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Trek 520 discontinued?

Old 10-30-22, 07:09 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
If the 520's lunch is being eaten by competitors, it's due to recent quirky design like that axle release that nobody else uses and the lack of value for the cost of the bike.
I admit the current Trek 520 bike as is, is a decent value. It comes with decent front and rear racks that are well designed that other bikes don’t come with for the same or similar price. Yes they aren’t as highly rated in capacity as the Surly racks or some Tubus racks being aluminum racks instead of steel.

My concern centers around the fact that the aluminum fork, while failures admittedly are rare, is causing some to look elsewhere including myself. The fork is a major very important part of a touring (well, any really, to be fair) bike and if you put doubt in peoples minds, even a little bit of doubt, especially touring cyclists whose primary considerations are typically durability and reliability (and ultimately safety), even that tiny bit of doubt can be enough to cause us to be put off. You can’t tell me weight is the main reason - a small amount of weight in the difference between a steel and aluminum fork is nothing when the total package is added up.

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Old 10-31-22, 02:49 AM
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If Trek's major market for their touring bikes is Europe, which seems likely, it's possible that the move to using an aluminum fork was intended to help them compete with long-established European touring bike manufacturers such as Koga-Miyata. The latter offers no touring models with steel forks: only aluminum or carbon.
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Old 10-31-22, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by speyfitter View Post
I admit the current Trek 520 bike as is, is a decent value. It comes with decent front and rear racks that are well designed that other bikes don’t come with for the same or similar price. Yes they aren’t as highly rated in capacity as the Surly racks or some Tubus racks being aluminum racks instead of steel.

My concern centers around the fact that the aluminum fork, while failures admittedly are rare, is causing some to look elsewhere including myself. The fork is a major very important part of a touring (well, any really, to be fair) bike and if you put doubt in peoples minds, even a little bit of doubt, especially touring cyclists whose primary considerations are typically durability and reliability (and ultimately safety), even that tiny bit of doubt can be enough to cause us to be put off. You can’t tell me weight is the main reason - a small amount of weight in the difference between a steel and aluminum fork is nothing when the total package is added up.
Have you ever actually known of an aluminum fork failure on a touring bike whether a Trek 520 or another manufacturer?
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Old 10-31-22, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
If Trek's major market for their touring bikes is Europe, which seems likely, it's possible that the move to using an aluminum fork was intended to help them compete with long-established European touring bike manufacturers such as Koga-Miyata. The latter offers no touring models with steel forks: only aluminum or carbon.
So aluminum over steel in Europe is a selling point ?
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Old 10-31-22, 08:32 AM
  #30  
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I had to drive two hundred miles to VT this past June to snag the second-to-last available 2023 520 near Connecticut. I didn't mind as I did a beautiful ride with it while there. I'd be baffled if they discontinued it, as the ones that were available sold out quickly. It's a little heavy, but a very nice bike for the money.
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Old 10-31-22, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by speyfitter View Post
So aluminum over steel in Europe is a selling point ?
Short answer: Or at least it's not regarded as an automatic fail.

Europe has a much longer tradition than the U.S. of adults riding bikes for transportation, racing, touring, etc. It's likely that many cyclists there are more pragmatic and less fashion-driven in their choices than their U.S. counterparts. If aluminum forks have proven to be at least as reliable as or more reliable than steel forks in testing (in addition to being lighter and more resistant to the flexing forces that make loaded touring bikes difficult to control, especially for out-of-the-saddle pedaling), then that would explain why a company like Koga-Miyata would make the switch to aluminum.

The only surprise to me is that Trek elected to use aluminum forks for both the European and U.S. markets. They must know that U.S. touring riders tend to be less open-minded about such changes than European riders.
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Old 11-02-22, 06:06 AM
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Here's one on CL, 57cm, like-new at 2/3 the price. Front low-rider rack apparently included too.




https://lancaster.craigslist.org/bik...550157685.html
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Old 11-02-22, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Short answer: Or at least it's not regarded as an automatic fail.

