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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 04-14-06, 01:29 PM   #1
msmary
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Koga Miyata vs. Trek 520

Hello. Newbie here with a questions for you all. In a couple of weeks I will begin the Land's End to John O'Groats (UK End-to-End) which I hope to complete in about 3 weeks and I can't decide if the Koga Miyata trekking bike or the Trek 520 touring bike is a better bike to get. Cost is not an issue. The key issues for me are:

1) whether i need the Koga Miyata to carry me (I'm on the big side) and all my gear or if the 520 will be sufficient;

2) whether the Koga Miyata is a better investment, long term, given what I see (at least on paper) are the better Koga technical specifications;

3) whether the heavier Koga frame will make that big of a difference for someone like me (i've done some long distance trips in Asia and Europe; but I'm just starting up touring again) who is doing a long (gear-heavy) journeys like the End-to-End. As a side note, I'm using the End-to-End as a test to see whether I can do a round-the world-trip some time soon. Will it be more difficult to re-start touring on a heavy bike? Is the Koga really THAT heavy?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks!
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Old 04-14-06, 02:48 PM   #2
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I have never seen a Koga in person as the only importer/distributor in the states is on the other side of the country and is new to the line. From looking at the Koga web site, it's kind of hard to compare the two bikes in off-the-floor state, since they are really very different bikes as delivered. The Koga is a pretty neat bike off the floor.

The Trek has a steel frame vs. the Koga's Aluminum - largely a personal preference thing. The upright vs. drop bars thing is largely personal prefrence, too.

For heavy trekking, I would switch the Trek's 105 cranks for the XT or LX setup the Koga comes with.
My '03 520 came with 36 spoke wheels, as do the Kogas. It looks like the new 520 has 32 spokers. More spokes is a good thing for heavy trekking, for peace of mind if naught else. The rack that came on my 520 was junk. I am lead to believe the Tubus racks on the Koga are top notch stuff.

The Koga comes with a whole lot of stuff that you would have to buy separately for the 520 and seems to be pretty near ready to ride cross-continent right off the floor. The price difference would quickly be made up by parts and labor to bring the 520 up to the Koga's spec. If both bikes are available now, the time spent upgrading the Trek could be spent breaking in and fine tuning the Koga.

For your use, I just don't see the weight difference as an issue. By the time you add all your axtras to the Trek and/or strip the Koga of acessories you don't need, I'll wager the weight difference is insignificant anyway.

Shopping on spec alone for the Koga and with my experience with the Trek, I would take the Koga first for a ready-to-go trekking solution. The Trek is not a bad bike but would take more to get it in the same ready-to-go state of the Koga.
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Old 04-14-06, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmary
Hello. Newbie here with a questions for you all. In a couple of weeks I will begin the Land's End to John O'Groats (UK End-to-End) which I hope to complete in about 3 weeks and I can't decide if the Koga Miyata trekking bike or the Trek 520 touring bike is a better bike to get. Cost is not an issue. The key issues for me are:

1) whether i need the Koga Miyata to carry me (I'm on the big side) and all my gear or if the 520 will be sufficient;

2) whether the Koga Miyata is a better investment, long term, given what I see (at least on paper) are the better Koga technical specifications;

3) whether the heavier Koga frame will make that big of a difference for someone like me (i've done some long distance trips in Asia and Europe; but I'm just starting up touring again) who is doing a long (gear-heavy) journeys like the End-to-End. As a side note, I'm using the End-to-End as a test to see whether I can do a round-the world-trip some time soon. Will it be more difficult to re-start touring on a heavy bike? Is the Koga really THAT heavy?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks!
If you are in the UK you might want to check out Mercian http://www.merciancycles.com/ and Thorn http://www.sjscycles.com/

Both are high end frame makers who will be able to answer all of your questions, and build up a bike (if they have the frame in stock, which they might) to suit your needs.
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Old 04-15-06, 01:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies Old Fart and Ziemas. The more I look into this, the more I am leaning towards the Koga. I will also check out the websites you suggested Ziemas.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-15-06, 02:48 PM   #5
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I'd lean towards a Thorn with a Rohloff hub setup (you said money was no object). Personally I like the Thorns better than the Koga's.

If you had more time then you should look at Waterford. I'm using a Waterford "Adventure bike" for my Europe to Asia tour (I leave for Paris tuesday!!). The drawback with Waterford (again money no object) is the lead time-I believe it can be months.

Equal to Waterford as far as reliability would be a Bruce Gordon. Mater of fact you should ring him up, he often has various frame sizes in stock. He does bomber bikes&racks.

Will a 520 work for you? Probably, you might have to go a bit lighter on gear though.You would definitely have to have proper wheels built up (whereas the other manufacturers mentioned understand what you would need).
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Old 04-15-06, 07:02 PM   #6
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The 520 would do you fine. Comparing the two is almost apples and oranges since if you can afford a Koga, that opens the door to a lot of other bikes. For about 1200.00, the 520 and a couple others are about it. I just bought a Thorn and love it so great advice. You already know the Koga is aluminum. If you ever think you might be adding couplings to your bike, you can only do that w/ steel (and carbon). Having said that, I saw a couple on Kogas in Australia south of Darwin, they do look impressive and very well outfitted.
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Old 04-16-06, 01:34 AM   #7
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It is kinda apples oranges. Probably the better comparision is with the Thorn, which I have looked at (on the internet today). The Nomad and the eXp/eXXp look impressive.

Can anyone offer their advice/comments on the comparison between the Thorn Nomad/eXp versus the Koga Miyata World traveller?

Thanks again
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Old 05-09-06, 10:30 AM   #8
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I'm assuming that you're already on the ride, but:

I know people who've done that ride on pure road bikes with small backpacks. They stayed in B&Bs and pre-posted fresh clothes to various stops. My point is you can ride through the UK on just about any bike- a tourer is not necessary.

Well, if you did buy something new, I hope it's working out well for you.
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Old 05-09-06, 11:44 AM   #9
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The Koga is the Lincoln Town car of touring bikes ready to go from the start. I've seen the World Travel up close and it's all quality from top to bottom. The Trek 520 doesn't even compare with this bike and it's not really fair because the Koga is more than twice the price.

The wheels and tires for the Koga have quality written all over them. I believe it also has a hub dynamo and an internal lock, Brooks saddle etc, etc. The Koga would probably be the only bike I would buy in Aluminum because it's so well made. No it's not light and was probably the most heavy touring bike I've ever picked up but also the most stout.
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