Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

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Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby shinyhalo » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:25 am

I see old Trek mountain bikes that had an MSRP around 400-500 selling for $100-150 on CL
vs
Walmart brand new Schwinn Sidewinder that has good reviews for ~ $150

Thanks for opinions
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby junkyarddog » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:38 am

depends on what model trek and the overall condition of the bike
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby Falkon45 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:12 am

What JYD said. Also, the components. You already know the sidewinder has bottom of the barrel shimano parts. So the trek should be ahead if the components are still in good condition. The trek may also be chromoly, so it should be much lighter as well.
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:03 am

I see a lot of older Treks advertised on CL for $200 or so. At that price a 1990s Trek is not as good a deal as a new $200 big box bike. Most of them had 1" threaded headset and came with either a rigid fork (no shocks) or the shocks are now worn and useless and upgrading them to something useful is difficult (if not impossible).

The frames are well manufactured but no provisions for disk brakes (although, frankly, vee-brakes are good enough for most riders).

They're all going to be 26ers.

But if you can find a 4500 or something equivalent for under $200 that's in reasonable shape it could be a good bike. I have one of these and like it; but I have to say that for my "go-to" ride it's the 29er every time. My wife rides the 4500 now.

Also you have to watch that you don't get something that is way different riding style than you like. I've seen some older Treks that put me in a very stretched out position. Good for competing but not for daily riding; at least not for me.

So, like almost everything, "it depends". At least, with the big box bike, if you don't like it you can take it back and trade it for something else. Hard to do that with a craigslist bike.
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby JohnnyMullet » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:06 pm

I have ridden several big box 29er's and I would take a name brand 26er over a newer China made big box 20er bike anyday.
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby gil » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:05 am

I would say the Trek most likely would be better than most BBB. I have a 90's Gary Fisher rigid that no BB bike would ever come close to. I also think some of the manufactures should give up on the crappy suspension on some of the BB bikes and concentrate more on components.
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby 6sharky9 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:02 pm

The older bikes are what the lower end bikes mimicked back then and they still do today...Consider them clones of an authentic if you will..BBB doesnt innovate anything and just copies as cheaply as possible...Technology is however trickling down to the bbb models but i personally still dont consider them as good and especially in the frame department.

Not that a BBB frame cant handle more today than they could back then but, they still arent as well made and costs are cut to keep prices down..Its these added costs that make the higher end models better with far superior R&D work...More strict durability testing and design innovation to make them lighter and stronger and better handling designs in general...Remember, its the professional riders who help design these frames through far more aggressive riding, Pushing them beyond design parameter to try and break them so improvements can be made..not joe schmo ,such as myself buying a bike from walmart or target....This is where some of this added cost comes from and some see that as a legitimate reason to choose over low cost clones.

Depending on how good/aggresive of a rider you are and how far you can push a bike to its limits will determine if a BBB can be sufficient enough for you with maybe a few low cost upgrades or if you should spend your money more wisely to more meet your needs...And this need involves your safety as well.

I would never tell a new rider looking to get started not to buy a BBB but, nor would i recommend against an older model from a top name manufacturer.

Just because a bike has a 1" threaded head set as opposed to a 1-1/8 doesnt make it so un superior..neither does an older spring fork or v brakes...if you just want to ride some easy trails an older bike is far better in my opinion as it is just built better...Just remeber some hard core riders rode those "old" bikes far more aggressive than most of us could even try to ride.


You'll maybe notice how superior these bbb 1-1/8 headsets and stems are by how many junk them and replace them with upgrades on the bbb because they are mostly thin and cheaply made...also the crank and fork and pedals and just about everything else on the bike but the frame is replaced to end up a reliable bike costing upwards of $500.00 or more...See what im getting at here?...So now you have a not so superior frame, which is the backbone of any bike and all these high dollar parts on it...BBB is a cheap alternative to get you riding and outdoors but i will never consider one superior to a brand name bike...Even after spending hundreds of dollars in upgrades on one.

I have a "newer" motobecane that even i dont consider better than a trek or a giant or a specialized or any other top name bike..It did come with some wonderfully reliable parts but its not something i would race or ride very aggressively without concern.

So my recommendation is this...if you are just going to ride for the fun and arent evil kinevel on a bike i would recommend the old TREK.

If looks are important to you and want a more modern looking "replica" of a much more expensive mountain bike then a BBB is the choice to take and expect to make some upgrades where needed...Ive owned a few myself and they can be good bikes but its going to take some upgrades to make it reliable...And i STRONGLY recommend a hard tail model and not a full suspension model.
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Re: Which is better? 20 year old Trek or new BB bike?

Postby 6sharky9 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:18 pm

Let me ad lib here if i may...If you decide on a bbb it can be upgraded for not a whole bunch of money if you are smart about it...You dont have to buy the top name brand parts for something to be considered an upgrade or better than what it came with.

Heres the main concerns on a bbb bike.

1.) THE BOTTOM BRACKET...They all suck and need a better quality one for some reliability.
2.) PEDALS..Most are cheap flimsy plastic that can break very easily.
3.) TIRES..most are hard compound garbage.
4.) DERAILLEURS AND SHIFTERS and CABLES...Bottom of the line componants.

Upgrade these areas and you should have a somewhat reliable bike but still not a "racer" if you will.
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