Europe has a much longer tradition than the U.S. of adults riding bikes for transportation, racing, touring, etc. It's likely that many cyclists there are more pragmatic and less fashion-driven in their choices than their U.S. counterparts. If aluminum forks have proven to be at least as reliable as or more reliable than steel forks in testing (in addition to being lighter and more resistant to the flexing forces that make loaded touring bikes difficult to control, especially for out-of-the-saddle pedaling), then that would explain why a company like Koga-Miyata would make the switch to aluminum.

The only surprise to me is that Trek elected to use aluminum forks for both the European and U.S. markets. They must know that U.S. touring riders tend to be less open-minded about such changes than European riders.
Aluminum only started being entertained as a bike frame/fork material in the 1970s and 1980s. To suggest that a person or group of people is more “pragmatic” for using an aluminum framed bike for touring and then insinuate that someone who prefers a steel frame is “fashion-driven” in their choice or preference for a steel framed/forked bike for touring/carrying weight is absolutely ridiculous.

Steel has a long proven tradition and history as a proven bike frame/fork material if constructed with reasonable attention to detail and with some basic preventative maintenance. I’m not saying other materials can’t perform well in this regard if engineered & built correctly however I have a saying I live by from my experience rafting that famous catarafter Mark Cramer lives by which is “never give the river a free shot.” Or in other words you have control over a lot of variables in your chosen activity / profession / hobby and there were some variables you can’t control, and If you don’t control the variables you can control then you’re inviting potential for problems. Create doubt in a persons mind and many will seek ways to eliminate that doubt (doubt in this case could turn into a liability).

Is the aluminum fork going to fail right away ? Probably not. Will it provide years of trouble free touring Miles? More than likely. Do I trust Treks engineering in this application? Generally. But then again engineering these days is done by humans and I deal with engineers sometimes who do make mistakes. And a lot of times engineering is not about where you can make something stronger but about where you can cut but still maintain a certain standard of strength and/or performance. Ultimately the choice is yours. Feel confidence knowing your choice is more “pragmatic” and mine is “fashion driven”

LOL
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Old 11-02-22, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by speyfitter View Post
Aluminum only started being entertained as a bike frame/fork material in the 1970s and 1980s. To suggest that a person or group of people is more “pragmatic” for using an aluminum framed bike for touring and then insinuate that someone who prefers a steel frame is “fashion-driven” in their choice or preference for a steel framed/forked bike for touring/carrying weight is absolutely ridiculous.

Steel has a long proven tradition and history as a proven bike frame/fork material if constructed with reasonable attention to detail and with some basic preventative maintenance. I’m not saying other materials can’t perform well in this regard if engineered & built correctly however I have a saying I live by from my experience rafting that famous catarafter Mark Cramer lives by which is “never give the river a free shot.” Or in other words you have control over a lot of variables in your chosen activity / profession / hobby and there were some variables you can’t control, and If you don’t control the variables you can control then you’re inviting potential for problems. Create doubt in a persons mind and many will seek ways to eliminate that doubt (doubt in this case could turn into a liability).

Is the aluminum fork going to fail right away ? Probably not. Will it provide years of trouble free touring Miles? More than likely. Do I trust Treks engineering in this application? Generally. But then again engineering these days is done by humans and I deal with engineers sometimes who do make mistakes. And a lot of times engineering is not about where you can make something stronger but about where you can cut but still maintain a certain standard of strength and/or performance. Ultimately the choice is yours. Feel confidence knowing your choice is more “pragmatic” and mine is “fashion driven”

LOL
You are all over the place with arguing. What exactly is the key point you want to make in this thread? You seem to be throwing word pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks.
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Old 11-02-22, 03:11 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You are all over the place with arguing. What exactly is the key point you want to make in this thread? You seem to be throwing word pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks.
I think it did an admirable job of responding to the individual I quoted in my previous response. If you have some points relevant to the topic at hand, which I think is crystal clear, I am all ears.
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Old 11-02-22, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by speyfitter View Post
I admit the current Trek 520 bike as is, is a decent value. It comes with decent front and rear racks that are well designed that other bikes don’t come with for the same or similar price. Yes they aren’t as highly rated in capacity as the Surly racks or some Tubus racks being aluminum racks instead of steel.

