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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like stated in the title, I want to start XC racing. Been riding a Trek '06 4500 since I bought it new in 2006. I've been told its a great starting bike for racing and agree to an extent, but for the past year or so, I have felt limited while riding it...it's still completely stock except Shimano clips.

So my question would be, should I look for a new bike or should I start simply upgrading components, and if so, where do I start components wise?

Thanks in advance for all suggestions!
 

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T.W.O.
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If it's still in good working condition you should run with it may be get lighter tires to race and train. I would not invest in until you are sure this is what you want to do. There are so many good choices for race bikes from 29er HT to FS XC bikes.

What limitation do you feel that your 4500 have?
 

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give it a shot with your current bike and see what you think. an entry level 5 year old bike isn't worth upgrading too much. i'm sure you'll see a big difference with a new bike, but is that really important to you? enjoy! ez
 

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Eric Z said:
give it a shot with your current bike and see what you think. an entry level 5 year old bike isn't worth upgrading too much. i'm sure you'll see a big difference with a new bike, but is that really important to you? enjoy! ez
Lets see a picture of that giant you got:thumbsup:
 

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Let's put it this way: Ned Overend could rip your legs off riding an off the shelf Walmart bike. It's not the machine, it's the rider. It's awesome you want to race, but you have to start somewhere. There's no sense in upgrading for the sake of upgrading; if you want something particular out of you bike then that's a different case, but right now it sounds like you're just wondering about general upgrade options. There are two routes to go here:

1) You're going to be a casual racer. You race when there's an event pretty close to you and you aren't going to stress if you win or simply don't finish last. For you, keep the 4500 until you find a bike you love to ride. Who knows, that new bike might not be an XC race bike but it'll get you to the finish line and you just might have more fun than everyone else.

2) You're serious about racing. You should start saving your pennies because it's about to get pricy. Ditch the 4500 and buy a XC racing bike. Start doing intervals and weighing every single component of your bike. If it doesn't make your bike faster, it isn't worth buying.

You might be able to see though where I stand on the issue. Racing doesn't always mean that you need to be on the most modern bike, just ride what you have and figure out what you like to do on a bike. Personally, after a couple races I found that it isn't my scene and I'd rather be out trying to conquer the most technical trails I could find. No trophies, but it's what makes me enjoy biking the most. If racing turns out to be your thing, then that's the time to invest in race bike parts or a full-on race bike, but don't upgrade things pointlessly until you know where your'e going. A 4500 is more than capable of getting you the XC racing starter course so have fun with it.
 

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It's about showing up.
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Well, Afrobiker, the message sems pretty clear; ride what you've got. Besides, you know her well and there is much to be said for that. One day you will look back on this bike with much appreciation.

Yet as to the bike and racing? There is more importantly a style of using it as a tool for your success. For that it must be well attended to and sound under pressure. Listen to it closely and know it deeply. Learn how to keep it finely tuned and do that in a comprehensive fashion. When changes are made test them thoroughly, especially anything involving the drivetrain. . Avoid major changes 1 week of the race; your bike should be dialed well before that and you will be putting the finshing touches on your form and preparing your head. A failed bike in a race.........

Amidst all of this is an upgrade jones. I know it is there; admit it. So what do you say, guys? How about letting him get a nice new set of tires and figuring out how to use them?
:cool:
 

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Time to get a new bike.

Honestly, racing or not, if you've been riding a stock entry-level bike for 5 years, it's time to get something better. Everything on your bike is heavy. That's just the nature of bikes in that price range. It doesn't make sense to start upgrading components since you will ultimately need to upgrade everything. As to the it'- the-rider-not-the-bike" comments that pop up in all of these threads, that's a serious oversimplification. Sure Ned O could kick my ass riding a dept store bike, but you won't see him showing up to races on one.

