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Thoughts on the new Trek 520

Old 08-21-18, 09:23 PM
  #1  
MAK
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Thoughts on the new Trek 520

Some highlights:

Front and rear racks (front rack is huge)
Relaxed geometry, taller head tube and larger diameter down tube
Brifters instead of bar ends
Sora shifters and FD
Alivia crank 48-36-26 and RD
11-36 9 speed
Aluminum fork replaces steel fork
Mechanical disk brakes
29.05 lbs.
275 lb. weight limit (Combined bike, rider and cargo)

Info is from -- road.cc

Thoughts....?

Last edited by MAK; 08-21-18 at 09:29 PM. Reason: More info
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Old 08-21-18, 11:22 PM
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Nice that it comes with racks. The crank and rear derailers are lower tier, but I bet they work fine. I personally would really prefer bar-end shifters, but the STIís are probably cheaper for them given that Shimano still wants $100+ for bar-ends. Or maybe theyíre trying needlessly to push the market since Trek loves doing that(the profits obviously favor that since they consistently do it). Itís really nice to see the fork and brake upgrade, and Iíve heard it fits fat 700c tires. A bigger, and therefore I assume stiffer, downtube is nice. Longer headtubes are pretty great for a bike that youíre riding for days/weeks/months on end and want to be comfortable. Overall Iím a fan of the changes. Iím not the kind of person to buy a fully built Trek, but in general I think the bike is better with the changes.
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Old 08-22-18, 02:02 AM
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That RED is a gorgeous colour, plus that old time head badge and writing on the seat tube.


However as Trek no longer sells the 520 in Australia, I don't have to worry about the temptation.
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Old 08-22-18, 04:20 AM
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from Cromoly to Aluminum fork is an upgrade ?
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Old 08-22-18, 04:56 AM
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Old 08-22-18, 05:21 AM
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Just my $.02, but I think one would be better off buying a used one and overhauling it, upgrading to better components. I would also add that even my '94 520 could handle 42mm tires without any problems, though I have since switched to 38s for less rolling resistance.

Last edited by hfbill; 08-22-18 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 08-22-18, 05:23 AM
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is this a good candidate for conversion to flat handlebar like Jones H ?
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Old 08-22-18, 05:30 AM
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I know it's not a beauty contest,

but that's a butt ugly crankset. And I agree with a poster above, it's hard to see an aluminum fork as an upgrade over chromoly.
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Old 08-22-18, 06:03 AM
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Brifters is a pretty wild choice. However I suppose brifters have come along far enough to be reliable for touring.

Can't say much about the wheels without seeing them but they seem mighty similar to the ones we own so possible garbage. The hubs while Shimano are low end and badly sealed so extra grease from the get go would be recommended.

Thru-skew captured skewer huh. I wonder what advantage that system gives compared to conventional dropouts. I mean there might well be an advantage. I'm just wondering what it might be. Actually now that I think of it it may be more reliable for disc brakes since if the tolerances are tight enough it'll likely clamp the wheel in a more consistent manner than conventional dropouts.

Still 9-speed. I wonder why they haven't gone to 10-speed yet. My tourer has 11s.

They went from the hayes CX brakes (probably the best mechanical disc brake) to TRP spyres... That's not a great choice for a touring bike. I've mentioned in the other thread that the spyres have exactly zero amount of weather sealing and the machinery inside is well exposed to the elements as they sit close enough to the "watering holes" to be drenched even in light rain. I found sand inside the caliper mechanism of my unit...

The racks seem nice. Time will tell whether they are also sturdy.

125kg weight limit? That's precious. But again, that's the same limit they give their high end road bikes so It's probably a legal disclaimer more than anything else. Though I doubt the wheels can manage even the 125kg passably.
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Old 08-22-18, 08:20 AM
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I think to be realistic, the use of Alivio stuff , crankset and derailleur, and alu fork, must be completely down to reducing the price to a given price point for what they figure the market is. Traditionally Deore has been the price/quality point for good touring bikes, so this had to have been a bean counter decision.
To be fair, its a good bike that for nearly all users, it would be a great choice , and will work perfectly fine.

whats the price again?

for folks looking for higher end setups, there are lots of options out there, and this will work fine for someone looking for an all arounder bike that is fun to ride, sti wise, is cheaper than other full on touring bikes, but will work fine with the given parts.
Im partial to getting better quality parts, knowing that they are better made and will last longer, but its about cost,-----------------

****Ooops, just looked up cost, it is $2000 cad. which frankly is pretty cheapo schmeapo of them to put on Alivio stuff at that price.
Sora brifters come on entry level road bikes, they work fine, but at 2 grand, its overpriced compared to better equipped touring bikes out there......
sorry Trek, too high a price.
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Old 08-22-18, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MAK View Post
Thoughts....?
thoughts based on comments so far...

