Trek 4500 Mountain Bike Review: Best MTB On Budget (2023)

(Last updated on January 18th, 2023)

Mountain Biking is one of the best cycling disciplines and by far one of the most popular. Mountain bikes have the ability to take you on all different types of terrain, they are very fun to ride and also an amazing way to improve your fitness. Currently, there are hundreds of different mountain bikes on the market and many different brands to choose from. A mountain bike that we are asked about often is the Trek 4500.

The Trek 4500 is a mountain bike you probably would have seen at the bike park. It’s a very popular model, and many mountain bikers use it because it’s an excellent all-round bike and comes in at a very budget price. In this article, we’re going to tell you all about Trek 4500. We’re going to tell you if it’s the bike for you, and answer some of your commonly asked questions about it.

Who Is Trek?

Trek is one of the biggest names in cycling. You would have seen many of their bikes before in professional races or just while you have been out riding. Some of the most popular models are the Trek Fuel, The Emonda, and the legendary Madone.

Trek is a US-based bicycle company. They are one of the longest-running brands and have always been very popular. Their bikes have seen many podiums before and for a lot of his career, Lance Armstrong rode Trek bicycles.

Trek bicycles used to be made in the US. Still, as with many companies, they now outsource manufacturing to many of their factories which are located in the Netherlands, Taiwan, China, and even Germany. They make an excellent product to a very high standard and are very sought-after bikes.

Trek 4500 in black and red
Trek 4500 in black and red. Image credit Trek Bikes

How Do We Rate Our Mountain Bikes?

Mountain bikes can come in all different shapes and sizes, and knowing the good bikes from the bad ones can be very challenging. We have been lucky enough that over many years we have ridden many bikes and understand exactly what makes a bike worthy of your money and your time. Here’s what we look for when searching for mountain bikes.

Frameset

When we speak about framesets, we are talking about the frame and the forks of the bike. This is what all your components attach to. We want to know what the bike’s frameset is capable of, how it’s going to make the rider feel, and if it can perform. With a good frameset, the bike will be lightweight, strong, and have excellent handling ability.

Gearing

When it comes to mountain biking, you need the ability to get up and downhill efficiently. Having the right gearing can make easy work of this. We want to ensure the mountain bikes we recommend have enough climbing gears for steep rocky inclines and some high gears for excellent descending.

Wheels and Tires

The wheels and tires make a huge difference to the way a bike rides and also gives it unique characteristics. Some mountain bikes have wheels as small as 26” and others as large as 29”. Depending on the size, it can completely change how the bike handles.

Brakes

Stopping quickly and safely is very important in mountain biking. Brakes come in many different forms, from rim brakes to disc brakes. We want to know if the bike is going to have excellent stopping power and work well in poor conditions.

Special Features

Is there anything unique that makes this bike stand out from the rest? Some bikes, on the surface, can look pretty basic but have amazing features such as dropper posts and flip-chip dropouts. We want to know if companies are hiding any great features.

Trek 4500 in white and black
Trek 4500 in white and black. Image credit Trek Bikes

Trek 4500

KEY SPECS

Frame: Aluminum
Fork: 100mm Suntour XCM Suspension Fork
Gearing: Shimano Mixed 3 x 9
Free Version Data Limit
Wheels and Tires: 26” Wheels with 2.2” Tires
Brakes: Shimano M395 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Weight: 13.1 kg
Cost: $800
Sizing: 13”, 16”, 18”, 19.5”, 21”, 22.5”, 24”
Max Weight: 275 lbs

Pros and Cons

Before we start breaking the bike down and telling you about the individual components, let’s speak about the pros and cons of Trek alpha 4500 mountain bike.

PROS

  • The price is incredible at less than $800
  • Great for beginners, very easy to ride
  • The frame is very comfortable for long rides
  • Gearing offers an incredible range
  • Brakes are hydraulic discs for great stopping power
  • Suntour Suspension is affordable and excellent on rough trails
  • Lots of different sizing options

CONS

  • It’s not the lightest bike
  • The triple groupset is a bit dated
  • More of an XC bike than other MTB disciplines
Trek 4500 Frame
Trek 4500 Frame. Image credit Trek Bikes.

Frame

The Trek 4500 is an excellent bike and boasts an amazing ride. Unlike many mountain bike frames, it offers something for everyone. If you are new to the sport, it’s a great beginner’s bike that is going to be fun and stable to use, and if you are a seasoned expert, you are going to confidently throw it around.

The frame is made of aluminum, and it is a hardtail. It’s not as lightweight as carbon fiber, but it does offer great stiffness and ability from a cheaper material. Trek is known for making an excellent budget frame, and you can tell this with the 4500. It comes in two different styles, black with red detailing and white with black detailing.

The geometry is fairly straightforward, low-slung hardtail. It is going to offer comfort on those longer rides but still have a fair amount of ability when it comes to a technical trail. We were very impressed with the frame and felt a lot of time had gone into the design.

The frame comes in lots of different sizes, from 13” all the way up to 24”, which is an incredible range. It has a maximum weight limit of 275lbs, which is good too. These features are quite common on Trek and a brand quality we really like from them, making MTBs accessible for many different types of riders.

Read more:

Best Full Suspension Mountain Bike Under $2000
29-Inch Mountain Bike: Why Is It SO Good?
5 Electric Mountain Bikes That Are Actually Great 

Forks

The Trek 4500 is a budget to mid-range bike, and it’s equipped with Suntour XCM suspension. Suntour does make excellent budget forks. They may not be the lightest or have the most travel, but they are super strong, very reliable, require little servicing, and have some great features.

