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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-09-07, 02:08 PM   #1
busmute
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TREK 520 for commuting?!

hey gang.
I was having a bit of trouble with the search function (I'm new to this site)

but I was wondering if I could get some feedback about Trek 520 touring bikes, and whether or not any of you have used them for commuting on a regular basis.

I'm looking to purchase one in the near future, and I wanted to know a bit about the reliability of the components, comfort, etc.

thanks a ton!

- Joe
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Old 10-09-07, 02:15 PM   #2
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My main ride, and now commuter is a Trek 520. I love it...VERY comfortable ride, and as its a touring frame, it's very sturdy and perfect for commuting. Any touring bike would double as a perfect commuter as its nearly the same setup.

You check out photos on my flickr.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:12 PM   #3
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thanks a ton, Termite.

any advice on upgrades?

I'm looking into commuting about eight miles (each way) to get to and from college and church.

I live in a coastal town that's relatively flat, although I do have to go over a rather large bridge for part of my commute.

this will be my first time using a bicycle as a commuter rather than a car.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:13 PM   #4
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The 520 is a nice bike.

However, the Surly LHT Complete has become THE choice for commuting around here. Seems I see somebody new commuting on one every week.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:22 PM   #5
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any advice on upgrades?
busmute -- I used a Trek 2004 520 for three years before switching to my current ride (an ANT steel custom bike) and was very fond of it. Over the years I upgraded it with the standard commuting accessories (fenders, lights, panniers). I wasn't too fond of the saddle (most stock saddles suck) and swapped it out for a Specialized Body Geometry Indie. Also, swapped out the really wide Bontrager tires for a narrower set of 32mm Panaracer Paselas, which felt a little faster without losing any comfort.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:22 PM   #6
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I've never heard of those.
I'll be sure to check them out.

Cycling isn't a huge thing in my town, except during the triathalon parts of the year.
My city is very spread out geographically, with the exception of our historic downtown district.

In most situations, I guess the majority of people feel that riding a bicycle is a waste of time and effort, unless you're joyriding.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:23 PM   #7
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Not much you'd have to do to it...it comes with most things you'll need stock.

I've made some changes, but none of them were really "necessary", just things I wanted to change for personal tastes.

The only thing I can think of, is fenders/mudflaps. They are good to add if you want to ride when its wet/rains.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:24 PM   #8
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thanks Spokenword.
I've already heard bad things about most stock saddles, so I have been looking at Brooks.

Fenders seem to be a must-have.

contrary to popular belief, it rains a LOT in Florida.
especially since it's hurricane season.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:25 PM   #9
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did you guys buy new or used?
not a lot of bike shops in my area, and those that we have don't have a lot of used bikes.

They are willing to order a new one, though.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:28 PM   #10
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LOL....there is a LOT of rain in Florida. I just moved from there....lived there most of my whole life. Where do you live in FL?

I lived in Tampabay area and bought my 520 (new) at Carrolwood Bicycle Emporium.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:36 PM   #11
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ah, I'm a lot farther north than you, Termite.

I'm in Panama City Beach, in the Panhandle.

been close to where you're at several times, though.
I have family and friends in the Orlando area, and I think everyone in the state has been to a Bucs game or Busch Gardens.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:45 PM   #12
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I lived there nearly all my life and only went to 2 Bucs games. Never was much of a football (or any sport) fan.

Busch Gardens....hells yeah!! I got a season pass beginning of this year right before I got the xfer that I wanted to move to Seattle area.

Anyway...if you have any specific questions about the 520, feel free to PM me.
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Old 10-09-07, 04:30 PM   #13
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I have a 2006 Trek 520. It's set up for fully loaded touring with front & rear racks & fenders, but I use it for my 17 mile round trip commute daily.

