Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: In a cardboard box by Alki beach.
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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.