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Old 02-11-06, 06:30 PM   #1
markwebb
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Trek 520

OK - I'm in LBS today and they have this nice looking Trek 520. I've read a little about them, but in person they looked awesome. Handmade in USA is what decal said. Dark hunter green nicely finished steel touring bike. I am looking for a second bike so I don't beat the Mercian up too much - the Trek 520 looked like a good choice. They were priced at $799. I think the components are Shimano LX???

Can you guys and gals offer any advice on these bikes/frames/components/price before I do some more serious talking to LBS?

Thanks - and keeep spinning !
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Old 02-11-06, 06:50 PM   #2
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It's the same old 25" steel bike (as since the 80s), styled touring bike because it's great for that and probably also as an excuse for the bar end friction shifters instead of an XTR triple chain ring and a new indexed 10-spd cog in the back. But, for $800, sounds like dollar for dollar, it's worth it, expecially if you were planning on a tour (but then, you might need a stronger wheelset--not sure about that). If no plans for a tour, a steel bike with a CF fork probably is the low to medium end of the newer bikes.
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Old 02-11-06, 06:54 PM   #3
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that's a good deal
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Old 02-11-06, 08:20 PM   #4
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The one at LBS had bar end shifters and a triple crank.

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Originally Posted by wagathon
It's the same old 25" steel bike (as since the 80s), styled touring bike because it's great for that and probably also as an excuse for the bar end friction shifters instead of an XTR triple chain ring and a new indexed 10-spd cog in the back. But, for $800, sounds like dollar for dollar, it's worth it, expecially if you were planning on a tour (but then, you might need a stronger wheelset--not sure about that). If no plans for a tour, a steel bike with a CF fork probably is the low to medium end of the newer bikes.
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Old 02-11-06, 09:07 PM   #5
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The 520 is a good bike, so good that the fine people at Trek have resisted adding a bunch of gimmiky parts in order to sell it. If the bike fits you, and you LBS has not subsituted any cheaper parts on the bike, then $800 is a steal.
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Old 02-11-06, 09:20 PM   #6
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There are some products that were so good, that they continue with only modest changes decade after decade. The VW Beetle was one of those products. The Trek 520 is another. It continues to be the "standard" for affordable, tough, reliable touring bikes. No, it is not the equal of a $3,000 "custom" touring bike. But, it is built strong enough to take you to heck and back...what more can you ask of a bike?
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Old 02-11-06, 09:25 PM   #7
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Good deal, I think. If I were to buy the bike, I would ask the LBS to either swap rings for 48-38-24/26 or to install a "mountain" crankset. Indeed, mine has 44-34-22.
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Old 02-11-06, 09:33 PM   #8
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At 800 bucks, i think it's a three year old model.

A new trek 520 is 1200 bucks i believe. They went to a O.D. green this year, last year it was maroon, 2004 was Hunter green I think. It might be 8 speeds too. Not that that's a bad thing.

I use my 520 as a day tourer, pothole eater and sometimes commuter, and save my LHT for the heavy touring trips.

Last edited by Bekologist; 02-11-06 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 02-14-06, 02:28 AM   #9
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I just bought a mint, fully loaded '98. Very impressed so far.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:37 AM   #10
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The 520 is the only bike that Trek manufactured in the 80s that they continue to build today. That should tell you something. The bike went through a revision in the early 90s but has remained unchanged, with exception of some components, since then. The 520 is sized in inches, so you need to do the math when comparing to other bikes. For loaded touring some prefer to switch to lower gearing. This depends on the rider and is not necessary for general riding.
While some may say it's quality is not up to it's more expensive competitors, I disagree. It's tough, durable, and comfortable. In 18 years of ownership, riding three bikes, I've never experience a component failure. The one complaint is that the rear rack is low end(it is), but this is an easy fix with a stronger rack.

The price your posting is very good as long as the bike is OEM spec'd. I paid $950 for a new 520 in 04.

I own three 520s, the oldest being a 1988. All are great bikes. I keep telling my wife that I'm going to sell the two older bikes, but somehow it never happens. These two bikes could pull a cross country tour today, unlike their rider.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:41 AM   #11
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ive had my 520 for a few months, and it rocks. I like how it soaks up bumps too. i take it everywhere. ya 800 is good, i got mine for 1500 CAD.

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Old 02-16-06, 02:16 PM   #12
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That is a great deal for a Trek 520. I bought one two years ago and it was $1199.

I am on my second Trek 520 and have toured the country with with first one. The first one lasted 15 years until a car hit it, with me on it. (I'm fine, very lucky). I also have a Waterford touring bike which is also a great bike. But, dollar for dollar for a touring bike, the Trek 520 can't be beat. It's durable, takes a beating, desinged well (front and rear braze-ons, three cages, for example). I agree with the comment on the lower gearing.

If a touring bike is want you want, I would not hesitate on buying the Trek. I don't think you will ever get a better deal.

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