My reliable, dependable and versatile riding machine for close to 20 years!
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I got my Trek 4300 mountain bike in 2004. Nearly 20 years ago. In those two decades, I accumulated quite a few bikes including a road bike, a full suspension fork mountain bike, and recently got a gravel bike.
Frame sizes and form are crucial for creating memorable trail rides. The Trek 4300, with its large frame clearance and Shimano rim brakes, has led me to the fulfilling adventures of off-road cycling, helped me bond with my son, and acted as a gravel crusher. In its rite of passage, this classic versatile mountain bike is now going to be ridden by my son. The Trek 4300 will be his first real mountain bike and his access to a world of adventure, speed, and discovery.
Within this post, you’ll learn more about my riding experiences with the Trek 4300 Mountain Bike, its components, and its performance across various terrain.
The Trek 4300: My Introduction
I learned to cycle when I was about 5, and I always had a bike growing up. But college and jobs kept me from continuing to ride. I had given my cycle away at some point. On a whim, a friend and I decided to get a new mountain bike.
The goal was for me to restart my passion for riding bikes, and for him to get into cycling. I remember walking into a Ski Barn (not sure why) to get the Trek 4300. The price was about $400. It was nighttime when I arrived home with my brand new bike.
The next day after work was when I took my bike out for my first ride around my neighborhood. The familiar feeling of wind on my face and the nostalgia of freedom brought back memories of my younger days. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a lifelong obsession with anything cycling.
My next step was to challenge myself more and hit the trails near my house. I have two types of trails – a hard-packed gravel trail that runs along the river/ stream for almost the entire state of New Jersey. This is mostly a flat bike path.
The other option for riding my Trek 4300 is a more serious off-road trail experience featuring challenging rocks and roots. At first, I was not aware of the off-road trail. I hit the flat ones frequently.
But repetition leads to boredom. So it was by accident that I discovered the off-road trail. I saw other cyclists going to the other side of the parking lot. Didn’t pay too much attention to them.
Once the urge to seek excitement and adventure struck, I ventured through the bushes and discovered a completely different landscape. This would be the start of my own adventure with my Trek 4300 bike.
Connecting with My Son Via the Trek 4300
My wife sometimes cycles with me. She may not be as adventurous as I am when off-road cycling through rocks and roots, but she likes to ride on gravel and loose dirt. So she got a used mountain bike and we both went on many memorable rides navigating our local trails. We even took the bike with us during trips.
I gained another partner when my son reached about 4 years old. It started with him riding on a kid seat behind me on the Trek 4300. Those days are some of my most memorable and happy. The Trek 4300 mountain bike was the scene for so many of my cherishes memories
Trek 4300: Versatile Power
Kids grow up fast! Around the time he got too big to fit the kid seat, I was getting interested in gravel bikes.
I really did not want to spend on a new bike. By this time I had got my Specialized Stumpjumper as well. I didn’t need a new, dedicated hardtail for mountain bike trails. Besides, the aluminum frame and components of the Trek 4300 were still in good condition.
I modified the 4300 into a gravel bike, or rather a monster-cross bike. I put in drop bars and brifters from my trek road bike. (Check out how I converted the Trek road bike into a single speed as a side project).
Trek 4300 Stock Components: Brakes, Gears, and Shifter
The components are basic, but very well-built. The Trek 4300 comes with the following:
- Cantilever brakes, with enough power to stop on steep descents
- The stock 8-speed gear for riding power
- Shimano Alivio rear shifter, in which I found the shifting to be “laggy” than my Shimano XT shifter on the Specialized Stumpjumper, but that is to be expected from a 20 year old bike.
It was during the conversion to monster-cross that I figured out how compatible Shimano’s transmission systems were between road and mountain bike setups with the same “pull ratios”- but only up to 9 speeds. Since my Trek 4300 was an 8-speed entry-level mountain bike (I was soon to add a new cassette to make it 9-speed), and my Trek road bike was a 9-speed, the gearing would work with the new shifters.
I put in a new goat-link adapter from Wolftooth components. The adapter provides the rear derailleur more clearance to cover the big cassette’s low gearing. So along with the drop bars, road bike brifters, and the added gearing, I had transformed the Trek 4300 into more of a cross between a gravel and mountain bike.
In its monster-cross form, I had put in close to 500 miles on the Trek 4300 over 2-3 years. I took the bike on numerous mountain bike and gravel trails. It was a lot of fun, amplified by the satisfaction that this was something I built for my specific riding style and riding performance needs. A point to note is the quality of the bike and it stock components.
The only Trek 4300 component I changed a few years ago was the bottom bracket and cranks. I never had any issues with anything else, even after “transforming” the bike a couple of times. These old bikes are built for durable performance and to last several decades over hundreds of rides across tough terrain.
The Trek 4300 Rides into the Future
My son is at an age where he needs his own bike. Giving him this old 26″ aluminum frame bike, which to some is too old to pass down, helps him see the simplicity of a basic mountain bike as he identifies and builds his own style of riding.
He has many more years and decades to get the bike of his choice. But think the Trek 4300 is a very good starter bike he can use and his riding skills on the saddle. I changed the monster cross back to its original mountain bike form for him to start riding with me on the trails. See the newly updated Trek 4300 below.
Trek 4300 FAQ
- Is the Trek 4300 a good bike?
Answer: Yes, it definitely is. The amount of rides I did on it on and off trails, and the modifications I made to it, and for it so survive all these years, this is a solid bike I would ride for a long time. The options are limitless, as I have shown in my personal experience. 26″ bikes are here to stay, and I think might even make a come back in the next few years!
- Is the Trek 4300 a good bike?
- How much is a Trek 4300 worth?
Answer: At the time of purchase in 2004, I remember paying $400. They do not make the 4300 anymore, but other bike models have taken over.
- How much is a Trek 4300 worth?