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90's Trek 520 or 87 C'dale ST400, which you'll keep and why??

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90's Trek 520 or 87 C'dale ST400, which you'll keep and why??

Old 11-05-13, 03:07 AM
  #1  
human33
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90's Trek 520 or 87 C'dale ST400, which you'll keep and why??

I find myself in the tough situation and would like to hear your personal opinion on behalf experience...

Year ago i catch beautiful 87 Cannondale ST400 which is hard to find here in Croatia and i build it from the scratch for summer touring and commuting. I am more than happy with this great bike!!

http://www.vintagecannondale.com/node/10927

This weekend on the fleamarket i couldn't miss a great deal & bought Trek 790 trekking in almost mint condition with full setup. After some googling and help of some guys here it seems that it is an euro model of 90's 520 touring model. I mesured it and it shows the same measures except it doesn't have third bottle cage

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...6#post16217426

If You could keep only one which one will be?

C'dale is more than 20years old alu..On Croatian coastline, makadam off roads is stiff and i feel little bit fragile when i am passing through that sharp rocks with that low alu bottom bracket....On the other hand, when i am on the road it swallows the pavmement and you can feel it likes to be loaded...Specially on a climb....I think its lighter than Trek and its beautifull old school design with nicer fork if you asking me..


The first impression with Trek present set up was that it feels little bit more comfortable to ride. Maybe because the position..( I put moustache bars and my own brooks saddle.)
Its easier to go of the bike with this slightly sloping top tube. Its more close to the ground...Its a steel and it has cantilever brakes...Otherwise geometries looks pretty similar...Tig welded true temper looks less pretty than C'dales...

Some experienced suggestions opinions?

Thank you in advance!

Last edited by human33; 11-05-13 at 03:11 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 11-05-13, 05:28 AM
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human33, If you can keep only one, choose the one that fits best. If they are equally well fitting, choose the Cannondale. I admit being biased towards Cannondale, just so you know. That written, I like the 520 and consider it a premium loaded tourer.

Touring bikes regardless of their frame material are generally stiff feeling when riding unloaded, they have to be in order to control the weight of added touring gear. Decreasing tire pressure increases riding comfort when unloaded. After almost twenty years riding Cannodale road bikes I've never considered them fragile, in particular the '80s models.

Both bikes are keepers and there's a lot advantages to have both.

Brad
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Old 11-05-13, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
human33, If you can keep only one, choose the one that fits best. If they are equally well fitting, choose the Cannondale. I admit being biased towards Cannondale, just so you know. That written, I like the 520 and consider it a premium loaded tourer.

Touring bikes regardless of their frame material are generally stiff feeling when riding unloaded, they have to be in order to control the weight of added touring gear. Decreasing tire pressure increases riding comfort when unloaded. After almost twenty years riding Cannodale road bikes I've never considered them fragile, in particular the '80s models.

Both bikes are keepers and there's a lot advantages to have both.

Brad
Concur with most of this, but I prefer steel, then I can take a torch to it and change small things that need changing, but this bike is for you, not me.
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Old 11-05-13, 01:06 PM
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As bradtx noted the fit is the most important consideration given that you will likely be in the saddle for some time in a tour. I would also suggest loading each up and compare them for load handling and stability. I've seen considerable differences between full touring bikes that I have owned.

I don't think you will find a much more stable bike with a load than a Cannondale. I have 2 ST400 bikes - one is a 1986 very similar to yours and the other is a 1990 with cantilevers and I like them both a lot for their general lightness for a touring bike. The only drawback I see on your Cannondale is the lack of cantilever brakes. I've found the stopping power between my two models to be significant. If you feel the performance of the calipers is sufficient then that shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Do some comparisons to see which is more comfortable for you with and without a load would be my suggestion - right after trying to make room for 2 bikes and keep them both :-)
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Old 11-05-13, 01:29 PM
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Trek produced 700/20/50/90s in the US too. The 700/20s were lower grade tubing compared to the 750/90, which shared the butted chromoly tubing of the 520. The 700 series was Trek's hybrid of the time, and otherwise, as you said, basically the same as the 520 touring. The 7-- and 520s have the same geometry. I know the 90' 7--, and I believe other years, did have 1" shorter chain-stays than the 520, which I see as a good thing as long as you don't need the heel clearance. It makes the bike handle slightly better, I think, especially unloaded or with light loads. I have one built up with front and rear racks and think it rides great. I've hit 40mph on it loaded with ~20lbs on the rear and ~8lbs on the front and it handled perfectly and was completely stable.