The XCM forks are Suntour’s most popular cross-country forks, and they will give you travel up to 100mm. These forks come with a lockout for riding on flat surfaces, preload adjustment so you can dial that suspension in perfectly for yourself, and 30mm sanctions.

They are not the lightest forks but are very fun to ride with, easy to adjust and preload, and although it’s not everything, they do look great. They are perfect for XC riding, but if you are planning on extreme trails, you might want something with a little more travel.

Trek 4500 Gearing
Trek 4500 Gearing. Image credit Trek Bikes.

Gearing

In our opinion, one of the best things about the Trek 4500 is the gearing. You get an incredible range of gearing, from super low climbing gears for getting up big hills to lots of high gears for descending down mountains quickly.

The bike uses a Shimano Alivio groupset mixed with a few other Shimano components from a Deore rear derailleur and an Acera front derailleur. Shimano makes excellent gearing which is easy to maintain, provides smooth shifting, and excellent reliability.

It’s a 3×9 groupset with a 9-speed 11-34 cassette on the rear and a triple chainset on the front with a 44/32/22 combination of chainrings. This gives you a total of 27 different ratio options, which is amazing but can be a little more challenging to move around them with two shifters, unlike a 1x system.

Brakes

Over the life of the Trek 4500, it has had a lot of different brakes. The older models started with rim brakes, then they were upgraded to mechanical disc brakes, and on this model, you have hydraulic disc brakes.

The hydraulic disc brakes Trek has gone with is the Shimano M395. They have excellent stopping power and are ideal in wet and sloppy conditions. They are going to work well and give you years of great service.

Trek 4500 Front wheel. Image credit Trek Bikes
Trek 4500 Front wheel. Image credit Trek Bikes

Wheels and Tires

The Trek 4500 wheelset is very good. It comes from their sister company Bontrager and they are the Formula DC20 wheelset. They are wheels that are made to be strong, with 32 holes for spokes and double-walled rims.

Unlike many modern mountain bikes, the Trek 4500 uses 26” wheels. They are excellent for handling ability, have great acceleration, and typically can fit large tires as they are smaller than other sizes, such as 27.5” or 29”.

The tires also come from Bontrager and are the XR2 26”. They are 2.2” wide, and this is a great size not just for light dusty paths but hitting some loose terrain with serious speed behind you.

Overall Rating 8/10

The Trek 4500 has so much to offer. It’s a bike that any rider can enjoy. It comes in at a great price, has a huge amount of gearing, and is built for comfortable rides and trail fun. We highly recommend it and know you will get an amazing mountain biking experience from this bike.

It isn’t the lightest of bikes, and although it has a lot of gearing options, a triple isn’t the most modern groupset you will find on the market. Aside from that, we struggle to fault this bike, and it’s a great investment.

Other Options

Co-op DRT 1.1 Bike

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1. Image credit REI
Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1. Image credit REI

The Co-op 1.1 Bike is an excellent value-for-money bike which is very popular in the US. It’s got a super comfortable geometry frame with a unique slope to it and a low-slung geometry for excellent handling.

With 27.5” wheels, 21 gears to choose from, 100 Suntour suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes, they haven’t skipped on the components either. The DRT is an excellent example of a budget MTB, and we can see why it is so popular with beginner and experienced riders.

The Co-op DRT 1.1 is very similar to the Trek 4500. The only difference being slightly bigger wheels and you do get less gearing options on the DRT. The Trek 4500 will be more agile off-road in our opinion.

GT Aggressor Comp Bike

GT Aggressor 29" Image credit Rei
GT Aggressor 29″. Image credit Rei

GT has a big heritage when it comes to cycling and has been in the industry for many years making great bikes. The Aggressor Comp Bike is an excellent-looking bike, and it is made for fast XC riding.

The GT Aggressor Comp has large 29” wheels with mixed terrain tires. It has an 80mm suspension, a MicroShift groupset, and mechanical disc brakes. The components are basic, but the GT is light, fast, and a great base to upgrade on.

With the larger wheels the GT will be better at higher speeds. It will also be much better at rolling over obstacles like tree roots. The GT does have basic components compared to the 4500 and won’t be as good off-road in our opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size is the Trek 4500?

The Trek 4500 comes in many sizes, 13”, 16”, 18”, 19.5”, 21”, 22.5”, and 24”. Trek is excellent at offering many different sizes to suit many different users. Before buying, we recommend checking on the Trek website for your correct size.

Does Trek have a lifetime warranty?

Trek bikes come with a lifetime warranty. They say that the bikes are built to last. Obviously, this is providing the bike is used properly and components won’t fall under this.

Are Trek bikes made in China?

Trek does outsource its manufacturing. They have factories in China, Taiwan, Germany, and Hungary. The Trek 4500 is a basic aluminum bike and will more than likely come from a factory in China. Trek is known for very high-quality control.

What company owns Trek?

As with many of the bike companies, they are owned by a larger company. Trek is owned by Roth distribution. They oversee the operations of Trek and help with distribution.

Are Trek good bikes?

Treks are excellent bikes. They have always made quality products, and we highly recommend buying a Trek bike. If you look into the history of Trek, you will see they have always offered excellent bikes and been at the forefront of new technology.

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