Author Topic: Kona Jake vs Trek 520  (Read 5520 times)

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Offline c.wedeles

Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« on: June 24, 2011, 12:55:27 pm »
Hi All,

I realize there are many posts on bikes, but I can't decide on whether is is worth spending extra money to buy a touring specific bike.

I have a feeling everyone will tell me it is, however can you please explain why.

I should add, I am an avid cyclist (I race) but have never toured and am biking from seattle to Tijuana in August, I plan on biking roughly 75-100 miles a day for as long as it takes.

I can get a Kona Jake for $800 dollars plus take,
 vs the trek 520 for $1200

I plan on packing fairly lightly given the distance of the trip

Offline whittierider

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 01:23:29 pm »
According to Kona's website, the Jake is a cyclocross bike, which is not a touring bike at all.  I haven't heard anything about the Jake in particular, but true cyclocross bikes generally don't make very good touring bikes.  They are made to be maneuverable at low speeds, not stable under load.  They tend to have high bottom brackets to get over obstacles, which is not desirable in a touring bike.  They also tend to have a pretty hard ride-- not something you would want for 100-mile days.  This comes from someone I'm in constant contact with who has owned and raced a ton of cyclocross bikes and road bikes.  In fact, I just found one of his posts on the subject, here.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 02:43:30 pm »
As is oft mentioned, you can tour on anything. However, if your budget allows, a bike designed for touring would offer a more comfortable, safer ride with less risk of problems. Touring bikes are generally stable, strong and comfortable with good brakes and tough wheels. They also have geometry and fittings that make mounting racks, panniers and extra water bottles easier, and have a wide range of gearing.

Offline Rep

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 11:53:14 pm »
Given the discussion on the difference between the two classes of bikes you are considering, add one more item to the mix.

You say there is a $400.00 difference between the classes.  Figure out total miles you will ride, divide by 400 and you will know the cost per mile of the extra paid for the class of bike fitting the design.

Have fun on your tour.
Bicycling, Brewing & Backgammon...What a life.

Offline charliedid

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 08:57:39 am »
The thing that would rule out the Jake for me is that it is aluminum vs the steel Trek. Having to clamp racks to an Aluminum bike is rarely considered a great idea. You would likely not have a problem with the geometry of the Kona as much as others think and many, many people have toured on the Bianchi Volpe for years. The Volpe is of course steel and fitted with rack and fender braze-ons.

That said you could pull a trailer and ride the Jake just fine.

Happy Trails

Offline Tourista829

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2011, 04:30:23 pm »
I agree with Nelson. I like a touring bikes because of the relaxed geometry & yet if done correctly, a good balance between stabilty & handling . I like high quality steel, it is more comfortable. Riding position more upright due to a shorter reach on the handlebars. The Chainstays are longer giving you plenty of clearance with panniers. The drivetrain is set up for a much wider range of gears. Low of 19" to a high of 115" gear inches should be more than adequate. I don't know your budget but if you think you may like touring then invest in a bike that rides and handles like a fine piece of machinery. I would also invest in S&S Couplers, 26" wheels and a good airline legal hard case. If you are traveling light, & want to use your current steed, attach a chrome moly rear rack* & two panniers*, providing you have enough heal clearance or attach a trailer as previously mentioned. *can be transfered to another bike

Offline c.wedeles

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 08:22:43 pm »
Thanks guys!

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2011, 06:53:40 pm »
The Jake the Snake cyclocross bike is a low end American cyclocross bike.  So it does not have European racing cyclocross geometry.  It has touring bike geometry.  Its not quick handling.  Frame geometry wise it would work fine as a touring bike.  But the fork probably does not allow braze on low rider racks.  If its an aluminum fork you can probably clamp a low rider rack onto it.  It will probably have one eyelet at the fork tips.  Rear should be able to accomodate a rack and has eyelets.  Big problem will probably be the crankset.  If it does not come with a triple crankset, then you will have to install one.  And then you may have problems with the left STI shifter being a double and not working with a triple.  And you will probably need a bigger cassette than comes standard with the Jake Snake bike.  And new chain for the bigger cogs.  By the time you convert the Jake Snake bike over to a capable touring bike, you are pretty close to what the Trek 520 costs.  If you pull a trailer you will still need the triple crankset, maybe new shifter, cassette, and chain.

Offline DaveB

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 10:29:44 pm »
Add another model to your consideraton list; the Surly Long Haul Trucker.  steel frame, touring geometry, good gear range, a well proven tourer and  priced about the same as the Trek.

Offline PJinNJ

Re: Kona Jake vs Trek 520
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2011, 03:16:52 pm »
Here's my two cents. I own a Jake, Vaya, Trek 520, LHT and an Americano. The Jake is a great bike for trails and short trips (50 or less miles) and light loads. The Vaya is about the same but a bit better due to the sloping tube. The Trek 520 is a very nice touring bike and handles as such with whatever load I carry. The LHT is by far my favorite tourer and is also very very practical from a price point that most of the time beats the Trek 520. The Americano I use only when failure is not an option and on international unsupported tours. While the 520 is a great bike it is my expeiience that the LHT is better overall due to pricing. A touring bike is very much different than a Cyclo bike and if you're thinking of using a backpack, forget about it.