Is The Trek 850 A Good Mountain Bike? [Trek 850 Review]

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Back in the 1990s, Trek produced a large number of classic models. It was also one of the most well-known bicycle brands. This is an in-depth examination of the Trek 850.

Is the Trek 850 mountain bike a good choice for a mountain bike? What we like about the Trek 850 and what we don’t. What do you suggest if you want to buy a good mountain bike?

Trek 850
Trek Mountain Bike-Trek 850

Welcome to the Best Bike Select blog, where we aim to help more people find the perfect bike for them.

Below, we’ll go over the Trek 850 mountain bike’s mountain and road riding capabilities, key components and features, and other models in the lineup.

See our posts on the best mountain bikes under $5,000 and the best mountain bikes under $1,000 to see how it all stacks up.

Mountain Riding

The Trek 850 cost $459.99 in 1995. This was a very low-cost mountain bike. However, in comparison to modern mountain bikes, it left a lot to be desired.

However, in terms of mountain bikes, the riders were dissatisfied with the performance.

The bike has a small 26-inch wheel “Tires sized for the more popular and rigid forks prior to 2010 (a very rare type of mountain bike fork at the moment) provide little shock absorption when riding on roots or gravel, but ride very efficiently.

The 2.10 “Trek Big Kahuna tires provide excellent traction on hard dirt surfaces. It can pass through muddy dirt and water roads with ease.

On the one hand, the shock front fork has no limitations, and on the other, it can easily cross technically difficult mountain roads.

Road Riding

The Trek 850’s design, without a shock fork, is very similar to that of a road bike, and it was one of the more popular commuter options at the time.

The Trek 850 mountain track is a versatile mountain bike; it doesn’t get high marks for mountain riding, but its performance on regular commuter roads is commendable.

By attaching the rear rack and basket, it is simple to convert to a short-distance commuter.

The 3X7 drivetrain handles the road’s various hills with ease. Even the occasional weed-infested flat road is enjoyable to drive on.

Key features of the Trek 850

Steel frame (4.0/5)

TIG-welded steel frame that is relatively inexpensive to construct and is well-known for its sturdiness and durability.

The most commonly used frame material for a low-cost mountain bike.

There are no odd burrs or cracks in the flat welded section.

A variety of frame options, as well as a comfortable head tube angle that allows the rider to maintain a sit-to-stand riding position. The color of the frame varies depending on the year of manufacture.

83, black metallic with red panel and head tube

84, black with red graphics

85, black with red graphics

86, Antelope – tamarak (olive drab), also pink to white fade

87, Antelope – blue metallic with white decals, also red/black fade with silver decals

88, yellow with blue decals, also black with magenta decals

89, silver with bright blue decals, also denim blue with yellow decals

90, intense blue with white decals, also white with black decals-blue trek mountain bike

91, red with black splash with white decals on black and silver

92, Antelope – sour grape with white decals

94, floating violet/black fade with white decals, also steel blue with black decals

95, Mercury silver/steel blue fade with black decals, also ice green with blue decals

96, Saturn silver/ice indigo fade with ice indigo decals, also dry ice red with black decals

97, dry ice blue with black decals

3X7 drivetrain (4.0/5)

With up to 21 gear changes, I could tell Trek put a lot of thought into the Trek 850.

However, it is not a mid-range mountain bike.

Shimano’s gears, on the other hand, make shifting more pleasant and offer a sufficient range of gears for general mountain and commuting roads.

While Shimano 3 x 7 drivetrains are popular in the low-cost mountain bike market, they do an excellent job of getting you from your starting point to your destination.

Shimano Alivio M-System Brakes (3.5/5)

Lap brakes are currently among the braking systems on the verge of becoming obsolete.

We obviously can’t look at this “old” bike with eyes that have been open for nearly 30 years.

Shimano Alivio M-System brakes make a slight scraping sound when braking, which is the most likely sound you’ll hear from a bike you sat behind as a kid, as does the Shimano STX handlebar, which requires little force to stop smoothly.

It takes some time to break in and requires occasional brake adjustments to keep it in top condition.

26 x 2.10inch Trek Kahuna Tires (3.5/5)

Mountain bike tires are not the same as those found on other types of bikes.

