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I've begun biking longer hauls and on more hilly terrain that my comfort bike just can't do (mainly need more gears). I only a Trek, and really only looked at Treks. I selected a DS over an FX to handle unpaved surfaces. On reading reviews it was recommended to not get an 8.4, to chose one up or down instead. On looking at the 8.3 and 8.5 and speaking with the specialist at the store I also felt the 8.3 or 8.5 would be better. I choose the 8.5 as I was concerned that while the 8.3 is perfectly fine for me now, in a year or two I'd need the additional features of the 8.5. The biggest feature differences between the two are the addition of hydraulic brakes and a remote lockout for the front suspension for the 8.5. The other noticeable difference is the larger handlebar and grips which make the 8.5 more comfortable, and will be appreciated on long rides. I would've liked the 8.5 to still have a chain guard, but I can see where most buyers wouldn't want that. It also didn't hurt that the 8.3 and 8.5 have colors I like better than the 8.4. (Although, while the 8.5 is the perfect color for me, there aren't any other options.) Lastly I'll add that while I did a lot of research online, going to a store to see and ride the bikes is huge. Don't waste your time trying to narrow down to what you want before you go. Just get an idea of what models and brands you like and what feature you may want. Seeing and feeling the bikes in person can instantly change your mind.
Great bike very fast and comfortable ride