Component advice for an upgrade Trek Touring bike


New Member
Jul 8, 2010

I am about to get my '85 Trek 720 frame back from the repair shop with the cantilever bosses moved and rear spread to fit modern 700c/130mm wheels. I need to get a new wheelset & freewheel/cogs etc, and am looking for tips. I also need a new crank set--the existing one did not survive.

I would like to keep the existing drivetrain which works as good as ever, but don't know what modern parts are compatible. Huret Duopar derailer in the rear and a Simplex front derailer. I would like to upgrade to an 8-speed rear if the derailer can handle it.

I am curious to know what some good rims and hubs are for a touring bike. The old rims were 27" Matrix Titan T rims. The hubs were Maillard, and they are not going back on. I hear a lot about the Mavic A-319 rims being good for touring. Not sure about hubs. Everything will get wet and muddy.

The crank was the original Sugino crank that came with the bike, with 2 large chainrings (was that called "half-step?") and a tiny 3rd chainring. With my region being mountainous, i'd like more of an evenly-distributed chainring set. i also need a new bottom bracket, and with the frame being spread to 130mm, I'm guessing I'll need to use a wider one than before?

Any tips are greatly appreciated.


If you don't mind my asking, what did you do with your 27" Matrix Titan T rims? I am looking for a rear wheel to match a front wheel that I already have.
regarding wheels, first and foremost, how much do you weigh? Mavic a319 are good, mavic a 719 are tougher and a smidgen lighter. If you don't weigh much, they may be overkill. conventional wisdom would say 36 holes. Regarding hubs, part of the issue you are gonna have is that generally speaking MTB hubs are sealed better than road hubs. you could look into getting mtb hubs but getting spacers removed so that it effectively becomes a 130mm hub. either that or be dilligent in servicing your hubs.
Bicycle wheel warehouse has some very good pricing on wheels. depending on how much you weigh, these alex dh19 are a great value it is a very stout rim that doesn't have the name recognition that Mavic has the rear is 135 so you would have to get a spacer removed and then have it redished but a shop could probably do it for 20-30 bucks additional. they also have mavic a319's there for around $200 for the set.

Regarding drivetrain, what type of shifters are you looking at running? i'm not familiar with your rear deraileur but sounds like it doesn't index so i'm assuming your planning to go with bar end shifters? do you have pics of the RD? the cage length of it will play a role in how big of a rear cog you can have. the spring probably moves out plenty far enough to handle the number of gears, its just a matter of will you have capacity issues. as for your crank and BB generally when you buy a crank they give you instructions on what bottom bracket to get. If your planning on doing heavily loaded touring, you could consider MTB cranks up front which will give lower gearing or you could just go with a triple up front. ots of deals on cranks on ebay and various internet places. if your planning on running bar ends in friction mode you have a lot of options, at the same time, you could just go with a new RD as well and get something that indexes.

The "half step plus granny" that you mentioned references an old method of keeping gear ratios closer for old 5 speed setups. modern casettes give you enough gears in the back that you don't need a half step plus granny setup, a regular triple crank will do the job nicely.
Are you still looking for 27" Matrix Titan wheels? I have a set.
Let me know if you're interested.
Not sure why you needed go with a modern cassette type of hub on the rear, there are really good freewheels made by IRD that would have worked just as good, and with a triple on the front you could have toured anywhere with it...the touring world did just that for years on freewheels and triples, heck they did that before those were out! More gears don't benefit you any, they still have the same size small and large cog, cassettes just squeeze in 2 or 3 more cogs and use a thinner chain which wear out faster then the older wider chain. But maybe you wanted more spinning type gears.

Rim wise, why did you reject the Mavic A719 rim? It's more rugged design then the A319 which is more of a cross rim rather then a touring rim like the A719. There's also even a better rim called the Ambrosio Keba, it's lighter then the Mavic but stronger and their cheaper. Make sure you use 36 spoke option on any wheel you have made because their stronger for touring. Also another good choice is Velocity Psycho, a very strong wheel and you can opt to have the rear wheel built with 40 spokes if you want a really strong wheel and 36 for the front. I have a pair of older 1985 touring rims with 40 spokes and they never go out of true and the rims and spokes back then were not as good as what their doing today!

The Maillards were the best touring hub made back in the 80's so their no slouch, their still being used all over the world today for touring that's how good they were, if you can rebuild them I would. Otherwise if you must change the hub I would consider a Phil Woods hub and they come in 36 and 40 hole drillings. IF you decide to go with a 40 spoke rear but don't want to spend the jack for the Phil Woods hub you could go with the Shimano HF08 hub and save about $45, but at that small of price point I would just get the Phil Woods and be done with it.

Front hub if you want a dynomo set up the best deal are the Shimano Nexus hub their cheap at about $65 for quick Release and they work really good, and they come only in 36 hole drillings.