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Old 10-27-09, 10:06 AM   #1
macwild
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19 year old Trek 520

I've been looking at a Trek 520 on ebay and my concern is that it is 19 years old. I guess my real concern is with the age of the frame. Is this a problem?
Thanks in advance
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Old 10-27-09, 10:28 AM   #2
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It's not the age it's the use. Odds are an older bike has more random abuse than a young bike but if it sat in a garage for 15yrs it's essentially a 4yr old bike needing new tires.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:09 AM   #3
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We're talking about steel, right? Then +1 to what LeeG said: no worries about age. I wouldn't worry about use, either. Abuse is another question; but unless there is visible damage, or evidence of rust on the inside of the tubes, I wouldn't worry. I ride a Trek that's more like 27 years old, and other bikes ranging up to 60 years old.

A heavily used aluminum frame might be a different story.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:17 PM   #4
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...and when they say rust on the inside of the tubes, that means rust which is pitted or flaking. The kind which comes off easily with a little brass wool is just oxidation and nothing to worry about. If you get the bike, you can use some Frame Saver to spray on the inside. This will keep if from going from oxidation to actual rust.

I forget the marketing term for products which get better with age and usage but the Trek 520 is on that list, particularly an older one.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:49 PM   #5
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The Japanese call it "wabi-sabi" and the folks at Rivendell refer to "beausage."

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Old 10-27-09, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twodeadpoets View Post
I forget the marketing term for products which get better with age and usage but the Trek 520 is on that list, particularly an older one.
Beausage is a recent portmanteau of the two words beauty and usage. Simply put, it means beauty that comes from usage.

Patina refers specifically to accumulation of changes to a surface resulting from normal use and age.

Wabi Sabi is an entire world view of finding beauty in imperfection, of accepting transience and the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death -- revering authenticity above all.
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In this way, a genuinely worn and well-used, much-loved Trek 520 -- or Schwinn Continental, for that matter -- could have good Wabi Sabi while a brand new but meant-to-look-old tweed canvas rack bag might not.
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Last edited by akcapbikeforums; 10-27-09 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:22 PM   #7
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Thanks all. I appreciate the info. I've read about stress on frames that are older, but I would think less of a problem with steel and a good quality frame like the Trek should be fine.
Thanks again
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Old 10-28-09, 01:16 PM   #8
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I bought a 1991 Trek 520 earlier this year. Looks and functions very well. FWIW, I paid $200 for it.
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Old 10-28-09, 01:40 PM   #9
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Nobody's mentioned this yet, and I don't know how much of a factor it is for the bike you're looking at, but... older bikes tend to be built around the components that were standard when the bike was made, and since components change a lot over the years, you may find it just a little more difficult to find replacements. For example, 27" wheels are no longer standard, nor are 1" headsets, and the rear triangle might not be wide enough for modern gear clusters, etc. Of course people use such bikes very successfully, and you can still get most of these things today from sources; but the average local bike shop may not be counted on to just have them lying around. I'm not making any kind of argument against the bikes themselves - just that you need to be aware that an older bike can turn into a bit more of a project with respect to finding replacement parts.

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Old 10-28-09, 01:48 PM   #10
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No worries Neil. By the 90's most bikes had 700c wheels, freehubs and 128 or 130 spacing (128 as a stop gap between 126 and 130). 1" headsets and quill stems are still being put on new bikes.
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Old 10-28-09, 02:12 PM   #11
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i had a 1989 trek 520 that was stolen last year but it was wonderful. highly recommended.
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Old 10-29-09, 01:02 AM   #12
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people should post photos of their older 520's
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Old 10-29-09, 10:25 AM   #13
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I have a 16 year old Trek 520 that I bought new. The frame is still sound.
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