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What mods on a 520?

Old 12-19-05, 07:53 PM
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I'm new to biking in general. I've been running for about 8 years, and I'm wanting to open my horizons. After research, I realize that I just need to get a basic, cheaper bike to get used to it, then save for something better later on possibly. Since Trek 520s tend to hold their values in the states, I've considered it strongly. The question lies in the components - if you were buying a Trek 520 for touring/commuting/taking the place of a car, then what components would you switch out and for what? Thanks

Also, I'm considering either of the Cannondales - T800 or T2000. If you were to choose one of these 3 bikes, then which and with what components?

Last edited by Cassadamius; 12-19-05 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Added Cannondale Bikes
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Old 12-19-05, 08:37 PM
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I have a Trek 520 set up as my 'go fast' commuting bike, left the chainrings, dropped the rack, added 37c tires (had to file the steerer tube below the unicrown to get enough clearance) added fenders and a b-17, and call it good. It's a very fast bike - about 129 gear inches with 700x37c at 52x11. I think its a lifetime bike, you could tour or commute or club ride with, whatever you want to do. For loaded touring I think most all will say to swap to smaller chainrings, touring with a 30 granny is pretty stout if you try it!
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Old 12-19-05, 08:45 PM
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Much lower gears and good racks. The rest is personal preference.

For low gears, you could go with mountain crankset (44-34-22) or with the smallest rings that fit the 105 crankset (48-38-24). For racks, you can't go wrong with Tubus or Bruce Gordon.
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Old 12-19-05, 09:28 PM
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I'm hoping for a TREK 520 for xmas. I have two friends...one with the 520 and another with the Cannondale t800. Both like their bikes...however...most people I've run into have said that the steel frame of the TREK is much more touring friendly. Also, the crank height on the Cannondale is supposed to be alot higher than the TREK (more like a Mtn Bike I'm told). The Cannondale does have the lower gear ratios off the rack though. Since I am planning to tour 2-3 times a year and use mine to train the rest of the year, I am going to Ultegra STI shifters/brakes/upgraded bottom bracket and XTR rear derailler. My intent is not to make it a race bike...just to take advantage of upgrading to better components for lower price at time of purchase. I've been quoted approx $1,460 for the bike and upgrades...does this seem reasonable to those of you "in-the-know"?
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Old 12-19-05, 09:47 PM
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I have a C'dale t800 and really like it. Like others have said a t800 has aluminum frame and is a stiffer ride. For riding fast this is good, but for the longer rides you would probably prefer steel. Fully loaded though, the t800 smooths out considerably. I haven't noticed the bb height being an issue. My $.02.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:49 PM
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I wouldn't upgrade anything on a new bike until you ride it a bunch. Upgrades are something a rider does to make the bike more user friendly for their personal riding needs. Just buy the Trek and ride it-- you'll be fine with it stock for a while.

Also, Jamis makes darm good bikes for less $$-- test ride them. It's possible to get a good steel touring bike for less than $1000 in the USA. And don't worry about resale value. Plan on keeping the bike for a long time.
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Old 12-19-05, 11:05 PM
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Uh why not just get a frame and get ur own components of choice? You caould check ebay for a frame or look into the Surly line of bikes mebbe...
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Old 12-20-05, 12:59 AM
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One of the great things about the 520 is that it is such a comfortable bike. The steel frame, long wheelbase and long chainstays gives it a great ride. I think they are setup well for commuting, CC touring and and centuries right out of the box. Maybe replace the rear rack with a Blackburn Expedition, which is plenty strong enough, for about $45, and if you do go loaded touring, put smaller chainrings on it, as Michel mentioned. No need to do anything else to it. They are really great bikes and I ride mine more than any of my others, even when not touring.
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Old 12-20-05, 07:53 AM
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I've toured with my 520 straight out of the box. It works just fine.
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Old 12-20-05, 08:21 AM
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Ride it a while until you figure out what you don't like about it. Probably the first replacement you will wind up making is the saddle. Stock saddles are usually pretty uncomfortable (but again, ride it a bit and decide yourself). Some will say change the bars, some the STI brifters, some the chainrings, some the tires. But, if you will be using this for commuting and cr@ppy weather riding, almost everyone will agree that you should geek it out with fenders. The fact of the matter is that you chose a pretty strong out-of-the box bike that is light years better than a hybrid.
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Old 12-21-05, 12:52 PM
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I use my 520 for commuting mostly, but hope to do a longish tour in the late spring. I switched the rear rack to Jandd and added fenders. After the stock tires wore out I got 25c armadillos. They barely fit into wide rim, but are a lot faster then the stock 35c tires. I will go back to something larger (32c) though to tour on. The stock seat worked fine for me, and the gearing is ok for now. 7,000 miles and counting. It's a great bike.
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Old 12-22-05, 02:55 PM
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I've owned 520s since 1988. My current 520 is a 2004. The 520 is a very comfortable do it all bike. If you're looking for a sleek racing machine this bike isn't gonna cut it. other than that, around town, commuting, fitness/training, charity rides, Brevets, coast to coast touring, the 520 is a tough act to beat. especially at it's bargin basement price. Before popping for the 04 I looked seriously at Rivendell, Waterford and Independant. These companies make beautiful bikes, but, for me, not $1500 to $3000 more beautiful.

