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Old 09-27-07, 08:16 PM   #1
Aushiker
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2008 Trek 520

G'day

The 2008 Trek 520 (US only?) specifications are now out and listed on the Trek website.

It seems that the front dérailleur is now Tiagra and the crank ratios are changed. Are these still suitable for touring?

Regards
Andrew
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Old 09-27-07, 09:00 PM   #2
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That crank, 50/39/30 is not ideal. You really want something like a 48/36/26 or even a 46/34/24. As some of the people that have commented on it, even the 50 is too big and they never use it.
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Old 09-27-07, 09:37 PM   #3
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I own a 2006 Trek 520 that I just bought used. I am using it for commuting but hope to tour on it next summer.

I think the consensus on this bike is that any purchaser who wants to seriously tour on it should plan on replacing the crank (with lower gearing), the rear rack and the saddle. If you are buying the bike new, you should negotiate with the bike shop to get as much of that swapping done at his cost (or close to it) at the time of purchase. If you can manage that, you end up with a nice touring bike for a reasonable price.

So - to you your question - they appear to have downgraded the crank for 2008 to a Tiagra. It used to be a Shimano 105 (which is what I have on mine). Since you should plan on changing the gearing anyway I'm not sure it matters.

(By the way, it's early days, but I love my bike as a commuter. I have some fairly steep hills on my commute and it's really geared just about right for what I do. For more serious, loaded touring, though, it really needs lower gears. I just don't get why Trek won't change this bike -- it's not that popular, most people have to special order them anyway -- why not put proper touring gearing on it in the first place?)
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Old 09-27-07, 09:56 PM   #4
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My 94 model 520 has an LX crank set. I never could figure out why Trek changed to running road crank sets (105, Tiagra) on the 520. If they were running brifters, maybe, but why go to higher gearing for the touring bike?
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Old 09-27-07, 10:39 PM   #5
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I don't think it matters whether the front derailleur is 105 or Tiagra. I mean, the front derailleur on the Trek 520 runs on a friction shifter anyway, right? What kind of shifting difference can you feel using straight friction?
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Old 09-27-07, 10:57 PM   #6
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I don't think it matters whether the front derailleur is 105 or Tiagra. I mean, the front derailleur on the Trek 520 runs on a friction shifter anyway, right? What kind of shifting difference can you feel using straight friction?
G'day

Looking at the specs for the 2008 model, the shifters are "Shimano Dura-Ace, bar end control, 9 speed." A quick search via Google suggests these are indexed but I could be wrong.

All that said does it really matter that much if the frontdérailleur is Tiagra or 105? I think the bigger concern is the crank and having a better quality rear dérailleur.

Regards
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Old 09-28-07, 01:14 AM   #7
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Personally I don't think that the front derailleur matters, as was mentioned above. The problem w/this bike is the gearing.

That being said -- I bought one because I still thought it was a great package for the price. I've never bought a stock bike that stayed stock for very long.

Everyone (including me) criticizes Trek for the gearing they put on this bike...but if you can get it switched out at time of purchase and take care of the other issues it's still a decent deal vs. what else is out there on the market.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:09 AM   #8
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Have a look also at the LHT Complete which is available in Australia (in Melb. at least). It has more suitable gearing and will take wider tyres. Bikes available locally include the Cannondales, one by Orbea, a Mongoose and a Fuji clone badged Allegro. Some Australian shops with an internet presence include Cheeky Monkey/Cheeky Transport in Sydney and St Kilda Cycles, Abbotsford Cycles and Brunswick St Cycles in Melbourne. I have dealt with all of these and they are good (as long as you don't get a junior salesperson at Brunswick St). Can't comment on Perth and I''ve never even heard of Churchlands!

If you are offroad touring as well (your other post) are you really looking for such a road-specific tourer as the Trek? Max 32mm tyres, high gearing - road only. Have you considered a more MTBish tourer that would be suitable for rougher roads, tracks, Polaris, XC rides?
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Old 09-28-07, 09:07 AM   #9
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the reason Trek specced a Tiagra front on the 520 is becasue that is Shimano's BEST full size road derailluer that is still 9 speed chain compliant. Shimmy's 105, Ultegra, and DA front derailluers are now 10 speed only - narrower cages for 10 speed chains.

Not that it's a big deal, I imagine you'd just have to trim the front derailluer more with a narrower cage and a nine speed chain. Shimmy's rear road derailluers are both 9 and 10 speed complaint, not an issue for the Trek 520 anyway, as it uses a mountain cassette and mountain derailluer.

Same with the front crankset being only Tiagra. Shimmy specs out the new, external BB, higher end road cranks as 10 speed only, although 9 speed chain works just fine on the higher end cranks- i'm running external BB, "10 speed" 105 and Ultegra cranks with 9 speed chains, no problems.

Yes, Shimmy barends shift FRICTION only for the front. allowing easy trims.

