Mountain Biking This Summer – Upgrading 2013 Trek Mamba Gary Fisher Edition

If you searched for Trek Mamba upgrades and are just here for the upgrade list CLICK HERE to go to the list.

During the second Summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, I, and apparently everyone else in the free world, got into the sport of mountain biking. If you doubt that “everyone else” got into mountain biking go to your Local Bike Store (LBS) and try to buy a bike. You will most likely discover that they will gladly sell you a bike that will arrive around June – if you are lucky.

I have actually mountain biked for a few years but it was biking of the “hey I have an entry-level mountain bike and I should use it” variety. This meant around 60ish miles a season (late Spring through Fall). I would go out with a friend every now and then. This season has been significantly different. We aren’t through with the season yet and I am over 425 miles. I am going to my local trail (Standing Rocks Park) 4 to 5 times a week.

Of course, I am still on my entry-level mountain bike (a 2013 Trek Mamba Gary Fisher edition) because the bike I finally convinced myself to buy won’t be here till May 2022, at the earliest. Though I have made some pretty significant upgrades to the bike. Many people will say that you shouldn’t do significant upgrades to a bike like the Mamba because your money will be better spent on buying a new bike. They call it “polishing a turd”. This may be true when bikes are not in short supply (it is difficult to almost impossible to find a decent used bike now too), but it isn’t when you are:

  1. in the middle of a pandemic that is causing manufacturing and distribution problems
  2. Trying to determine how into MTB you are going to be
  3. Keeping your old bike as a backup/spare for guests

So I slowly upgraded the Mamba (or FRamba – Fred the Mamba) through the season. Here’s a list of what I have done to the FRamba. I had a heck of a time finding information concerning what upgrades would work well for my 9-year-old bike – mountain biking technology has changed a great deal in the past 5 years. Hopefully, this list will help someone else with their still very fun to ride older Mamba.

The Upgrade List

This “turd” will be thoroughly polished once the new air fork is placed on her in November. She has improved as a ride throughout the season – partially because my skill has improved and partially because she has been improved through the upgrades. The conversion to a 1x drivetrain and the dropper post probably made the greatest difference in her ride. I understand why so many MTB videos and articles sing the praises of 1x conversion and dropper post installation. Both upgrades made substantial differences in how she rides. In addition, she is around 1,000 grams lighter than she was at the beginning of the season and will probably be another 500 grams lighter when the fork is replaced.

I have new and improved Trek Roscoe 8 on order that hopefully will be here May 2022. Until then the FRamba is a great ride and she will continue to be a wonderful backup/spare bike for when guests are around.

BTW the folks at Point Area Bicycle Service have helped with many of these upgrades. They are wonderful and I would encourage you to go there for your bike services.