Entry-level MTBs: Trek vs. GT vs. Specialized

Hi Lee,
I read a previous post GT Avalanche vs. and Specialized Hardrock (Jan 2006). I had looked at both prior to reading it, and really liked the Hardrock, too. But I was also considering a Trek 3700. Any opinion on that bike compared to the Hardrock?

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

Hi Pamela,

First, these are all fine bikes. All of the major manufacturers offer bikes at the entry-level price point, and the bikes are remarkably similar. Here’s how these three shake out in the $380-390 range.

Trek 4300 – $390. The 4300 is a “real” entry level mountain bike. The $310 Trek 3700 is made for bike paths and some dirt road.

GT Avalanche 3.0 – $380. Very comparable to the Trek 4300.

Specialized Hardrock Sport – $390. Another “real” MTB, with a better spec than the GT and Trek.

Trek 4300

GT Avalanche 3.0

Specialized Hardrock Sport

My suggestion: For beginning off road riding, these are all good choices. I would pick the Specialized because:

– Longer top tube and shorter stem handles way better than short top tube and long stem.
– Slightly slacker head tube is more stable at speed.
– You can get the seat lower for aggressive riding.

DISCLAIMER: Specialized helps me with bikes. In my opinion, the Hardrock has a more contemporary design and a better spec.

Good luck and rip it up!

— Lee

See also: GT Avalanche vs. Specialized Hardrock

6 replies
  1. Nathan says:

    I had a Specialized Hardrock a couple summers ago, it was my first “real” bike and I liked it quite a bit indeed. If the price doesn’t make much difference to you I would recommend getting a disc-brake equipped model. If price does make a difference have a look on eBay, they’re auctioned off pretty regularly (2004+ models are a good bet).

  2. SoCal AL says:

    I sell GT and Specialized in my shop and we used to sell Trek. Like Lee said the Trek and the GT have really outdated geometry. The GT is pretty heavy and has a cheesy crankset. The Specialied is the better deal between the three. It also comes in four colors and also a women’s specific geometry.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    1. Wow, that’s an impressive video.

    2. I recommend watching it. Get through the crashes and watch this guy rip.

    3. Everyone who says he goes big and he’s sick and he needs a big, expensive bike needs to see Jimbo rocking a $500 entry-level bike harder than most of us will ever ride ANY bike.

    4. Heck yeah!!! Seriously, I don’t ride a Demo 8 that aggressively.

    (But I don’t crash that much either … 🙂

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