My concern centers around the fact that the aluminum fork, while failures admittedly are rare, is causing some to look elsewhere including myself. The fork is a major very important part of a touring (well, any really, to be fair) bike and if you put doubt in peoples minds, even a little bit of doubt, especially touring cyclists whose primary considerations are typically durability and reliability (and ultimately safety), even that tiny bit of doubt can be enough to cause us to be put off. You can’t tell me weight is the main reason - a small amount of weight in the difference between a steel and aluminum fork is nothing when the total package is added up.
I had actually suggested it ISNT a value, relative to other options. But yeah, it comes with racks that are perfectly useable.

As for the aluminum fork, I have no idea why they went to it.
- maybe it costs lesss.
- maybe it can handle the quirky dropout system Trek uses better than a steel fork.
- maybe it weighs less.
- maybe its shape fits the look of the bike better and its purely aesthetics.

I have no idea why they use an aluminum fork now and really havent given it much thought over these last couple years, at least not after initially reading about the change and spending 10 seconds wondering why.

This is a major global brand and a touring bike- I dont think Trek is selling a fork that will easily break.
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Old 11-03-22, 07:13 AM
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My 5 cents on aluminum vs steel fork

In the mid 1990’s I bought an aluminum frame Huffy rigid MTB. I jumped the bike off of a 20’ cliff at a very high rate of speed(probably about 30-40 mph. I broke several bones, got a concussion, and broke my steel handlebars, bent my front wheel, but the fork remained in tact along with the rest of the frame.

I think the debate over an aluminum vs steel fork is irrelevant… I can understand the main part of the frame wanting to be steel, but a the fork is going to hold up just fine for normal touring
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Old 11-03-22, 09:14 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by speyfitter View Post
Aluminum only started being entertained as a bike frame/fork material in the 1970s and 1980s. To suggest that a person or group of people is more “pragmatic” for using an aluminum framed bike for touring and then insinuate that someone who prefers a steel frame is “fashion-driven” in their choice or preference for a steel framed/forked bike for touring/carrying weight is absolutely ridiculous.
How long does a material have to be used before it is found to be reliable? How many bikes need to be made before that material is found to be reliable. Cannondale started making aluminum touring bikes in 1983. There isn’t a constant stream of complaints about the frames spontaneously asploding while on tour. There’s hardy any reports of failures at all…just as there are hardly any reports of broken steel frames. Concerns about frame failure is way over blown in touring circles in general.

Steel has a long proven tradition and history as a proven bike frame/fork material if constructed with reasonable attention to detail and with some basic preventative maintenance. I’m not saying other materials can’t perform well in this regard if engineered & built correctly however I have a saying I live by from my experience rafting that famous catarafter Mark Cramer lives by which is “never give the river a free shot.” Or in other words you have control over a lot of variables in your chosen activity / profession / hobby and there were some variables you can’t control, and If you don’t control the variables you can control then you’re inviting potential for problems. Create doubt in a persons mind and many will seek ways to eliminate that doubt (doubt in this case could turn into a liability).
Aluminum also have a proven tradition and history. It’s been used in airframes for almost 100 years. It’s been used in bicycles…in limited quantities… for nearly as long (see Monark Silver King). Using aluminum for a bicycle frame doesn’t “invite potential for problems”. Although the Monark Silver King was an aluminum outlier, aluminum has been used successfully in bicycles that see a whole lot more abuse than a touring bike has to endure and, even there, the rate of frame failure is low.

And, I’d like to point out, raft frames aren’t made of steel.

