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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 09-06-17, 10:05 AM   #1
Piratebike
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Trek 520 for off road....

Was looking at the Trek 920 and the new 1120 for some off road touring....
But now I am thinking 520 with some off road/cyclecross tires. Then new 520 has Disc brakes and stronger rims. Seems like it might be better suited for my travels which are bike paths, some road, and some trails but no serious trails. Mostly gravel roads and logging trails. What would be the cons of this bike. I have an older 520 not with rim breaks that I use for road touring already.
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Old 09-06-17, 10:58 AM   #2
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Dunno how big of tires you can fit under one, but I regularly ride 32mm tires on gravel roads. I have ridden them on forest/two track road, although probably not to the level of logging road (depending on the exact conditions, I imagine deeply rutted, muddy, etc). Wouldn't be my first choice, but if it was simply I was going to encounter them every once in a while in no great number, with the majority of riding on bike trails and road, I wouldn't hesitate to use one.
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Old 09-06-17, 11:10 AM   #3
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Off road, like past the end of the paved , Un paved 'dual track'?

Con, your only interest?

neutral, tire damage can happen any how?

Can't ride as recklessly fast as a 29 by 2" wheeled bike?







....

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Old 09-07-17, 06:18 AM   #4
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Piratebike, Generally a touring bike does well on non technical unpaved surfaces. Tires and tire tread design won't make much difference. Extended mud, soft sand, and anything beyond a casually groomed path can require more aggressive tread designs, but again only for extensive distances. A good tire I have used gravel grinding was a Pasala.

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Old 09-07-17, 12:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piratebike View Post
Was looking at the Trek 920 and the new 1120 for some off road touring....
But now I am thinking 520 with some off road/cyclecross tires. Then new 520 has Disc brakes and stronger rims. Seems like it might be better suited for my travels which are bike paths, some road, and some trails but no serious trails. Mostly gravel roads and logging trails. What would be the cons of this bike. I have an older 520 not with rim breaks that I use for road touring already.
520 will accept up to ~35mm (comes with 32mm). LHT/DT will go to 45mm without fenders, maybe a bit more. LHT/DT in 26" would be a better choice for lots of off road loaded touring.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:09 PM   #6
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I've taken my 520 over some moderately rugged terrain without any serious problems but that said, I would much rather ride a bike with a suspension fork for off road use. When I go from my Haro 29er to my 520, one of the first things I notice is how much more harsh the rigid front fork is on my shoulders when I'm riding on bumpy roads. I had 42mm Conti Top Contact II tires on my 520 (no fenders). I suppose newer disc 520's would be slightly better suited to off road use than older ones like mine. The 520 is never going to be a stump-jumping, rock-hopper but with sufficiently robust tires, wheels, brakes etc it should certainly be able to handle gravel roads, carriage roads, fire roads etc, even some single track trails as long as they're not too radical.

Last edited by hfbill; 09-11-17 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 09-16-17, 07:55 PM   #7
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Have ridden my 520 over some pretty rough terrain, logging and gravel roads. Right now it is my winter bike with Schwalbe studded snow tires.
That said - I now have a mtn bike for rough terrain, logging and other types of paths.
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Old 09-19-17, 03:56 PM   #8
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Just getting back on Bike Forums after a long abase.

I bought a 2017 920 on impulse last spring and I love it!!! The tires are little noisy and it's not really fast but I can stay on it all day. If you are still thinking about it I'd give you a nudge in that direction.
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Old 09-19-17, 05:07 PM   #9
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I've ridden my 2007 Trek 520 across Russia including ~1000+ kilometers of gravel road. Also ridden it down the Dalton Highway from Prudhoe Bay. It accepts 700x35 tires and does OK on that type of rougher roads.

In the "PRO" category would be that it rides across a wide range of roads. For example, a total distance of my Russia trip was over 12,000 kilometers and gravel was thus a small portion. If you were exclusively riding this off-road stuff, I might suggest a different bike.

In the "CON" category would be not much fender space if you want fenders. I left my fenders behind on a road sign after they repeatedly got clogged with mud.
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