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New Trek 520 Review

Old 11-20-18, 09:25 AM
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indyfabz
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New Trek 520 Review

Initial impressions:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/adv...ions-trek-520/

There is a full review in the latest edition of "Adventure Cyclist."

Love the ol' skool logo and the color. I am also a fan of front platform racks. The full review describes the Alivio chainguard as "unsightly." I think it's hideous.
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Old 11-20-18, 09:51 AM
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What I really want to know is how they balanced it on the rocks. Everytime I try that, my bike just falls over.

Nice to see Trek update a touring bike, but it’s pricey.
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Old 11-20-18, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Nice to see Trek update a touring bike, but itís pricey.
The full review, which I wish were available on line, discusses price. It's $300 more than the 2017 520 Disc, but it comes with brifters, better brakes, tubeless-ready rims and a front rack. On the flip side, the drivetrain components are a step down. Retail for a Disc Trucker is $1,550, with bar ends and no racks.
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Old 11-20-18, 10:04 AM
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I paid $750 for mine in 1990, which is about $1,450 in inflation-adjusted dollars, so the real price is about the same. But that was a high-quality lugged steel frame, Deore-level components, etc. The brakes on the new one are probably an improvement.
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Old 11-20-18, 10:57 AM
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a couple observations:

wondering if they make these frames in-house or out-source to taiwan?....why alu fork? wasn't there another recent model crmo frame with alu fork? is there no 3rd set of water bottle cage bosses? don't see any boltheads under the downtube. and pump peg? can ya still buy frame-fit pumps?

"upgrade" from deore to alivio? might as well go with 24-spoke bontragers. for $1500 they better make damn sure the rear rack brackets aren't kludged in. i want perfectly horizontal stays.

and yes, the chain protector gives it a department store feel....

***added***

they also got the proprietary thruskew. some online dude described it thusly:

"It’s like a quick release system except that instead of there being an open drop out where you just slide the wheel in and tighten up the skewer the drop out is closed off at the bottom like a bolt through and the skewer goes through the holes at either end and tightens with an allen bolt to secure it in place with a strange kind of nut that fits into the other side of the fork. Less complicated than I’ve made it sound ."

that explains why the bare frame comes with a front skewer in the fork, so can i assume the skewers that come with 99.996% of the world's hubs won't work? gotta buy a trek skewer if yours breaks?

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Old 11-20-18, 12:31 PM
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Go somewhere..

Bike for touring considered as tool, not an end in itself?

might want another style bike if you spend a lot of time admiring your bike,
at home..


They design and supply both the racks for you , saving buying them separately ..
Treks 920 , Does Too.. a 29er capable tire bike..






...

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Old 11-20-18, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
a couple observations:

wondering if they make these frames in-house or out-source to taiwan?....why alu fork? wasn't there another recent model crmo frame with alu fork? is there no 3rd set of water bottle cage bosses? don't see any boltheads under the downtube. and pump peg? can ya still buy frame-fit pumps?
Trek long ago gave up on making metal frames stateside. Cost of labor and parts delivery aspects being the two big motivations to keep the cost down to market expected levels. The fork isn't my first choice but at for touring, with the rack, disk brake and those big profile tires not a wrong choice either. What I want in a touring fork is a stiff steerer, BTW. Agreed that under down tube cage mounts would be nice but Trek is just following the current drift away from water bottles as the back up supply, and fewer tourists are using white gas stoves and need a spare fuel bottle. Luckily hose clamps are still the great option, worked for me back in the 1980s and still would. Zefal still makes that decades long standard frame pump, the HPX.

"upgrade" from deore to alivio? might as well go with 24-spoke bontragers. for $1500 they better make damn sure the rear rack brackets aren't kludged in. i want perfectly horizontal stays.
I think your suggestion completely misses the needs of a tourist. The whole shifter/der/crankset/gear range thing has been an issue since triple road cranks went the way of the DoDo bird (at least as an OEM spec). Blame Shimano far more then Trek here. At least the gear range reflects loaded touring need and I think far more riders will like the STI VS the old spec of bar ends. By horizontal stays do you mean the rear rack struts to the seat stays? If so then you must be a large rider. Because as a small guy there's no way said struts can be horizontal and have 38mm tires with fenders with the 45 to 48cm frames my wife and I ride. Anyway there's no real structural benefit for stay struts to be any which way but direct to the stays. Far more the issue is having good access to said stay mounting points.

and yes, the chain protector gives it a department store feel....
Take it off.

