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88 Trek 400 Upgrade

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88 Trek 400 Upgrade

Old 04-20-17, 09:11 AM
  #1  
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88 Trek 400 Upgrade

Posted this on General Discussion and advised to move question here...

Question. I have an 88 Trek 400 that I rarely ride because it is not very comfortable. The position of the brake hoods seems too far forward. The handle bars feel too narrow. Brakes are terrible.

So my question is this. I know the bike is rather low end to begin with (i have been corrected) so is it worth sinking money into to make it more comfortable. Perhaps move the shifters to the brake levers and off the down tube, replace handle bars, put on new rim brakes as the current brakes seem weak. Or do I sell it on Craigslist and buy something new for the same amount of money?


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Old 04-20-17, 09:28 AM
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I have an 89 Trek 400 and find the frame to be quite good. Tru Tember is good tubing material. I have found that it is cheaper to make changes with the bike you have rather then go through the uncertain process of selling then looking for a better bike. Does the frame size fit you? If so, make the component changes and don't listen to the snobs. Stems and handlebars can be changed. New pads and adjusted brakes make a big difference in performance.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:02 AM
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Yes it is worth making some changes the True temper frames and Matrix wheels even on the lower end Treks were basically top of the line as production bikes go and American hand made so yes it is worth a few buck for better brakes and shifter's.
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Old 04-20-17, 10:08 AM
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If it fits for sure get it set up to ride. Looks to be in great shape. The seat junction is cool on these treks.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Posted this on General Discussion and advised to move question here...

Question. I have an 88 Trek 400 that I rarely ride because it is not very comfortable. The position of the brake hoods seems too far forward. The handle bars feel too narrow. Brakes are terrible.
It's probably just the brake pads that are terrible; get new Kool Stop pads that will fit your current brakes.

Apart from that, fishing around here for a wider set of bars could net you something nice and cheap in the for sale section. And there's always the big online auction site. When you mount the new bars, mount the brake levers a little higher up. Or consider a getting a shorter stem with your new bars, effectively moving the bars back an inch or so.

If you're thinking about changing over to brifters, that also means probably changing your derailleurs & freewheel. If that's SunTour stuff I see on there, it won't index with Shimano brifters. Or Campagnolo Ergos.

I "upgraded" my '89 Trek 400 from a bare frame, and did the brifters thing with matching Shimano 600 TriColor parts. I think I have about $300 in it, but a lot of the parts came crazy cheap. It's a helluva bike, actually.

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Old 04-20-17, 11:30 AM
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Lascauxcaveman,

That looks really nice. Tell me about the paint if you would please. How did you find someone to do that? There isn't any reason to not repaint this bike is there?

i would rather ride that than a ubiquitous black racing bike.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Lascauxcaveman,

That looks really nice. Tell me about the paint if you would please. How did you find someone to do that? There isn't any reason to not repaint this bike is there?
Other than your original paint being original and in beautiful condition? I guess not. If mine had been as sharp as yours, I wouldn't have had it powder coated (or painted).

Here's the scoop on mine, with lots more pics. In a nutshell, the original finish was pretty hopeless, with lots of little rust patches bubbling up underneath the paint and patches of it completely gone. So I took a flyer on the powder coating, which cost $130 including the media blasting to get the old paint off. The guy did a good job.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Other than your original paint being original and in beautiful condition? I guess not. If mine had been as sharp as yours, I wouldn't have had it powder coated (or painted).

Here's the scoop on mine, with lots more pics. In a nutshell, the original finish was pretty hopeless, with lots of little rust patches bubbling up underneath the paint and patches of it completely gone. So I took a flyer on the powder coating, which cost $130 including the media blasting to get the old paint off. The guy did a good job.
The frame has several big scratches that I have covered over with nail polish. Not a good color match.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Posted this on General Discussion and advised to move question here...

Question. I have an 88 Trek 400 that I rarely ride because it is not very comfortable. The position of the brake hoods seems too far forward. The handle bars feel too narrow. Brakes are terrible.

So my question is this. I know the bike is rather low end to begin with (i have been corrected) so is it worth sinking money into to make it more comfortable. Perhaps move the shifters to the brake levers and off the down tube, replace handle bars, put on new rim brakes as the current brakes seem weak. Or do I sell it on Craigslist and buy something new for the same amount of money?
Your Trek 400 is a handsome bike, well-worth putting some time and money into.

