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Trek 400T

Old 09-27-22, 04:31 PM
  #1  
ehcoplex
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Trek 400T

Yeah, no…. no, I definitely didn’t need another project, but, well…. This ’87 (I think) Trek 400T Elance popped up for sale cheap (and I was able to bargain it down due to a missing FD).. It looked really tall in the ad, so I was thinking I might build it up as a 650b for a quite tall friend who keeps talking about getting back into cycling but lamenting how uncomfortable his old road bike with 23c tires is on the crappy roads in our area (maybe he could get 25c tires on that bike…..maybe……!). In the flesh, or rather, the steel, it isn’t as big as it seemed. 61cm, but that’s pretty good for me, so… I know it's not exactly 'top of the line' or particularly sought after, but it seems like a kinda decent sport-tour frame with some nice details.

Quite dirty, plenty of battle scars (seems more like the battle of being moved around in a garage for a couple decades….). I’ve already got it completely apart (mercifully easy….except I haven’t managed to get the freewheel off yet…) and couldn’t resist seeing how the frame might polish up in a couple spots- and I have to say I’m amazed at how beautifully the deep blue sparkly paint polishes up. There will be no shortage of nicks and scrapes getting the clear nail polish treatment, but I think she’ll look pretty nice. Test fit of 650b wheels with 42c tires is just a little too-tight-for-comfort (unless the chain-stays get dimpled, but I don't want to go there), but it will easily fit 650b x 38c and fenders.


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Old 09-27-22, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Yeah, no…. no, I definitely didn’t need another project, but, well…. This ’87 (I think) Trek 400T Elance popped up for sale cheap (and I was able to bargain it down due to a missing FD).. It looked really tall in the ad, so I was thinking I might build it up as a 650b for a quite tall friend who keeps talking about getting back into cycling but lamenting how uncomfortable his old road bike with 23c tires is on the crappy roads in our area (maybe he could get 25c tires on that bike…..maybe……!). In the flesh, or rather, the steel, it isn’t as big as it seemed. 61cm, but that’s pretty good for me, so… I know it's not exactly 'top of the line' or particularly sought after, but it seems like a kinda decent sport-tour frame with some nice details.

Quite dirty, plenty of battle scars (seems more like the battle of being moved around in a garage for a couple decades….). I’ve already got it completely apart (mercifully easy….except I haven’t managed to get the freewheel off yet…) and couldn’t resist seeing how the frame might polish up in a couple spots- and I have to say I’m amazed at how beautifully the deep blue sparkly paint polishes up. There will be no shortage of nicks and scrapes getting the clear nail polish treatment, but I think she’ll look pretty nice. Test fit of 650b wheels with 42c tires is just a little too-tight-for-comfort (unless the chain-stays get dimpled, but I don't want to go there), but it will easily fit 650b x 38c and fenders.


I think these are sweet riding vintage sport bikes.

I built one up at the bike co-op in Reno, NV, rode it over Mt Rose Highway to Incline Village and back, and re-donated it. Heavy by today's standards I suppose, but it was a joy to ride and the descent was super fun. If space were no issue, I'd have one.
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Old 09-27-22, 04:49 PM
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These Trek Elance's are simply beautiful looking bicycles, and yours is no exception!
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Old 09-27-22, 04:56 PM
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The tires wouldn't hold air, and the rear wheel was pretty out of true, so I only did the briefest of turns in the driveway. I'm looking forward to (eventually...!) really taking it for a spin.
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Old 09-27-22, 05:16 PM
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I had one of these that was of a similar vintage, and agree with some of the posters above that it's a sweet ride. Mine was a bit too small for me, so I eventually passed it on after using it with racks and fenders as a commuter. You may be surprised at the tire clearance with the existing 700c hoops, mine had clearance for 32's with fenders.
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Old 09-28-22, 09:34 AM
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"Lenore"

I didn't notice this until I started cleaning up the frame- apparently she was appreciated enough to be named! I think I'll try and remove it, but keep the name and have a nicer decal made up....

