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Old 07-28-14, 09:22 PM   #1
Fullcount
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520 and tire question

For you 520 owners, how wide a tire can you get on your bike? I have a 2001 model and currently have Continental Touring plus 700 x 32 (622) and looking to go wider so I can use this on both pavement and rail trail pathways. I am looking at the Continental Contacts at 37-622. This model comes in a foldable version. They do offer this tire in 42-622, but not sure how wide a 520 can accept. Looking for a tire that will roll easy on pavement, but still move well on dirt / hard packed stone.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:39 PM   #2
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I had a 2001 520. A 35mm Conti Travel Contact fit in there, just barely. 38 would be a maybe with something with less latteral knobbieness. 42, no way.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:41 PM   #3
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For you 520 owners, how wide a tire can you get on your bike? I have a 2001 model and currently have Continental Touring plus 700 x 32 (622) and looking to go wider so I can use this on both pavement and rail trail pathways. I am looking at the Continental Contacts at 37-622. This model comes in a foldable version. They do offer this tire in 42-622, but not sure how wide a 520 can accept. Looking for a tire that will roll easy on pavement, but still move well on dirt / hard packed stone.
If you have fenders, I think a Trek 520 accepts up to 38 C tires. I'd look into Schwalbe's Little Ben, which should be a good all-round tire for it.
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Old 07-29-14, 12:37 AM   #4
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I have a more recent Trek 520, about 2005 I think but I don't think the specs were different for tires. I have only toured with either 700 x 35 or 700 x 37. I would not try anything larger. Using Continental Travel Contacts 700 x 37 I had a bit of a problem with my Planet Bike fenders but eventually got everything to work.
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Old 07-29-14, 01:15 AM   #5
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I have a 2002 520... currently running 28's (which doesn't help). I was reevaluating how I use the bike now that my club bike is mostly built up, and decided to add fenders. I was reasonably anal with my measurements and determined that I can fit a 45mm fender on there (along with a 40mm tire).

I can measure again and give you an absolute max for the 2002 model, but it will have to wait until Wednesday since I left my 520 at my brother's house.

You really don't need to go wider for rail-trails. My 28s are good on most rail trails and only the infamous C&O left me wishing I was running 32's (not wider, that would be overkill).
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Old 07-29-14, 08:20 AM   #6
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I have a 2002 520... currently running 28's (which doesn't help). I was reevaluating how I use the bike now that my club bike is mostly built up, and decided to add fenders. I was reasonably anal with my measurements and determined that I can fit a 45mm fender on there (along with a 40mm tire).

I can measure again and give you an absolute max for the 2002 model, but it will have to wait until Wednesday since I left my 520 at my brother's house.

You really don't need to go wider for rail-trails. My 28s are good on most rail trails and only the infamous C&O left me wishing I was running 32's (not wider, that would be overkill).
Yeah, this is my end game.., I want to go from pavement to the C&O canal or maybe the Creeper Trail and not have to switch bikes. I see you had success with 32's as that is what is currently on my Trek 520. Just thought I would have to wider on the rail,trails, but did not want to give up puncture resistance. I have SKS fenders presently on my bike. I think they are 45's which will only accept up to a 35 wide tire. Maybe I can get away with what I have?
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Old 07-29-14, 09:00 AM   #7
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Fullcount, I have the same tires/size on one of my touring bikes. They seem capable for anything but loose sand and mud. I know the trend is to run larger and wider tires than in the past, but I replaced a set of 35 mm Panaracer Crosstowns, which are wider than most 35 mm tires, and I just haven't missed the extra width.

Brad

PS I have a set of 37 mm tires on my other touring bike and they're only a couple of mm wider than the 32 mm tires. If I were to need a drop bar bike on forest paths strewn with tree roots that bike would be my choice, but I have a perfectly good mountain bike for that kind of thing.
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Old 07-29-14, 01:11 PM   #8
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Yeah, this is my end game.., I want to go from pavement to the C&O canal or maybe the Creeper Trail and not have to switch bikes. I see you had success with 32's as that is what is currently on my Trek 520. Just thought I would have to wider on the rail,trails, but did not want to give up puncture resistance. I have SKS fenders presently on my bike. I think they are 45's which will only accept up to a 35 wide tire. Maybe I can get away with what I have?
Comfort is comfort and I don't really think that you can go too wide... I'm going wider myself now that I have a second (go-fast) bike built up and no longer need to rely on my 520 as the all-arounder. I'm now going to tailor it as more of a touring-specific bike (although, I must say that it was a fine do-anything road bike, especially wearing 28's).

