stop here so i was looking at there stuff along with some of Avid's pads. Also will upgrading brake levers help out stopping power at all? If anyone can school a noob and help me out i'd appreciate it. Thanks
 

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Hey, I'm in more or less the same position. Just bought a Trek 4300...

Here's my thought: The frame is the same as for the 6-series bikes, I think you can ride the frame for a quite long time, so I wouldn't hesitate to put disc brakes if you think you need them.
On the other hand, it's really not a downhill bike...

I bought the Trek 4300 because it does not have disc brakes and what I will do is put some better V-brakes on it, the Avid Single Digit 5 or 7, and put some KoolStop brake pads. Might not be enough for hardcore downhill, but for everything else it's more than enough.

What I did with my other bike (more for touring, had the old LX V-brakes with the parallel pad alignment mechanism) was to use the XT brake shoe where you can change just the pads. Very convenient.

You don't have to look for anything specific when buying the brake pads for the current V-brake, and you could technically continue to use them on a new V-brake. I was always very happy with the KoolStop brake pads.

Not sure if changing the brake lever helps. But nowadays the cheaper bikes all have those integrated shift-brake things, you'd have to get new brake levers and shifters!
 
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