Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - Trek 520 Rando Conversion
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06-09-10, 06:53 PM
I have a 2004 Trek 520 that is currently set up for heavy touring. Unfortunately this year and probably next I will not be able to get the time off from work to do any long touring. So I have been looking to do more weekend rides and maybe some rando events. So instead of buying another bike, I have been thinking of doing a little tinkering to the Trek. Specifically changing the crank to either an Ultergra 6503 with 52-42-30 gears or a SRAM compact Rival 50-34. I could also use what is currently on the 520 a Sugino triple 48-36-26. On the rear I plan to switch out to a 11-28 cassette with an Ultegra GS RD. Also in order to get more trail I have a Bontrager Satellite Plus carbon fork with a rake of 50mm. Shifting will be changed to an Ultegra ST 6510. Of course I will need to get a set of long reach road calipers. Any thoughts from those with more than my limited knowledge on how this should turn out before I take the plunge?
06-09-10, 07:44 PM
why are you messing with the trail? Traditional rando bikes has as little trail as any touring bike. You didn't really tell us what you were trying to accomplish.
I rode with the Ohio Randonneurs last year, a light bike would be nice. I'm thinking that a 34-28 would be adequate for any climbing you will see there. The hills aren't that long, but some of them are very steep.
06-09-10, 07:53 PM
Thought more rake would increase the trail. I have been doing some reading here and have to admit my head spins when trying to follow this topic. I am looking to ditch the heavy rear rack and go for a traditional rando approach with saddle bag and handle bar bag. Also thought to lighten the bike up also as the fork is a pig.
06-09-10, 08:21 PM
easy to get that mixed up. More rake decreases trail, all other factors being equal. If the fork isn't an exact match to the frame, you can really mess things up.
06-10-10, 01:27 AM
What size frame is your 520? In the smaller frame sizes around that era, Trek used a 1" fork, while using a 1 1/8" in the larger frames. If you're not sure, take your stem off and measure the diameter. I've also though about changing the fork on my Trek 520, but the 1" fork limits my options to virtually zero when trying to match the other dimensions of the fork, so I gave up on the idea. With a 1 1/8" fork, there may be some alternatives, but you need to not only match the rake, but also match axle to crown length.
Be aware that a compact crankset doesn't have a good intermediate-size chainring that is good for cruising along in with lots of range for speed adjustment on the back - it just has one ring that is a bit too big and one that is a bit too small for general riding. If I don't have a ring that is in the 38 to 46 range then I get frustated because I'm always double-shifting and/or cross-chaining.
Also be aware that the 11-28 cassette has some big jumps in it, particularly the 19-22 gap. I would opt for something with a little less range to keep the gaps smaller. To keep the same lowest gear, BBB and IRD make 12-28 cassettes that are way better than the 11-28 in this respect. If the high gear (11 tooth) is more of a priority, then get a SRAM 11-26.
06-10-10, 04:59 PM
It is a 54cm. It does have a 1 1/8" head tube, but came installed with shims to allow the use of a 1" head set. I have been told that the shims can be removed in order to use a 1 1/8" head set. I do need a new head set anyways as the old Cane Creek S1 has some shot bearings. Of course I could rebuild the S1 as an option. I also have a Chris King Devolution that I would more likely use if I want to keep the old fork. However, this would also require removing the shims. I do have a 1" Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork with a 45mm rake. Sounds like this would match up better, but would limit tire width to 25 and no fenders.
As for gearing, the Ultegra triple with the 30 switched to a 28 that I have used on it before and an Ultegra 11-27 that I have. I have used that combo for light touring and it seemed to work well for me.
06-10-10, 05:18 PM
I do have a 1" Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork with a 45mm rake. Sounds like this would match up better, but would limit tire width to 25 and no fenders.
if you want low trail for a front bag, which I think you do, you want more rake than 45mm. The issue with replacement forks is the length. Rake is independent of length
06-10-10, 05:28 PM
I started down that same road with my 1984 Trek 520... converting it to a rando rig. I bought this bike brand new in 1983 and wanted to breathe some excitement into it after thousands of miles together.
I discovered some things about the 520 and its rando-appropriateness:
It rides like your grandpa's Buick. Cushy and comfortable all day long.
It carries waaaay more than you need to carry on a brevet. Avoid the urge to use mammoth bags like I put on mine.
It climbs like a slug. The frame flex is unreal when you get out of the saddle to climb. I would not dream of riding any sort of hilly brevet on this bike.
This bike continues to be my daily commuter... mainly because it hauls as much gear as a pickup truck.
And as for the fork changes that you're thinking of... don't do it. You won't see any difference with changing your trail until you get out to extreme values and ultra high or ultra low trail. Keep it stock and you'll be happier.
06-10-10, 05:55 PM
Thanks guys for all the help. Guess I will stick with the stock fork, the pig that it is, and use the Chris King head set. The frame itself does not seem that heavy. Would the Reynolds OX frame on my '04 be lighter and stiffer than the 501 of your '84 Hydrated? Just wondering if mine would make a little better climber.
As a side question, I recently purchased a Santana Stylus frameset. It is built with Easton Sc7000 aluminum. I was planning on building it as a light weight club racer, but the guy I bought it from used it on long events; RAIN, GOBA, Markleville Death Ride, TORSV, etc. He swore by it as a great long distance bike. Not really sold on this as I guess I am a little old fashioned and think steel would make a better overall long distance rig when taking into consideration comfort and performance. Any thoughts?
06-10-10, 05:58 PM
BTW Hydrated, that is a really nice looking set up you have.
06-11-10, 01:26 AM
The scandium aluminum in the Santana Stylus frame is supposed to mimic the ride of steel, while having the weight of aluminum. My wife's frame is scandium, and it rides very nicely - I would be quite happy to use that as a long distance rig, but it is all about personal preference and comfort.
06-11-10, 10:55 AM
Would the Reynolds OX frame on my '04 be lighter and stiffer than the 501 of your '84 Hydrated? Just wondering if mine would make a little better climber.
I would imagine that your bike would be lighter... not sure about stiffness. The thing that makes my frame so flexy is those mile long chainstays, and you have the same geometry. When you hammer down on that 520 it feels like you're going to twist the darn thing into a steel pretzel, but the bike keeps on ticking off the miles. I love mine... but I guess that's why I still own it after almost 30 years of rides.
06-11-10, 03:40 PM
I know what you mean Hydrated. I really love the ride of my 520. I have been using it as a commuter and times when I just want to take a nice pleasureful ride.
I guess what really scares me about the Santana is how light it is and loading it with a couple of bags. The frame weight is just a tad over 1100g.
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