If your idea of a touring bike involves less gravel and more panniers, take a look at the new Trek 520. Continuing the 520’s streak as the longest running model in Trek’s history, the 520 has been around in the line up since 1983. And while it still retains the original’s touring focus, the new bike has a few key upgrades to make it better than ever.
In order to make it more comfortable and better handling, the frame and fork include a number of improvements. While the frame is still custom butted chromoly steel, the frame now has a larger diameter down tube for increased stiffness when fully loaded. The fork on the other hand has changed from steel to aluminum and includes Trek’s new ThruSkew captured quick release system. Trek describes it as a combination between a thru axle and quick release with the ability to remove the front wheel without having to remove the front cargo. It’s also 318g lighter than the previous steel fork.
The geometry has changed as well with a taller head tube that allows for a more upright position, a lower bottom bracket for better stability, and a longer wheelbase.
Built around 700c x 38mm tires, the frame and fork do have the capability of running up to 29 x 2.0″ tires if you want to get into more aggressive terrain. If not, there’s always the ability to run full coverage fenders around the stock tires.
Since this is a touring bike, the 520 comes equipped with full front and rear heavy duty racks capable of carrying 33lbs up front and 50lbs in the rear. Along with the three water bottle cage mounts, you should have plenty of gear carrying abilities. Between the gear and the rider, the bike carries a 300lb weight limit. The complete bike is said to weigh about 13.3kg.
The 520 also makes the jump from bar end to STI shifting with a Shimano Sora 3×9 wide range drivetrain. In order to handle the loads, the wheels are 36 spoke and tubeless ready – though to run tubeless, you’ll need to supply the rim strips, valves, sealant, and tubeless tires.
Available in red or grey, the complete bikes will be offered for $1,574.99 while a frameset will also be available for $639.99. Check out Trek’s website for more including the geometry numbers.