***added***

they also got the proprietary thruskew. some online dude described it thusly:

"It’s like a quick release system except that instead of there being an open drop out where you just slide the wheel in and tighten up the skewer the drop out is closed off at the bottom like a bolt through and the skewer goes through the holes at either end and tightens with an allen bolt to secure it in place with a strange kind of nut that fits into the other side of the fork. Less complicated than I’ve made it sound ."

that explains why the bare frame comes with a front skewer in the fork, so can i assume the skewers that come with 99.996% of the world's hubs won't work? gotta buy a trek skewer if yours breaks?[

[color=#d35400]The more one deals with disk brakes the more a through axle/skewer makes more sense. For wheel removal/reinstall there's not much difference and the wheel locating aspect is far more controlled. We see a lot less disk rub after field service with a through axle/skewer then with the classic QR skewer has. I have less concerns about the front end though. For a bike that will see ft wheel removal more frequently then the average bike does and also often has panniers (especially low rider mounted ones) not having to pull out completely a through axle's skewer is a ease of use feature. Funny that there was just a thread in Bike Mechanics about breaking skewers. Some blame was attributed to the very skinny skewer shaft (at 5mm). That a modern through axle/skewer is 2 to 3 times that diameter would seem to suggest a breakage is very unlikely. Either way I've touched many thousands (in the tens of thousands) of QR skewers and have dealt with thousands of customers with thumbs for fingers and have only seen a few handfuls of skewers break. Many of these few were partially from bent skewers first. Statistically broken skewers are very far down the list of problems one will see anytime. Andy
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Old 11-20-18, 03:00 PM
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I Wonder if the annual changes are Importing company Product management choices, or
A result of Suppliers on the manufacturing end, pushing the latest component trends ,
because they can get that in volume, trucked over from the component vendors , down the road,
JIT, at regular intervals..





...
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Old 11-20-18, 05:45 PM
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I had not noticed the missing under-downtube cage mount until mentioned above. I wonder if that is because the extra corrosion you can get inside a frame if the buyer never puts any bolts in the under-downtube mounts?

But I think a lot of people buy a 520 more for commuting than for touring. A friend of mine bought a 520 because he wanted a steel frame, the only steel frame that the local Trek store sold was the 520. He loves it and was happy to get rid of his Aluminum frame that he felt was too bumpy to ride on rough pavement.

I need to get out more, I did not realize that the three bikes the article mentioned all are that expensive.

On the through axle, I can see where Trek would want to use that after they recalled a lot of bikes where users had not learned how to use a quick release properly and it got into a disc. I have seen people use the lever on a quick release turn it just like you turn an allen wrench, they did not understand that there is a cam mechanism in it. So I can see how the through axle made corporate attorneys sleep better at night.

On skewer breakage, the skewers that are bolt on instead of quick release, I have read that some people feel that you need to get them REALLY tight because they do not want the wheel to fall out. But when it is that tight, I can see where an M5 bolt would snap. I use the bolt on skewers on bike tours as an extra hindrance to a bike thief, and I tighten them the same exact way that I tighten any other M5 bolt.
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Old 11-20-18, 06:41 PM
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Pretty much the only thing I want to know about this new Trek 520 is whether or not the aluminium fork is transmitting "unacceptable" levels of road buzz/vibrations back to the rider.
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Old 11-21-18, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Every time I try that, my bike just falls over.
Because it's too (2) tired?

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Old 11-21-18, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
(a lot of stuff...

i think with a steel frame, i'd want to stick with a steel fork. (of course i'm biased, i mount steel forks on my alu frame bikes.) as to the drift away from water bottles, they seem to have additional mounts on the forks for more bottles or salsa cages. if designed as a loaded touring bike, i'd expect a good portion of the riders would want undertube bosses - either for water or fuel, or as i use for repair kit bottle. for a $700 frame, i'd expect a better offering. thinking trek didn't actually design this bike, more like they took whatever the taiwan factory was pumping out at $20 a piece wholesale, and rebadged. not sure about eu/usa, but i haven't seen a frame fit pump in well over a decade. just checked nashbar; they no have. nor do the few local shops here.



my suggestion....24 spokes....was a reference to the infamous 920. the article claims the racks (front at least) is/are bespoke. not necessary of course, but i'd like to see more attention to detail in the struts....just personal preference.


