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Old 08-20-08, 09:37 PM   #1
somebikerider
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Surly LHT vs. Trek 520

anyone here spend a reasonable amount of time on both? I have tested both out and am leaning towards the LHT because of the KISS theory behind the bike, although the 520 isn't terribly complicated either.

Any help is greatly appreciated. If you took the badging off they are kind of hard to tell apart.
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Old 08-20-08, 09:48 PM   #2
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I recently just stripped my 2006 Trek 520 and put the parts on to a LHT and I have to tell you I love the LHT!

The LHT has some nice touches like a lugged fork, spoke holders on the left chain stay, pump peg....i think that the LHT is lighter (at least comparing the two builds)...

As far as handling, the LHT handles a load better...I use to get a front shimmy when I had too heavy of a load on the Trek 520 on descents..not fun...the LHT rides like a dream...no shimmy, "on rails" as it were...

my 2 cents...

Here's my build

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Old 08-20-08, 10:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by xcapekey View Post
I recently just stripped my 2006 Trek 520 and put the parts on to a LHT and I have to tell you I love the LHT!

The LHT has some nice touches like a lugged fork, spoke holders on the left chain stay, pump peg....i think that the LHT is lighter (at least comparing the two builds)...

As far as handling, the LHT handles a load better...I use to get a front shimmy when I had too heavy of a load on the Trek 520 on descents..not fun...the LHT rides like a dream...no shimmy, "on rails" as it were...

my 2 cents...

Here's my build

[IMG.]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3062/2776504153_af86d62a1c.jpg[/IMG]
THAT is a beautiful bike.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:00 PM   #4
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Here's my build

Nice bike.

Is that a stock color?

And could you identify the brand/model of the panniers and bags in the photo?

Thanks.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:12 PM   #5
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Not a stock color...had it powdercoated...

Bags are from Velo-Orange...it's their ostrich panniers and handelbar bag...great stuff
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Old 08-20-08, 11:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by somebikerider View Post
anyone here spend a reasonable amount of time on both? I have tested both out and am leaning towards the LHT because of the KISS theory behind the bike, although the 520 isn't terribly complicated either.

Any help is greatly appreciated. If you took the badging off they are kind of hard to tell apart.
What's the KISS theory?

BTW, I've never even seen a Trek 520, though they apparently are legendary, and I assume that's for a very good reason, but I have the LHT and I like it very much. It's simple, sturdy, rides like a dream, and looks way prettier than any other bike in its price range. The only other bikes I like more are made by Rivendell, and they cost three or four times as much, only they're not three or four times better, more like 1.4 times better.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:29 PM   #7
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Not a stock color...had it powdercoated...

Bags are from Velo-Orange...it's their ostrich panniers and handelbar bag...great stuff
I forgot to ask -- is that a Tubus rack hiding under the panniers?

BTW, I should have said *very* nice bike.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 08-20-08 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:33 PM   #8
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I have a 13 yr old 520 that I just love - it has at various times been used as a tourer, a roadbike and a commuter. Got me back into road riding, and the only bike that stays constant in the fleet. Very versatile and very durable with full LX 7spd and new Mavic A719 wheels. I think they are a bit lighter than a LHT (mine is 28 lbs with the Blackburn rack on it). The only drawback to the 520 might be the riding position, which is a bit more road-oriented (longish, horizontal top tube) than some pure touring bikes (like my T2000). But that road flavor is what makes it such a do-everything bike. And they absolutely ride like a dream.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:34 PM   #9
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Yes...it's a Tubus in the back...great rack! two sets of rails...platform so you can rest your sleeping bag/sleep sack/saddlebag, etc.,

Rivendell's Mark's rack on the front...

520s are legendary...the old ones! from what I understand from those that have had older 520s that the new ones aren't as good....cheaper unicrown, welding like a stack of nickles....dollar for dollar, I think a stock LHT is a better deal than a stock 520
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Old 08-20-08, 11:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by somebikerider View Post
anyone here spend a reasonable amount of time on both? I have tested both out and am leaning towards the LHT because of the KISS theory behind the bike, although the 520 isn't terribly complicated either.