​​​​​​Is the aluminum fork going to fail right away ? Probably not. Will it provide years of trouble free touring Miles? More than likely. Do I trust Treks engineering in this application? Generally. But then again engineering these days is done by humans and I deal with engineers sometimes who do make mistakes. And a lot of times engineering is not about where you can make something stronger but about where you can cut but still maintain a certain standard of strength and/or performance. Ultimately the choice is yours. Feel confidence knowing your choice is more “pragmatic” and mine is “fashion driven”
Do you ride other bike? Have a mountain bike with a suspension fork or a road bike with a carbon fork? The bits that can fail on a fork are going at the crown/steer tube interface. The vast majority of suspension forks and a large number of carbon forks use aluminum steer tubes. And, I’ll point out again, that mountain bikes go through a whole lot more abuse than touring bikes ever do.

This whole “aluminum is going to shatter into a thousand pieces and you are going to die” thing is really silly. In my own personal experience, I’ve broken 4 frames…2 aluminum and 2 steel. I have direct experience with repairing both and the steel is not a simple to repair as many people make them out to be. Any repair to a bicycle frame should be considered to be temporary…independent of the material. If aluminum cracks, the underlying crystal structure should be suspect but the same holds true for steel. I had a steel frame repaired, it later cracked in the same area around the welds. I had an aluminum frame fixed when the seat tube cracked above the top tube. It actually never broke again.

Aluminum is tough, well engineered, and durable. Do you worry that the aluminum handle bars, aluminum crankset, aluminum rims, aluminum hubs, or aluminum racks (for most people) are going to fail you? I don’t know of many people who would trade all those for steel because they think it is more durable.

Nor would rafters trade their aluminum frames for steel one.
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Old 11-03-22, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
In the mid 1990’s I bought an aluminum frame Huffy rigid MTB. I jumped the bike off of a 20’ cliff at a very high rate of speed(probably about 30-40 mph. I broke several bones, got a concussion, and broke my steel handlebars, bent my front wheel, but the fork remained in tact along with the rest of the frame.

I think the debate over an aluminum vs steel fork is irrelevant… I can understand the main part of the frame wanting to be steel, but a the fork is going to hold up just fine for normal touring
You launched off a 20' cliff while going 40mph?!?
Was it on purpose? I cant imagine the need to be at 40mph, which I hit on the road only a handful of times a year as the hills arent long enough, when jumping off a cliff.

Wait, is your real name Super Dave Osborne?
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Old 11-03-22, 09:51 AM
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I had one of those Cannondale all-aluminum touring bikes in the late-1990s/early 2000s. No issues with it. I chose it over the Trek 520 because I liked the stiff frame that made it quite nice for general road riding when not using it for touring. Unfortunately it got stolen in 2003.
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Old 11-03-22, 11:59 AM
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I just had to rebuild my wife's 520 into a warranty replacement frame (the old one was the first 520 disc model I think), because ironically the frame broke below the seat clamp. I think the 520 seat clamp system is silly and I wouldn't be surprised if the new frame breaks again at the same spot.

Anyways clearly the 520 isn't discontinued.

Also I quite like the 520 fork. All the eyelets are straight and it has a really good crown light / mudguard mounting system (two separate threaded holes instead of one through hole). The thu skew is, odd... probably should have gone straight to thru axles but as it is it works fine.

I too am puzzled why they chose aluminum over steel as material combos aren't that common outside metal frame and carbon fork. But I suspect it may have had something to do with the 44 headset standard and the thru skew, both of which require more machining than your ordinary qr dropout and 34 headset standard.
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Old 11-03-22, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I had one of those Cannondale all-aluminum touring bikes in the late-1990s/early 2000s. No issues with it. I chose it over the Trek 520 because I liked the stiff frame that made it quite nice for general road riding when not using it for touring. Unfortunately it got stolen in 2003.
First touring bike was a 1998 Cannondale T 700. Got it new at the end of '98 for something like $790. Put 10,000 miles on it in '99-'00.
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Old 11-03-22, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
First touring bike was a 1998 Cannondale T 700. Got it new at the end of '98 for something like $790. Put 10,000 miles on it in '99-'00.
I was working for a Cannondale dealership back then. Could have bought a T700 for a steep employee discount. Didn't. I'm an idiot.
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Old 11-03-22, 03:34 PM
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The aluminum fork is just a price level differentiator. A cheaper bike gets a steel one and a pricier bike gets a carbon one. Unless your brand manager has made steel Your One Thing like Surly. And they have Salsa in the other side of the cube farm to offset them
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Old 11-08-22, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You launched off a 20' cliff while going 40mph?!?
Was it on purpose? I cant imagine the need to be at 40mph, which I hit on the road only a handful of times a year as the hills arent long enough, when jumping off a cliff.

