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Thread: Trek 820

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    Trek 820

    Hey quick question. I keep reading a lot of posts on touring bikes and everyone keeps talking about steel and how its great for touring. I hear a lot of references to different bikes, but I was wondering about the trek 820. I mean I know the components are pretty cheap, but for $230 u get a steel frame mountain bike with braze on's and a 43.5cm chainstay length. Just curious on ur opinions. thx

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    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    If you can get one without suspension and in a large enough frame size for you, give it a try. (As they say, "the price is right") You'll probably replace most of the drivetrain components soon if you go any considerable distance, but if you don't mind experimenting and getting your hands dirty that ain't a bad thing. My 820 is in its 11th year of happy all-weather all-terrain commuting.
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    Right for my size, hmm the largest size trek has listed on their site is 21 inches. Im 6'1, u think that would be too small?

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    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    For a long-distance "touring" bike 21" would be too small. You want something near 60cm for a road bike, and 21"=53.3cm Might be a good size for off-roading or just cruising around town, but not likely for long rides. (I'm 6'1" and my 820 is about 19", my road bike is 21.5", and I know I need a larger frame (about 59cm) on the road bike.)
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    So any other suggestions on cheap touring bikes, or bikes that I could use for touring? (I already have a 2004 specialized allez road bike, 58cm, but i dont trust is for touring)

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    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Well, there's the usual Fuji Touring, Jamis Aurora and Novara whatever-its-called for around $600. Depends on what you think of as "cheap", and what is available in your area.
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    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
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    Its just that the 820 appealed to me because of the price braze on's and the fact that it was steel. What about using another low end mtn bike (say the specialized hardrock, or trek 3900) to tour, would that work well?

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    >>For a long-distance "touring" bike 21" would be too small. You want something near 60cm for a road bike, and 21"=53.3cm Might be a good size for off-roading or just cruising around town, but not likely for long rides.

    NO
    The 820 style of bike was designed to be used with more extended seatpost than a typical road bike. Size the bike according to its length. If you have a comfortable reach to the bars, then dont worry if you have more seatpost showing. As long as the post is supported to it's max extension mark it will work.
    Ive hired 820s and they seem to be robust and not too sporty for touring.

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    You are saying you have a budget of less than $250 to buy a bike for touring. I am sure you will get lots of helpful suggestions involving bikes that cost $500, $1,000, or $1,500, because not many folks are touring on a $250 bike.

    Your idea may not be impossible. I have a Trek mountain bike with geometry similar to the 820 that I use with a rear rack and saddlebags. It is very stable with loaded bags, even on bad roads. The 820 has inexpensive wheels, but if they are carefully trued by a first rate tech, they should be adequate for average loads, and typical roads.

    Yes, the 820 is at least five pounds heavier than a $2,000 Cannondale touring bike. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds, and carry 40 pounds of racks and gear, you will be pedaling a total load of about 275 pounds up the hill, instead of "just" 270 pounds. There ARE people who could feel the difference.

    Would a $250 bike be "equal" to a $2,000 touring bike? Of course not. Could it do the job? Well, I was reading a book by a fella who toured with his wife and kids on Schwinn Suburban five speed bikes, riding from New York City to New Mexico...if Suburbans can do that, certainly a Trek mountain bike can do it.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 02-11-05 at 10:29 PM.

  10. #10
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    NO
    The 820 style of bike was designed to be used with more extended seatpost than a typical road bike. Size the bike according to its length. If you have a comfortable reach to the bars, then dont worry if you have more seatpost showing. As long as the post is supported to it's max extension mark it will work.
    Ive hired 820s and they seem to be robust and not too sporty for touring.
    I have both of my bike seatposts jacked up to the max mark, and my butt still hangs out
    off the rear end. That's what I'm thinking will be a problem.

    I checked my 820 again, and it's actually a 19.5". I need to try to find a longer seatpost when I rebuild it so it fits a bit better.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 02-09-05 at 12:07 AM.
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
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    I've just checked out the Trek specs, the 820 is made from hi tensile steel with one tube of chromoly. Hi ten is the lowest grade of bike steel and not what you want on a tourable bike. An upgrade to a full cromoly frame would be a big advantage.

    If you want to hang your butt out more, then it could be either:
    You are using cranks that are too small. If your 3:00 crank position moves forward 1cm, then your butt will follow.
    Your seatpost does not have enough layback. In the old days before a wide choice of laybacks, builders had to vary the seat-tube angle to position the rider but these days most people should be able to get a good position using choice of seatpost.
    A larger frame will not neccesarily cure the saddle position. The seat angle may be 0.5 degrees slacker but that does not amount to much. If your seatpost is at the max and you still need more extension, then yes you do need a larger frame.

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    Is there a reason why you want steel? I don't think a lot of people are capable of wearing out a modern aluminium framed bike anyway.
    I'll just buy an old road bike off ebay, clean it up, and get it going. They have more comfortable geometries, are basically bomb proof, and their components are a lot simplier and less prone to breaking than STI's or anything of that sort.

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    Take a look at a Trek 520 - designed for touring, and steel. Somewhat heavy, but very comfortable, durable and you can generally find them on Craigslist or whatever for about $5-600 used. Often they're set-up and ready to go.

  14. #14
    Dane
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    My touring bike

    I have owned a trek 820 for quite a long time. I bought the 820 when I was 14-15 years old. I decided to start touring, and of course for a broke college student, I had to use what I had. I scrapped the derailer, the old casette, old chain, all brake and derailer cables, got new rims, new slick tires, new pedals, new axles, and some sturdy racks. It only set me back about $150. I have toured over 1,000 miles in the past 2 months on it without a single problem. It carries a huge load because I like to take more than the bare essentials. I'm doing the blue ridge parkway here in a few weeks and I'm certain it will do just fine. In my opinion, those who are on a serious budget can get by just fine with the 820. The pannier bags and equipment alone costs a bundle so if you cant afford even the trek 520, the 820 should get you there and back. Nevetheless, I believe I will upgrade to the 520 once I get some cheddar flowing in.

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