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Trek reveal updated 520 Touring Bike

The new 520 steel touring bike has a new lighter alloy fork, wide gearing and more stable geometry to make it ideal for multi-day trips, so say Trek

Trek have launched a new version of their classic 520 steel touring bike, with a larger downtube to help cope with luggage loading, more comfortable geometry for multi-day rides and a lighter alloy fork.  

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The 520 is actually the longest-running bike model in Trek's history, with the first introduced in 1983. Fast forward 35 years and the latest version still keeps it real with a sturdy custom-butted chromoly steel frame, however it's got plenty of modern adaptations to bring it up to date. The chromoly frame has a downtube with a larger diameter to make it extra stiff when loaded with gear. Geomtry changes include a longer wheelbase, taller headtube for a more upright and comfortable ride and a lower bottom bracket for more stability. The full bike as shown weighs in at 13.3kg 

Trek 520Disc_19_24000_A_Alt6 2

The new alloy fork is 318 grams lighter than the previous steel fork at 920 grams, and features Trek's new ThruSkew system that stops the wheel from dropping out unintentionally. Thruskew also means you needn't remove luggage from the front rack if you have to fix a front tyre flat.

The 520 has 38mm tyres fitted with enough clearance to run massive 29 x 2 tyres if you really plan on going off the beaten track. The Bontrager Affinity wheels are tubeless-ready, although the supplied tyres are clinchers. Proving the triple isn't dead yet, Trek have specced a 48/36/26 Shimano Alivio chainset with a chainguard up front and a 9 speed 11/36 cassette at the rear, and shifting is courtesy of the ever-reliable Shimano Sora.

Trek_520_Door_County_1647 2

Trek supply front and rear cargo racks with the bike so it's ready to go adventuring straight away. The heavy-duty racks can take up to 15kg at the front and 22.6kg at the rear, and there are also mounts for full mudguards and up to three bottle cages on the frame. 

The new 520 is available to pre-order from some UK retailers, with sizes ranging from 51 up to 63cm. The RRP on Trek's website is £1,100, head over to trekbikes.com for more details. 

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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25 comments

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Tones0000 | 5 years ago
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Interestingly, the weight limit in Trek's manual for touring bikes in category 1 bicycles which explicitly includes the 520 indicates a 125kg rider weight + 25kg luggage weight although the product page does indicate its 125kg total

http://bike-manual.com/brands/trek/om/touring/index.htm

Under "Use Conditions"

 

Avatar
cyclisto | 5 years ago
0 likes

The weight limit that manufacters place is not an on/off switch. It doesn't mean that you will ride off-road for years with an 124 kg total weight and make a single ride with 126 kg and the frame will snap. Also bear in mind that a 125kg rider will stress much differently a bike than a 60kg driver with 65kg load as us rider have suspensions on our knees that luggage racks lack and the load distribution will be very different too.

Weight limits take various things into consideration apart from engineering, such as psychology, warranty policy and marketing. Many manufacturers avoid such problems simply by not giving any limits. I believe weight limits are mostly targeted at Americans where suing obsession meets excessive body weights that may stress beyond design limits some unlucky frames.

Indeed though BtB is right, 125kg for a long-haul touring bicycle with 35 years of history is really low. I haven't seen that many heavy cyclists that do touring but I have seen some really heavy loads that the combined weight would be much more than that. As I said before the alu fork seems totally out of place, especially in such iconic bicycle for Trek. Fortunately the paintjob is still single color with subtle graphics.

In general don't worry about weight limits in metal bikes from famous brands. Should you crack a frame, it will most likely be replaced without too much hussle, as it really rare and manufacturers don't want to jeopardise their reputation. But the most important thing is that in order to crack a frame you will have made really good use of this bike, so you will already have won too much!

 

Avatar
Tones0000 replied to cyclisto | 5 years ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

 

Indeed though BtB is right, 125kg for a long-haul touring bicycle with 35 years of history is really low.

Interestingly, the weight limit in Trek's manual for touring bikes in category 1 bicycles which explicitly includes the 520 indicates a 125kg rider weight + 25kg luggage weight although the product page does indicate its 125kg total

http://bike-manual.com/brands/trek/om/touring/index.htm

Under "Use Conditions"

Avatar
Jimthebikeguy.com | 5 years ago
6 likes

BTBS back again with the usual brand of positivity. Proper ray of sunshine, that guy.

Avatar
Rapha Nadal | 5 years ago
1 like

BTBS; if you struggle with weight limits then you could always lose some yourself and avoid any issues. Think of all the nice bikes you could then buy (but probably wouldn't).

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
2 likes

Yet another example of downgrading everywhere and adding a premium (10%) over the outgoing model. No, exchange rate is no different to last year to the far east so guess they are just scrimping.

Cheaper alu fork, cheaper chainset M591 (same ratios) to cheap arse Alivio, cheaper rear mech Deore to Alivio, cheaper cassette, Deore - Acera.