When I was on the GAP (or any other number of rail-trails) I was perfectly happy with the 28's. When we got to the C&O, I was quite unhappy. The other three in my group had 32's and didn't have a problem... even with fully loaded bikes). For me the 28's were jarring. I had to let some air out of the tire in an attempt to alleviate the hand pain that I was starting to feel. I went as low as I thought my 28's could handle on touring rims and the ride was much improved. I had decided at that point that I would not ride the C&O again, fully loaded, unless I had at least a 32mm tire... although I'll probably go with a 35mm. Flats have never been a problem for me in any size, so long as the tire is shielded against flats (I've had luck with both the Bontrager hard-case race as well Panaracer RiBMo's. Then again, I never had a flat with the original IRD tires either, all though I'm not sure of their make up.

I've had luck with flats on a road bike (not on a mountain bike) and I've never had a flat on a rail-trail unless it was caused by something internal to the tire (spoke poking through or a burr or something under the rim tape). C&O can be rough though, there are lots of dead snakes along the way so you could quite literally end up with a snake-bite in your tire if you don't watch where you are riding. Not that the snake itself will bite, you hit them too fast and most are already dead... that's the pointiest object you will likely come across unless some kids smash a bottle somewhere.
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Old 07-30-14, 08:26 AM   #9
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For you 520 owners, how wide a tire can you get on your bike? I have a 2001 model and currently have Continental Touring plus 700 x 32 (622) and looking to go wider so I can use this on both pavement and rail trail pathways. I am looking at the Continental Contacts at 37-622. This model comes in a foldable version. They do offer this tire in 42-622, but not sure how wide a 520 can accept. Looking for a tire that will roll easy on pavement, but still move well on dirt / hard packed stone.
I have a 2004 520 and use the 700x37 Continental Contacts and they fit just fine with Planet Bike fenders. Just came back from the 400 mile Erie Canal Bike tour and the tires did well on the light gravel and dirt. I was even able to get through two or three ten yard patches of deep 3-4" sand (barely) without going down. No flats. The only "complaint" I have with the tires are that they pick up bits of gravel in the tread.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:51 PM   #10
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Run 37-622 schwalbe marathons on my trek 520,
tried 42 mm - fit is too tight.
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Old 07-30-14, 07:22 PM   #11
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I doubt the OP was asking about 520's as old as mine (1983-ish) but I'm running Vittoria Randonneur's that say 37-622 and 700-35c (I have no idea what that first pair of numbers means).
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Old 07-08-17, 04:39 PM   #12
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2017 Trek 520

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I have a 2004 520 and use the 700x37 Continental Contacts and they fit just fine with Planet Bike fenders. Just came back from the 400 mile Erie Canal Bike tour and the tires did well on the light gravel and dirt. I was even able to get through two or three ten yard patches of deep 3-4" sand (barely) without going down. No flats. The only "complaint" I have with the tires are that they pick up bits of gravel in the tread.
I just put 700x37 Continental Contacts on my 2017 Trek 520, and although I don't have fenders on yet, there is space for days on the bike, it swallows that particular tire. I had two flats the first few days with these tires, so I'm tossing them in the trash, and installing schwalbe marathon mondial 700x40. Not sure, but from what I read I will have a heck of a time with fenders at that point.
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Old 07-09-17, 10:58 AM   #13
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I had Conti Top Contact II tires in a 42mm and they were tough and rugged, but too heavy & too much rolling resistance for century rides. So I've since gone to Schwalbe Marathons in a 35mm. I've been very happy with them.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:48 PM   #14
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I just put 700x37 Continental Contacts on my 2017 Trek 520, and although I don't have fenders on yet, there is space for days on the bike, it swallows that particular tire. I had two flats the first few days with these tires, so I'm tossing them in the trash, and installing schwalbe marathon mondial 700x40. Not sure, but from what I read I will have a heck of a time with fenders at that point.
Sorry for the late reply but just got back from riding the Erie Canal. I got +/- 1000 miles on my Conti Top Contact IIs with no flats. Either I was lucky or you were unlucky. As for fender clearance...37s with fenders were okay in rain but couldn't handle mud. Problem was fender was flush to bridge at the fork. Sides looked fine but height was the problem. Even the Trek site says maximum tire size with fenders on the 2017 model is 32mm. I can't imagine that 40mm will work, but good luck.
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Old 07-20-17, 02:16 PM   #15
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Yeah, this is my end game.., I want to go from pavement to the C&O canal or maybe the Creeper Trail and not have to switch bikes. I see you had success with 32's as that is what is currently on my Trek 520. Just thought I would have to wider on the rail,trails, but did not want to give up puncture resistance. I have SKS fenders presently on my bike. I think they are 45's which will only accept up to a 35 wide tire. Maybe I can get away with what I have?
Just finished a ride (last week) from CT to DC to Pittsburgh. Rode the C&O and GAP from DC. From CT to DC was all pavement. I have the 520 wife has another touring bike. We both run Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x 32 on tons of roads all over the world. You can count the flats on one hand for both of us with thousands of miles. We change about every 4,000 miles, give or take. Not sure you need a wider tire. The C&O is a bit rough. The Gap is not. Rain and wind will make a difference as limbs will fall and holes will be covered with water., especially on the C&O.
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Old 07-20-17, 02:38 PM   #16
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Sorry for the late reply but just got back from riding the Erie Canal. I got +/- 1000 miles on my Conti Top Contact IIs with no flats. Either I was lucky or you were unlucky.
Notice he wrote "Contacts." There is a marked difference in quality between the regular Contact and the Top Contact II, which is what I also use, and I often do rough dirt roads and trails, some of which are hilly. I have gotten one flat in I don't know how many years. That flat appears to have been caused by something like a staple I rolled over during rain because the whole was so small I could barely find it by inflating the tube and immersing it in a puddle of water in camp. Plus, that set of tires had many touring and commuting miles on them already.
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Old 07-24-17, 11:34 AM   #17
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Finally got it worked out

