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Old 03-05-10, 08:48 PM   #1
smith-great
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Trek 520?

I am planning on getting a new touring bike and I was planning on getting a 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker($1100), but the bike store has a 2008 Trek 520 in my size on sale for $800.

How does the Trek 520 match up to the Surly LHT? Is it as good a bike, or should I stick with getting a new LHT? I've heard some complaints about the gearing, but that's replaceable. Are there any other problems with the Trek 520?
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Old 03-05-10, 08:50 PM   #2
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Try these for starters
http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=245089

vB 4.0 search is still messed up. This link worked yesterday. Four 520 vs LHT hits were listed, one of them was the same as raybo refers to in post #9. And note that since I've edited this, this is now post #0. wtf?!

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Old 03-05-10, 09:12 PM   #3
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You will find many in both camps. I have a 520 and like it's ride better than the LHT. Also in my size the LHT does not come in 700c wheels. To some it is no big deal, but to me it was pretty much a deal killer from the start. Either though will serve you well. Buy which fits you best and the ride you prefer.

BTW I bought a NOS 2004 frameset and built it up. Fun and speced to my prefs.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:39 PM   #4
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Trek updated the gearing on the 520 starting in 2009. You are correct in that the 2008 will probably need some changes. Ask the shop how much they would charge to update the 2008 gearing to match the 2009.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by smith-great View Post

How does the Trek 520 match up to the Surly LHT? Is it as good a bike, or should I stick with getting a new LHT? I've heard some complaints about the gearing, but that's replaceable. Are there any other problems with the Trek 520?
ride and decide, my $.02 is if you're riding unloaded most of the time the 520, if you're riding loaded down most of the time or want to ride with big tires the LHT. "as good as.." doesn't figure in, they're different and both good.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:47 PM   #6
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I'd decide based on fit, wheel size and price. If you ever want to do off-road touring, the LHT has it due to the wheels. Otherwise, whichever fits you best.

I have a 520 with the crank changed out to MTB gearing - and I think it's great. If I had it to do over again, I would test ride both - but the LHT wasn't available when I was buying.
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Old 03-06-10, 05:46 AM   #7
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IMHO- ride both [if you can] - then decide.
For me, the 520 was a better balance of ride features [520 felt more like a road bike- LHT seemed more like a mtn bike], plus I liked the V brakes.
ps- I did modify the gearing from a triple to a 26/39 double and the cassette to an 11-34. I also put replaced the left bar end with a down tube shifter so I could mount a mirracycle mirror in the bar end.

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Old 03-06-10, 07:18 AM   #8
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IMHO- ride both [if you can] - then decide.
For me, the 520 was a better balance of ride features [520 felt more like a road bike- LHT seemed more like a mtn bike] .
520 feels like a bike, LHT feels more like a tour bus, it comes into it's own with front panniers on low riders.
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Old 03-06-10, 08:48 AM   #9
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Check this thread out: Surly LHT vs Trek 520

It is on this same topic.
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Old 03-06-10, 12:08 PM   #10
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A Trek 520 for 800$, it's a bargain. Here in Canada the 2010 model of Trek 520 is around 1600$. I had a LHT for a couple of years, used it for commuting, never got to touring fully loaded. A comfortable bike but a bit on the heavy side for my taste. Sold it last fall and I'm shopping for a new bike... If I could get my hands on a Trek 520 at a fair price i'd go for it, looks like a winner to me.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:06 AM   #11
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I believe if you check the geometry the 520 is more of a "Sport Touring" frame. It has shorter chain stays then the LHT. The long chain stays are why the LHT has the "Truck " comments. The 520 will feel more sporty but the short stays may give you heel strike issues if you plan on full loaded touring. If so the LHT would be the better choice.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:20 AM   #12
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LOL is N+1 on vacation today or something?! Get both! Clearly, you'll need one bike for road touring and one for off-road touring.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:20 AM   #13
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LHT chainstays are 18.1" = 45.974cm
520's are 45.0cm