It had foolproof Dura Ace bar end shifters too.

I also wouldn't say the ability to fit a 50mm tyre is "massive", it's an acceptable width for this type of bike and that will be without mudguards.

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

 

Avatar
Sniffer replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

It is not a review.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to Sniffer | 5 years ago
1 like
Sniffer wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

It is not a review.

What is it then?

Whatever you want to call it the person running the advert/introducer has missed off a very vital bit of information that will before the 'reviewer' even gets to ride the bike is something people need to know about, particularly how low it is for a steel frame and how that the bike is aimed at loaded touring!

Giving that info straight up means punters can, before the reviewer gets their hands on it for a full review, instantly dismiss it because it's not fit for purpose in one of the most basic requirements.

Avatar
Sniffer replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
3 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Sniffer wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

It is not a review.

What is it then?

Whatever you want to call it the person running the advert/introducer has missed off a very vital bit of information that will before the 'reviewer' even gets to ride the bike is something people need to know about, particularly how low it is for a steel frame and how that the bike is aimed at loaded touring!

Giving that info straight up means punters can, before the reviewer gets their hands on it for a full review, instantly dismiss it because it's not fit for purpose in one of the most basic requirements.

Some information on the update of a model?

While I get your point on the missing weight limit, it isn't hard to find.  The article finishes with a link to 'more information' where the weight limit is displayed.

It isn't always necessary to look for the bad in everything.

Avatar
Tones0000 replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Yet another example of downgrading everywhere and adding a premium (10%) over the outgoing model.

I don't think that's entirely fair. The brakes have been significantly upgraded over the Hayes CX5 and the STI Sora levers are much more expensive than the bar ends were. The dura ace bar ends are also much harder to find now that TT bikes are moving to electronic shifting. I would personally stick with the bar ends though - particularly with 38c tyres now stock. The brifters would be more welcome on the older model with the 32c tyres. The chainset downgrade was likely forced since deore level is 10 speed now and not compatible with Shimano road levers. Very old model Deore is probably not much better than a recent Alvio anyway.

I also wonder whether the low weight rating is primarily a function of the wheelset. This seems to have been the case with the previous model which broke rear spokes regularly, but replacement with a decent wheelset has seen no problems for me - and I spend the vast majority of my riding of it over 125kg.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to Tones0000 | 5 years ago
1 like
Tones0000 wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Yet another example of downgrading everywhere and adding a premium (10%) over the outgoing model.

I don't think that's entirely fair. The brakes have been significantly upgraded over the Hayes CX5 and the STI Sora levers are much more expensive than the bar ends were. The dura ace bar ends are also much harder to find now that TT bikes are moving to electronic shifting. I would personally stick with the bar ends though - particularly with 38c tyres now stock. The brifters would be more welcome on the older model with the 32c tyres. The chainset downgrade was likely forced since deore level is 10 speed now and not compatible with Shimano road levers. Very old model Deore is probably not much better than a recent Alvio anyway.

I also wonder whether the low weight rating is primarily a function of the wheelset. This seems to have been the case with the previous model which broke rear spokes regularly, but replacement with a decent wheelset has seen no problems for me - and I spend the vast majority of my riding of it over 125kg.

And if there's a failure you're scuppered, it's an arse covering threshold that is very low for the type and one that you find on carbon racing frames. Canyon for example have a 120kg weight limit on ALL their frames/bikes for example including the weight weenie ones so your 'it's the wheels' doesn't hold water.

In any case why should you have to swap the wheels out to get some notional and unproven weight limit gain which wil still invalidate a warranty if anything goes wrong?

Avatar
Mat Brett replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

Perhaps it's because he can do sums. 13.18 +​ 12 + 90 = 115.18

 

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to Mat Brett | 5 years ago
3 likes
Mat Brett wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

Perhaps it's because he can do sums. 13.18 +​ 12 + 90 = 115.18

 

I said OVER 90kg as you'll be pushing towards the max designed limit, so that could be someone like me who is circa 100kg, I ride with around 1.5-2kg of clothing/shoes (incl cleats), another 1.5kg in filled bottles and I'll carry 20kg easily whilst touring.

You know those racks are stated as being able to carry 37kg, prettu pointless if you'd be busting the weight limit because you had the temerity to not being a rake! For someone like me, and I'm by no means near the top end of rider weights I'd be looking at less than 9kg of bags and luggage, never mind lights and a lock etc.

Whatever way you want to look at it the 125kg total weight limit for a trekking/touring bikes is pony and needs to be highlighted.

Avatar
a1white replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Mat Brett wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

Perhaps it's because he can do sums. 13.18 +​ 12 + 90 = 115.18

 

I said OVER 90kg as you'll be pushing towards the max designed limit, so that could be someone like me who is circa 100kg, I ride with around 1.5-2kg of clothing/shoes (incl cleats), another 1.5kg in filled bottles and I'll carry 20kg easily whilst touring.