-The crankset is fugly.
-Aluminum fork?...I would be interested to learn why. Without knowing more- first judgement is thatís lame.
-Alivio RD? Really?...spend the extra $5 wholesale bulk and buy Deore for no other reason than the name on the RD.


-R3000 STI shifters are good quality. They are comfortable, reliable, and perform fine.
-Love the gear range. In a time when many brands and models come woefully mis-geared for loaded touring, this bike comes stock with great gearing.
-Spyre brakes, in my experience, are great mechanical brakes. I donít have them though and my experience is limited to the bikes I have built and worked on for friends as well as my daughterís MTB. I wasnít aware(and donít fully understand) elcruxioís complaints, but am interested to read more on their downside.
- good to see front and rear racks standard. Bonus for them being quality ones at that.
- TA hubs are neither here nor there for me. They are a whatever. Itís the trend for disc brakes, so it makes sense that Trek uses them here.



ETA- $1575 is a tough pill to swallow. As each year passes, I find that building up a touring bike is a better deal as it allows you to spec exactly what you want and the cost difference is negligible to non-existent.
https://www.rei.com/product/122462/c...es-adv-11-bike $1300 gets a better crankset, higher level derailleurs, 10sp bar end shifters, HyRD hydraulic brakes, quality wheelset with TA hubs, and racks.

Last edited by mstateglfr; 08-22-18 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 08-22-18, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
ETA- $1575 is a tough pill to swallow. As each year passes, I find that building up a touring bike is a better deal as it allows you to spec exactly what you want and the cost difference is negligible to non-existent.
https://www.rei.com/product/122462/c...es-adv-11-bike $1300 gets a better crankset, higher level derailleurs, 10sp bar end shifters, HyRD hydraulic brakes, quality wheelset with TA hubs, and racks.
Spot on. $1575 for a bike with an aluminum fork will sell only because it has the Trek name on it, which, for some reason, still convinces people to overspend by $300--$400. One can build up a "classic" (and better) frameset with better modern parts for less. Even a "last year" frameset from any number of companies could be built up better for less than $1575.
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Old 08-22-18, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
from Cromoly to Aluminum fork is an upgrade ?
If I needed (another) touring bike, I think I could swallow everything on this "new" bike except the aluminum fork. Yeah, Trek cheap'ed out on the Alivio stuff, but it can be replaced. The fork, though? Take the one component on a bike that wants to flex the most, that's difficult to replace, and make it out of a material that must not flex??

TBH, that inflexibility is built into front disk brakes, which is one reason I don't buy into the whole disk brake for road bikes thing. Flying down a long hill at speed, and watching a steel fork flex and eat up the bumps, that puts a smile on my face.
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Old 08-22-18, 11:07 AM
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The aluminum fork and Sora/Alivio drivetrain are a definite downgrade, all for $200 more than last year's all-steel Deore model.

I built a 2004 520 from the frameset up. Nothing too fancy: new Sun CR18 rims with LX hubs and a 9-speed parts-bin drivetrain. I put on bar-end shifters and a new Brooks saddle, too. The total cost was about $500.

Other than maybe the disc brakes, how is this bike any better--and not substantially worse--than my 15-year-old beaut?
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Old 08-22-18, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post

- TA hubs are neither here nor there for me. They are a whatever. Itís the trend for disc brakes, so it makes sense that Trek uses them here.
I don't think those hubs are thru-axle. Trek's website calls it "Thru-Skew," and to me it looks like a standard QR skewer shoved through a TA dropout.
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Old 08-22-18, 12:08 PM
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I have a 2014 520 which is white with the vintage badging, I don't see this as an improvement at all. Aluminum fork? Bloated front rack that looks like a Jack of all trades but actually not that good at anything. It's too influenced by the gravel adventure category. It's not a backwoods bike but looks like it's morphing into one. My 1990's looking basic plain V brakes with Koolstop pads slow me and my fully loaded 520 just fine. They should have kept it true to its origins as a simple basic albeit heavy touring bike.
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Old 08-22-18, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
but that's a butt ugly crankset. And I agree with a poster above, it's hard to see an aluminum fork as an upgrade over chromoly.
That Al unicrown fork is even fuglier than the black crankset. Contrast with the beauty of a fork you get with a Surly LHT/DT:




The 2019 520 fork has three pairs of fork bosses, the upper two appear to be for water bottles - in the style of "gravel grinders".