I personally would pick the one that fits best, with my second choice going to the one with more lively handling.
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Old 11-05-13, 03:13 PM
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Thanks guys,

if present financial/economy situation is not as it is i would not have conscionusnes problem at all...Need to oversleep some more

Already thinking to switch components to Trek and make C'dale clean, light everyday SS commuter or something like that?
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Old 11-05-13, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by human33 View Post
Thanks guys,

if present financial/economy situation is not as it is i would not have conscionusnes problem at all...Need to oversleep some more

Already thinking to switch components to Trek and make C'dale clean, light everyday SS commuter or something like that?
A popular use for the older caliper braked touring bikes is as a versatile randonneur style platform. Dual pivot brakes (Tektro is popular) make a noticed braking improvement. Perhaps a closer ratio freewheel or cassette. As a SS you'll need to retain the rear derailleur locked into one position or a similar tensioner to maintain tension on the chain because of the vertical drop outs.

Nothing unusual about a long term project bike (My '89 Cannondale has been through 4.5 rebuilds over the many years I've owned it. ), tinkering is a lot of fun. I've also found it handy a couple of times to have a spare bike at the ready.

Brad
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Old 11-07-13, 01:30 PM
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Just to say that i am trying TREK these days with my original set of wheels and trying to compare...

My first impression is that C'dale is more stiff when unloaded...Potholes, city street, i feel much less with Trek.
C'dale is lighter without a doubt. Other than that its hard to find any other major difference in ride at least for now.

I compared geometries little bit and differences are:

Seat tube angle C:73,5 - T:72
Fork rake C:2.13 - T:2.0,
top tube C:56,5cm - T: 57,5cm
Chainstays c-c C:45,5cm - T 44cm
Wheelbase C: 105.6cm - T: 104,5cm


Any comments on that?
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Old 11-08-13, 06:38 AM
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human33, The 790's seat tube angle is slightly less, which may account some for the longer top tube. For fitment reasons the saddle still has to be in the correct location in relation to the bottom bracket shell so the same saddle will be mounted slightly more forward on the post compared to the ST400. This is also dependent upon crank arm length and other fitment criteria. There are conflicting opinions regarding the importance of the seat tube angle; I am not too concerned as long as the bike fits.

The differences between these two bicycles are subtle in practice.

Brad
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Old 11-08-13, 07:53 AM
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human33, looks like you have some nice finds, the bikes are so similar but at the same time different, if that makes sense. The Cannondale seems to make the better commuter and will be less affected by the elements, but the steel Trek a better choice if you find yourself doing a fair amount of loaded touring. I really can't answer for you either, but I think sometimes it comes to practicality, which one would you use more if you had both? but there is also the sentimental factor, if you were to give up the other, would you be heart broken? If the decision is hard to do, can you strip one swap/sell the parts and keep the frame till finances allow you to work on it further?
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Old 11-09-13, 04:22 AM
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Thanks a lot guys. I know everything. Its hard when you have this kind of collecting disease but you know that

There some days when i thin let's sell everything, i am using only two bikes anyway...I hardly finding to catch free 2week summer time for trip and most of the everyday free hours i am spending playing bike polo & watching others world adventures on the web.
Collecting, restoring and daily riding is opsession that i am sure some of us here share together. But i think bike should be be on the street. Not in garage. That's why i will probbably try to get rid of one even my heart brakes..

After all, its all about making a choice








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Old 11-09-13, 08:01 AM
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human33, Emotions aside, it will come down to which of the two is the best bicycling value for you. That is, which of the two brings out the best of what your vision of a great bicycle is supposed to be.

Brad
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Old 11-21-13, 01:16 PM
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Bike is still here ...Found orginal System Components straight bar!

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Old 11-22-13, 02:11 PM
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I have toured on older/newer c-dales, Mid 80's Miyata 3xbutted and custom Tig.


Older T-Series c-dales may run 27in wheels, ick.
Older T-Series unloaded will rattle your teeth unloaded (I had to get a suspension stem to stop the pain on chip seal roads)
No worries about the once or twice a year paint maintenance it's ALU!!

Traditional 62cm+ steel bikes can get a bit flexy when loaded.

My standard mantra is, "If you are a big boy or girl take a hard look at the cannondale otherwise steel is real."

Last edited by escii_35; 11-22-13 at 02:14 PM. Reason: paint
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