Trek 920 Touring

Are you #drivenbyadventure? If so, you and a similarly intrepid companion may be eligible to win one of three all-expenses-paid epic riding experiences on Trek’s newly updated and expanded line of touring and adventure bikes.

More rugged pairs can hope to win a trip to experience the many terrains of Virginia on the new Trek 920, a drop bar 29er model designed for off-road adventures. It comes stock with front and rear racks as well as a mountain drivetrain with bar end shifters.

Tour the rest of the story to see how you can win…

Trek Driven By Adventure Contest

Interested pairs should be prepared to submit essays, photos, and video that describe their personalities, style of adventure, and make the case for why they are the best possible team to be chosen for a dream adventure.

Trek 520 Touring

One fortunate pair will win a scenic multi-day, fully-loaded coastal tour near Portland, OR on a pair of new Trek 520 bikes. This updated workhorse features an optional disc brake configuration if you’re looking for greater stopping power, a traditional touring triple crank, low rack mounts, and a long, low, and stable handling geometry that has been refined over the history of this steel model (Trek’s longest-running to date).

Trek 720 Touring

The winners of the northern California “credit card” touring adventure will find themselves on the brand new Trek 720, a fast aluminum touring machine with disc brakes, a road geometry, and an 11-speed Shimano 105 drivetrain. This model accommodates a rear rack, but features a light-weight integrated dry-bag fork mounting system which, in keeping with the spirit of the machine, allows the rider to get quickly from point to point with a minimal load.

If one of these scenarios seems appealing to you, brush off your essay writing skills, camera, and enter to win here. Applications are due by March 31st.

For full specs and details on the bikes (and the rest of their updated pavement line), check out our coverage from Trek World last year.


  1. Derek on

    I don’t understand why touring bikes still come with bar end shifters. “Easier to service” is the answer that I’m always told. What are the odds that a bike shop these days will carry the parts to service a bar end shifter? I think if you have shifter problems, you’re going to be buying a new shifter anyway.

    With that said, who has issues with their shifters anyway? I’ve got 30k miles on mine and no issues. That seems good enough for me. I’m sure others have way more.

  2. AndyPandy on

    Derek–There’s more to bar end shifters then just that. 1) They cost a crap ton less so if one does break you’re out $100 to replace the set and not $350 or more for one. 2) You can easily sweep through all of the gears without having to *click* *click* *click* until you get to the gear you need. 3) All you have to do to figure out what gear you’re in is to look down at the bar ends. 4) If you actually use the drops it’s much easier (for me at least) to slide your hand back to the end of the bar to change gears then to reach your brifter. 5) If something does happen or your bike is out of tune friction shifting will still work. 6) They don’t make many 7, 8, or 9 speed brifters anymore.

  3. M.C. Slammer on

    The 920 looks like it could be a lot of fun. If it could accommodate 29+ rubber, and was made of steel it would be close to perfect. When off-road, loaded bike with aluminum forks gets old fast. As bikepacking continues to grow in popularity, more miles are logged, and more reviews written, there seems to be a reoccurring theme of externally mounted racks failing. Most packers have moved on to frame/seat/bar bags. I would like to see a long term review of how this bike holds up under 2k+ miles. Perhaps trek got this one right.

  4. LateSleeper on

    Nice to see that Trek still remembers their roots. All three bikes look great!

    Derek: It’s remarkably difficult to find brifters that will work with a mountain triple. They have the wrong pull ratio, wrong index spacing, won’t work with your chosen chain ring steps, etc. If you do find a combo that works, it could turn out that your handlebar bag or bar roll interferes with shifting. Meanwhile, bar end shifters will handle any drivetrain imaginable, allow over-shifting to handle big non-ramped steps on the front, and let you trim crazy chain lines or adapt to cable stretch.

    Anybody know where I can get a dry bag setup like that for my gravel bike?

  5. Veganpotter on

    The 920 does not have a triple on it. It has a 42/28 double. No reason why this shouldn’t have road shifters on it. Also, the nice thing about SRAM is that if you’re on a long trip and you get in a bind, you can replace your shifter with any 10 speed road shifter from SRAM. If you brake the bar end shifter…if they have any bar end shifters in stock, they’ll probably be Shimano anyway so its not much use.