Wait, is your real name Super Dave Osborne?
I was racing my friends down the mountain… I was young, cocky, and had a brand new department store rigid bike… my friend was a couple years younger and had just purchased a brand new Diamond Back 21 Speed Hard Tail.
We had gotten a shuttle to the top of the mountain where my friend, his two brothers, and I went trail riding on several Motorcycle and horse trails (this is before MTB trails were a thing). After putting in a grueling day on the trails we decided to ride to the bottom of the mountain.
As we discussed the trip down, the youngest brother suggested a race. Me being me, said ok.. but only if I give them all a head start. We chatted a few minutes about the rules and then we were off.
I waited for them to go around a bend out of sight, come back into view and disappear again before I started my decent (roughly 1 mile distance). In just over a minute I fought my first friend entering the first switchback and passed him as if he were sitting still as we exited the corner. A few minutes later I passed his older brother coming out of the second switchback like he was sitting still. Then moments later I passed the youngest.
I zipped around the third switch back, and Zagged around the court applying brake sparingly to keep me
from going over the edge. After the fourth switchback the road was fairly straight and a very steep decent. Then there was a tight left hand uphill turn fallowed by a more gradual decent to pavement… I forgot that the slight decent turned into a massive decent with a severe left/right s corner.
I entered the s corner with way too much speed. I applied all the brake I had but wasn’t slowing down. I had my bike laying all the way to the left trying to find traction on the the loose gravel, but there wasn’t any friction to be found on that fresh marble like gravel.
Almost to the apex of the left hand corner I realized that I was running out of road. I had two options before me… Option A) Tide it out the slide and pray I get traction at the last second to shoot me into the right hand portion of the “s” turn, or Option B) Stand the bike back up square, and shoot for the center of the culvert.
I only had a split second to make a decision and elected for option B. I was hoping to do a swan dive off the embankment and into the pool of water exiting the culvert. But for once in my life I actually flew vertical instead of horizontal and launched myself into a tree branch which ricocheted me back into the path of the stream. I ended up flying about 50’ further than where I wanted to land… however the Huffy landed right smack dab in the middle of the pool I had been aiming for…

I don’t know exactly what happened after I hit the tree… that’s where I sustained my concussion and blacked out. The Bike shop owner said that is where I probably bent my handlebars… we suspect I then nose dived strait into the pool of water and got catapulted the remaining 50’ because we couldn’t figure out how else the wheel bent.

No the jump wasn’t planned per say. The speed wasn’t necessary… but to a 16 year who’s family lives and breaths drag racing, speed is everything.
Also the course we took that day was apx 9 miles with -3,334’ of elevation.

Look up Moss Springs Camp Ground, Cove Oregon 97824 (45.27501, -117.67812) to “Dollar’s Corner” Cove Oregon.


Full route

Point where I can’t see the last person anymore

4 switch backs

“S curve”.
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Old 11-08-22, 11:44 PM
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I just went over to the Trek site to look at the bike. Great looking bike as expected; but $1,829 for a Sora and Alivio equipped bike? Yikes, inflation is real. I haven't bought an off the shelf bike for over ten years but I remember similar spec'ed touring bikes being in the $800 - $1000 range back in the day. The REI Novara Randonee comes to mind.

Some quirks I noticed: weird seatpost clamp design like a vintage bike. Not a fan. Huge front rack, not sure why they didn't spec a lowrider. Triple crankset in 2022? I went 1X on my latest touring build, come on Trek get with the times.
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Old 11-09-22, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
I just went over to the Trek site to look at the bike. Great looking bike as expected; but $1,829 for a Sora and Alivio equipped bike? Yikes, inflation is real. I haven't bought an off the shelf bike for over ten years but I remember similar spec'ed touring bikes being in the $800 - $1000 range back in the day. The REI Novara Randonee comes to mind.

