Trek 520 or REI Randonne

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Dsat, Mar 31, 2003.

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  1. Dsat

    Dsat Guest

    Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    sale (now priced $749) according to an employee. Any reason(s) to pay the extra bucks for the 520???
    I've called four local Trek dealers and they don't ever stock the 520, but can order it (all are
    selling for $999.99). Most riding will be day trips and on pavement only. I'm overweight, so I chose
    the touring bike style.

    Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.
     
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  2. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On 31 Mar 2003 05:07:44 -0800, [email protected] (DSat) wrote:

    >Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.

    Since I'm pretty familiar with the 520 (I'm giving my girlfriend's its "spring overhaul" right now)
    I thought I'd try to provide an answer. I went to the REI website and did a search for "Randonne",
    but nothing found. Turns out it's a Randonee, and the website gives practically no technical data.
    Besides, the REI server is so overloaded/slow that it took almost a half hour to find out the
    little I could.

    Buy the Trek! There are Trek dealers everywhere.

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  3. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "DSat" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    > after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    > Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    > sale (now priced $749) according to an employee. Any reason(s) to pay the extra bucks for the
    > 520??? I've called four local Trek dealers and they don't ever stock the 520, but can order it
    > (all are selling for $999.99). Most riding will be day trips and on pavement only. I'm overweight,
    > so I chose the touring bike style.
    >
    > Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.

    They are both steel-framed touring bikes of similar geometry, both frames with a lifetime warranty
    (or so my Randonee was 3 years ago). Trek's steel frames are well-regarded, and this one is made in
    the USA. REI's frames are made in Taiwan, and I've never heard anything bad about them.

    Both bikes now use threadless headsets, and therefore must be ordered with uncut steerer tubes if
    you want to determine for yourself the handlebar height when the bike is being set up.

    Both bikes are geared too high for loaded touring. The Randonee is slightly worse in this regard. It
    would probably be easier to get a good LBS to swap drivetrain parts to achieve your desired gearing
    than it would to get an REI to do it. And cheaper. But you should ask.

    The Trek has 9-speed bar-end shifters. The Randonee has 8-speed Sora STI shifters. Aside from the
    difference in shifter technology, the Trek has generally higher-level drivetrain parts.

    Both bikes come with machine built wheels using decent quality parts. As with any machine built
    wheels, they will almost certainly require pre-delivery tensioning, truing and stress-relief which
    they may or may not get. Whichever bike you buy and wherever you buy it, ask about this, and if you
    get a blank look, go elsewhere. A heavy rider punishes wheels more than any other part of the bike,
    and proper preparation of machine built wheels is your protection against unrelenting, ongoing wheel
    problems. IMO, this is the factor (second only to fit) that will most influence your long-term
    satisfaction with the bike.

    With the Randonee on sale, there could well be a $350 difference between the bikes. Interestingly,
    the price of the 520 hasn't risen nearly as much as the Randonee's has in the last three years; my
    Randonee was $500 on sale, and at the time the 520 was still $1000 (and unavailable).

    The big unknown is the quality of your REI's bike department, which will be difficult to assess
    since it's new. Some REI stores (like ours in Conshohocken PA) are very good, and function as a
    local bike shop to many area cyclists.

    If you can buy a 520 from a local shop that will swap parts as needed, charging only for the price
    difference of the parts, and understands the need to properly prepare the wheels, that would be a
    convincing argument to buy the Trek (if it fits you). If all the Trek dealers rebuff your requests
    along these lines, or try to tell you the wheels are fine as delivered from the factory, you might
    want to look at (in addition to REI) the Fuji Touring Series and perhaps the Cannondale T800.

    RichC
     
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Guest

    Let us know what the sale price is on the Randonee.

    That aside, I like REI and I expect the Randonee would be a good bike for you. It is a lesser
    spec'ed bike than the Trek 520, and is priced accordingly. What is the likelyhood you will ride the
    bike far enough and hard enough to need to replace the components?

    Go try both.

    "DSat" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    > after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    > Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    > sale (now priced $749) according to an employee.
     