If you can't justify the cost of a new race bike, look for a nice used one. Some racers replace their bikes every few years. A 3 to 5 year old or even older used race bike will be a huge improvement over your old Trek, and will be worthy of upgrading or replacing worn parts if necessary. If you can't afford that yet, put some lightweight race tires on your Trek, but you need to try to not go any further than that. Save your money until you can get a better bike.
 

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Trail Junkie
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All reality, racers from the 80s and 90s raced on lesser frames than the Trek 4500 was even 5 yrs ago. I don't think that is the point, you have to determine at what level you are pursuing a racing?

If a recreational level and just for fun:
Use what you got, upgrade some parts to drop some weight. A light and fast wheelset and tires will yield the best upgrade. Drivetrain can be tuned to be a bit faster. Crankset, handlebars, and seat/seatpost will drop the weight the fastest after the wheels.

If you want to be competitive:
Replace the frame for a light carbon hardtail and start counting grams. Start with wheels and other parts mentioned. Expect to dish out $3,000+ and start training, watching what you eat, researching training techniques and interval training..and ensure you get plenty of rest. To push through threshholds, you may start looking towards a road bike. It doesn't have to be expensive..I picked a C'dale synapse w/ 105grp for $700..and its proved to be a very valuable cross training tool for stamina

Remember, you are the motor, the bike is your transmission and wheels. A great bike doesn't guarantee success. There is a saying, Racers win races, bikes lose races. If you have a crap bike, it may keep you from winning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies!

To answer some questions pointed at me: My limitations come mainly from the fact that I feel like I can be more powerful on my current rig, but my drivetrain and derailuer setup seem to hold me back. I've been told I'm "pretty fast on that bike" by some more experienced/seasoned racers(all on road bikes mind you) in the group road ride I frequent, but at same time I get the "you should upgrade and be better" comments as well.

I want and know I should start in Cat 3, take my time, be good, and see where it takes me racing wise. I'm 26 and know cycling can help me stay competitive and in shape more then my other hobby sport which is a bit more brutal on the body.

So again, thanks for all the replies, hope my reply can help in y'alls advice to me!
 

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Trail Junkie
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Well if you have a roadie base, that is a good start. You know how to pay attention to your cadence and pace yourself. I say soak it up and rail it at 26. You get ALOT more competition at 30!

If you think your drivetrain is the weak link on your bike. Look at X9 9-speed stuff, it is very cheap, and will serve you well. Actually, there is a spot selling bits for very cheap just because its overstock inventory http://blog.ridesoul.com/

Give them a call, Chad and Soul Cycles is a one man show, he may have more for ya!
 

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Afrobiker said:
Thanks everyone for the replies!

To answer some questions pointed at me: My limitations come mainly from the fact that I feel like I can be more powerful on my current rig, but my drivetrain and derailuer setup seem to hold me back.
Your drive train and especially your derailuer have nothing to do with power output. If you want to be more powerful you need to get stronger and more skilled. you can make the power you have more efficient and the best place to start would be the outermost rotating mass. I would spend my money on getting more fit and a skills camp.
 

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Alright, I gotta call some of you guys out.
Will all the posters that are telling the OP (or implying) he should not buy a better bike, please post your bike(s). And be honest here. I think it may be helpful to the OP to know how full of crap some of you guys are. :)

OP, feel free to browse the profiles and previous posts of those telling you don't need a better bike. I think you'll find that most of them (if not all of them) are riding bikes of significantly higher quality than yours.

It's not like you're one of those noobs that buys an entry level bike (like a 4500), then immediately starts asking here about upgrades and new bikes. You've ridden your 4500 for 5 years. It was probably a very good bike for you when you bought it, and I'm not saying that you can't race it. But whether you race or not, i think you will appreciate a better bike.
 

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trailville said:
Alright, I gotta call some of you guys out.
Will all the posters that are telling the OP (or implying) he should not buy a better bike, please post your bike(s). And be honest here. I think it may be helpful to the OP to know how full of crap some of you guys are. :)

OP, feel free to browse the profiles and previous posts of those telling you don't need a better bike. I think you'll find that most of them (if not all of them) are riding bikes of significantly higher quality than yours.