Some quirks I noticed: weird seatpost clamp design like a vintage bike. Not a fan. Huge front rack, not sure why they didn't spec a lowrider. Triple crankset in 2022? I went 1X on my latest touring build, come on Trek get with the times.
Sora is the only current shimano road groupset with a triple. The 520 has brifters so Sora is the only option for that sort of gearing.

The rack can be used as lowrider. The top platform is neat for groceries / extra tagalong stuff.

1X just really kinda sucks for road touring (or road riding in general). Even with a 12s the gear spacing is frankly massive if you want any sort of high end paired with decent climbing gearing. With a 3x you get a tighter gearing AND the ability to fine tune with the front chainrings, which lets me pretty much always ride in a comfortable gear.

1x especially sucks when riding with a partner because you're not as free to pick your speed / cadence. I wouldn't want a 10-50 even when riding solo however. When riding my 10-50 bike on the road gear jumps always either drop me to spin out land or push to grind city. Excellent for offroad, but just really horrible on the road.
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Old 11-09-22, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
Sora is the only current shimano road groupset with a triple. The 520 has brifters so Sora is the only option for that sort of gearing.

The rack can be used as lowrider. The top platform is neat for groceries / extra tagalong stuff.

1X just really kinda sucks for road touring (or road riding in general). Even with a 12s the gear spacing is frankly massive if you want any sort of high end paired with decent climbing gearing. With a 3x you get a tighter gearing AND the ability to fine tune with the front chainrings, which lets me pretty much always ride in a comfortable gear.


1x especially sucks when riding with a partner because you're not as free to pick your speed / cadence. I wouldn't want a 10-50 even when riding solo however. When riding my 10-50 bike on the road gear jumps always either drop me to spin out land or push to grind city. Excellent for offroad, but just really horrible on the road.
Trek advertises the 520 as "a comfortable steel workhorse that's capable of everything from daily rides to expedition tours". An expedition tourer should have bar end shifters. You need the friction mode to keep the bike running after derailleur damage.

The platformed front racks are terrible to ride with. They place more weight far from the steering axis, which make the bars harder to turn. On an expedition tour when you are heavily loaded and grinding up a hill slowly, that kind of front load will make the bike extremely difficult to balance at low speed. You may be forced to walk in situations where someone else can ride. Lowrider racks place your panniers right next to the steering axis so the front end has less moment of inertia. If you care about handling that's the only place you'll put luggage. At that point the large rack is just dead weight.

I hear you on the 1X gear jump spacing but in this particular case a modern 12 speed 1X drivetrain actually has tighter spacing jumps than the 9 speed cassette Trek put on this 520. See the charts below. Back when we all toured on 8 speed cassettes nobody ever complained about spacing tightness. 8 is better than 7, 7 is better than 6. People get spoiled as time passes so I think this may be a case of imagination causing flawed memory.

If you want to fine tune your cadence on the 3X9 to beat the tightness of a 1x12, you'll have to shift the front, then shift the rear several cogs and pray you end up with a combination that is in between what the 1x12 guy has available. You'll have to do this every time your speed changes slightly. I don't know anyone who rides in this way. People just stay in the same front chainring that suits the local geography, only moving between chainrings when they bottom out or top out.



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Old 11-09-22, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Trek advertises the 520 as "a comfortable steel workhorse that's capable of everything from daily rides to expedition tours". An expedition tourer should have bar end shifters. You need the friction mode to keep the bike running after derailleur damage.

The platformed front racks are terrible to ride with. They place more weight far from the steering axis, which make the bars harder to turn. On an expedition tour when you are heavily loaded and grinding up a hill slowly, that kind of front load will make the bike extremely difficult to balance at low speed. You may be forced to walk in situations where someone else can ride. Lowrider racks place your panniers right next to the steering axis so the front end has less moment of inertia. If you care about handling that's the only place you'll put luggage. At that point the large rack is just dead weight.

