Touring - trek 520 need some advice...
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hi there touring people
i am thinking of purchasing a trek 520 for going on holiday, long rides, camping etc and the occasional commute but no retailers have them on the shop floor for me to pre ride before i buy. therefore i am kind of doing guess work relating to sizes. i have a friend who works for trek who has said to go for the 21 inch rather than the 23 but i ride a 23 bike to work which is a 1970's touring frame converted to singlespeed which is comfortable. i am 5ft 11inches tall with a 32 inside leg what i am asking and hoping i might be able to get some advice about is what sizes other folk ride and if anyone has any specific experience with the 520 that might be of use. any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I am very close to you measurment wise, I ride a 23" 520. I feel the 21" would be small.
I, too, am almost exactly your size and I got the 21, but I think I would be happier with the 23. For me the TT seems too short on the 21.
05-02-07, 09:47 PM
Given the arbitrary manner in which bikes are measured, your current 23 wouldn't necessarily compare to the 520. But given your height, I would guess the 23 to be a better fit.
I had a similar experience. My "Trek" dealer had no 520's in stock. I ordered a 17 because I thought it would fit. Turns out the 17 was too small. (I'm 5'7") I then ordered a 19 which was perfect. The assistant manager was all pissy because he was "stuck" with a low turnover bike. He even tried to convince me it fit. The store owner apologized and had an attitude adjustment meeting with the assistant. The funny thing was, the 17 that he was "stuck" with sold before my 19 was even delivered.
If you're LBS is a "Trek" dealer, they should order the bike for you without requiring your payment, and it should arrive in about a week. This is not a "special order" stuation for them.
05-02-07, 10:39 PM
I am about the same size as you are and just got the 21" Trek 520 last fall. The dealer I went to had a very fancy computerized measuring system that decided I needed a 22" frame. Since 22" is not an option, the dealer said I would be better off with the smaller frame rather than the larger. They worked with me a lot to make the bike fit, and we've gotten it pretty close. The biggest problem I've had is getting the handlebars high enough without being too far forward. We finally settled on a Dimension adjustable stem to give the right fit. I'm close, but still want to tweak it a little bit.
My old bike was a 24" Trek 520 (1983 model) and I will say it was too big for me. I made it work, but the top tube was really too high for safety and it required a special, really short, stem (the old quill type).
Overall, I sometimes wonder if the 23 would be better, but I really like the 21 and look forward to putting lots of miles on it. The old bike was good, but the new one is sooooo much better.
Just be sure you buy from a dealer that will work with you a LOT to make it fit right. The guys I bought from have really gone the extra distance to make me happy. They even promised (in writing btw) that if I didn't like the 21" they would get a 23" at no extra charge.
Bike America, 9514 Nall Ave, Overland Park, KS
05-02-07, 11:26 PM
I am the same dimensions as you. I have these bikes: 1. a 70s singlespeed (well, really a suicide fixie) that's a huge 61cm 2. a too-small 19" specialized hardrock singlespeed 3. a 58cm bianchi pista fixie 4. a 58cm (23") trek 520. These fit beautifully. Remember that everyone's body is made slightly different, but i think you'll like the big laid-back geometry of the 520 at 23". do it man.
05-03-07, 02:19 AM
I would suggest the 23" if for no other reason than the larger frame size will result in the bars being higher relative to the seat than with the smaller frame size, and on a touring bike that is a good thing. I am 5'10 and my 21" (54cm) 520 feels slightly too small, and with the seat properly adjusted, the bars are below seat height which is hard on my neck on long rides. I recently bought a volpe in a larger 55cm and the bars ended up higher than the seat which makes it noticeably more comfortable.
ok im going to go for a 23" the geometry seems so similar to my singlespeed and its got to be comfortable for 100 mile plus rides. thanks for all your help it was just what i was after.
Take a tape measure of your present bike's top tube and then check out the specs on the new trek 520 from their website and you should be able to get a good idea that way, but that being said I'm your similar in size and 23" was better simply because as those above posted, the head tube was longer allowing me to get my bars up.
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