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Thoughts on the new Trek 520

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Thoughts on the new Trek 520

Old 05-13-20, 05:58 AM
  #151  
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Originally Posted by J.Higgins
Not to mention that they are flush with the ever-so-mediocre Bontrager crap. There are simply so many other choices for comparable prices. The vintage 520's were decent bikes, surely, but I think the cult stewpot is a little thin and watery now.
The 520s have always been on the expensive side and companies like Ridgeback, Surly, Dawes et al have always offered competitive alternatives. I got mine for 1050 so very happy. Remember that better components 'real or imagined' often translates into expensive replacements and servicing. That's not what you want if you're using these bikes for their intended purpose - long distance touring.
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Old 05-13-20, 07:22 AM
  #152  
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maximum01: Likewise, I got mine for a good discount from full MSRP. Happy my bike shop was able to negotiate.

I can't speak to Bontrager vs alternates in all regards but I can give some feedback on some specific parts:
  1. The racks seem very sturdy. Lots of options for how to load them as well. If I had a criticism, the paint seems to come off a little easily, I've already got a couple scrapes on mine. That being said, most racks I've seen have taken some abuse so maybe this is typical. Black paint is pretty easy to touch up in the future if it bugs me.
  2. The seat seems quite comfortable, I know that's preference and body-fit dependent. I've had the bike out for maximum about three hours per session but haven't had any soreness, wasn't even wearing my proper padded shorts either. See how it holds up for multi-day but seems promising so far.
  3. I swapped out my stem for an 80mm. I tend to not like a ton of reach but I like the roominess of a larger frame and my legs are long so saddle to bar drop gets excessive on smaller frames for me. The Bontrager stem seemed good quality, replaced it with an FSA 80mm but the Bontrager had the additional mounting options which some people might like.
  4. I'll have to wait and comment on the wheels later. I haven't loaded them up much and I weigh about 175 so I'm not pushing it. Spoke count is high and it feels good but I've heard some criticisms of Bontrager wheels (though it may apply to machine built wheels in general too).

I did have one problem with the bike, my first Shimano bottom-bracket was faulty. It had sheared a piece internally and as a result was producing a slight vibration in the pedals, LBS replaced it.
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Old 05-13-20, 07:44 AM
  #153  
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Originally Posted by maximum01
1. The alu fork is absolutely fine. With nice spongy 38 tires road vibration is sufficiently damped and I notice zero loss in comfort from my last full steel Jamis which came with 35mm tires.
What pressure are you running in those 38s? Right now I am going to about 65 psi ( bodyweight is 175 lbs). Was considering going a bit lower.
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Old 05-13-20, 08:02 AM
  #154  
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Wiggle, I'm at about 55 psi and have been riding some gravel paths during my lockdown excursions in the evenings. Feels very solid and stable off tarmac.

I agree with you about the saddle. My last Jamis tourer required an instant swap over to a leather Brooks but I can see myself sticking with this one. Like you say, will need to test it out properly with some prolonged riding.

RE: Paint. I did read some anecdotal remarks about this before I purchased. One way to protect the paint job is installing a kickstand. That, incidentally, was another reason I selected the Trek 520 over the Kona Sutra (my second choice). The Trek has a proper rear mounting point for a kickstand. I get very evangelical about kickstands. Those who've yet to be converted need to go out an install one. They really are transformational for touring, and commuting.
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Old 05-13-20, 08:07 AM
  #155  
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Originally Posted by Wiggle
What pressure are you running in those 38s? Right now I am going to about 65 psi ( bodyweight is 175 lbs). Was considering going a bit lower.
Im a lot lighter than you by a good 35lbs so that is high for me, even when Ive been carrying a good 25lbs on the rear.
I suggest that you get a small gauge so that you can ride on different surfaces and try lowering pressures by lets say 5psi each time, and see how it feels.

