Trek 4900 (2012)

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Does Trek 4 Series sound familiar to you? It might just as well, because you may have already read our Trek 4300 review. So, who is actually Trek 4900? A better equipped version of the same series, and a doorway to the mid-level segment, or at least, a bike daring to attack it? As there are enough reasons to recommend Trek as a brand, I’ll go directly to the pros and the cons of this model.

Frame/On the track

There are no significant differences between the 4300 and 4900 frames except for decals. They benefit from the same quality you’d expect from a premium brand, with careful welding, quality paint, mounts for two water cages, small carefully crafted dropouts, and cables pulled below the top tube. The frame’s rear triangle is composed by a yoke with a single central tube, connecting the swingarm to the seat tube. This is “Trekuesq” style and as a result there is a lot of room for the tire, so you can pedal without any worry even on muddy trails.

In our case, the angles responsible for every bike’s behavior on track come in the formula of 70.5 degrees for the headtube and 73.5 for seat tube. In fact, same as for his younger sibling, the agility of Trek 4900 is diminished by the position of the highly placed handlebar. However, for the other side of story, those who appreciate a more comfortable position will be quite pleased with this position. If you want a sportier ride you just have to remove one or both spacers placed on the steerer tube and place them above the stem. Thus, you will immediately turn to a more aggressive position on the bike.

2.06 kg frame weight, an average value for its class and its high rigidity, 111 Nm / degree tell us that Trek 4900 will perform very well in corners or when changing direction. So, this bike really has some racing pedigree!

Components

As I said above, the 4900 is an upgrade to the 4300 model in terms of specs. Drive train is composed of a Shimano SLX rear derailleur with Shadow technology (the cage works inside the plane represented by chainstay and droputs) which is capable, quiet and fast, paired with a Shimano Deore front derailleur. This is also a midrange product of the Japanese brand but it requires some extra-effort when shifting from smaller to bigger chainring. The transmission system wouldn’t be complete without a Shimano M522 crankset and quality shifting levers from the Deore range with 2 Way Release function. Overall, 3 chainrings and 10 sprockets are ready to be used and abused as you prefer.

Shimano M446 brakes are also an upgrade from the Hayes Dyno found on the Trek 4300. They have enough power on steeper descents and offer enough control if you’re able to keep cool. Both wheels are equipped with 160 Center Lock rotors and should you need extra-braking power you are free to choose a 180 mm c.

The fork comes from SR Suntour and represents a pleasant surprise on this bike. Some models, like the XCR found on this Trek 4900, are made in Taiwan, not in China, and this explains the huge quality difference between the two forks. Suntour XCR offers 100 mm of travel and a surprisingly efficient damping for a fork coming from Taiwan. Also, it manages to do this without any strange knocks on the rebound! It is also equipped with Lock-Out function, with handlebar control, however its weight does not impress. Hanging in our scale, it showed a value of 2.36 kg. Overall, an acceptable fork for this Trek, and the rider only can decide to change it for a lighter one or keep it thanks to its decent performance.

Trek 4900’s wheels weigh a total of 4.86 kg. The fast rolling tires, which actually provide poor grip, together with Shimano cup and cones hubs contribute to this increased weight. Also, acceleration is not impressive at all.

Conclusion

I‘d always choose the 4900, against his sibling Trek 4300. My choice is based on the first bike’s better specs, and I point again the brakes, the drive train and even the fork. Of course, I would need a bigger budget as Trek 4900’s price tag is around 700 euro. This isn’t in any case a best deal, but for this money you get a relatively light and robust frame which is a good base for your next XC bike.

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