You know those racks are stated as being able to carry 37kg, prettu pointless if you'd be busting the weight limit because you had the temerity to not being a rake! For someone like me, and I'm by no means near the top end of rider weights I'd be looking at less than 9kg of bags and luggage, never mind lights and a lock etc.

Whatever way you want to look at it the 125kg total weight limit for a trekking/touring bikes is pony and needs to be highlighted.

Well, pat yourself on the back then. You've now well and truely highlighted it.

Avatar
Mat Brett replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
4 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Mat Brett wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

Perhaps it's because he can do sums. 13.18 +​ 12 + 90 = 115.18

 

I said OVER 90kg as you'll be pushing towards the max designed limit, so that could be someone like me who is circa 100kg, I ride with around 1.5-2kg of clothing/shoes (incl cleats), another 1.5kg in filled bottles and I'll carry 20kg easily whilst touring.

What you said was "if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid."

This is incorrect. If someone is 91kg (say) with all that stuff, the total would be 116.18kg. 

(This number is less than 125kg, by the way).

Here's a little present for you...

 

Avatar
kevvjj replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
3 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
Mat Brett wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

The outgoing model was 13.08kg for a 57cm, it's notable that Trek won't specify what frame size the 13.18kg refers too. Granted the weight of the outgoing model was not including a front rack so that's where the difference is and why they've gone to the cheaper alu fork instead of a proper chromoly touring fork.

And lastly, and this is the kicker for a supposed touring/trekking bike, a ridiculously low 125kg rider/bike AND luggage limit. Basically if you put even a mid range load on this say 12kg, don't be over 90kg including shoes, clothing, bottles etc otherwise the warranty is invalid.

Why did the reviewer not mention this very essential bit of information??

Perhaps it's because he can do sums. 13.18 +​ 12 + 90 = 115.18

 

I said OVER 90kg as you'll be pushing towards the max designed limit, so that could be someone like me who is circa 100kg, I ride with around 1.5-2kg of clothing/shoes (incl cleats), another 1.5kg in filled bottles and I'll carry 20kg easily whilst touring.

You know those racks are stated as being able to carry 37kg, prettu pointless if you'd be busting the weight limit because you had the temerity to not being a rake! For someone like me, and I'm by no means near the top end of rider weights I'd be looking at less than 9kg of bags and luggage, never mind lights and a lock etc.

Whatever way you want to look at it the 125kg total weight limit for a trekking/touring bikes is pony and needs to be highlighted.

I guess you won't be buying it then? You write as though it's the only available touring bike in the world. I might buy one. I weigh 77kg fully kitted up. By Trek's reckoning I can carry almost 50kg of gear. I don't often tour with a kitchen sink but think I could with this setup (and maybe a fridge too).

Stop the whining, get off your high horse (or are you over the weight limit for that too?) it's a perfectly acceptable weight limit for most people.

 

Avatar
ktache | 5 years ago
1 like

Would have been nice to see a fully exposed headset cup too.  Dislike the hidden look on some newer bikes, this one at least has a flair from a narrowish headtube.

Avatar
TheHungryGhost | 5 years ago
5 likes

heart  but needs a dynamo front hub

Avatar
Zjtm231 replied to TheHungryGhost | 5 years ago
4 likes
TheHungryGhost wrote:

heart  but needs a dynamo front hub

 

...and mud guards...

Avatar
janusz0 replied to TheHungryGhost | 5 years ago
0 likes
TheHungryGhost wrote:

heart  but needs a dynamo front hub

and a rear Speedhub

Avatar
StraelGuy | 5 years ago
0 likes

I was honestly just thinking that myself...

Avatar
srchar | 5 years ago
5 likes

Is it just me, or is there a strange functional beauty to this machine?

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to srchar | 5 years ago
8 likes
srchar wrote:

Is it just me, or is there a strange functional beauty to this machine?

Skinny steel tubes. We all claim to love big fat carbon, but deep down we all know slim steel is where it’s at.

Avatar
cyclisto replied to vonhelmet | 5 years ago
0 likes
vonhelmet wrote:
srchar wrote:

Is it just me, or is there a strange functional beauty to this machine?

Skinny steel tubes. We all claim to love big fat carbon, but deep down we all know slim steel is where it’s at.

Skinny steel may look akward in large sizes, especially with huge headtubes.

But at the size displayed it is really a beauty.

At this bike, I believe a steel fork would be more apropriate.

The drivertrain is also what most people really need. Cheap and with lots of range. The brifters instead of barends are really welcome, we will not all try to get lost in the jungles of Burma for months.

 

Avatar
janusz0 replied to cyclisto | 5 years ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

[ we will not all try to get lost in the jungles of Burma for months.

Try it, you might like it.  It's a bit too touristy out of the jungle.

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