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  1. #1
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    520 Trek VS 1.2 Pilot

    July 14, 2006

    Hello Everyone.....

    This is my very first post, I have enjoyed reading lots of good information from others posts...I am hoping to acquire some input....so let's see what happens.

    Background: 48 years of age and have owned a Trek (I believe 700 series) back in 1985 My Pastor helped me build it (it was just a frame and we put all the componets on it) and I built one for my wife as well.....Unfortunately, my "enthusiasm" for riding back then was when our family was young and she had no energy to ride....and to boot she was simply uncomfortable getting on the "skinny" tires so I believe she used it like 3 times, at the time the investment to build both bikes was like $1,400.00.

    Well let's fast forward, during the past 5 years she started commuting to work on a Giant Mtn bike, now granted she only commutes 5 miles round trip....and during the past two years she has been in regular conversations with some of her fellow female employee friends who ride, she and I then began revisiting the idea of "touring"....well this spring we finally made it to our local LBS and we purchased her a 2005 Specialized Dolce Comp and so out she went....(she is like 5' 1" at about 107 lbs age 54) she is in pretty decent shape since she walks or runs 3 miles daily....and with her new bike she recently did the Colorado MS 150 from Denver to the Royal Gorge. She did FANTASTIC and loved it. Of course I was/am so proud of her....so off of that experience I am thinking she obviously is NOW comfortable on "skinny" tires...smiles....As for me I have run 2 marathons (26.2 miles) and enjoy running and so I enter this discovery with a running background...I lift, as well....I am about 25 lbs over the weight I would like to carry...5' 10" with shoes and orthodics and I am 5' 8" with stocking feet weight around 170 so I haven't ridden a bike in a long while, however I have done spinning in my training for marathons......I do have a dirt bike that is hanging in my garage and has for years....but given that my wife is now committed to riding....it appears we both would like to now at this time in our lives enter the "world/discovery" of doing some touring. Events like the MS 150, or at a minimum we are talking about perhaps doing like 2 group rides that tour the mountains of Colorado next summer. Back in the 80's when I built the bikes I did use mine to do some tours that were in the 400 mile range (for each one) which were week long tours.....one tour was 6 mountain passes in 7 days....lots of climbing and I liked it.....So with that as my background.

    I wanted to get all of that out so you all had some background.....

    What like in a bike....I like fenders, a rack, and I am thinking I want some panniers as well eventually. I will never tour clear across the country....I don't have that much time available and I wouldn't want to be away from our adult children and 2 grandchildren for that length of time....So as I said above....taking up to a 7 day tour throughout Colorado is along the lines of what I am thinking.

    As I said I want a bike with eyelets for racks, panniers, and fenders. I am not willing to invest in a bike I couldn't do that to as a minimum. From owning harleys and touring I know the importance of having racks, as well as "saddle bags" to tour with....So I would say my use is as a "light touring' mode. I have no plans or desire to "camp" and bicycle tour. I did that back in the day as I shared above, and to tell you the truth....I like a nice "motel" after riding in tour mode...And having just spent an entire weekend with my wife on the MS 150 where it constantly rained for much of the event, camping is just not something either of us wants to do when combined with riding. So I will not be loading a bike down with 50-60 lbs....but at the most would want to be able to carry enough stuff for cloths, rain gear and such for touring....just to provide an idea....

    So if my REQUIREMENTS are to purchase a bike where I can be the "mule" for my wife, where I would be carrying her stuff as well as mine so she can have a "lighter" load by not having to carry anything what options would you all be leading me towards in a bicycle selection?

    Ok....now for the purpose of the bike, besides being a bike that I would use as described above I would like to work the bike in to my weekly work out schedule....3-4 times a week and as I said possibly 3 tours maximum, the MS 150 is like a 2 day event, take another 3-4 day tour with my wife self supported short of cooking food, and perhaps one other group tour where it is supported which might last 5-7 days. So there you have the usage. Now the price range....My wife's bike was purchased for $1,295.00. As for my budget....I know the Trek 520 is going for around 1240 or so. There is NO way I want to invest 3,000 in a bike. I would say my top price is around $1,600.00 and I would like to purchase a bike for around $800.00. (I know I want an excellent bike but don't want to have to pay retail for it, typical) SO this is where the "topic" of the Trek 520 vs Pilot 1.2 has entered the discussion. I have ridden a 2005 Trek 520 21" and a 2006 Trek 520 23". I also rode a pilot 1.2 56 cm. and finally I have ridden a Specialized Sirrus Pro $1,600.00 with "flat" handle bars.

    The LBS told me that of the Trek 520 bikes I rode that the 21" "appeared" to fit me better, but to tell you the truth it was hard for me to tell which frame I liked best. As for the Specialized Sirrus Pro I took that out of the parking lot put it on the street for about a block and turned around, I did NOT like the "flat handle bars" I also had toe "overlap" where my left foot was knocked by the turning wheel if that makes sense. Also on that ride I felt like I was in front of the handle bars and was "naked" out there if that makes sense....didn't like that feeling.....I also really discovered by riding the Specialized Sirrus Pro that I do WANT drop handle bars as well. I found the Pilot 1.2 which was a 56 cm to be a much better ride for me comming directly off test ride of the Specialized Sirrus Pro. I had ridden the two Trek 520 bikes about an hour before at a different LBS than where I rode the Pilot 1.2 so it was hard to actually remember how it really compared to the Trek 520s, if that makes sense. I know the Trek 520 is a "designated" touring bike which allows for racks, panniers, and fenders...and I have read a lot about it....Chrom Molly frame and so forth.....

    I am really sorry for being so winded....I just figure if I spell everything out then perhaps this would help some of you MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE people in assisting a totally uneducated person about not making $$$$$ mistake....As you can tell I believe I know how I want to use the bike....now I just trying to figure out what bikes I should be looking at.

