Author Topic: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?  (Read 10843 times)

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Offline ZTours

Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« on: July 30, 2012, 04:08:07 pm »
Hi Folks,

I've been researching and hunting for a touring bike, and hope to make a final decision ASAP.  In the city I'm living in, I've narrowed it down to two bikes that are available:  the Trek 520 and the Opus Legato.  (Links are below for specs).

I haven't done a major tour before, but want this bike to last me for quite a while.  The two bikes are similarly priced, with the Trek being a bit more expensive (and the Opus comes with clipless pedals already, which keeps it even cheaper).  However, a few hundred dollars doesn't really matter when compared to thousands of miles on a bike.

The biggest differences are the shifters and the drivetrain.  I've reconciled myself to the shifters - I'll be fine with the STI's or with the bar-ends.  The drivetrain, however, confuses me a little.  The Trek seems to have mostly mountain bike components (derailleurs, chainring, and cogs), and is 9-speed.  The Opus is 10-speed, with road components.  I can't figure out who to believe; some say the 10-speed stuff is more fragile, others say it's fine, and will eventually replace 9-speed stuff completely, making it the better choice.  Some say the mountain bike components offer potentially lower gears (and the gearing is a bit better on the Trek), while others say the 1:1 gear ratio on the Opus is fine and still has the potential for bigger cogs in the back if I swap out the derailleur, even if the small chainring is limited to a 30 tooth.

Any thoughts?  Might be a long shot, but any experience with the Opus?  The Trek seems to have a great reputation, but Opus is a smaller company. 

I figure either bike will end up being great, but these details feel like little things that could come back to haunt you later on down the road.

Links to the bikes specs:

Opus Legato:
Trek 520:

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 04:43:11 pm »
I like the components on the Opus better.  STI over barend shifters.  Pretty much all Shimano components function good.  It does not matter if they are XTR or Tiagra.  They work.  Only one to avoid is Sora shifters.  I have a 10 speed touring bike and like it.  Works perfectly.  Durability of 10 speed?  Whatever.  Put the chain together properly and you will never have problems.  Not sure the cogs are any thinner.  The plastic spacers on the cassette may be the only thinner part.  So no longevity issues.

It is very easy to get lower gearing on the Opus.  Its crank has a 74mm bcd inner chainring.  It will take a 24 tooth inner chainring.  Have the shop put one on as part of the sale before you leave the store.  Also put a 10 speed cassette on with 32 or 34 big cog.  May have to go with a 11 tooth small cog.  Have the shop do this before you leave the store as part of the sale.  SRAM and Shimano make 10 speed cassettes with 32 or 34 teeth.  MAY have to change the rear derailleur to a mountain derailleur.  MAY.  Shop can do this too before you leave the store.  May not have to change the rear derailleur.  Have to try it to see.  26x32 on the Trek is the same as 24x30 on the Opus.  Identical low gearing.  You can put down to a 22 inner ring on the Trek.  Can go to a 34 cassette on both.  Both bikes can easily get to very low gearing.

As an extra caution, put on a chain watcher.  Mounts on the seattube below the front derailleur and has guides to keep the chain from coming off the inner chainring.  Extra safety.  Many models out there.  Do a Google search on chain watchers.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 04:47:35 pm by RussSeaton »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 08:56:02 pm »
You can never have too low a gear for loaded touring -- at least if you're going to the mountains.  The 520 wins the stock gearing setup hands down.

I think the rest of it boils down to personal preference.  Strongly suggest you go take a couple of test rides, and see if YOU like the bar-ends, or prefer STI.  If you want STI, the laundry list Russ suggests is something you'll have to work out with your bike shop.

Just to recap, on the Opus you'll have to swap out the inner chainring, the cassette, and probably add a chain watcher.  You may also have to change the rear derailer. 

Note, too, you'll still have a pretty big jump to the granny gear on the front (16 teeth).  It would be nice to see how that setup works for you before you plunk down your cash or credit card.  For all that work and extra hardware, most bike shops will want you to buy it before they make the swaps.  If your LBS will let you try it first, they're exceptional and deserve your business.

With all those changes, I'd probably buy the Trek.  But I'm not strongly biased towards STI.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 01:48:25 pm »
It is already been said both bikes are similar and each will probably do you. Also, repeated many times on this list, you can't go too low in gearing. All in all, I would choose the Trek between the two. Opportunity for lower gearing is one reason. Some will tell you difference between 24T and 22T chainwheel is small. I can tell you from experience, it can be a significant going up a steep mountain fully loaded touring (carrying all you need to camp/cook). I have removed brifters from several touring bikes and installed bar ends. Too many stories of brifters being inoperable on road and being unable to repair. Lastly, it appears from photo Opus lacks front rack braze-ons; that alone would deter me from choosing the Opus for fully loaded touring, if that is the touring you plan to do.

Offline ZTours

Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 07:13:53 pm »
Thanks all for the help!  Ended up going with the Trek - the components seemed to make much more sense in the long term.  Definitely happy with the choice!