about the thruskewthang... i don't like that it's a proprietary thingamabob.....from online comments it appears you can't use any old skewer, so if something breaks (regardless how improbable)....do you buy a new fork and continue your tour?
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Old 11-21-18, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Pretty much the only thing I want to know about this new Trek 520 is whether or not the aluminium fork is transmitting "unacceptable" levels of road buzz/vibrations back to the rider.
This has been my complaint about disk strength forks in general, whether steel or Al. But with increasing tire size more road shock is dealt with by the tire anyway so... Andy
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Old 11-21-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
i think with a steel frame, i'd want to stick with a steel fork.
I build in steel so I'm on your side with my personal bikes. But we are a diminishing portion of the buying public.

(of course i'm biased, i mount steel forks on my alu frame bikes.) as to the drift away from water bottles, they seem to have additional mounts on the forks for more bottles or salsa cages.
And these 3 boss cages are more often about gear and bikepacking (a term I am not fond of BTW).

if designed as a loaded touring bike, i'd expect a good portion of the riders would want undertube bosses - either for water or fuel, or as i use for repair kit bottle.
Agreed but easy to do before under tube bosses became expected and still easy to do now.

for a $700 frame, i'd expect a better offering. thinking trek didn't actually design this bike, more like they took whatever the taiwan factory was pumping out at $20 a piece wholesale,
You don't seem to have a grip on how bikes are designed by big companies. There's a LOT of $ at stake in design, production, distribution. Any chance of lost sales is a real issue that gets people let go.

and rebadged.
Perhaps true for the tiny companies that don't have design teams or much at stake. Not my experience with companies like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale...

not sure about eu/usa, but i haven't seen a frame fit pump in well over a decade. just checked nashbar; they no have. nor do the few local shops here. T
Too bad. I've bought Zefal HPXs just a couple of years ago here in the US. Was a great pump and still is. That bottom line, on line, companies can't find a lower cost source for as good a pump is their customer's loss.



my suggestion....24 spokes....was a reference to the infamous 920. the article claims the racks (front at least) is/are bespoke. not necessary of course, but i'd like to see more attention to detail in the struts....just personal preference.
OK. To some specific details are important. I just don't have this aspect as mine and can't given my size.

about the thruskewthang... i don't like that it's a proprietary thingamabob.....from online comments it appears you can't use any old skewer, so if something breaks (regardless how improbable)....do you buy a new fork and continue your tour?
Not a wrong commit but my experience suggests a minor possibility. But that's like breaking a frame or having an incident that damages the bike beyond use. A risk we all take when we ride away from population. We don't hesitate to tour with those possibilities so I wouldn't do so based on possible through axle breakage.

The obvious solution for your preferences is to not use this bike. As one who has taken that path on a number of other design/product choices I empathize[. However I also have to have an open mind to the shifting landscape of products. I bought my wife a 520 a few years ago, before I had the time to build her a proper touring frame. Maybe when we sell it the used value will have begun to achieve cult status Andy
/QUOTE]
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Old 11-21-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Love the ol' skool logo and the color. I am also a fan of front platform racks. The full review describes the Alivio chainguard as "unsightly." I think it's hideous.
Luckily, that can be taken care of with a couple screws or any improvised metal lever.
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Old 11-21-18, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
...wondering if they make these frames in-house or out-source to taiwan?
Trek manufacturers only their top carbon fiber (CF) bikes in the USA (Emonda, Domane, Madone), but this relatively small part of Trek's total sales still makes it the largest bicycle manufacturer in the USA. Trek does this to protect it's secrets (intellectual property) of making light, strong frames from the Chinese, and also because you can evidently make a nice profit off USA-made $12,000 bikes. Most of Trek's CF bikes are made in Taiwan by Giant, the world's largest bike maker . Trek 520 is almost certainly made in Taiwan or China - Giant has factories there, but 520 may be made by someone else.

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Old 11-21-18, 12:48 PM
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$1600 for Sora shifters and Alivio quality level crank. No thanks. You could darn near purchase a pair of Fuji touring bikes for the same cost. I know they aren't the same bike but both could get you where you're going. Not a great value for the dollar IMO.
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Old 11-21-18, 01:19 PM
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Not a fan of the post 2009 520's compact frame

Trek lost me in 2009 when they decided to change the 520 to a compact geometry frame, thereby loosing the horizontal top bar. I might have been tempted to get a newer 520, mainly for the disc brakes, but because of the compact frame and some other factors, like the inferior quality of the steel & the components etc, I just keep overhauling & upgrading my '94 520 every few years. No regrets.

