I own and ride a Trek... and I like it. Seems you like yours too. Good stuff.
I remember those 850s coming out in ''97 or '98 and loved the colour in that satin finish. The 800 series Treks were built in Taiwan weren't they?
If memory serves, of the steel Treks it was the 900 series that were made in the US? I think they're not as well built as those from Taiwan... the welds on my US made 970 looked rubbish, though it is still being ridden so they must have been strong enough.... and the bloke I sold it too wont sell it back damn his eyes!
This frame is as the sticker says: Made in the USA with domestic and foreign parts.
Built quality is pretty high, I got this frame from a 65 years old guy that used to ride his Trek everyday and was the oryginal owner. It came with these wheels too!
When you look at Trek 990 Cro-moly frame you can see that it is identical but just one thing, there are no hooks for seat clamp. The 990 has an aluminium collar there. Rest of the frame is just identical. I bet if I stripped this frame to bare metal, cut off seat clamp hooks and paint it in 990 color scheme no one would have any idea its an 850 in changed clothing
As for roller things installed on brakes, these are designed to be used with brakes and derailleurs... and look sooooo coool on brakes don't you think?