  5. Patrick Lamb

    Patrick Lamb Guest

    On 31 Mar 2003 05:07:44 -0800, [email protected] (DSat) wrote:

    >Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    >after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    >Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    >sale (now priced $749) according to an employee. Any reason(s) to pay the extra bucks for the
    >520??? I've called four local Trek dealers and they don't ever stock the 520, but can order it (all
    >are selling for $999.99). Most riding will be day trips and on pavement only. I'm overweight, so I
    >chose the touring bike style.
    >
    >Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.

    Rich has written up a good comparison. I've only seen two 520s live in stores, but most of the REIs
    have the Randonees at some point during the year.

    I didn't care too much for the Randonee, although I almost bought one because of the price. It was a
    nebulous feel thing -- it just didn't feel as good as the Cannondale I tried at the same time. The
    8- vs. 9-speed shifters might become an issue at some point; you can only buy lower-end 8-speed
    components now. So at some point, you may have to buy the upgrade parts.

    I really liked the feel of the Trek 520. I wish I could have bought one, but I'd already bought a
    bike when I finally found one. It just felt right. The Randonee seemed kind of erratic, while the
    Trek was just smooth. I was worried about the bar-end shifters on the 520, but it was set up so my
    hands naturally found the shifter without even looking.

    Try them both if you can find a dealer... Maybe Trek can help you find a dealer with one in stock
    within a few hours' drive. I'd suggest you look at some other tourers, just so you know you're
    getting a bike you like.

    Pat
     
  6. Mymacv

    Mymacv Guest

    >I really liked the feel of the Trek 520

    I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not interested in loaded touring?
    I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford Adventure Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it
    seems like a very heavy bike. Is the 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and I
    like that. I guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my part of NJ stock
    them. Special order only.
     
  7. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    "MYMACV" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >I really liked the feel of the Trek 520
    >
    > I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not
    interested
    > in loaded touring?

    Yes, like most touring bikes. My old Cannondale T1000 fits that niche.

    >I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford Adventure Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it
    >seems like a very heavy bike. Is
    the
    > 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and I like that.
    I
    > guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my
    part of
    > NJ stock them. Special order only.

    Touring bikes in general will be a couple pounds heavier than more sporting bikes, but still qualify
    as lightweights (unless you're carrying 35lbs of gear! ;-)
     
  8. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "MYMACV" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >I really liked the feel of the Trek 520
    >
    > I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not
    interested
    > in loaded touring? I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford
    Adventure
    > Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it seems like a very heavy bike. Is
    the
    > 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and I like that.
    I
    > guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my
    part of
    > NJ stock them. Special order only.

    Touring bikes in general almost always seem to have to be special-ordered.

    The total weight of a bike is more a product of the parts you mount on it. Without knowing for sure,
    I doubt there's more than a pound difference in the weight of the Waterford frame vs the Trek.
    Probably less. Fit one bike with 36-spoke touring wheels, fat kevlar tires, racks, fenders, lights,
    cages and all the rest, while giving the other lightweight racing parts, and it would hardly matter
    which frame was which from a weight perspective.

    Touring bikes are ideal all-rounders. In most respects, the terms are IMO interchangeable.

    RichC
     
  9. [email protected] (DSat) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    > after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    > Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    > sale (now priced $749) according to an employee.

    I hear REIs have different "feels" to them, and one thing for you to consider is what relationship
    you will have with the shop at this new REI. I have a 'way over used membership card (always scary
    when you get your dividend, and realize how big it is), and feel very comfortable with the store
    personnel at our local REI. But I hear some REIs feel more like a department store than an LBS, and
    with a new store, you don't know how this is going to work out.

    I lead a ride with a fellow who is an employee of our local bike club (so you can imagine he puts in
    a few miles), and he was riding a Novara Randonee. His biggest beef was that the paint job is not
    very robust, which is also the case with my REI Novara Strada.

    I haven't heard any major complaints about the Randonee, but I haven't heard any about the Trek 520,
    either. Ride them both out of the shop and around a bit, and buy the one you feel best about.

