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Looking at Trek 920, thoughts?

Old 09-26-19, 11:42 AM
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Looking at Trek 920, thoughts?

I am looking at getting a Trek 920 and looking for opinions. I've laid out some important points below:
  1. I own a Jamis Ventura Sport road bike, it is entry level but it serves me well for fitness rides and getting around the city. I'd like a bike that compliments this.
  2. I am hoping to do some bike touring next season. I've done some before on my Trek 7100 hybrid but I ended up giving that bike to my father to use, I found I was fighting the geometry too much and that the front suspension was wasting power on climbs.
  3. I'd like to be able to ride *reasonable* trails, dirt roads etc.. Not necessarily looking for mountain bike level performance but it would be cool to go some of the places that are off-limit with my current road bike.
  4. I have a LBS that can get me this bike that I have a good relationship with.
  5. On a completely non-rational level I am a fan of the look of the bike. Shouldn't mean much but it can.
My concerns:
  1. Cost. I don't mind paying the price for this bike and I can get it somewhat below MSRP. But if there is a much better choice at the same or less price range I'd like to know.
  2. Wheels: I've seen some concerns expressed over the 28 spoke wheels. I'll admit I'm not an expert on wheels at all so I really don't know if this will likely be an issue for me. I am 5'10" tall and approximately 170lbs. I am imagining that with touring load I'd be approximately 200lbs. I've never broken a spoke on the Trek 7100 or the Jamis.
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Old 09-26-19, 12:06 PM
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Trek 920 vs Sequoia HELP :)
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Old 09-26-19, 12:13 PM
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The 920 is a very capable machine....even at list retail, it is a pretty good deal for an all around machine. You can get bikes without racks for less--but they'll cost as much when you get the racks if not more. You can build a similar machine from parts-and spend much more. Stock it comes with a 44/30 crank and an 11-36 cassette so 23 inches to 114 inches with stock tires, which is a good range, but may not be low enough on the low end depending on your camp-gear-load and terrain.

FWIW...I suspect your "with touring load" ballpark value is low. A single Ortlieb front (read small)roller bag, empty weighs 2lbs by itself. Then there's spares and tools and water bottles etc. As well as tent/sleeping-bag/bed-roll etc.

Something to be aware of....one of our tent circle was riding a 920 with 700x2.5" tires on Tour de Nebraska this year along with a bunch of people on proper fat-bikes doing an all dirt/gravel road route. TL;DR version they hit goatheads in the middle of nowhere. In 1/2 a mile that band of 12+ completely exhausted their entire supply of tubes. But finding proper tubes for those bigger 650B/700Cer MTB tiers is a problem out in podunk. Even if you find a proper bikeshop...which they did...and bought out its entire inventory.
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Old 09-26-19, 06:48 PM
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Yep, besides heavy duty tires & tubes, I now use those Slime tire liners. One or two good fights with goatheads or bullheads, and you'll become a believer, too. 🙂
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Old 09-27-19, 03:25 AM
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Personally, if you plan on touring outside of the US, I wouldn't get that bike. It's nice to have common standard parts on a touring bike. 100/130or135mm QR axles, Shimano compatible or friction shifting parts, etc. But if you plan on staying in the US, it looks like a pretty decent choice if you can get a good deal on it. I'd ditch the bulky, overkill front rack and get a regular low rider, but I like to pay some attention to weight. The rack certainly isn't a huge deal as long as it's well made, which Trek stuff usually is. If you haven't used SRAM brifters before, definitely try before you buy. Obviously they work and many people have gotten plenty of miles out of them. They're just very different from other shifters I've tried. I tried getting used to them and they never grew on me. They were replaced after a while. They're just harsh, clunky, and loud. People who like them say they aren't harsh and clunky, they're "snappy" and "crisp." I've read and spoken to others who feel the same way I do, so it's something to make sure you know you're happy with before the purchase.