Any help is greatly appreciated. If you took the badging off they are kind of hard to tell apart.
I have a Trek 520 I bought a year ago. I've really liked it. I actually was in the market for a LHT, couldn't find one my size, and ran across an almost-new 520 on eBay that I bought. As noted above, it has a longish top tube...I got a new, angled stem that raised the handlebars a bit and that helped (for me). As others have observed, the stock fork on the 520 has kind of a short steerer tube so if you like higher handlebars it can be a little difficult to work with.

One advantage of the LHT is that the stock gearing on the complete is more appropriate for touring. However, I changed the crankset on the 520; it wasn't an expensive upgrade by time I sold the old crank. I also went through the stock brake pads pretty quickly and changed to Kool-Stops, which are better. And it's just been a rock solid, dependable, easy-to-maintain bike.

All things considered, if I was in the market for a new bike in this price range, I'd test ride the LHT, 520 and Novara Randonee, and buy whichever one fit best.

I do have to say, though, that I'm in the process of finishing an upgrade/modernization/rebuild of a 20-year-old Univega Gran Turismo. As soon as I finish, I'm selling the 520. I have no good excuse except I used to ride a Univega years ago and I liked the color. Even after spending some stupid money on some purely cosmetic changes this will cost a lot less than a new bike...I'm going to thrash it all winter commuting and then do some further upgrades in the spring.


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Old 08-21-08, 12:11 AM   #11
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owned them both, ridden them both. both are great bikes- the pic in my signature is a 520 on a little rough road tour.

stayed with the LHT, sold the 520.
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Old 08-21-08, 08:15 PM   #12
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WOW! Thanks so much for all the input.

LHT here I come!
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Old 08-21-08, 10:46 PM   #13
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I have a Trek 520 I bought a year ago. ... As noted above, it has a longish top tube...I got a new, angled stem that raised the handlebars a bit and that helped (for me). As others have observed, the stock fork on the 520 has kind of a short steerer tube so if you like higher handlebars it can be a little difficult to work with....

What frame size do you have?

I have a vintage 2000 Trek 520, and if I compare the geometry of the 520 (both mine and the current ones) with that of the LHT, the LHT has a much longer top tube.

For instance, I have a 25" (63.5 cm) frame, and the top tube is 590 mm long. If I were to buy a LHT, I would go for a 58 cm and nonetheless get a 586 mm top tube. Right now, I have about 150 mm of seatpost and stem showing, so I would have about 50 mm more showing if I were using a LHT. So the LHT may be a problem for people with long legs and short torso.

Apart from all the highlighted differences above, two other key advantages of the LHT:
– comes with 26" wheels for sizes 54 cm and lower;
– it has room for larger tires, whereas the 520 is limited to 700x35-37 in front. That makes a difference for winter cycling or for tours on forest roads.
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Old 08-22-08, 06:58 PM   #14
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I'm interested in a LHT, but I'm big and I'd like to see and sit on a 62cm LHT (the largest available) before I order one. Does anyone here have such a bike in the Wichita, Kansas area? I'm in Newton.
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Old 08-23-08, 03:46 PM   #15
somebikerider
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What frame size do you have?

Apart from all the highlighted differences above, two other key advantages of the LHT:
– comes with 26" wheels for sizes 54 cm and lower;
– it has room for larger tires, whereas the 520 is limited to 700x35-37 in front. That makes a difference for winter cycling or for tours on forest roads.
Why are 26" wheels better? I am getting a 54cm and it ends up being advantageous to me because my Trail-A-Bike will be better able to clear my rear rack, but I don't see why it would be advantageous all around.

I ride a lot but have always thought that bigger=better when talking wheels because they are faster.
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Old 08-23-08, 09:19 PM   #16
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Using 26" wheels on small bikes means less compromises on geometry. On the smallest 520s, for example (say 19" and especially 17"; both use 700c wheels), the seat tube is at 74 or 74.5°; the bottom bracket of the 17" is about 2 cm higher than it is on all other sizes, and there is serious toe clip overlap.

As for "bigger = faster", it depends. A larger wheel rides more easily over obstacles, so it would be better off road, on gravel (maybe) or on really bumpy roads. But on asphalt, you won't really see a difference. The key point, however is to compare tires of similar sizes. If you install 26" x 1.2" tires (or 1.4" if you're heavy), then you'll have a fast bike.
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