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky ([email protected]) Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm Singing with you at: http://www.tiferet.net/ Books
    just wanna be FREE! See what I mean at: http://bookcrossing.com/friend/Cpetersky
     
  10. > I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not
    interested
    > in loaded touring? I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford
    Adventure
    > Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it seems like a very heavy bike. Is
    the
    > 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and I like that.
    I
    > guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my
    part of
    > NJ stock them. Special order only.

    The 520 actually sells well, being the default no-brainer and quite conservative choice for a
    touring bike. TREK wisely doesn't change it from year to year, sometimes even keeping the same color
    for several years in a row.

    Not quite sure why you can't find on; my guess is that some shops just aren't all that good at
    selling the dream. That's what you're doing with a touring bike in most cases... trying to expand
    one's horizons of what can be done with a bike. If you just limit yourself to those who already want
    to tour, it's not that big a market. But if you casually infect people with the disease, they go
    home, look at websites showing someone's tour of the Alps or Rockies, and next thing you know
    they're in for a 520.

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

    Smokey Guest

    [email protected] (MYMACV) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > >I really liked the feel of the Trek 520
    >
    > I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not interested in loaded touring?
    > I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford Adventure Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it
    > seems like a very heavy bike. Is the 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and
    > I like that. I guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my part of NJ
    > stock them. Special order only.

    for many recreational riders, i think touring bikes make a lot of sense. the riding position is
    better for a lot of us, and a pound or two weight difference is well worth the comfort. my body
    is (ahem) abdominally challenged, and needs weight reduction a lot more than my bicycle does.
    even if you don't plan on loaded touring, don't discount the convenience of having a rack. our
    local trek dealer always has a 520 in stock, but that could be because he is very close to some
    very good rail-trails that sponsor tours, plus our annual big turnout for the MS150. i agree on
    the shimano bar-cons, they are a favorite with me, too. they're simpler, and i like the slimmer
    brake hoods better. it's nice to have the option to easily change from indexed to friction
    shifting. sometimes it's nice to go back to friction for a change of pace, or if you have a
    problem on the road. smokey
     
  12. Kevin

    Kevin Guest

    All considered, the Waterford Adventure is in a different class. That does not make one better than
    another unless it fits you and your needs.

    Touring bikes are heavier than a sporty anything. The wife's Felt SR 71 is a one hand bike carry,
    and her Trek 520 is a two hand lift. the Felt has 20 spokes and the Trek has 36 spokes. The Felt has
    a 700x23 tire and the Trek
    700x35. Ofcourse the Trek is heavier. You can load it and ride on roads needing repair.

    If you don't buy the Waterford and it is 54cm, reply to me private. Maybe I'll buy it.

    "MYMACV" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >I really liked the feel of the Trek 520
    >
    > I wonder if the 520 would make a good 'all-rounder' for someone not
    interested
    > in loaded touring? I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford
    Adventure
    > Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it seems like a very heavy bike. Is
    the
    > 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and I like that.
    I
    > guess the 520 is not a big seller with Trek; none of the dealers in my
    part of
    > NJ stock them. Special order only.
     
  13. >I've been looking at a [hardly] used Waterford Adventure Cycle for a bit more than the 520 but it
    >seems like a very heavy bike. Is the 520 a heavy bicycle, too? They both have bar-end shifters and
    >I like that.

    All bicycles with bar-end shifters are heavy. I mean look at all that weight on the end of the bars.

    Look at it this way, you drive to the gym to get a workout. What's the first thing you see, weights
    on the end of bars. These things are SUPPOSED to be heavy.

    Now granted, you aren't actually lifting those bar-end shifters, except when you want to shift!
    Insidious how they suck you in, and don't forget turns. They are mounted far away from the center of
    gravity, and a little positional misadjustment can throw you into a vicious spin.

    They just aren't safe, you need to replace them immediately with shifters that are close to the
    center of gravity and are made of the lightest possible materials.

    Anything else just isn't sensible.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  14. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> DSat wrote:
    > Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    > after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    > Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    > sale (now priced $749) according to an employee. Any reason(s) to pay the extra bucks for the
    > 520??? I've called four local Trek dealers and they don't ever stock the 520, but can order it
    > (all are selling for $999.99). Most riding will be day trips and on pavement only. I'm overweight,
    > so I chose the touring bike style.
    >
    > Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.
     