I found the stock saddle to be intolerable, so I swapped it for a Brooks. Lots of people say the stock gearing is not low enough for fully loaded touring, but that shouldn't be an issue for commuting...I have the stock gearing and it works for me. Also, the rack is not so good for touring, but it should be fine for commuting. I used it for a while before swapping it for touring purposes.
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Old 10-09-07, 05:28 PM   #14
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Touring bikes make wonderful commuters. The tough components and heavy-duty wheels make for a low maintenance ride. I love my LHT... every weekday, I load it with 25-30 lbs of junk I take to work and do a 39-mile round trip commute. The LHT has held up wonderfully. I am sure the Trek 520 would work just as well for your purposes.
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Old 10-09-07, 05:40 PM   #15
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I was about to say The Trek 520 is basically a textbook commuter bike, but I think my fellow BFers got that point across already. Go out. Bike. Enjoy.
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Old 10-09-07, 06:45 PM   #16
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I bought a 2002-ish Trek 520 used just over a year ago and use it for commuting and grocery shopping. I had to do some tweaking to get it comfortable (mostly undoing what the original owner had done to the poor thing; when I bought it, it had a heavily-padded saddle that became unbearable after about a mile, plastic pedals, and a too-short adjustable stem), then put on Freddy Fenders and a mudflap cut from a milk jug. A little while after that, I scored a pair of Continental Top Touring 2000's cheap on Craigslist for it. Other than that, it's still stock.

It's a great ride.
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Old 10-09-07, 06:57 PM   #17
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i used to commute on my 520 from 1984. it was okay, but to be honest the chainstays were too short. i don't know what they are now. hopefully longer?
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Old 10-09-07, 06:59 PM   #18
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I commute daily on a 1984 Trek 720 tour bike. TOur bikes make great commuters.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:04 PM   #19
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I commute daily on a 1984 Trek 720 tour bike. TOur bikes make great commuters.
you lucky bass-turd! those 720's make me drool! such nice long chainstays too! did you buy it new or used?
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Old 10-09-07, 07:29 PM   #20
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bought it used from the original owner. the drive was in rough shape and no longer original, so now I am thinking of updating it to a Nexus hub or maybe a SS.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:16 PM   #21
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based on all this feedback, I'm pretty much sold on the 520.

thanks for all the advice and reassurance.

I suppose I need to figure out what size frame I need, now.

I'm new to commuting.
I used to ride mountain bikes on trails when I was younger, but now I'm 6' and 180lbs.

I think I'm probably going to try out a Brooks saddle, too.
I've heard mostly good things about them.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:40 PM   #22
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Don't you steel commuters worry about rust from riding in the rain? I've ridden in some pretty heavy downpours, but I don't need to worry about it on my all aluminum bike.
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Old 10-09-07, 09:11 PM   #23
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i commute on my trek 520 and my bianchi san jose. i usually prefer the san jose (it's lighter and has the flat top tube for carrying up my apartment steps). but i take the 520 when i need a change of pace, or if i have to haul a lot of stuff (nice blackburn rack on the back of it). get a bike that feels nice to you, and go for it.
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Old 10-09-07, 09:20 PM   #24
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Don't you steel commuters worry about rust from riding in the rain? I've ridden in some pretty heavy downpours, but I don't need to worry about it on my all aluminum bike.
As long as you treat the frame with Framesaver, rust really isn't a problem. There are tons of old steel bikes on the road, and they're holding up fine. And frame tubing is thick, so even if you do get a bit of rust, it isn't going to rust through like the body of a car. Plus, chromoly rusts slowly once a patina is on the surface.

I would be more worried about aluminum frame fatigue life.

All frame materials have their strengths and weaknesses. I prefer steel. But I have an aluminum bike too.
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Old 10-10-07, 06:18 AM   #25
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contrary to popular belief, it rains a LOT in Florida.
especially since it's hurricane season.
No doubt. Every day at 5:00 if I remember correctly. I use to live in Tampa a few years ago. I sold my 94 Trek 520 a few months ago. Still kicking myself. It was a great commuter, but the weight tired me out. If Florida, you couldn't have a better bike for commuting. Fenders, rack, lights, frame pump and a good seat and you are good to go. I ran 700x32's on mine and it was by far the most comfortable bike I'd ever rode.

This post is making me sad.....
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