Tubeless is great for flats.
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Old 09-27-19, 04:52 AM
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it may look....cool....but you want a touring bike, right?

i'd worry about the wheelset. 28 spokes, machine built. you might get by with the front, the rear....not for long.

the front rack is overkill for a 28-spoke wheelset. it's all about the look.

to get their pricepoint, they include a good portion of meh bontranger housebrand parts.

the gearing is fine for the latest gravel fad, but it'll suck to be you if you have to climb real hills with a load.
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Old 09-27-19, 06:30 AM
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fenders, yes? seems like toe overlap could happen. Trek stock wheels are garbage, but perhaps a little better on a $2K bike.
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Old 09-27-19, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
The 920 is a very capable machine....even at list retail, it is a pretty good deal for an all around machine. You can get bikes without racks for less--but they'll cost as much when you get the racks if not more. You can build a similar machine from parts-and spend much more. Stock it comes with a 44/30 crank and an 11-36 cassette so 23 inches to 114 inches with stock tires, which is a good range, but may not be low enough on the low end depending on your camp-gear-load and terrain.

FWIW...I suspect your "with touring load" ballpark value is low. A single Ortlieb front (read small)roller bag, empty weighs 2lbs by itself. Then there's spares and tools and water bottles etc. As well as tent/sleeping-bag/bed-roll etc.

Something to be aware of....one of our tent circle was riding a 920 with 700x2.5" tires on Tour de Nebraska this year along with a bunch of people on proper fat-bikes doing an all dirt/gravel road route. TL;DR version they hit goatheads in the middle of nowhere. In 1/2 a mile that band of 12+ completely exhausted their entire supply of tubes. But finding proper tubes for those bigger 650B/700Cer MTB tiers is a problem out in podunk. Even if you find a proper bikeshop...which they did...and bought out its entire inventory.
Thanks for the reply. You're probably right about the load, more like low 200 lb range is probably a safer assumption.

I'll also keep your advice in mind regarding those tubes. We don't get goat heads in our area (at least I've never seen them). Are these tires/tubes prone to flats in general though? Is there a recommended tire I could substitute on for better flat resistance?
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Old 09-27-19, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Personally, if you plan on touring outside of the US, I wouldn't get that bike. It's nice to have common standard parts on a touring bike. 100/130or135mm QR axles, Shimano compatible or friction shifting parts, etc. But if you plan on staying in the US, it looks like a pretty decent choice if you can get a good deal on it. I'd ditch the bulky, overkill front rack and get a regular low rider, but I like to pay some attention to weight. The rack certainly isn't a huge deal as long as it's well made, which Trek stuff usually is. If you haven't used SRAM brifters before, definitely try before you buy. Obviously they work and many people have gotten plenty of miles out of them. They're just very different from other shifters I've tried. I tried getting used to them and they never grew on me. They were replaced after a while. They're just harsh, clunky, and loud. People who like them say they aren't harsh and clunky, they're "snappy" and "crisp." I've read and spoken to others who feel the same way I do, so it's something to make sure you know you're happy with before the purchase.

Tubeless is great for flats.
Thanks, the plan is only to commute in Canada and possibly US at this point. Regarding shifters, I'm not picky but in general I do like operating things that give feedback. I'd take clear, distinct shifts over smoothness, provided they are reliable of course.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
fenders, yes? seems like toe overlap could happen. Trek stock wheels are garbage, but perhaps a little better on a $2K bike.
Thanks, I've seen some people talk of just installing a tube across the racks to block mud/water. Is that reasonably effective? Personally, fenders bug me a little but if the alternative I just mentioned doesn't work I'd just get them.

Also, I'd prefer to avoid toe overlap if possible but it's not a deal breaker.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
Thanks for the reply. You're probably right about the load, more like low 200 lb range is probably a safer assumption.

I'll also keep your advice in mind regarding those tubes. We don't get goat heads in our area (at least I've never seen them). Are these tires/tubes prone to flats in general though? Is there a recommended tire I could substitute on for better flat resistance?
Goatheads are evil. They are sharp enough to puncture basically anything. And when you run over one, it shatters into 3 or 4 parts equally as sharp---so in a way they replicate and worsen---you hit on GH thorn you're going to find yourself in a minefield of them almost instantly. The only sure fire way of beating them is using non-pneumatic tires. They used to be a problem further south, but they are spreading like a plague northward as climates favor their growth more and more.