It's not like you're one of those noobs that buys an entry level bike (like a 4500), then immediately starts asking here about upgrades and new bikes. You've ridden your 4500 for 5 years. It was probably a very good bike for you when you bought it, and I'm not saying that you can't race it. But whether you race or not, i think you will appreciate a better bike.
I've got an awesome bike IMO, but it wasn't a magic bullet that made me a better rider or give me more power; getting stronger and more skilled did. If the OP wants a better bike or better parts he'll no doubt have a better experience and most likely have more fun, but those things aren't going to make you more powerfull or skilled. If he went out today with his current bike and did a X/C race and placed mid pack, he's going to be mid pack on a new bike the next day.
Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle fork Bicycle wheel rim
 

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T.W.O.
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trailville said:
Alright, I gotta call some of you guys out.
Will all the posters that are telling the OP (or implying) he should not buy a better bike, please post your bike(s). And be honest here. I think it may be helpful to the OP to know how full of crap some of you guys are. :)

OP, feel free to browse the profiles and previous posts of those telling you don't need a better bike. I think you'll find that most of them (if not all of them) are riding bikes of significantly higher quality than yours.

It's not like you're one of those noobs that buys an entry level bike (like a 4500), then immediately starts asking here about upgrades and new bikes. You've ridden your 4500 for 5 years. It was probably a very good bike for you when you bought it, and I'm not saying that you can't race it. But whether you race or not, i think you will appreciate a better bike.
Getting a better bike is a great idea, and I agree with you. OP only said he wants to upgrade for better parts though. I'd go to the next step and get the XC full suspension of course.:thumbsup:
 

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mimi1885 said:
Getting a better bike is a great idea, and I agree with you. OP only said he wants to upgrade for better parts though. I'd go to the next step and get the XC full suspension of course.:thumbsup:
Actually he asked "should I look for a new bike or should I start simply upgrading components".
I think many of the responses are the standard ones given when a new rider that just purchased an entry level bike starts asking about upgrades (bike or components), and we all see a lot of those posts. But the OP has been riding the Trek for 5 years, thinks he's fast, wants to try racing, and feels that the bike may be holding him back. He's probably right. Maybe the beginners forum wasn't the right place for him to post. He should maybe try reposting in the XC racing forum.
 

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T.W.O.
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trailville said:
Actually he asked "should I look for a new bike or should I start simply upgrading components".
I think many of the responses are the standard ones given when a new rider that just purchased an entry level bike starts asking about upgrades (bike or components), and we all see a lot of those posts. But the OP has been riding the Trek for 5 years, thinks he's fast, wants to try racing, and feels that the bike may be holding him back. He's probably right. Maybe the beginners forum wasn't the right place for him to post. He should maybe try reposting in the XC racing forum.
Cool, I hate getting old;)
 

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I love racing. It's like Fight Club for bike geeks. :)

Like some posters have been saying, just go race. The beginners' race is typically about forty-five minutes long, with a huge variety of skill levels.

This was my bike last May, after replacing the brakes.



I have a full build list on another thread.

https://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?p=7753608&postcount=1

If your bike does everything it needs to reliably, that's enough to let your fitness do the talking. So take care of anything that's broken (what's wrong with your drivetrain, anyway?) and go race. Most of the upgrades from stock are things I did after wearing stuff out due to increased training volume, and because access to team prices made it a lot cheaper to do. This season, it gets some racing tires once the trails dry out and some lightweight tubes. That's probably it for "upgrades" this year, unless I need to replace something broken.

If you haven't already made the bike fit you well, though, that's definitely worthwhile. Otherwise, don't buy anything until you're on a team. Maybe still don't buy anything, but presumably you'll be a couple of races in, and have some idea what's messing you up in those conditions.
 
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