Don't forget that you arent faster with high pressures, despite what is commonly thought. In most peoples minds, "Fast" = " lots of fast vibrations coming from tires" but the reality is that this isnt the case.
It helps if you can have a route that you do regularly and try out diff pressures and you can compare the time vs comfort factor of different pressures. You'll be surprised to see how that by lowering pressures gradually to reduce the sharpness or harshness of a bikes ride, your body will notice less harshness and tiring of this, but your speed will actually be the same.

also dont forget that you should run less pressure on front tire. There is less weight there and you'll greatly appreciate a less harsh ride on your hands and arms and all that with less pressure.
An example for me would be lets say 90psi , 80 psi front on my 28s, even lower at times, 85r 75f, 80r 70f....
on 38s I can run 45r, 35f , a bit more if with bags
on 45-50mm at least 5psi less than with 38s

but try on your own, best way to get a feel for things, especially with a regular loop that you do that allows you to ride for a while and compare relative times. Stop lights and such will always play a big part, but it should be fairly evident if X psi is a lot more comfortable body wise and more or less the same time.

its also a good exercise to learn to be more observant and think about how diff pressures feel and ride.

I love cornering, and began figuring out that lower pressures make a bike turn better. Over pressure makes especially the front skittish, where lower pressures will give a much more planted feel and allow for more suspension effect that give more traction. Ive ridden two wheeled bikes and motorcycles forever and probably have more experience than some for "feeling" out traction due to my motorcycle racing days, but trying out diff pressures is a good exercise for anyone to do, just make gradual changes and be careful to observe the different feelings.
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Old 05-13-20, 01:49 PM
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Thanks for the great input djb.

I am thinking that 50F 55R may end up being closer to ideal for me (until I load it for touring anyway). I'll start playing with the pressures a few psi at a time and see where the best balance lies.
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Old 08-13-20, 05:49 PM
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Little update:
I've had the Trek 520 out around the city and on a short loaded tour (400km).

I was quite pleased with how it worked on the tour, handled the weight quite well and had no trouble accomodating my MEC rear panniers and Ortlieb front panniers while leaving plenty of top rack space for other random gear.

I was able to get a third bottle cage mounted on the bottom of the bike but with the fenders the clearance is a little tight. I was able to get my camp fuel bottle in there or a small water bottle would work.

The bike handled solidly under load, I was out of shape but the bike did its job. Only thing I didn't like was my pedals, I bought knock-off SPD pedals with platform on one side and I felt the tension was too high, had to fight them a little which can be scary under load. I am sure I could have tweaked them a little but I decided to treat myself a little instead and replaced them with a set of Shimano EH500s.


Last edited by Wiggle; 08-13-20 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 08-27-20, 04:01 PM
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I want this, but can't afford it new. Second hand you can't get from love nor money atm (UK).
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Old 08-28-20, 08:26 PM
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I love the older 520's, but can't see the new one as a good contender. I don't see getting rid of the bar end shifters as a good choice. BES's are incredibly reliable. And as others have pointed out, the aluminum fork and the horrid crankset, plus relatively low-end components.

I'd rather just buy a good steel frameset and build something up myself. If I were going to buy something prebuilt, I'd probably grab a Surly LHT.
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Old 05-07-21, 10:53 PM
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BB spacers

Hi.

May I ask someone to post me the close-up image(s) of the bottom bracket (from under the bottom will do) of your newer Trek 520 with Alivio crankset installed from factory? I need to see the spacers configuration used by Trek on this bike on each side of BB. I'm currently upgrading my Marin Four Corners to a similar setup, and this info will help a lot.

My prediction is that Trek used 2*2.5mm spacers on non-drive side, and 1*2.5 on drive side (apposed to official Shimano docs), but it might be also, that they've used 2*2.5+1*0.7mm on NDS and 1*1.8mm on DS. That's what I'm trying to figure out, but I don't have access to the bike to check that out myself.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 06-19-21, 03:44 PM
  #161  
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Luvíin my custom

Alt Bar Custom Built 2021





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Old 10-09-21, 09:03 PM
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What kickstand would you recommend for the 520?
I am getting a new 520 in about a month and plan on taking it cross country next year. Debating on which stand to purchase. Also looking at this
click-stand[dot]com
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Old 10-10-21, 05:57 PM
  #163  
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Originally Posted by HendersonD
Also looking at this
click-stand[dot]com
I've seen them in action and they do work if you use something to constrict the front brake as well. Not for me as it's more complex and time consuming to use than a standard kick stand. Besides, it's just another thing that I'm likely to leave behind somewhere. You on the other hand might think it's the bee's knees.
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