Are Old Trek Mountain Bikes a Timeless Purchase?

January 3, 2022
old trek mountain bikes

"Should I get an old or a new mountain bike?" Whenever possible, most people will tell you to opt for a new one. That's something we can't disagree on; most new bikes have upgraded features and have better quality as they're not yet used. However, things get complicated when a tight budget is involved.

You want a new bike, but you're on a budget and can't afford the splurge. Moreover, you have an interest in vintage design. If that's what you're looking for, don't worry! Some bikes will surely work for you. Old and second-hand bikes aren't entirely bad; it's just a matter of skillful evaluation and setting expectations.

To help you out with your bike dilemma, we will discuss some tips on evaluating old or used mountain bikes. Then, we will put a "touch of Trek" in it. Are you familiar with Trek? It's one of the best long-standing bike brands in the world! We're also going to tackle how old Trek mountain bikes may differ from other vintage bikes. Let's get started!

How to Evaluate An Old Mountain Bike

When looking to buy an old mountain bike, there are a few things you need to take into account. You will have to be more vigilant as these bikes will more likely have signs of quality drop. However, that doesn't mean you have to give up on them for good. Instead, you need to know when to buy or not to buy the bike.

When to Invest in Old Bikes

If you're eyeing an old mountain bike, here are some factors that can help you decide if it's a good purchase.

  • All mountain bikes lose value per year, but some brands keep up better than others. Some of these are Trek, Giant, and Specialized. If you're going to buy one, you should consider these brands.
  • A one-year-old bike can be a smart buying option. It has a relatively big price drop, but will usually still be in good condition, giving you better value than bikes older than a year.
  • A bike with signs of usage is okay, as long as it’s minimal, doesn't affect how the bike performs, and won't require you to add costs for huge repairs or replacement.
  • If you're looking to convert an old bike into an e-bike, the bike needs to be in good condition on top of the support of an e-bike tool kit.
  • If you're planning on some modifications, such as converting an old mountain bike to a gravel bike, ensure to check the most important parts for your project to work successfully. These include the tires and wheels, gearing, pedals, bike frame, and handlebars.
old trek mountain bikes - old mountain bike to gravel bike - man and woman choosing a bike in a bike store top view image

When Not To Buy

If you notice these things on the old bike you're eyeing, then it might not be advisable to proceed with the purchase.

  • The frame: Severe dents, chips, scratches, cracks around the bottom bracket, shock mounts, and other vital areas. These damages will cost you extra to repair.
  • The fork and rear shock: Visible wear and tear sign, bike noises such as clunks, clatters, compression squeaks, creaks, and lack of responsiveness. If possible, test the suspension to ensure if the rebound still works.
  • The drivetrain: Visible wear-outs and bottom bracket noises. There are easy ways and tools to help you determine the condition of the drivetrain (e.g., chain checker tool).
  • The brakes: Aging marks and discoloration on the rotors. Conduct a test ride to see if pulling the brakes still works properly.
  • The wheels and tires: Rim dents, cracks on the wheel flange, and spoke issues. Ensure that the wheel is running properly. For the tires, check if they're not old ones that are reused to make a sale.
  • The contact points: Visual and technical issues on the bars, grips, stems, and saddle. Contact points are necessary to bear ground impact.

Overall, it's not that difficult to inspect an old bike. However, it pays to have adequate knowledge and expert advice, so don't hesitate to ask for assistance from your local bike shops.

Debunking the Vintage Bike Allergy: Vintage Trek Mountain Bikes

Now let's add a touch of "Trek" in our discussion. A few things set old Trek bikes apart from other vintage brands. 

Trek started bicycle steel frame production in 1976 and made 805 of them in their first year. These frames have silver brazing, which keeps the frame tubes strong. As the years progressed, Trek transitioned from steel to aluminum and carbon frame materials (while still retaining steel production for those who prefer it.)

"It's not just an old mountain bike. It's a Trek!" But what exactly makes Trek bikes so popular? What makes them the timeless talk of the bike town? 

#1: Trek Developed Ground-Breaking Technologies

Trek is well-known for nailing the art of technologies for top-level cycling. With the lack of technology in the past years, their innovations were ground-breaking and are still relevant today. Here are some of Trek's technological solutions for their bikes.

  • Lightweight and firm optimum compaction low void (OCLV) carbon frames.
  • Alpha aluminum frames for strength and weight enhancement.
  • Patented active braking pivot for an enhanced rear suspension.
  • Advanced RE:aktiv suspension system for terrain and rider flexibility.
  • Responsive full floater rear suspension system.
  • IsoSpeed suspension for road bikes (separating top tube and seat tube) to eliminate fatigue.

#2: Trek Caters to Every Cyclist 

There's nothing better than an inclusive brand. From mountain bikers to commuters, Trek has a bike for everyone. With versatile frame designs, prices, and technologies, you can ride Trek mountain bikes for any cycling activity you participate in.

Are you an enthusiastic beginner? Try the Trek 820 or Marlin. Need something affordable but high-quality for more challenging trails? You might like the Roscoe or the X-Caliber. Perhaps you're a pro at enduro bikes and will do great with the Slash or the Domane for road cycling. No matter what, there's a Trek bike for you!

#3: Old Trek Bikes Have Good Resale Value

This is a big one. With Trek, investing in new vs. old bikes is not a huge concern. If you're looking to resell an old Trek bike, you'll be glad to know that they hold their value quite well in the market. This is due to the brand's good reputation and long-standing history. Of course, it goes to say that the bike should generally be in good condition.

old trek mountain bikes - NiceC BMX Kids Bike with Dual Disc Brake - old couple riding bike on the mountains image

Buy an Old Bike and Put a Trek on It

Are old Trek bikes a timeless purchase? Yes, they are! However, that also depends on you. Old Trek bikes represent the past of cycling. They were once used by riders who wanted to get out into nature but didn't have access to modern technology like gears or suspension systems.

Nowadays, people seek efficient ways of riding road and mountain bikes that can easily handle any terrain. If you're one of these people, the newer models might be a better choice. Still, you won't lose on an old Trek because of its excellent value and gorgeous vintage visuals.

Get your old Trek bike tuned up and hit the trails with ease, knowing that you made a great investment! Feel free to explore our other blogs if you're looking for other brands (e.g., the Kent Genesis Whirlwind women or the NiceC BMX Kids Bike with Dual Disc Brake).

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