My 04 is almost stock. Since I use the bike for general fitness and centuries, I got rid of the stock 35cm tires. I replaced them with Conti Top Touring 28cm. The only beef I have with the bike is the safety flanges (lawyers lips) on the dropouts. Mine, for some reason, really jam the wheel to the bike. Makes changing flats much more of a chore than it should be. The Conti's have really helped in that department.
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Old 12-23-05, 12:04 AM
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I bought a '06 Trek 520 have been contemplating changing out the gearing. I wasn't wanting to spend $175+ though so I was leaning towards just swapping out the 30 for a 26T. I then came across this fairly cheap mountain crankset at Nashbar.....
https://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

What would be the reason that this is so much cheaper then most of the others I have come across?
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Old 12-23-05, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tacomee
Also, Jamis makes darm good bikes for less $$-- test ride them. It's possible to get a good steel touring bike for less than $1000 in the USA. And don't worry about resale value. Plan on keeping the bike for a long time.

Agreed.

My Jamis Aurora is the most comfortable bike in the stable.
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Old 12-23-05, 08:51 AM
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Seems like there's alot of us right now looking for a "do-it-all" type of bike that can also be used for touring. I'm leaning toward the Bianchi Volpe myself - mainly because the stock gearing seems perfect and it has the beloved Sugino XD cranks. The only things I plan to change on the Volpe are the brifters to barcon shifters, the seat to brooks, the tires, the bars to On-One Midges, and the brakes to NOS Suntour XC Pros (because I have them, otherwise I'd keep the Cane Creeks). Other steel bikes in a similar price range would include the Surly Crosscheck and Long Haul Trucker, and the Jamis.

Seems like the main differences between the bikes in this price range are chainstay length, gearing differences, and max tire widths.

Last edited by wintermute; 12-23-05 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 12-23-05, 09:05 AM
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I saw an ad for a new Specialized cyclocross bike, but the picture didn't show the bike well. it looked like a drop bar, 700c bike with a wierd suspension fork, and shimano br550 cantis..... I think it is called the tricross....I don't know MSRP, and if its made out of Specialized blends of aluminum and expensonium, I'd say, stick with the OX steel tubes of the Trek 520.

edit:I just looked at the tricross bikes on the specialized site, 1100 bucks for a light duty cyclocross bike with radial laced front, carbon fork with canti bosses (yikes!) and 105 components. I'd say, avoid like the plague if you wanted to carry any weight, add front racks, or want a durable bike. If you wanted a fastish roadie-cross bike with some mods to ride unloaded on dirt roads, maybe that is the market for the tricross bike.

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Old 12-23-05, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
I saw an ad for a new Specialized cyclocross bike, but the picture didn't show the bike well. it looked like a drop bar, 700c bike with a wierd suspension fork, and shimano br550 cantis..... I think it is called the tricross....I don't know MSRP, and if its made out of Specialized blends of aluminum and expensonium, I'd say, stick with the OX steel tubes of the Trek 520.