As others have said, some of the issues you mention can be corrected by replacing the consumables (brake pads, cable/housing, etc). Swapping out bars and brake levers is an afternoon's work if you've never done it before.

But does the frame fit you?
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Old 04-20-17, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by billytwosheds View Post

But does the frame fit you?

I think it does. I may be mistaken but I think so.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
I think it does. I may be mistaken but I think so.
Height and inseam length? Could be the more aggressive riding position (relative to your other bikes) that makes it feel like it doesn't fit well, or it could be too big.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:12 PM
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We sold lots of Treks in Milwaukee and Appleton, WO in the 1980s. It seemed to me that the brake cable housings being routed under the HB tape provided more friction than the exposed, gently looped routing that had been the norm. I'd start by disconnecting the brake cables at the calipers and assay the amount of friction. It couldn't hurt to grease the inner wire, too. While at it, squeeze the calipers and feel for excess friction there, too.

New brake pads, or at least sanding yours, could make a big or a little diff.

You might try putting your saddle closer to level - to take pressure off your hands. Once that's done, tweak its height.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by billytwosheds View Post
Height and inseam length? Could be the more aggressive riding position (relative to your other bikes) that makes it feel like it doesn't fit well, or it could be too big.


Sure. I do understand that a racing bike is going to have a more aggressive position than other bikes. I tried to recognize that when making the statement. While you could be correct that it is the aggressive position I am hoping different handle bars will make it more comfortable. Unless racing bikes just aren't comfortable.


it is a 60 cm and I am a long legged 6'1". My main ride is a 61cm sequoia. the barcalounger of the bicycle world.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:32 PM
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IMO-

The Trek 400 is a pretty swell bike- a well made frame with quality tubing. It's a "sport touring" geometry- it came with some pretty decent equipment stock- From what I see, the parts have been changed out- Suntour Edge stuff and an Origin 8 stem.

If the bike has the hoods too far away, you can go with a shorter stem and/or bars with shorter reach. If the bars are too narrow, get wider bars.

Figure out about how far back you want your hands to be. Measure your stem, see about how long your existing stem is, and figure from there.

If you get new bars, they're measured at the ends- some bars flare out so even if they measure 42 at the ends, there still 39 at the hoods. That's no fun.

I've spent a whole lot of money putting Class A parts on my 1986 Trek 400. I could have gotten a much more expensive bike with that money- but not a much nicer bike.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
IMO-

The Trek 400 is a pretty swell bike- a well made frame with quality tubing. It's a "sport touring" geometry- it came with some pretty decent equipment stock- From what I see, the parts have been changed out- Suntour Edge stuff and an Origin 8 stem.

If the bike has the hoods too far away, you can go with a shorter stem and/or bars with shorter reach. If the bars are too narrow, get wider bars.

Figure out about how far back you want your hands to be. Measure your stem, see about how long your existing stem is, and figure from there.

If you get new bars, they're measured at the ends- some bars flare out so even if they measure 42 at the ends, there still 39 at the hoods. That's no fun.

I've spent a whole lot of money putting Class A parts on my 1986 Trek 400. I could have gotten a much more expensive bike with that money- but not a much nicer bike.



I was corrected that it is a 89 (Suntour Edge) and not a 88. I did change out the stem in an attempt to make the positioning less aggressive. This is part of the reason why I think that it is not the aggressiveness of the position but instead the handle bars.
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Old 04-20-17, 09:59 PM
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Trek 400T build

Greetings all, very 1st post after foiiowing forum for about a year and a half, just finished building up a 1988 Trek 400T last week so I figured this would be a good time to jump in. It's actually the same as the OP's except in the alternate 1988 color scheme of blue and yellow. I found the bike in a storage shed in San Antonio, where it had been for the last 20 years or so, it was all there but the tires were pretty much rotted off. Checking with the vintage Trek website, bike was totally original right down to the tires, paint wasn't too bad, but freewheel and chainrings were quite worn. The frame fit, Crmoly, made in the USA, so I bought it. Put a little more into it then planned, keeping only the brake system, except for the cables and pads, both derailleurs, shifters, and seat. Biggest expenditure was a new RX100 crankset, keeping it a triple to justify the 400T. Needed new or newer, freewheel, chain, longer seatpost and stem along with wider handlebars. Was able to polish out the paint, and touch up a few chips, and had the bottom bracket and headset bearings replaced. Wheel sets were built up from parts I had accumulated over the last couple of years. Just took it on a 25 mile shake down ride 2 days ago. As previously stated, this bike is a very nice ride, the new favorite in a my humble stable. To the OP, if the frame fits, just make the rest of it as well, it's worth it, and you are at a much better starting point, then I was. Pic is just after first ride, a bit hazy that day. Tim
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Old 04-21-17, 06:40 AM
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Thanks. Just wish I had an idea going in how much i was going to be spending.
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Old 04-21-17, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Thanks. Just wish I had an idea going in how much i was going to be spending.
Oh, it's probably best not to think about that........

