Although it's not designed for rugged terrain, experts say the Trek 3900 is a great choice for beginning riders looking to ride smooth gravel or dirt trails. The Trek 3900 is a hardtail mountain bike, meaning there is no suspension in the rear, and it has 80 mm (3.15 inches) of travel in the front. The Trek 3900 gets high marks for its rigid frame and smooth shifting, but experts say you should really spend the extra $40 to upgrade to disc brakes on the Trek 3900 Disc (*MSRP: $480). Disc brakes offer more reliable braking in dirt and mud, and owner-written reviews say this upgrade is worth it. Overall, most owners are happy with the Trek 3900 and love the value. They caution, however, that you can't take this bike on rugged terrain or launch it off jumps -- it's not designed for these purposes. If you prefer a full-suspension mountain bike to a hardtail, experts say the Haro Shift R1 (*MSRP: $895) is a good choice. It's more expensive than the Trek 3900, but it can handle more rugged trails and offers a fork lockout to improve the ride on level trails.
Most budget mountain bikes don't receive much coverage in professional reviews, and the Trek 3900 is no exception. The best source of information on this bike comes from owner-written reviews on MTBR.com; most of these reviews are detailed and balanced. Buzzillions.com also compiles reviews from several different sites, but most of their reviews come from the Trek website. Although we normally don't give much weight to reviews posted on manufacturer websites, these seem relatively balanced. In addition, Bicycling magazine covers the Trek 3900 Disc, which is identical to the Trek 3900 except for the addition of disc brakes.
More than 25 riders review the Trek 3900, although we focus mainly on the reviews written within the last year. Overall, reviewers say the Trek 3900 offers a great value, sturdy frame and a good ride for beginners. Those who try to use this bike for aggressive riding -- jumps or rugged descents -- are usually disappointed.
Review: Trek 3900, Contributors to MTBR.com
Bicycling highlights the Trek 3900 Disc in their annual buyer's guide. They like the strong, sturdy frame and think the Shimano drivetrain provides admirable shifting performance. However, they recommend upgrading to the Trek 3900 Disc over the Trek 3900 base model -- you'll spend an extra $40, but you'll get mud-ready disc brakes.
Review: Trek 3900 Disc, Chris Cassidy, March 2009
The Trek 3900 gets above-average ratings in reviews compiled by Buzzillions.com. The vast majority of these reviews are culled from the Trek website, although there are a few from smaller online retailers. Value is mentioned repeatedly in these reviews, and most owners say you can't beat this bike for the price.
Review: Trek 3900, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
A handful of reviewers rate the Trek 3900 Disc. Some say the bike is durable and comfortable, but a few others say they wish the bike included more expensive and durable components.
Review: Trek 3900 Disc, Contributors to Buzzillions.com