edit:I just looked at the tricross bikes on the specialized site, 1100 bucks for a light duty cyclocross bike with radial laced front, carbon fork with canti bosses (yikes!) and 105 components. I'd say, avoid like the plague if you wanted to carry any weight, add front racks, or want a durable bike. If you wanted a fastish roadie-cross bike with some mods to ride unloaded on dirt roads, maybe that is the market for the tricross bike.
I just purchased (last week) a specialized tricross and just wanted to point out a couple of things. The front wheel is not radially laced, it is 2x. The fork looks funky and has carbon legs but also has eyelets for mounting a rack. I don't see any reason the not throw a rack on there and carry some stuff. What's wrong with the canti bosses?
The geometry is almost the same as my trek 520 so I would think that carrying a load would be ok but I haven't tried it yet.
The frame and fork have a lifetime warranty so I'm not too concerned about durability.
The thing that I like the most about the tricross is that it rides much nicer than the trek 520. I've been commuting on it and riding trails where only mountain bikes usually go. It has only been a week but I've been doing that type of riding everyday.

I will soon be selling a 2002 19" trek 520 if anyone is interested.
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Old 12-23-05, 12:07 PM
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I've never seen a carbon fork with midmount rack eyelets or canti bosses, wow. That's pretty newskool.....it's really got midfork eyelets???

I went back to the Specialized website to check, and saw I was looking at specs for the $1700 tricross comp, with a radially laced front wheel....

Let the forum know how it works as a loaded touring bike, eh?

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Old 12-23-05, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
I've never seen a carbon fork with midmount rack eyelets or canti bosses, wow. That's pretty newskool.....it's really got midfork eyelets???

I went back to the Specialized website to check, and saw I was looking at specs for the $1700 tricross comp, with a radially laced front wheel....

Let the forum know how it works as a loaded touring bike, eh?
Yep, it has midfork rack eyelets. They're not visible in the picture on the specialized website but believe me they're there. The top 1/3 of the fork (below the steerer) down to where the canti bosses are attached appears to be aluminum.
I doubt that the fork is much lighter than a nice steel fork and I'd be just as happy with a steel fork but that's what came on the bike. As long as it doesn't break I'll be happy. ;-)

When I get a chance to load it up and do a tour I'll post back to the forum with my feedback. I'll definitely want some lower gears for touring though.
Riding the dirt trails with a 34x25 low gear has been difficult at times. I made it over a short climb this morning that I usually ride with a 22x28 on my mtb trying not to pop a wheelie or lose traction. I anticipated having to walk it and was surprised that I could keep the bike going with that gear.
With the tricross I'm able to stand up more than on the mtb. When I stand on the mtb I immediately lose rear wheel traction, with the tricross the rear will slip at times but it's much better standing compared to the mtb.
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Old 12-23-05, 10:09 PM
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520 is a great choice. I bought one used in '92 and could probably sell it for what I paid for it. One thing if you are considering extended touring. I would swap out for bar-end shifters. Old school, retro but, the real thing is if you've got the Sti or Ergo shifters, you've got a lot of parts in those levers. They break in the middle of nowhere, you've got some issues. Bar-end shifters don't have much to break in the first place and you can carry a spare set (inexpensivly and not much weight or bulk). If you're sticking around town (ie bike shops close by and alternate transport) never mind. I've been in some desolate areas and had breakdowns, minor and major. Having easy user servicable gear may not be chic but, very practical.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:04 PM
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all that hardware is nice but the savvy cyclist would have one of these on his 520 .
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Old 12-23-05, 11:17 PM
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Good one Velo!!!!!!
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Old 01-14-06, 01:14 PM
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I toured with my trek 520 right out of the box as well. It was my first road/touring bike and I found it really comfortable. I had about 65lbs on the rear rack and it held up. I only needed to tighten the screws every now and then because they kept coming loose. after 1300km I started to get a ticking in the crank which never affected my riding. Also, about the gears, I found no problems but I'm still new so take that for what it's worth. All in all, I loved the bike and had a lot of fun with it.
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Old 01-14-06, 01:53 PM
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I broke my rear rack already on my 520...ive had it since Nov 2005....my sister needed to go to a violin lesson, so i put her on the rear rack..she weighs about 50lbs soaking wet...and it bent sideways so it rubbed on the tire...so now its in her room on her wall...ive got a jandd rack on there now, but ill switch that one out for my homemade one when i leave on my tour in 107 days. I like the 520 though. much better than the one ive been riding:

I like the padded thing on the top for when im hitting massive jumps and i slip off my pedals on the landing...it really helps

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