The Trek 850 comes with 26 “Trek Kahuna tires, which do not appear to be particularly tall but can accommodate a wider size range when paired with various matching frames.

The large grain tire knob is ideal for mud riding because it effectively shakes off mud and water that has become stuck to the tires.

The grip performance on loose mud isn’t the best, but it has a very high power transmission, so it doesn’t become as difficult.

Because of the Trek 850’s steep head tube angle, it’s easy to climb on hard ground. 2.1 formalized “Wide tires reduce tire traction while increasing riding speed. It’s better for commuting.

What versions of Trek 850 are available?

Trek antelope 850

The Trek antelope 850, which was first released in 1986, did not receive a significant upgrade in configuration.

The top speed remained the same as on the first Trek 850. The width of the tire was increased from 2.1″ to 2.15″. The frame’s head tube angle has increased, making steep uphill rides faster.

However, it will not be much of an advantage during descents.

Benefits of the Trek 850

  • Sturdy and durable steel frame provides years of riding without easy damage
  • 3 x 7 drivetrain allows for lots of gear changes to accommodate rolling terrain
  • 26 x 2.10inch Trek Kahuna tires for great grip
  • Affordable price, making it easier for mountain riders to get it

What we don’t like?

  • No shock front fork
  • Non-disc brakes, weak braking

Trek 850 mountain bike Specs

  • Components
  • Component Group: Shimano STX-RC/Alivio
  • Pedals: Wellgo LU-945
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-LP26, 110 mm spindle
  • BB Shell Width: 73mm English
  • Chain: Shimano CN-IG31, 1/2 x 3/32inch
  • Extensions: Not included
  • Spoke Brand: Marwi stainless steel, 2.0mm straight gauge
  • Spoke Nipples: Brass nipples
  • HubsFront: aluminum quick release, Rear: Shimano Alivio
  • Rims: Matrix Guru, 32-hole
  • Tires: 26 x 2.10inch Trek Kahuna
  • Frame Construction: TIG-welded
  • Fork Brand & Model: Trek
  • Cassette: 7-speed, 11 – 30 teeth
  • Crankset: Shimano Alivio, 24/34/42 teeth
  • Rear Shock: Not applicable
  • Handlebar: Aluminum
  • Handlebar Stem: Chromoly
  • Headset: 1inch Victor VP-H913W sealed
  • Saddle: Trek
  • Seatpost: Aluminum micro-adjust, 26.6 mm diameter
  • Brakeset: Shimano Alivio M-System brakes, Shimano STX levers
  • Fork Material: Chromoly, unicrown crown
  • Frame Tubing Material: True Temper chromoly, double-butted
  • Shift Levers: Shimano STX-RC RapidFire SL


  • How much does the Trek 850 weigh?

The Trek 850 weighs approximately 35 lbs.

  • What is the weight limit of the Trek 850?

300 pounds (136 kg), including the weight of people and cargo.

  • What is the current price range for a Trek 850 for sale?

Trek 850 is in good condition without too many bumps and bruises. The price for a used bike trade-in is about $67. If it is sold on Ebay, it can be $95. The exact price also needs to be based on the market.

Learn more:

Is The Trek 830 A Good Mountain Bike? [Trek 830 Review]

Is Trek 800 Mountain Bike A Good Bike? [Reviews]

Is The Trek 8000 A Good Mountain Bike? [Trek 8000 Review]

Is The Trek 3500 Mountain Bike A Good MTB?

Comparison table

BicycleFrame materialWheel sizeSpeed NumberPrice
Trek 820 mountain bikeTrek Custom Steel26-Inch21Click View
Trek Marlin 6 mountain bikeAluminum27.5-29 Inch10Click View
SANTA CRUZ Nomadcarbon27.5in x 2.6in12Click View
Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain BikeCarbon Fiber2924Click View
Gravity FSX 1.0 Full Suspension Mountain BikeAluminum26-Inch24Click View


Trek 820 mountain bike VS Trek 850

Trek 820 mountain bike
Trek 820 mountain bike

The Trek 820 mountain bike is one of the most reasonably priced Trek mountain bikes available.

It has a strong steel frame, a 21-speed transmission, a 75mm shock fork, and a rear rack mounting position.