Lenore...
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Old 09-28-22, 09:45 AM
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I have an 88 400T I converted to 650b x 38 and the ride is every bit as good as my other high end vintage bikes. Your friend will like it.
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Old 09-28-22, 10:42 AM
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I have an 86 400 Elance. This was the first bike that I lusted after, got obsessed with, and was able to find and buy. It's an absolutely beautiful bike and it's built to be a "bike" in that it's not a racing bike so it's not a super lightweight, it's not a tourer so it's not super heavy duty, it's got 2 bottle mounts so you can go "away" for a few hours, it's got rack mounts for fenders and panniers for grocery runs or going "away." It's about as much of an "all rounder" as you're going to get in the mid 80s.

It's a fascinating bike- 531 main frame with CrMo stays and fork. If you look at the Trek catalogs, that was historically the realm of 600 series bikes. In 1986 they discontinued 600 series bikes and this pops up in its place. It kind of shows the descent of prestige of 531 and steel in general. It's got a normal 531 decal sticker, not the 'unstealable' onion skin decal. And, IMO, the only concession to be a 'budget' bicycle is the components- which are still really good. If you've ever heard the adage "Trek's entry level bikes are like other makers' mid level bikes," this bike is completely the embodiment of that. It's a great frame with quality mid-level components.

The 1986 color scheme is blue or black with a contrasting silver head tube with the lug windows in silver as well. The blue just GLOWS on an early Saturday morning ride in the sun.

Because I think this bike is so beautiful and cool, I've taken to building it up with parts I thought are more befitting what *I* think it's status is- so right now it's 600 Tricolor brakes and levers (dual pivot in the front, single in the rear), Maillard 600 and 700 hubs laced to Matrix Safari rims, Avocet touring triple crank (with drilled RINO rings and Campagnolo granny), SR SP-155 pedals, Suntour XC Pro and XC Comp derailleurs (with Bullseye pulleys), Suntour Command Shifters, Belleri bars, and SR SP-KC seat post (I have a Superbe Pro for it, just haven't gotten around to it yet) with a tan Avocet Touring II. I do want to get a Technomic/B177 stem/bar combo for this bike someday... Truth be told, I like the dichotomy of a bunch of upper level stuff on a beautiful, but exceptionally capable "entry level" frame.

For a while, my main ride was my 1978 Trek 730- a lightweight racing bike. So when I got on the Elance, it felt heavier and less refined. These days, I mostly ride my tourers, my 620, 720 and Miyata 1000LT- So when I ride the Elance- it feels light and carefree.

1986 Trek 400 Elance by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

1986 Trek 400 Elance by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 09-28-22, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by motochick View Post
I have an 88 400T I converted to 650b x 38 and the ride is every bit as good as my other high end vintage bikes. Your friend will like it.
What did you use for brakes on yours? My inclination is centerpulls (Vainqueur 750, the Dia-Compe copies, Raids if I win the lottery....) as my focus has generally been more on '70s bikes, but this is late '80s, so I suppose the Tektro side pulls wouldn't look out of place....
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Old 09-28-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
That's a neat crankset! Are the 'middle' holes in the spider arms tapped for a different BCD granny?
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Old 09-28-22, 11:13 AM
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Those are great rides, your friend will be pleased, my 88 400t is the one that gets the most miles every year.
Tim


88 Trek 400t
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Old 09-28-22, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post

88 Trek 400t
Lovely color!
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Old 09-28-22, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
That's a neat crankset! Are the 'middle' holes in the spider arms tapped for a different BCD granny?
Yes they are!

It's a rebadged Ofmega crank- 144, 102 and 74 BCD.
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Old 09-28-22, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
Those are great rides, your friend will be pleased, my 88 400t is the one that gets the most miles every year.
Tim
... and you have some really nice bikes...
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Old 09-28-22, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
What did you use for brakes on yours? My inclination is centerpulls (Vainqueur 750, the Dia-Compe copies, Raids if I win the lottery....) as my focus has generally been more on '70s bikes, but this is late '80s, so I suppose the Tektro side pulls wouldn't look out of place....
This is my take/opinion- if you don't mind...