Actually, you have a pretty good starting point there. The handle bars are very likely too narrow, by todays standards and by your own assessment, so those likely need replaced. You can get into Microshift brifters, but you will need to upgrade your freewheel to a 7 speed cog (no big deal there). That's what I did to my 87 520, didn't even have to change the rear derailleur, but YMMV. More details here: http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...sh-update.html

If you are set on having a budget ( a concept I don't personally have much success with) I would start looking around on ebay or other For Sale boards, for handlebars and brifters, maybe some brakes (tricolor 600's might be nice), and a fresh cable kit and work up what it'll cost and go from there.

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Old 04-21-17, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Thanks. Just wish I had an idea going in how much i was going to be spending.
This will adjust your setup while keeping a traditional quill stem
- Level the saddle- $0
- buy a Nitto Dynamic 2 0-degree stem to raise the bars a bit- $30 http://www.benscycle.com/p-2502-nitt...uill-stem.aspx
- buy a Soma Hwy1 shallow drop bar for $35



This will adjust your setup while while offering a lot of easy adjustment for angle and length.
- Level the saddle- $0
- buy a veloorange threadless stem 26mm in 6deg or 17deg rise for $35 http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...less-stems.htm
- buy a veloorange threadless converter for $16 http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...m-adaptor.html
- buy a Soma Hwy1 shallow drop bar for $35




There are less expensive quill to threadless conversion setups, but the VO is light and well finished. This would get your bars the length and angle you want for more comfort.
The Soma Hwy1 bars are well made, have a shorter reach than traditional bars from the 80s, and come in widths that wont make you feel cramped.

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Old 04-21-17, 09:50 PM
  #20  
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Somehow I neglected to post pix of my 86 Trek 400 Elance:












As it sits now...

Bars are Belleri,
Brake levers and brakes are 6400 Ultegra/6400 (dual pivot in the front, single in the rear)
Wheels are Matrix 27" with Maillard 700 front and Maillard 600 sealed rear hubs.
Front derailleur is Suntour XC Pro
Rear derailleur is Suntour XC Comp
Shifters are Suntour Command Shifters
Crank is an Avocet (Ofmega) Triple
Stem is an 80mm SR
Seatpost is a SR SP-KC
Saddle is Avocet Touring II
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Old 04-22-17, 02:52 PM
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Beautiful bicycle. Nice job.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Sure. I do understand that a racing bike is going to have a more aggressive position than other bikes. I tried to recognize that when making the statement. While you could be correct that it is the aggressive position I am hoping different handle bars will make it more comfortable. Unless racing bikes just aren't comfortable.


it is a 60 cm and I am a long legged 6'1". My main ride is a 61cm sequoia. the barcalounger of the bicycle world.
I own this exact bike in the same size. I'm 6' 0".

It's a very good bike. You could always install butterfly handlebars. Handlebars are popular with tourists and very comfortable.





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Old 02-19-18, 08:23 AM
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Update. I think I finally got this bike where i want it. New handle bars and saddle. New tires. Much more comfortable and fun to ride.
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Old 02-19-18, 09:22 AM
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I like it! If it's got a 7speed rear cluster, you could always add integrated shifting later, if you so desire.
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Old 02-19-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Tombaatar View Post
Update. I think I finally got this bike where i want it. New handle bars and saddle. New tires. Much more comfortable and fun to ride.
And it's a looker!!!


Congratulations!
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*Recipient of the 2006 Time Magazine "Person Of The Year" Award*

Commence to jigglin’ huh?!?!

"But hey, always love to hear from opinionated amateurs." -says some guy to Mr. Marshall.
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