I hear you on the 1X gear jump spacing but in this particular case a modern 12 speed 1X drivetrain actually has tighter spacing jumps than the 9 speed cassette Trek put on this 520. See the charts below. Back when we all toured on 8 speed cassettes nobody ever complained about spacing tightness. 8 is better than 7, 7 is better than 6. People get spoiled as time passes so I think this may be a case of imagination causing flawed memory.

If you want to fine tune your cadence on the 3X9 to beat the tightness of a 1x12, you'll have to shift the front, then shift the rear several cogs and pray you end up with a combination that is in between what the 1x12 guy has available. You'll have to do this every time your speed changes slightly. I don't know anyone who rides in this way. People just stay in the same front chainring that suits the local geography, only moving between chainrings when they bottom out or top out.


I mean, if you squeeze the top end with the triple using a 12-36 instead of a 11-36 you again get a much tighter cassette. That one tooth has a surprisingly large effect even with a 12 speed cassette. Or you can use a 22-34-44 crank and a 11-32 cassette where you then get both a pretty darn tight spacing, lower low end and a far higher top end than in the example 12 speed.

That's really the issue with 1X. Too much compromise (and cross chain) for the road. It's either tight spacing and practically no low or high end or wide spacing and still either lackluster high or low end.

That 44-11 still gets a fair amount of use even with more modest downhills.

Though in all honesty I now use a 11-36 cassette, because when towing a trailer with a kid in it there isn't such a thing as too low gearing.
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Old 11-09-22, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
I mean, if you squeeze the top end with the triple using a 12-36 instead of a 11-36 you again get a much tighter cassette. That one tooth has a surprisingly large effect even with a 12 speed cassette. Or you can use a 22-34-44 crank and a 11-32 cassette where you then get both a pretty darn tight spacing, lower low end and a far higher top end than in the example 12 speed.

That's really the issue with 1X. Too much compromise (and cross chain) for the road. It's either tight spacing and practically no low or high end or wide spacing and still either lackluster high or low end.

That 44-11 still gets a fair amount of use even with more modest downhills.

Though in all honesty I now use a 11-36 cassette, because when towing a trailer with a kid in it there isn't such a thing as too low gearing.
Back in the day I had a 46-36-24 triple with a 11-34 cassette. Later I got rid of the triple and changed to a 36-22 double with a 10-42 cassette. On the bike I built this year I went with a 36t 1X with a 11-50 cassette.

If you compare the low end gear inches, my progression went from 19.2 in the triple, to 14.2 in the double, to 19.6 in the 1X. Anything under 20 gear inches is generally considered adequate for touring. Some people prefer a little lower but that 14.2 I have with the double is just ludicrous. The 19.6 gear inches is almost the same as what I had on the old school triple setup. I'm happy with it.

Then on the high end I prefer to look at MPH speed at 100 leg RPM. Here the progression was 33.8 mph with the triple, 29.1 mph with the double, and 26.5 mph with the 1X. On a loaded touring bike, even when I have a strong tailwind, my speed maxes out at about 20 mph. Other people might have stronger legs but this is me. If I am going faster than 20 mph, it means I have a downhill. If I have a downhill, it means I'm coasting. Therefore, on a touring bike I have no use for a 26.5 mph top gear, let alone anything faster. Again, that's me, someone else might have an impatient personality and feel the need to pedal on even steep hills.

In summary: I think there is a place for 1X. I think there is also a place for 2X if you require an extremely low climbing gear. I think there is pretty much no place for 3X in 2022 on touring bikes. Touring bikes don't get ridden at very fast speeds so that large chainring in a triple is excessive. A 36 or 38 chainring on a double is more than fast enough, especially if you use a cassette with a 10t small cog.

You say you use that 44-11 combination a fair amount, so clearly our riding styles are simply different. 44-11 is 32 mph top speed which for me is well above the speed I would start coasting at.

Last edited by Yan; 11-09-22 at 01:09 PM.
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