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Old 11-21-18, 02:08 PM
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Here is a review with more than Trek's promotional photos. Observations gleaned from this review:

1. Under downtube mount provided for a third water bottle.

2. Two more bottle mounts on fork legs, unusable when included front rack (and panniers) are fitted, but 5 water bottles total if bikepacking with no front rack.

3. Dropout/chainstay kickstand mount provided.

4. 51mm IS brake mounts front and rear.

5. Chainstays appear nearly flattened at widest point to permit max tire width of 2"/51mm. Does this affect lateral deflection from pedaling, rear triangle rigidity, metal fatigue, longevity?

6. Mounts and clearance for front and rear fenders provided. Max tire size with fenders is ~41-46mm depending on fenders and gap preference. Nice low mounting points on front and rear dropouts to keep load low.

7. Included racks are Al rod, expedition-style front rack likely 3-4X the weight of Tubus Tara, offset somewhat by lighter Al fork (vs steel). Those who prefer to choose their own racks may be disappointed to buy racks, saddle and pedals twice.

8. 28mm wide, 36h rims laced to Alivio/M475 hubs seem cheap for a $1680+tax bike. The upside is you can buy replacement M475 hubs from Amazon for $19 and rebuild as needed.

9. 520 appears to have 25-30mm of steerer tube / handlebar rise as sold, which may be inadequate for some bicyclists. Surly LHT/DT offers 50-110mm steerer depending on frame/wheel size, far more accommodating for upright position.

10. Claimed weight of 57cm 520 is 31 lbs minus pedals (520 includes Wellgo pedals).

11. 520 is rated for 275 lbs total - If bike weighs 32 lbs and fenders, Brooks saddle, Marathon tires, lights, lock, bags, gear and provisions weigh 43 lbs, bicyclist should weigh <200 lbs.














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Old 11-21-18, 02:29 PM
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Yeah, thereís no way in hell Iíd pay $1,600 for something with Alivio level components. Thatís why I donít buy Trek in general. Thereís Always something better for less compared to what Trek is offering.
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Old 11-24-18, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The full review, which I wish were available on line, discusses price. It's $300 more than the 2017 520 Disc, but it comes with brifters, better brakes, tubeless-ready rims and a front rack. On the flip side, the drivetrain components are a step down. Retail for a Disc Trucker is $1,550, with bar ends and no racks.
The only "step down" about the drive train is the words "DEORE" being replaced with "ALIVIO". Since DEORE is now a 10 speed drive train it's likely the ALIVIO is yesterdays DEORE and flagship 9 speed drive train for Shimano. ALIVIO's current iteration has proven to be a very reliable drive train.
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Old 11-27-18, 07:10 AM
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Apart from cost saving I think the reason for the choice of Alivio over Deore drivetrain could be the compatibility with the Sora STI's. As far as I know all the 10 speed Deore parts use the Dynasys standard, and is not compatible with any STI's, where as the 9 speed Alivio parts use the mega-9 standard which the 9 speed Sora also use.

Other than that, I dont understand why they went with the alu fork, and that front rack is just thideous, and looks like something welded together of old scraps in a shed.
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Old 11-27-18, 10:26 AM
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The mediocre components of today were top shelf 20 years ago.
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Old 12-01-18, 07:46 PM
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Good reading, I want a touring bike and probably going to do some upgrades on my 1980s (Tange tubing)Schwinn Voyageur, that looks almost like new old stock. I thought about Trek, but am disappointed in their building out of states..
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Old 12-01-18, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
Good reading, I want a touring bike and probably going to do some upgrades on my 1980s (Tange tubing)Schwinn Voyageur, that looks almost like new old stock. I thought about Trek, but am disappointed in their building out of states..
1- you want a touring bike?...you already have one.
2- dont look now, but a Voyageur with Tange tubing means it was made out of the states.
3- you would need to go custom to get a touring bike made in the US at this point. There isnt a single mass built touring bike made in the US at this point. Just a heads up so you can rip that bandaid off and hurt just once instead of continually being disappointed when looking at touring bikes.
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