Upgrade my bike for NJ riding


New Member

Bought a Trek 8500 XC bike about 10 years ago as sort of an "impulse buy" when I first got in to riding.

Have been off the trail for some time but am trying to get back in now. Boy have bikes changed since I hung it up.

Seems like FS or hardtails with long travel are the popular bikes nowadays. There's even 29ers and single speeds.

I've got a lot invested in the 8500; problem is, it's an XC race bike. I do not XC race here in NJ. I'm more about general purpose all-around riding. I frequent Chimney Rock, 6 mile, Round Valley, and Rutgers. This bike just doesn't seem up to the task.

Can you recommend some upgrades that make this more worthy for NJ riding? Not sure what we call it around here, "all mountain"?

What types of components would be more suitable for NJ riding than typically come on a XC race machine?

Would I be killing the lightweight, race intent of this bike if I chose to upgrade in this fashion?



  • DSCN2101 (Medium).JPG
    DSCN2101 (Medium).JPG
    71 KB · Views: 121
Last edited:


New Member
If you can, save up for a newer ride (new or used) rather than upgrade. If you have a lot invested, get a frame and swap the components over to the new frame.
In the meantime for a cheap upgrade...lose the bar ends.:)


JORBA Money Launderer
i agree with sixseven. don't upgrade this one - save up and buy a new one. i'd say it would be tough to just have front discs. you'd probably have to adjust your rear brake often to make sure you have the same travel/feel as your front brake, since discs are more consistent when it comes to brake lever 'feel'.

after you get your new bike, your old bike is a great candidate to turn into a singlespeed.

and once you turn your old bike into a singlespeed, you'll probably never take out your new bike :D


Well-Known Member
Can you recommend some upgrades that make this more worthy for NJ riding? Not sure what we call it around here, "all mountain"?

Don't give in to market lingo. That bike can ride the entire mountain.

There is nothing you can do to that bike to make it more "all-mountain" unless you spend significant cash. It would probably involve a new fork, wheels and disk brakes. You're frame doesn't have disk brake bosses in the rear. You are screwed.

Ride this bike all over the mountain and save for an updated model.


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I agree with upgrading to a new bike. Trying to turn your 10 yr.old XC racer into an all mountain ride is not the best path. As you said your first bike was an impulse buy, your next one should be a thought out purchase. Keep riding your old bike and think about how much you want to spend, are you a FS guy or a hardtail guy, 29er?...
Ultimatley the amount of riding you do should justify your budget. Good luck & welcome.:)


New Member
Thanks for the thoughts...

I was planning to continue to ride this one for a while. Again, I have not made a lot of investments in component upgrades, but the purchase of the bike itself set me back something good (ten years ago, I know) and I'd hate to just let that go. It is XT/XTR equipped and the drivetrain is very solid.

It has never let me down anywhere I've gone with it, but it can be a tough ride. The geometry of the long top tube has got me stretched out which can be tough on the shoulders and the neck.

As a first upgrade, I did lose the bar ends. :) Actually put a short riser bar on with a shortened, slightly more angled stem. And changed out to ODI grips.

I had planned to puchase some new tires and a new set of platform/SPD pedals since I find myself fishing for the pedals way too often during the more technical runs.

I will consider some of your thoughts about the bike, but I plan to continue to ride this one for a while like most of you have suggested.

And the frame does have a boss for disc brakes at the rear. The front fork is not equipped for them.

Perhaps a new longer-travel front fork? Seems like it would have the added benefit of easing the geometry of the bike somewhat as well.


  • DSCN2209 (Large).JPG
    DSCN2209 (Large).JPG
    140.6 KB · Views: 68
Last edited:


New Member
As you said your first bike was an impulse buy, your next one should be a thought out purchase.

In my defense, too, the FS bikes were really just coming on to the scene in the mid 90s when I bought this one. I rode with someone with the carbon-fiber Trek Y frame FS and it was a nice bike, but real heavy.

There's just so many options today.


Well-Known Member
Perhaps a new longer-travel front fork? Seems like it would have the added benefit of easing the geometry of the bike somewhat as well.

be careful with changing the bike geometry... at least a new fork should allow changing travel internally (the most of Rock Shox forks), u-turn might be easier for customization but noticeably heavier


Fourth Party
Things to consider when buying a new bike. Where are you going to be doing the majority of your riding? Sure that 6 in travel bike is nice, but it may be a bit overkill if you are riding the more mellow parks. Whats the budget, keep in mind $$ when shopping. The same pricepoint will get you a better equipped hard tail than FS. Test ride as many bikes as you can, remember also the geometry's have changed a little bit in the past 10 years. Buy what you like, don't let a salesperson talk you into something you don't need.

Enjoy and welcome back


Active Member
I don't know about the rest of these guys, but that bike is pretty cool. I'd ride it and wouldn't consider an upgrade till it either breaks apart or you start doing stuff that really *needs* a FS bike which for most of jersey doesn't qualify. I bought a nice full squish and I only take it to a handful of places and lately I've been switching back to my HT for most of them. My next bike is going to be a hardtail too. I've seen and rode with plenty of guys rocking v-brakes too. So ride for the sake of riding and don't look back :getsome:


Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Why can't you ride a "race-bike" in NJ? They don't don't take out the rocks and techy stuff when they make race courses. For where you're riding I'd say, you need a 29er hardtail;)



Well-Known Member
Dont go too crazy at chimney with that bike. you'll find yourself chewing on your handle bars.:rofl: Naa haha that bike is ok


Well-Known Member
It sounds like you really like the bike which is cool - those 8500's look like they had some good geometry. And an XT/XTR drive train is always nice - I'm rocking old XT/XTR 8 speed on my sussy bike - it works great.

First off, I think it look tons better just with the stem and bar swap and bar-end delete. If you haven't ride it like that and see what you think.

Next, I'd start to look at a good 80-100mm fork. Like alex_k said you want to watch slacking the HT angle and raising the BB up too high. Which fork? Something that will be a good balance of ride quality and price (I don't think you want to get a $1000 Fox fork). Check out mtbr.com - there is a fork forum that should have good info.

Do you have any pics of the rear disc mount? I'd just want to make sure you have the more common style. IIRC, that frame had a disc mount that was on the chainstay and not on the more common seatstay IS mount. I could be wrong tho.

So if disc's are good to go - then I'd get a nice set of wheels - good wheels can be used on most any bike. 32H w/ 3 cross - I'd go Hope, dt, Sun for good quality/cost. Or look around for some good used ones.

With the wheels get some modern rubber - some light but big volume treads to help with the cushioning and traction.

Just keep an eye on the prices. If you aren't careful you could get to the price of a new bike.


Sussex Bike and Sport
Shop Keep
The disk mount in the back is a 22mm post mount. I believe the only manufacturer of this brake is hayes and they haven't made it in about 8 years. I do still have a caliper if you consider the upgrade. If you look on ebay, there are some disk adapters, but most don't work, and in your case, most would hit the seatstay.


I have a Trek 6500 that is also 10 years old and looks exactly the same as your bike. Just upgrade the fork and your good to go.. The frame can take a beating and is quite a beast on hardpack!:D


Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
i rode a rigid single speed all over north jersey. you can ride that no problem. fix the busted stuff and go ride.
Top Bottom