These aren’t exactly high-end features that allow you to ride whenever you want.

Has a more modern appearance than the dated Trek 850 and, overall, is a very well-rounded and quality mountain bike for the beginner looking for a great mountain bike for the money.

With a steeper head tube angle (70.5°), you can enjoy a more aggressive ride when riding in the mountains. The handlebar height is also raised by 15mm, extending the true head tube length and making riding easier for riders with high internal seams.

However, there are some compromises in terms of build and performance, such as the lack of disc brakes and the use of traditional rim brakes, both of which are upgradeable.

Narrower tires improve the bike’s agility for city streets, gravel roads, and light singletrack riding.

If you’re a mountain rider who only goes mountain biking on occasion, the Trek 820 mountain bike is worth a look.

Learn more: Is The Trek 820 Mountain Bike Really Suitable For Newbies?

Trek Marlin 6 mountain bike vs Trek 850

Trek Marlin 6
Trek Marlin 6

The Trek Marlin 6 is also a mountain bike that crushes the Trek 850 in every way.

Its configuration is a bit higher than the Trek 820 above. That’s why it’s almost double the price of the Trek 820.

I think the added budget is a very worthwhile option to invest in, as the Trek 820 needs some upgrades on top of the original accessories.

This isn’t worth it compared to a lazy rider. With the Trek Marlin 6, you get 100 mm of front suspension travel (80 mm travel in some sizes), a very current 1X10 Shimano drivetrain, rear rack mounting position, fender mounting position, and 29×2.20″ (XS and S: 27.5×2.4″) wider tires, Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc brakes.

This would be a relatively luxurious mounting package for the novice.

And with the relatively steep angle of the head tube, the climbing ability is fully realized.

The handlebars that can be lifted by 5mm are not a great lift. And its true head tube angle doesn’t lend itself to upright riding, increasing the amount of time spent bent over.

All in all, we really like how friendly the Trek Marlin 6 is for newbies, and the various components are mid-to-high-end, so it’s one of those mountain bikes that are well worth the investment.

SANTA CRUZ Nomad vs Trek 850


Are you looking for an enduro bike?

Sticking to entry-level mountain bikes would be uneconomical.

Why not take the next step and begin as a near-graduation option?

The SANTA CRUZ Nomad is a well-known enduro bike.

It is suitable for both mountain and touring riding.

Carbon fiber frame that is strong and not welded. The 2.6″ tires and wide range 1X12 speed drivetrain allows for unrestricted mountain riding.

If you’ve never tried more difficult terrain, the SANTA CRUZ Nomad will take your breath away.

The front suspension’s exaggerated 170 mm travel holds up well to rocky impacts.

FOX suspension components with 170 mm of rear travel also help with the ride, which is strenuous mountain riding. Do you want to go further afield? If you want to ride on a race track full of hot blood, the SANTA CRUZ Nomad is a good option.

Schwinn Bonafide Mens Mountain Bike vs Trek 850

Schwinn bonafide mountain bike review
Schwinn bonafide mountain bike review

Simply commuting?

We also have the affordable Schwinn Bonafide, a great inexpensive mountain bike.

The Schwinn Bonafide features a lightweight aluminum frame, large 29-inch tires, a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain, 24-speed trigger shifters, a soft and stiff shock fork, and mechanical disc brakes.

Commuter riders looking for more speed appear to prefer the 27.5-29″ tires over the Trek 850s 26″ tires.

On gravel uphills, faster, smaller tire knobs are easier to deal with, and the mechanical disc brakes on the Schwinn Bonafide provide more than enough braking power for descending in hilly areas.

Riders who want a comfortable bike can quickly adapt to mountain biking thanks to the relaxed head tube angle.

The Schwinn Bonafide is a low-cost mountain bike for commuters.

Learn more: Schwinn Bonafide Mountain Bike Review – Best 29″ MTB

Final Verdict (3.5/5)

The Trek 850 lacks a lot of modern gear, so it’s nominally a mountain bike, but it pales in comparison to difficult terrain.

However, as an early mountain bike, it was more in the middle of the price range for cheap mountain bikes at the time.

So, if you look at the Trek 850 critically, it’s not really quality, but it’s a good mountain bike in the eyes of riders who like the Trek 850.


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