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Sorry for the late reply but just got back from riding the Erie Canal. I got +/- 1000 miles on my Conti Top Contact IIs with no flats. Either I was lucky or you were unlucky. As for fender clearance...37s with fenders were okay in rain but couldn't handle mud. Problem was fender was flush to bridge at the fork. Sides looked fine but height was the problem. Even the Trek site says maximum tire size with fenders on the 2017 model is 32mm. I can't imagine that 40mm will work, but good luck.
Thanks very much for your reply. I spent a few more days going over all the possibilities, and eyeballing everything. Everything you said is pretty much dead on, Trek's recommendation is only 32, as it probably should be since the 520 is incredibly stingy with space compared to the Salsa or Surly. The 37's I had on originally were just too small for me and my weight load (I'm a mobile photographer). Moreover, two flats right off the bat, I just couldn't deal with; been down that road, as well as popping spokes. I ended up putting Schwalbe Marathon Mondial DD's - 700x40 on my bike. Rode around with those a few days and absolutely love that tire. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and went out and purchased the SKS 45 fenders for 700 bikes. I know how bike shops are, and if the install was going to be even close - OR - it says anywhere on paper they won't fit, then they won't even try. So, I decided to install them myself. It took a couple of days of playing around, but I'm pretty excited to report I got them to fit. Yes, the tolerance is very, very tight. Personally, I will never be mudding with this bike, rain - yes, but that's it. There is no rubbing anywhere, so I got very lucky. Actually, I sort of did the impossible. The other issue I was trying to get help with in a couple other places, was with a front rack, on the Disk brake version of the 520. I was told that isn't going to happen, either - except with OMM racks, and I dislike those a lot. I actually have the Surly front rack mounted on the bike now, with the fenders, and the 700x40 tires. Funny thing is, if it had not been for the Surly rack, I'm not sure I would have been able to mount the fenders, as on the disk side of the wheel, I use one of the Surly brackets to secure the mounting arm. Whole thing looks and works very, very nicely. Thanks again for your assistance.
Images of install: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p9zbdlww9...n9gISW_za?dl=0
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Old 07-31-17, 07:16 AM   #18
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For you 520 owners, how wide a tire can you get on your bike? I have a 2001 model and currently have Continental Touring plus 700 x 32 (622) and looking to go wider so I can use this on both pavement and rail trail pathways. I am looking at the Continental Contacts at 37-622. This model comes in a foldable version. They do offer this tire in 42-622, but not sure how wide a 520 can accept. Looking for a tire that will roll easy on pavement, but still move well on dirt / hard packed stone.

got a tape measure ? , want to use a 42, the narrowest frame width would need maybe 4~8mm per side, right?
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Old 07-31-17, 07:23 AM   #19
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because of tread design Conti travel contact would be good for paved to groomed gravel rail trail.

the 37 may let you use mudguards .. planet bike' s "grasshopper" are super durable ..
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Old 08-06-17, 08:23 PM   #20
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I ran 42mm Conti Top Contact II tires on my '94 Trek 520 for several seasons, no problems. Very resistant to flats, however, I've since dialed it back (in terms of thickness) to 35mm Schwalbe Marathons for much improved rolling resistance on the long rides. I now run those same 42mm Contis on my Haro 29er which I use as my around town pick-up truck.

Last edited by hfbill; 08-07-17 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 08-07-17, 07:03 PM   #21
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I doubt the OP was asking about 520's as old as mine (1983-ish) but I'm running Vittoria Randonneur's that say 37-622 and 700-35c (I have no idea what that first pair of numbers means).
As has been clearly established there were no touring bikes before the LHT became popular in 2002
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Old 08-08-17, 05:03 PM   #22
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As has been clearly established there were no touring bikes before the LHT became popular in 2002
Ha!😁
I actually tried putting a 29er tire on my '85 620 yesterday, but no go. It was a Goodyear, marked with several sizes, but I think it was equal to 700x52. It was at a Walmart, and priced at $3.00 on clearance, so I said what the heck, I'll try it. 😁
Funny thing is, I'm not sure it wouldn't fit, without the knobby treads, it was kinda close. 🤔
They also had an inner tube, that was about twice as thick as normal, that's a keeper, so it worked out. 😎
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