If the OP has average size feet (e.g. 10 men's US) then this difference isn't a big deal.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:20 AM   #14
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Trek 520 is a fully-loaded-touring bike, not sport touring. True, the chainstays are one cm shorter than the LHT, but they are still 45cm, same as Bruce Gordon's large size tour bikes. I rode with a guy on a large 520, he was 6'3" with size 13 feet, Lone Peak P500 panniers, stock trek rack - not an issue for him.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:21 AM   #15
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LOL is N+1 on vacation today or something?! Get both! Clearly, you'll need one bike for road touring and one for off-road touring.
Dude, I like the way you think.
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Old 03-07-10, 09:54 AM   #16
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I have had both. Some things to think about:

The LHT will have a longer HT and if you are tall, this will help in getting your bars higher without having to use a crazy angle stem.
The LHT will accommodate much larger tires so if you plan on doing dirt roads or trails, that would be a deal killer for me for the 520.
The LHT has a slacker seat tube angle at least in the larger sizes. May be an issue if you have long thighs and use a B17.
The LHT has a much prettier fork!

I found the 520 fun to ride unloaded and it was a great shoulder season road bike when there was a lot of gravel on the roads. If you plan on staying mostly on the pavement, $800 is a bargain.
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Old 03-07-10, 07:43 PM   #17
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Thanks for all of your advice.

The 2008 Trek 520 with MTB gears arrived home today (from the local Surly dealer). So far it seems like a great bike. It fits well and was out on the roads this afternoon.
Since I am a woman, heel strike shouldn't be a problem.

How ironic; I was flat out told by the local Trek store that the 520 is not even made in my size (43/45 cm). They recommended the Specialized Tri-Cross or a Cannondale instead, neither of which fit me. The local Surly store didn't have any LHT's in my size to try out, but they did have the 2008 Trek 520 and were willing to order a LHT if I wanted it instead.
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Old 03-07-10, 08:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by smith-great View Post
Thanks for all of your advice.

The 2008 Trek 520 with MTB gears arrived home today (from the local Surly dealer). So far it seems like a great bike. It fits well and was out on the roads this afternoon.
Since I am a woman, heel strike shouldn't be a problem.

How ironic; I was flat out told by the local Trek store that the 520 is not even made in my size (43/45 cm). They recommended the Specialized Tri-Cross or a Cannondale instead, neither of which fit me. The local Surly store didn't have any LHT's in my size to try out, but they did have the 2008 Trek 520 and were willing to order a LHT if I wanted it instead.
Congratulations on the new ride... Pictures or it didn't happen
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Old 03-07-10, 08:11 PM   #19
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Congrats on the new bike. The 520 is a fine touring bike; you should have a lot of fun with it.
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Old 03-07-10, 08:30 PM   #20
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' just finished building mine.

Congrats to both of us!
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Old 03-08-10, 12:25 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by smith-great View Post
Thanks for all of your advice.

The 2008 Trek 520 with MTB gears arrived home today (from the local Surly dealer). So far it seems like a great bike. It fits well and was out on the roads this afternoon.
Since I am a woman, heel strike shouldn't be a problem.

How ironic; I was flat out told by the local Trek store that the 520 is not even made in my size (43/45 cm).

They recommended the Specialized Tri-Cross or a Cannondale instead, neither of which fit me. The local Surly store didn't have any LHT's in my size to try out, but they did have the 2008 Trek 520 and were willing to order a LHT if I wanted it instead.

I see you have made your decision. I was going to post that I would buy the 520 because of all the good things I have read from people on tour at crazyguy. The LHT is fine too, but a lot can be done with that saved cash.
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Old 03-08-10, 08:30 PM   #22
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Trek 520 is a tank, great for loaded touring. Swap out that stock Trek seat for a Brooks, get some fenders, etc. Love the bar end shifters. I do have trouble keeping up with the group on the rare occassion when I use it for group rides. I bought a new third ring as the stock granny isn't really a bailout gear. Huffing over any of the Shenandoah Mt passes was difficult.
Got mine new for $600.00 and change, a tad small but I can get down in the drops comfortably.
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Old 03-09-10, 03:33 PM   #23
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Even if I did not want the Trek 520 for touring, at $800 I would grab it for commuting.
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