A common gag is under-sizing tubes for the sake of ease of install...but with fatbikes that tends to not work well as they lose air faster...I asked those folks when they got to camp and that was what they said.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
it may look....cool....but you want a touring bike, right?

i'd worry about the wheelset. 28 spokes, machine built. you might get by with the front, the rear....not for long.

the front rack is overkill for a 28-spoke wheelset. it's all about the look.

to get their pricepoint, they include a good portion of meh bontranger housebrand parts.

the gearing is fine for the latest gravel fad, but it'll suck to be you if you have to climb real hills with a load.
Maybe I should be more clear about "Touring". For me it would entail two scenarios: 1) Some shorter trips to campgrounds. Travelling with my wife and sharing common loads (ie tent, backpacking stove and fuel etc...), 2 or 3 day trips. And 2) One longer trip per year, stretching out to a week or so, likely only 50-80 kms distance per day, again with my wife and sharing common loads.

In both these scenarios I'd also like to unload the bike (once at a campsite for example) and use it for general exploring. Also would like to use the bike as a commuter for a short ride to work (5 miles or so).

As mentioned above, total touring load (aside from the bike itself) will be in the low 200lb range. I can tell that people are not fans of these wheels, but realistically will they be likely to present problems in my scenario?

Regarding gearing, would it be worth considering dropping the gearing on the front a little bit to compensate?

I'm a reasonably good hill climber, I tend to like to go to a low-ish (but not completely bottomed out) gear and slowly grind the hill. Ie stand up on the pedals and basically drop my body weight through the pedals shifting the weight from one side of my hips to the other. I'm pretty disciplined about holding good RPM for flats and mild hills but I've found this strategy works well for my steep climbs.

Last edited by Wiggle; 09-27-19 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
Thanks, I've seen some people talk of just installing a tube across the racks to block mud/water. Is that reasonably effective? Personally, fenders bug me a little but if the alternative I just mentioned doesn't work I'd just get them.

Also, I'd prefer to avoid toe overlap if possible but it's not a deal breaker.
I biked around Nova Scotia this summer, rain tends to happen. I don't understand a touring bike w/o fenders except if I only toured in American SW, but just a opinion.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
I biked around Nova Scotia this summer, rain tends to happen. I don't understand a touring bike w/o fenders except if I only toured in American SW, but just a opinion.
Oh yeah it happens for sure. My question was whether tubes across the racks do a good job controlling it or if that's not a very effective solution?

If no good, any good selections for a set of fenders?

Thanks
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Old 09-27-19, 09:45 AM
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The 920 is my current bike-crush. I have not seen one in person, though. On paper it may not tick all the boxes set out by traditional touring bike fans, but (except for maybe a more robust rear wheel) I think it will be a great bike for anything.
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Old 09-27-19, 10:52 AM
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I own the 920 and like it a lot. I put on 700x40 Xplor MSO Donnelly tires on them and use the bike for gravel riding as well as pavement/road (though I do have a road bike also). Modifications: 36/22 crankset so that my gear inches go down to 17" (for my bad knees), plus Salsa Cowchipper handlebars. I have done some "credit card" touring on the bike, but no heavily loaded touring, so can't give any feedback on that aspect. The model I have is outfitted with bar-end shifters, which are fine.
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Old 09-28-19, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Goatheads are evil. They are sharp enough to puncture basically anything. And when you run over one, it shatters into 3 or 4 parts equally as sharp---so in a way they replicate and worsen---you hit on GH thorn you're going to find yourself in a minefield of them almost instantly. The only sure fire way of beating them is using non-pneumatic tires. They used to be a problem further south, but they are spreading like a plague northward as climates favor their growth more and more.

A common gag is under-sizing tubes for the sake of ease of install...but with fatbikes that tends to not work well as they lose air faster...I asked those folks when they got to camp and that was what they said.
Those sound horrible. I've never seen them and hope that continues by the sounds of it. How far north are they showing up now?
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Old 09-28-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Pearson100 View Post
I own the 920 and like it a lot. I put on 700x40 Xplor MSO Donnelly tires on them and use the bike for gravel riding as well as pavement/road (though I do have a road bike also). Modifications: 36/22 crankset so that my gear inches go down to 17" (for my bad knees), plus Salsa Cowchipper handlebars. I have done some "credit card" touring on the bike, but no heavily loaded touring, so can't give any feedback on that aspect. The model I have is outfitted with bar-end shifters, which are fine.
If you don't mind sharing, what is your approximate weight and height?
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Old 09-28-19, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
The 920 is my current bike-crush. I have not seen one in person, though. On paper it may not tick all the boxes set out by traditional touring bike fans, but (except for maybe a more robust rear wheel) I think it will be a great bike for anything.
Thanks. Those were my thoughts as well. It seemed like an ideal compliment to a dedicated road bike.
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Old 09-28-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
Oh yeah it happens for sure. My question was whether tubes across the racks do a good job controlling it or if that's not a very effective solution?