    Thus far I am really not "reading" here in the forums about anyone talking with regards to the Pilot 1.2 being a "touring bike for anyone" and of course when I go into my local LBS I feel like I am the "freak" that wants the fenders, racks, and lower gears....I get the blank stare look.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am taking off for a week to help one of my children relocate from one state to another so I will be gone for a week, so if anyone asks me a question and I don't quickly respond understand that as soon as I get back I will.

    Thank you so much for any help you can spare me!!!!!

    Regards,

    TIMPREA

  2. #2
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    Geez. Long-winded is right.

    So you have a budget you want to keep. And you want to be able to go fully loaded with the bike on tour, but also be able to use the bike daily. You need a touring bike. If you are comfortable with the Trek 520, get that. The others listed aren't heavy tourers.

  3. #3
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    You don't want to buy a Pilot for touring - especially as a 'mule'. I was the 'mule' for my wife on our recent U.K., Netherlands and Germany tour. One mistake I made was putting her on 23c tires. I thought this may help her keep up, but she could have kept up with 28s or 34s just fine. 23c tires suck out on the road.

    I also can't stand the Trek 520 after seeing all the stuff they tour on 'over there'. Especially those Germans. Ortleib panniers on every bike those lucky bastards . Consider looking at a Surly LHT. You can build one up in your price range.

    Also, if you get bitten bad enough, it sounds like you'll soon want a fast bike too. Don't resist, just go with the dark side and buy both bikes. Look at my sig. I started out with the attitude that I wasn't going to spend over $700 on a road bike, that was a little over a year ago.
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  4. #4
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    If you want to be the 'designated mule', consider a BOB trailer.

    If you want a versatile bike that will stay on budget, consider building a Surly Crosscheck to your specs
    (you have some experience in 'buildups').

    All that having been said, if you must go 'off the rack' new, conventional wisdom seems to recommend
    a 520 (pavement touring and commuting) or Volpe (varied terrains/touring).

    Like you,I am always trying to find 'the One Perfect Bike' , but have pretty much stuck to used rigs
    (I commute on my son's old modified MTB and am taking an old Myiata on a long trip this fall) until I find the One.

    Since you've a high level of fitness, the gearing is a little less critical. Whatever you get you can always upgrade components...

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    For $1500, there are lots of choices. I doubt that you will go wrong with any of them since they should all have 105 components. If you remove the rear rack and panniers, you will be able to keep up with most club rides.

    You already mentioned the Trek 520. Since you will do semi-loaded touring, I would stick with that instead of the Pilot.

    Cannondale makes a great tourer in your range.

    You should check out the Burley models if there is a dealer around you.

    Fuji makes a respected tourer; although I have never ridden it myself.

    Building up a Surly Crosscheck is another option. Although I doubt that you will do much better than the aforementioned choices. A Gunnar might fit your budget as well.

    You mentioned a flat bar bike. My personal preference is for drop bars. Drop bars afford a lot more hand and body positions which are a relief during long rides. Anecdotally, I would say that most cyclists would agree with me.

    Lastly, have you thought about transporting your bike? That is, would you ever fly to some location and ride the bike there? If so, you might want to consider a bike built with S&S couplers or Ritchey Breakaway cyclocross frame built up as a tourer. You will spend another $500; but you will avoid a lot of airline surcharges (last I read, $80 per leg of the trip). Alternatively, you can get a high performance folding bike (see Bike Friday). Small wheeled bikes have their pros and cons. A few quick searches will give you the gruesome details.

  6. #6
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    Well here I am in North Carolina for the evening, and have found my son's computer in the midst of boxes...

    Thank you for all of the replys.....Why not the Pilot 1.2? From what I have read with the responses here you are all saying stay away from that model? As I said sorry for being so long winded above, I just felt giving you the data would help with understanding what I am trying to accomplish......

    I hope to see more replies soon!!!!!!! Oh and I am not UP on the Surley??? What exactly are those and where do you see them on line?????

    Thanks everyone!!!!

    Regards,

    TIMPREA

  7. #7
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    The Trek 520 is in the bullseye for your stated requirements. It is steel for a nice ride, has a long wheelbase for comfort and stability when riding all day, long chainstays to avoid having your heels strike the panniers, heavy duty wheels, high grade derailleurs, reliable bar-end shifters, and eyelets for mounting stuff. The Pilot has none of these touring-specific attributes. I am about an inch taller than you, with a 32" inseam and I ride a 21" 520 - fits me perfectly. I used to run a lot, mostly trails and had to give it up to save my knees - I miss it.
    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Disc, Cannondale T2000 (touring), Stumpjumper M5 (Mtn - hardtail), Cannondale Rize4 (Mtn - full susp)

  8. #8
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    I agree with everyone else, the 520 is probably the best touring bike for the money; it may not be the best touring bike but those will run you easily double that of the 520.

  9. #9
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I have a 83 Trek 500 and a 06 Pilot and if I were to take a trip I would take the 500 because of the softer ride on steel. A 500 is the same frame as a 520, just dif components. My 500 has barend shifters which I would prefer on a trip, also lower gearing, 7 speed 12-28, and 48,38,28 which I really like for hills.
    Don't get me wrong I like both bikes but the steel frame and lower gearing would tip the scale to the 500 as a tourer.
    Treks, 79-710, 83-500,600, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930, 91-1000, 92-1000, 93-930, 95-930, 96-930, 1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  10. #10
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    I believe that the 500 is actually made of Reynolds 531? and not Reynolds 520 that the Trek 520 has? If that is true the 531 is actually better, PLUS the Trek 500 is Lugged construction and not welded; there are arguements as to which is better but regardless the lugged construction is strong and artsy.

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