    ***I wish it came in more than one build. Apex, Rival, Force…anything will do as an another option. I’d like to have a mechanical brake too. Chances are, I’m going to buy this bike and sell all the parts other than the wheels. It has over an 8cm BB drop which is essential in my opinion. Most of the Gravel Tourers I’ve ridden feel great with 35-40mm tires(better with 32s) but sit way too high with a 2″ 29er tire but this bike is just about perfect in that department

  6. Carl Spackler on

    @AndyPandy – how about climbing on the hoods, out of the saddle? When you have to try and shift when the incline changes? Good luck with bar end shifters….

  7. Veganpotter on

    Another thing…SRAM rear bar ends DO NOT have a friction shift mode. The front shifter is friction shift but not the rear so you must use SRAM derailleurs with these shifters(at least for the rear)

  8. G on

    Bar end shifters aren’t a case for shops having replacement parts or replacement shifters. The reality is, bar end shifters are much easier to service on the field. Or, more than anything else, less likely to FAIL on the field. They’re simple levers on a pivot, not some complicated ratchet mechanism.

  9. Micah on

    Re: being easier to service in the field:

    Bar-end shifters are so small and light that it isn’t unreasonable to carry a spare rear shifter on a long tour. And the most common problem with them is the pivot bolt loosens and falls out, which can then be replaced with a standard bolt from your bottle cage.

  10. Ciaran on

    @Carl Spackler – I’m using a Kona Sutra with bar-end shifters in Switzerland. We’ve got plenty of mountains and steeps to climb. That was one of the fears I had – but in reality it’s pretty easy. Us humans adapt very quickly. Enough that I have no issues swapping between brifters and barends on my road and touring bike.

    And our old cycling heroes seemed to get on ok with down tube shifters. Didn’t seem to hold them up too much.

    Of course brifters are easier – but it’s not a huge issue.

  11. Steve on

    LateSleeper: You may be able to order some of those fork-mounted bags through your local Trek dealer if/when they become available (which they don’t seem to be at present, alas…), or depending on your frame & mounting options, perhaps something like the Salsa “Anything Cage” could work for you.

  12. Tomi on

    @Carl Spackler: you just reach the bar-end, it is not that hard. It is a touring bike, not a racing bike where you are constantly shifting to keep up with a peloton or follow the attacks.

    A TRP Hylex hydro brakes setup + 2 bar ends cost only a fraction of the price of SRAM/Shimano integrated hydro brakes/shifters. Plus they can be replaced easily without removing the bar tape, won’t interfere with a handlebar bag like some brifters do, etc. It is a sensible choice for this type of bicycle.

  13. Dave B on

    I’ve used brifters (sorry, there is no better word) and bartend shifters extensively and barends do suffer in hilly areas where you may have to shift in a hurry and taking your hands off the hoods is difficult.

    The best compromise I’ve found are Retroshifts (aka Gevenalle). These use downtube or barend levers mounted on modified brake levers putting the shifters in easy reach from the hoods but offering the low cost, durability and friction front shifting that works with nearly any crank and front derailleur. A hydraulic disc brake version is available as well as levers for road and V-brake/MTB mechanical disc brakes.

  14. Ck on

    It’s kind of a shame that i’m not a fan of owning a Trek(they’re like owning a Camry, reliable but boring and not unique), and that I would want a steel frame, because otherwise that 920 is a pretty awesome setup.

  15. MikeC on

    Best new Trek lineup in years, along with the new Lync model commuter bikes and Electra Moto series. 920 is on my short list of bikes upon which to squander my annual EP allotment, and first mod would be to go with hydro brake/shifters.

  16. Colin on

    You can say, “Integrated shifters” “sti” hell, when you say “shifter” most people are going to assume you’re talking about a *cringe* “brifter”. It’s 2015, you only really have to specify when you are talking about bars ends.

    On that note, live a little, tour with Di2 and tubulars on carbon rims.

  17. Veganpotter on

    CK…it sounds like you’re looking for a touring bike that’s unique, not aluminum(has to be steel) and not a Trek but you think this bike is cool. Hmmm…steel touring bikes that aren’t made by Trek? Never heard of one…so unique that nobody has ever done it.

    ***Don’t know about you guys but home many of you have had an integrated road shifter(brifter) fail on you during a ride??? In over 100,000miles of riding, I’ve had two shifter problems. One was a cable breaking in the shifter(fixable but a pain….seen it happen to others on bar ends) and the other was a return spring failure on my 1st Gen SRAM RIVAL shifters with over 60,000 MILES ON THEM!!! And hell, it still worked. All I had to do was push the shifter back in place with my thumb. I ordered a replacement but got so used to it that I didn’t replace it for almost a year even though I had the replacement on me.