  15. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> DSat wrote:
    > Looking for entry level touring bike. I realize the fit is the most important thing and service
    > after/during the sale ranks high also. REI just opened a store locally (Buford, GA - north of
    > Atlanta) and will have a grand opening sale this coming up weekend where the Randonne should be on
    > sale (now priced $749) according to an employee. Any reason(s) to pay the extra bucks for the
    > 520??? I've called four local Trek dealers and they don't ever stock the 520, but can order it
    > (all are selling for $999.99). Most riding will be day trips and on pavement only. I'm overweight,
    > so I chose the touring bike style.
    >
    > Any thoughts appreciated on these two bikes.
    >

    I have about 3000 miles on a 2001 Trek 520. Use it for 1-3x week commuting (52 mi RT) and occasional
    weekend riding (30 mi). Comfy, heavy, green, what else do you need? The pre-installed back rack is
    great for carrying an Apple G3 Series or IBM ThinkPad 600E wrapped in heavy chains, or a couple or
    three bungee cords and some bubble wrap to the workplace. I've metal-fatigued about 4 tail lights
    off the back end of that thing, but I finally found an LBS mechanic who is nuttier than I am and has
    the latest back-light fastened on hard enough to tow a mini Cooper. I use the second water bottle
    holder for a Nissan coffee thermos. There's a braze-on for a THIRD water bottle holder in case I
    need to carry a cold martini. Six or eight goathead flats, which I can fix barehanded, although I
    have used levers when I'm changing in the rain. No sign of problems with the Bontrager wheels - have
    not had to true them yet. Bar- end shifters? Hey, you're commuting (or touring), how often do you
    need to shift? Commit! Pick a gear and stay with it! Or ... drop to the 30-32 and climb any wall you
    have time for. But, I have ridden STIs on a Cannondale R300 for a few hundred miles in Maui, and I
    really don't think the bar-ends are any harder, and they feel more reliable.

    The IRC Duro Tour tires don't show any wear after 3000 miles of riding through vegetable waste that
    didn't make it to the Davis Street dump (I mean transfer station), dropped loads from tortilla
    factories, detritus from car collisions, fastener factory flotsam and railroad crossing jetsam. I
    wish I knew how to replace them, but it doesn't look like I'll have to do it very soon. I've used
    25-35c tubes with no problems. Those Avid Single Digit 5s on the front end make the downhills
    fear-free, and they get the rim really hot - cool! I don't think I've ever used the rear brakes,
    except to hold the bike still when I'm showing it off.

    Overweight? Welcome to the club. I can testify that maneuvering a 520 over a 52-mile course for two
    full work-weeks will make 10 pounds go away without any intake adjustments. Of course, it will be
    hard to wake up on time after the first two days. At 26 pounds, the bike isn't much more than 10% of
    the total package weight.

    Maintenance: the LBS does free adjustments for life, so they are paying for that ill-considered
    policy - I've had it in three or four times for rear derailleur adjustments (I do own a hex wrench,
    so this isn't strictly necessary). Other than that, I clean it more often than is mentally healthy -
    just fun, I think the bike could be sealed in mud and keep running fine. I clean and lube the chain
    and the rest of the transmission when I clean the bike because it seem like the right thing to do.

    There may be better bikes for long-distance touring, but the 520 doesn't seem to care where I ride
    it, or how long. I've never tried to go overnight with it, but there are big wide handlebars for
    lighting and instruments and a front pack. Braze-ons for front rack, fenders - plenty of room for
    panniers, pack, tent, stove, sink, back-up auto-gyro, you name it.

    My LBS had it in stock (they always seem to have one) - they steered me to it as soon as I started
    complaining about the broken back wheel on my old bike, and the weekly flats, and my insatiable
    desire for a triple, etc. etc. Got it for father's day. Could have saved 10% if I had waited until
    the slow season (October around here), but that would be four months I wasn't riding it.
     
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