Centerpulls are very "old school" compared to this bike... there's like a line where 70s styled components suddenly aren't right on 80s bikes. IMO and all that. I originally wanted to have slotted Superbe levers on this bike (and this bike is where I learned about Shimano's SLR system and how it doesn't play well with non-SLR parts), and realistically I'm glad they didn't work because, stylistically- they didn't go. This is a transitional time for bikes- it has recessed brakes, indexed shifting, but non-aero levers. This frame is "modern." The modern block graphics, the high tech socketed lugs, made in Japan... As much as dual pivot Tektros are 30+ years newer than this frame and RAIDs and Vainquers are a just a few years removed... The Tektros are more appropriate, to me (as long as they're polished). That being said, I can't imagine using them on my 70s bikes.
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Old 09-28-22, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
This is my take/opinion- if you don't mind...Centerpulls are very "old school" compared to this bike.... The Tektros are more appropriate, to me (as long as they're polished).
Yeah, that's kinda what I'm feeling.... Also leaning toward some Tektro 'aero' levers. I don't think they'd look out of place, and I think the position(s) would be closer to what my friend is used-ish to.

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Old 09-29-22, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Yeah, that's kinda what I'm feeling.... Also leaning toward some Tektro 'aero' levers. I don't think they'd look out of place, and I think the position(s) would be closer to what my friend is used-ish to.
So there's the "function over form" conundrum... Yes, I think aero levers would totally be at home on this bike. But then it goes to WHAT aero levers... something like the 6400 series levers... they're nice, look nice... but those are narrow on the hoods. I've always wanted a set of the CC SCR-5 levers in brown... but they don't make them anymore... then there's the IRD drilled levers- those are nice. Then there's the TRP levers... damn if those aren't the nicest brake levers in the whole world... but man they take some getting used to that look...

It looks like the Tektro RL340 comes with polished lever and brown hoods...
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Old 09-29-22, 01:11 PM
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Really hard to beat the price on the Tektro levers..... I do like the look of the TRP, but I've got to draw some budget lines. After some measuring, etc, the friend I was thinking to build this up for is pretty sure it'll be too small for him (he's really tall..... figures he needs at least a 25" frame...), so it looks like this'll be mine, at least for a while. My recollection of oval Biopace chainrings from way-back is that I didn't really like 'em, so chainrings are on the order list, too. Stem is definitely too long for me, but the bars are on the narrow side which I prefer. I'm on the fence about building up the 650b wheels with the Maillard 500 hubs (need the rims..... more $$, but VO has a sale going on and their Voyageur 650b rims aren't bad), or diverting the 650b wheels I've got for another build for this one.

Evapo-rusting the scrapes, etc, on the frame at the moment...

This sure can be an expensive addic....., er, I mean hobby....!
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Old 09-29-22, 01:19 PM
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And always the question of tan or black hoods........
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Old 09-29-22, 01:30 PM
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Here's my '87 Trek 400T. I went with Dia Compe GC07H aero levers, black hoods. Everything else is original.


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Old 09-29-22, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
Here's my '87 Trek 400T. I went with Dia Compe GC07H aero levers, black hoods. Everything else is original.


Nice! Are those the oval-tech rings, or reg'lar ol' circular?
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Old 09-29-22, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
Those are great rides, your friend will be pleased, my 88 400t is the one that gets the most miles every year.
Tim


88 Trek 400t
I know of one of these that may make it's way to me in the next few years...maybe...patience.
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Old 09-29-22, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
What did you use for brakes on yours? My inclination is centerpulls (Vainqueur 750, the Dia-Compe copies, Raids if I win the lottery....) as my focus has generally been more on '70s bikes, but this is late '80s, so I suppose the Tektro side pulls wouldn't look out of place....
I used the Tektro 559's. I have these on all of my conversions and they work great. They would look good on this!
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Old 09-29-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post

88 Trek 400t
The dark blue sparkles nicely in the sun, but I actually like this color more..... Maybe because my C'dale and PX-10 are both dark/sparkly blue....
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Old 09-29-22, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Nice! Are those the oval-tech rings, or reg'lar ol' circular?
Those are Ovel-tech. Frankly I don't detect much difference between those and round chainrings.
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