    Only cheapo shifters(maybe old Shimano 7spd, Sora…the ones with the thumb tab) really fail on people without insane mileage. Of course there’s the odd shifter failure on a RED or even a Dura-Ace shifter but frames also randomly crack for seemingly no reason. Tire failures happen way more often than shifter failures and are far more dangerous. I say stop riding with tires…go to something else.

  18. Jason on

    Anyone have headtube specs on the 920? Looks like a straight 1 1/8″ steerer. Wondering if I can upgrade to a tapered fork in the future. If it has a 44mm headtube this should be no problem.

  19. phella on

    I’m interested in all the bar-end shifters employed on these simply because my wife can’t operate her Sora brakes from on top of the hoods (or from the drops) and I’m thinking of going to smaller brake levers without shifters.

    I have huge hands, but it wasn’t until I put my wife on a roadbike that I realized how difficult it is for smaller riders to use common components design for men.

  20. Veganpotter on

    Phella, you can easily find older 7spd bar ends for her bike. If you can swing it though, I’d look for new shifter/brake levers that are more ergonomic and have adjustable reach. The thumb shifters are a pain for me(guy with medium sized hands) and hate that so many women’s bikes used to come with them. Of course, this means you’ll likely need a new rear derailleur, cassette, shifters and chain but you can always go used. There’s plenty of great used, cheap, 10spd gear now that everything is bumping up to 11spd.

  21. FriendlyTourer on

    I stopped using integrated shifters for extended touring after my pair of Ultegras seized up after weathering a 12hr sandstorm. I got them moving after reaching a bike shop a week later but I couldn’t get all the grit out and the internals finally failed completely 4k later.

    I still like integrated shifters for tamer riding though!

  22. hpbiker on

    Isn’t the reason for having barend shifters (other than low maintenance) is because a STI shifter does not work well if you have a large handlebar bag? Sweet bikes and the 520 has had bar end shifters forever.

  23. Frank on

    @Derek – it’s not just the availability of parts – it’s the fact that there are very few parts in a bar end shifter and, frankly, the only part which is likely to break is the cable and every bike shop carries shift cables.

  24. Dolan Halbrook on

    Nice evolution. I like what I see in the 920.

    That said, Gevenalle (Retroshift) would be perfect for all of these builds.

    And, of course, they’re ALL missing a dynohub as far as I can tell. I’m not sure when US manufacturers will ever offer one as an option, but I certainly wouldn’t spec a touring bike without one.

  25. Chris L on

    Shimano bar end shifters maker sense on a touring bike but Sram bar end shifters do not. Why? Simple: Shimano bar end shifters still have the option of being able to run in friction mode. This can be very handy in touring should you bend your derailleur hanger! Sram bar end shifters are index only so I really don’t see the point of running them.

    The 720 looks pretty sweet though I wonder how sturdy those bag mounts are should you lay the bike down in a crash. A steel rack in a situation like that would bend but those plastic mounts look like they would break. Is an interesting concept.

    As for aluminum versus steel, at this price point it’s pretty moot. True touring bikes are pretty stout regardless of material. When you have 40 pounds of gear on a bike and your going through a corner on a downhill mountain pass you want things to be pretty solid. Also if you think your Surly or Soma is a “steel is real” bike then you really don’t know what a truly good steel bike feels like! Reynolds 531, 753, Columbus SL, etc. is a different story. Tire choice will also have a bigger impact on comfort than frame material. Finally, aluminum is more flexible than steel (all else being equal) – that’s not an opinion, it’s fact! Hint: there’s a reason track sprinters run steel bars.

  26. Frank2 on

    Either the guys at Trek have never actually ridden a fully-loaded touring bike up a hill, or they have monster beast quads. Year after year they build bikes with no-where near the low gearing you would need for their intended use.

    I wouldn’t run 28/36 as the low gear on my racy hardtail, let-alone on a long-distance trekker.

    I don’t want to be totally negative, I like the concept, bike looks sweet. 520 has been a great value for years, but they just keep blowing it with ridiculous gearing.

  27. Duke on

    Why is everyone so hung up on a bar end shifters, if you don’t like them switch them. I am more upset with the fact they put hydro disc brakes on the 920 which seems counter productive, if they are trying to make an easy to fix bike they should have put a solid pair of mechanical brakes on the thing and called it a day.


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