If no good, any good selections for a set of fenders?

Thanks
Do you mean wrap the tube around the rack to block rain from spraying up off the tire? I'm having a hard time visualizing what you mean here. In any event, while the majority of rain will be flung directly up off the tire with it's spin, lesser amounts of rain water get sprayed out in all directions as well. Most of the time you'll wait out a serious rainstorm, but you'll still be picking up water riding on the wet road after the rain stops. Without fenders it will spray all over your panniers, your shoes and ankles, and get literally everywhere on your bike somehow. I think fenders are essential, and toe rub is something you just learn to deal with after riding the bike for a while. Planet Bike Cascadia fenders come in 700cx65mm size which I use on my 2.1" tires.

I met a girl in Baja on a 920. She was not able to say she liked it, but also couldn't really put her finger on why she didn't like it. Her words were something along the lines of, "I guess it's alright." She did mention the gearing was too high for her. She was riding with two large rear panniers and a handlebar bag, IIRC.
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Old 09-28-19, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell View Post
Do you mean wrap the tube around the rack to block rain from spraying up off the tire? I'm having a hard time visualizing what you mean here. In any event, while the majority of rain will be flung directly up off the tire with it's spin, lesser amounts of rain water get sprayed out in all directions as well. Most of the time you'll wait out a serious rainstorm, but you'll still be picking up water riding on the wet road after the rain stops. Without fenders it will spray all over your panniers, your shoes and ankles, and get literally everywhere on your bike somehow. I think fenders are essential, and toe rub is something you just learn to deal with after riding the bike for a while. Planet Bike Cascadia fenders come in 700cx65mm size which I use on my 2.1" tires.

I met a girl in Baja on a 920. She was not able to say she liked it, but also couldn't really put her finger on why she didn't like it. Her words were something along the lines of, "I guess it's alright." She did mention the gearing was too high for her. She was riding with two large rear panniers and a handlebar bag, IIRC.
Thanks. I think I'll go ahead and get the fenders if I get the 920 then. Sounds essential.

Regardinggearingg, what would be a reasonable step down on the front chain rings to provide some more low end range? Could I just drop the low ring to say 22 or 24?
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Old 09-28-19, 08:14 PM
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You might want to do a search of this forum. I remember a very lengthy discussion about the 920 a couple of years ago. If I remember correctly, the 28 spoke wheels seemed to be the main issue.
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Old 09-28-19, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
Thanks. I think I'll go ahead and get the fenders if I get the 920 then. Sounds essential.

Regardinggearingg, what would be a reasonable step down on the front chain rings to provide some more low end range? Could I just drop the low ring to say 22 or 24?
You can probably drop down to a 24, but the 22 chainring might be a problem. 5 arm vs. 4 arm crankset requirements.
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Old 09-29-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post

Regardinggearingg, what would be a reasonable step down on the front chain rings to provide some more low end range? Could I just drop the low ring to say 22 or 24?
I doubt it. The crank on the 920 looks like it is a 104mm BCD double which is limited to a minimum 30 tooth inner ring. You’d need a different crank with the 64mm BCD drilling on the inner ring to go lower.
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Old 09-29-19, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I doubt it. The crank on the 920 looks like it is a 104mm BCD double which is limited to a minimum 30 tooth inner ring. You’d need a different crank with the 64mm BCD drilling on the inner ring to go lower.
Thanks, I didn't know that.

So looking a little more closely at the gearing I am actually leaning towards the gearing being pretty reasonable. If I'm using Sheldon Brown's gear calculator correctly and comparing it to my Trek 7100 It actually looks like the only gear I'm losing versus that bike is the granny gear and lowest chainring combo. Which I don't think I've ever actually used, even loaded up for a small tour we did before.
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