I'd bet Trek specs the 520 with a road crank because they sell more for unloaded, supported touring and city bikes versus a 'dedicated' touring only bike. For light touring loads, sagged tours, CC tourers, the road crank makes sense.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:06 AM   #10
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I have a Tiagra front derailleur on my "mostly" 105 road bike. It has 17,000 miles on it to date and has given me 0 problems. I wouldn't let the Tiagra lable bother me one bit. If I where buying one though, I would insist on a different crank, probably LX and derailleur to boot.

ps The 105 brifter "crapped out" on me at about 10,000 miles. I can't beleave how close I am to another 10,000 mile mark! If it goes again, I will go to bar end shifting.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:49 AM   #11
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The master tech at my local REI was explaining that today's Tiagra stuff is, in general, a couple of years ago Ultegra or 105 at the least due to trickle down theory. He was telling the Tiagra stuff will last a good ten years, at least before even thinking about needing replacement. I wondering the same thing when I bought my Randonee. Now, the gearing, I haven't the slightest as I barely understand how to shift at this point!
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Old 09-28-07, 11:23 PM   #12
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I don't know why everyone thinks a 50 tooth chainring is too big. I've toured with a 52 and a 53. You don't need to go that big, but I certainly spend a lot of time on the bigger chainring. I would use the stock cranks on the 520 unless you just like to throw money around for no reason.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cave View Post
Have a look also at the LHT Complete which is available in Australia (in Melb. at least). It has more suitable gearing and will take wider tyres. Bikes available locally include the Cannondales, one by Orbea, a Mongoose and a Fuji clone badged Allegro. Some Australian shops with an internet presence include Cheeky Monkey/Cheeky Transport in Sydney and St Kilda Cycles, Abbotsford Cycles and Brunswick St Cycles in Melbourne. I have dealt with all of these and they are good (as long as you don't get a junior salesperson at Brunswick St). Can't comment on Perth and I''ve never even heard of Churchlands!
Thanks. You have thrown up some options I hadn't considered (Cannondales). We can get Surly here, just have to order it in.

Quote:
If you are offroad touring as well (your other post) are you really looking for such a road-specific tourer as the Trek? Max 32mm tyres, high gearing - road only. Have you considered a more MTBish tourer that would be suitable for rougher roads, tracks, Polaris, XC rides?
I am actually looking eventually at two bikes. One will be my off-road tourer and this is the one I want to get first. I do a lot of bushwalking (weekends and longer) and want to split the time for that into a mix of off-road touring and bushwalking. I will then. mid next year probably, look to get a road touring bike which will probably double as my commuter.

Thanks
Andrew
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Old 09-29-07, 10:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
G'day

Looking at the specs for the 2008 model, the shifters are "Shimano Dura-Ace, bar end control, 9 speed." A quick search via Google suggests these are indexed but I could be wrong.

All that said does it really matter that much if the frontdérailleur is Tiagra or 105? I think the bigger concern is the crank and having a better quality rear dérailleur.

Regards
Andrew
Andrew,
The bar end shifters are indexed on the rear derailleur, with an option to set it to friction. However, the front derailleur is friction only.
Duppie
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Old 09-30-07, 11:11 PM   #15
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Thanks. You have thrown up some options I hadn't considered (Cannondales). We can get Surly here, just have to order it in.

I am actually looking eventually at two bikes. One will be my off-road tourer and this is the one I want to get first. I do a lot of bushwalking (weekends and longer) and want to split the time for that into a mix of off-road touring and bushwalking. I will then. mid next year probably, look to get a road touring bike which will probably double as my commuter.
Have a look at the Touring Ultra and Touring Rohloff from Cannondale (European site) - I THINK Brunswick St Cycles has one of these. (it might be the Touring Classic, can't remember).

BTW I get front wheel toe overlap on my T800 so keep this in mind if you want to take the thing off-road.
Also their previous urban MTB range looks like quite a good tourer if you can find one - the Terra has chainstays about 43.5cm long, I think the F500 (or whatever the successor was called) is similar but with a better headshock. The terra flies on-road with slicks.

I'm not sure if others would agree, but having been shopping for MTBs I'd say that the ones suitable for touring aren't all that different from "road" tourers, apart from the drop bars. Make your own decisions, but for commuting/road touring/offroad touring I'd be looking at one do-all bike if I was doing things again. You only need a special-purpose bike for fast on-road rides or for serious off-road riding, the sort of stuff you couldn't do with an xtracycle or trailer anyway. (Nb. my MTBing experience is only about 8 hours total...)
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Old 10-01-07, 12:15 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
I'd bet Trek specs the 520 with a road crank because they sell more for unloaded, supported touring and city bikes versus a 'dedicated' touring only bike. For light touring loads, sagged tours, CC tourers, the road crank makes sense.
+1

Prolly similar to the reason why so many car manufacturers would even consider 4WD an option on any SUV. Prolly because the majority of them will never see anything but pavement.


-D
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