Trek has released an all-new version of its longest-running model, the 520. The steel tourer was introduced in 1983 as a dependable option for multi-day tours, and we reckon the concept has never looked more up-to-date, with more and more folk taking their gravel bikes on long distance tours.
The all-new 520 keeps the spirit of a classic steel touring bike, but Trek has stacked it with modern features that help riders tackle more adventurous terrain.
Major frame and fork updates
The 520 is built with Trek’s custom-butted chromoly steel frame. Compared to previous versions, the all-new model has a larger-diameter down tube for extra stiffness when it’s loaded with gear, as well as a taller head tube for a more comfortable upright fit, a longer wheelbase, and a lower bottom bracket height for extra stability.
The 520’s alloy fork features Trek’s all-new ThruSkew, a captured skewer system that ensures the front wheel will never drop out unintentionally. ThruSkew is intended to provide peace of mind when you’re flying down a mountain pass, and it takes the hassle out of changing a front flat on a loaded touring bike. It allows you to, you can remove the front wheel without having to remove the front cargo – neat.
Adventure-ready parts spec
The 520 is equipped with 700x38c tires for stability and traction on mixed surfaces, and the new frame has enough clearance to run 29×2.0˝ tires for adventures that stray from the beaten path. It also has a wide-range 3×9 Shimano drivetrain with Sora STI shifters, mechanical disc brakes that can slow a heavy load, and overbuilt 36-spoke Tubeless Ready wheels that are less likely to require a spoke replacement on the road. 3x and hefty wheels won’t be for everyone, but we know that there is a niche core out there who are rejoicing that these kind of bikes can still be bought.
Trek have definitely gone down the strength in simplicity approach. The 520 is purpose-built with dependable parts that are easy to service, so even a breakdown won’t mean the end of an adventure. It’s nice to see cable disc brakes for example – they may not be as powerful as their hydraulic cousins, but are much easier to repair in the field.
Extra mounts and cargo-carry options
The 520 comes stock with heavy-duty front and rear cargo racks rated for more weight than you’d ever want to carry (33 lbs up front, 50 lbs in the rear). It also has mounts for full-coverage guards and up to three water bottle cages.
We currently only got US availability and pricing – now and in one complete model ($1574.99 MSRP) and a frameset ($639.99 MSRP), each with two colorways. We are checking on UK availability and will report back.