THE BIG NEWS for Trek 520 is that it will available in 2019 forward with disc brake only. There's no 2019 520 Disc model, only the 520, which has disc brakes. Also 2019 520 available as frameset for the DIYer crowd.
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Old 08-22-18, 04:26 PM
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OK , that's 2019 model , they hitting dealers yet? or just advanced revue for select websites/ magazines.. ?

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...?colorCode=red



Rather than OCD about the parts , think of the beautiful scenery you can see ,

though a lot of it will be blackened as well..



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Old 08-22-18, 04:44 PM
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I either like or don't mind all of the changes EXCEPT for the alum fork. While I'm not a huge believer that frame material, in and of itself, matters that much, with respect to forks, I've ridden a lot of bikes with alum forks and always found the front ends harsh and unpleasant. And I've upgraded two bikes that came with alum forks (admittedly to carbon, not steel) and the improvement in feel was remarkable for both. So unless a test ride convinced me that Trek has found a way to make a nice-riding alum fork, I'd disqualify the bike from consideration on this feature alone.

If I were needing a bike like this and were willing to spend $1500, I'd get a Kona Sutra. Or cheap out and get a Windsor Tourist.

- Mark
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Old 08-22-18, 04:52 PM
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Mostly crap. I like the heritage decals which harken back to when Trek made quality bikes. The aluminum fork is a total no go as are the cheap cranks and other cheap parts. The brakes are just fine and what I use on my own rig (though the regular spyres not some cheaper OEM stock). Also cheap racks are silly, give me a good steel rack especially on the rear or don't bother with racks.

The frame looks fine but the rest of the bike looks cheap like they made a nice frame and everything else was an afterthought or they were rooting around in the parts bin to throw together a bike. Their older bikes were fine why they had to downgrade them I don't know but Trek seems to be in decline build wise and quality wise. ATMO
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Old 08-22-18, 05:56 PM
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I can understand an aluminum fork on an aluminum touring bike , ie. 920 , but I don't understand it on a legendary steel touring bike , ie. 520 .
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Old 08-22-18, 06:57 PM
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Okay I didn't realise that the new Trek 520 came with an aluminium fork, that is madness and instantly makes the bike a no go for me.
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Old 08-22-18, 07:00 PM
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I dunno, no reason an alu fork wont work fine. Cannondale made great touring bikes in alu for ages.
Put some weight on the front, have proper pressures, and Im sure it will ride fine.
Its the "why" that is kinda curious.
I guess to make it appear "lighter" to Joe Blow consumer.
but I still dont see an alu fork as being so negative just because of the material.
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Old 08-22-18, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
...Thru-skew captured skewer huh. I wonder....
specs from one of their "bikes":

Closed dropouts with Trek's proprietary ThruSkew, a safety feature that ensures the wheels will never drop out unintentionally

now zoom in on the fork photo on the link to the 520. looks like a super cheap thru axle knockoff made in china at half the price of real thru axle forks. i say "looks like" cause i've never seen a thru axle fork in real life. google images show thru axles as having super thick dropouts, whereas the 520 fork looks like a pressed flat cast iron pipe end from a wally-world bike.

so....captured skewer system? means your quick release isn't quick release any longer. you're gonna have to unscrew the knob from the end of the skewer and pull it out of the hub to remove the wheel.....meaning trek is marketing these to folks who don't have the skillset to change a tire...
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Old 08-22-18, 09:11 PM
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alum:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum

alu:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alu_element


I had a 1990 Trek 520. Steel fork and frame. In addition to being a great touring bike, it was a perfect all-around bike. I brought it to England with me and it was my only means of transportation for 3.5 years. It was almost maintenance-free. I don't remember what all the components were, but they were all robust and worked really well. Why change a winning game?
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