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Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 14th 03, 03:07 AM
Michael
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Default Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?

I know Trek has kept the 520 frame pretty much the same over the years, but
which is the better built frame, my 20 year old lugged frame or a new 2004
one? I am looking at upgrading the drivetrain on my old bike or getting a
new bike, if I get a new bike, it will be a Trek 520.

I am looking at spending a few hundred dollars to do the upgrades that I
want verses the $1,000 or so for a new bike. I really don't see the need
for a new bike, other than some upgrades, the frame is fine and I just want
to get some of the components out of the 80's and into the modern world.
After the upgrades, my 520 will be functionally close to a new 520, although
it won't look as pretty as a new one.

I am a heavy rider and my Trek does well for me. It may weigh more than
other bikes, but on the century I did last weekend, I passed people on much
lighter bikes and finished before them. As you may have guessed, I care
more about how the bike functions and holds up than how it looks. Is there
any compelling reason to get a new 520?

Thanks for your opinions,

Michael


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  #2  
Old September 14th 03, 05:25 AM
Erik Freitag
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Default Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?

In article ,
"Michael" wrote:

I know Trek has kept the 520 frame pretty much the same over the years, but
which is the better built frame, my 20 year old lugged frame or a new 2004
one? I am looking at upgrading the drivetrain on my old bike or getting a
new bike, if I get a new bike, it will be a Trek 520.

I am looking at spending a few hundred dollars to do the upgrades that I
want verses the $1,000 or so for a new bike. I really don't see the need
for a new bike, other than some upgrades, the frame is fine and I just want
to get some of the components out of the 80's and into the modern world.
After the upgrades, my 520 will be functionally close to a new 520, although
it won't look as pretty as a new one.


My Trek 520 is only 2.5 years old, but I can't see that I'd switch. The
only obvious differences are, as you say, in the drivetrain (back end is
now an SRAM 11-34 instead of a Shimano 11-32). I have occasionally
wondered if I would be able to feel the difference between the LX and
and XTR derailleur.
  #3  
Old September 14th 03, 05:31 AM
Mike Jacoubowsky
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Default Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?

I am a heavy rider and my Trek does well for me. It may weigh more than
other bikes, but on the century I did last weekend, I passed people on

much
lighter bikes and finished before them. As you may have guessed, I care
more about how the bike functions and holds up than how it looks. Is

there
any compelling reason to get a new 520?


If you're willing to spend the money (and have an emotional attachment to
the old bike, which isn't such a bad thing), the upgrading the old 520 might
make sense, provided the frame is up to the task. I'd check it over very
carefully, making sure that it doesn't show any signs of distortion from
crashes (particularly check for any buckling underneath the downtube, about
1-3 inches below the head tube junction). The fork could be an issue; if
it's heavily rusted, I wouldn't trust it, as steel forks definitely have a
lifespan.

If it's really 20 years old, then it doesn't have brazed-on brake bosses,
which could be a significant disadvantage when it comes to choosing new
brakes. You just can't get high-quality side or centerpull brakes anymore,
and even the old ones don't come near the stopping power of new ones. This
could be either a show-stopper or yawner (since you've lived with whatever
brakes are on there for some time, but they may not be at all compatible
with STI levers if you went that way).

Rear dropout width could be as narrow as 120mm, which will result in a
slight amount of cosmetic buckling (ok, it's physical buckling, but probably
of no consequence in terms of strength) of the seat stays if you try and
spread it to the current 130mm standard found on most road bikes. If you
want a really strong wheel and wish to go to 135mm (as found on the current
520), that might be pushing things a bit too far. If the frame was
originally 126mm, not a big deal spreading it.

If there were no legacy issues associated with the frame, then I'd venture
to say a new 520 wouldn't represent much of an improvement (and it's
certainly not as pretty as the earlier lugged frames!).

The other side of the coin is that sometimes a new bike just seems like a
fun thing to have, and somehow rides nicer, even if everything's actually
the same.

--Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


  #4  
Old September 15th 03, 11:35 PM
mark freedman
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Default Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?

"Michael" wrote in message ...

I know Trek has kept the 520 frame pretty much the same


You may be able to compare the geometry - I recall some
older Trek brochures online, geometry might be one of the
elements included.

OTTOMH

They went to a lugless welded frame, and adapted a
slightly sloping top tube (I believe the original was
lugged with a horizontal top tube).

The newer models use threadless headsets. google groups
for discussions of the pros and cons. IMO They're ugly, and
if the steerer tube is cut short you may need an extender or
upriser stem to raise the bars. But they have advantages as well.

I believe they tried several different types of brakes.
You may want to check whether the new model has canti's
or mini-v's or whatever.

The new model has Shimano 105 crankset with 30-42-52
chainrings and an 11-32 LX 9 speed cassette. At one time,
touring bikes had smaller chainrings e.g. 26-36-46
(older RSX).


which is the better built frame


google groups for discussions of welded versus lugged
and sloping versus horizontal top tube, and threaded
versus threadless headset.

I have mentioned some other differences above.

You may have to have the rear triangle cold set
(spread and aligned) if the hub is wider. You may have
a freewheel, versus a freehub. I believe the latter
has better support for the axle. www.sheldonbrown.com
discusses such matters in depth.

OTTOMH If you can afford the $1000, you might as
well test ride the new 520, and buy it if you like it.

Sell the old one, or keep it as is for back-up. Spread over
20 years, that's only $50/year.



, my
a few hundred dollars to do the upgrades


I infer that you want freehub, 9 speed, indexed
shifting. Not clear what other components you'd change.
Don't know what kind of brakes you have now.

Are you doing the work yourself ?

Assuming that everything is in good condition,
you'd have to cold set the rear triangle, buy a new
rear wheel with freehub and 9-speed cassette, new chain,
probably a new rear derailleur, possibly new shifters.
Not sure your chainrings work with a 9-speed chain. They
may be worn, and also need replacing.

to get some of the components out of the 80's


I am a heavy rider and my Trek does well for me.


I test rode one 5 years ago and found it stable and
comfortable. You're preaching to the choir :-)

hth
  #5  
Old September 16th 03, 03:21 AM
Mike Kruger
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Default Which frame is built better, new or 20 year old Trek 520?

"Michael" wrote in message
...
... I am looking at upgrading the drivetrain on my old bike or getting a
new bike, if I get a new bike, it will be a Trek 520.

I am looking at spending a few hundred dollars to do the upgrades that I
want verses the $1,000 or so for a new bike. I really don't see the need
for a new bike, other than some upgrades, the frame is fine and I just

want
to get some of the components out of the 80's and into the modern world.


If it's a large 25 inch frame, I definitely think you should just buy a new
bike and sell the old one.
Let me know when you decide to do this.





 




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