Author Topic: New 520 - setup questions  (Read 5995 times)

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Offline Old Guy New Hobby

New 520 - setup questions
« on: January 24, 2010, 10:53:52 pm »
I feel like I graduated from being a Nube at bicycling only to find myself a Nube at touring.

Last year was great - I rode 2000 miles on a Schwinn hybrid. I am doing all road riding, but some roads are hardpack + a little gravel. I ride most days. When the weather is bad I ride rollers about half an hour. When the weather is OK or good, I ride about an hour on work days, plus a longer trip on the weekend -- 30 to 50 miles, depending on how much time I have.

I decided I am interested in touring. I will start riding longer as the weather improves and maybe look for a 2-day or 3-day "credit card" trip this summer. After quite a bit of research and reading (including these forums), I decided I will buy a Trek 520. I like the component set, I love the bar-end shifters, and the bike rides well for me.

I have a dealer who will help me with my bike, but like many dealers he's more into road and mountain bikes than touring. I don't need to set up my bike perfectly right now, but there are a couple of things I want to get right from the first. It's OK to spend a little money, so long as I won't have to spend it again later for making a lame-brain decision.

Fenders: I want full fenders that will leave plenty of room for wide tires. Do you-all have a recommendation?

Tires: I currently have 26 x 1.5 inch wide tires with a road tread, and I like them a lot. Plus the Trek feels a little harsh, which I attribute to it's relatively narrow tires. I want puncture resistant tires, but nothing extreme. It looks to me like I should be able to fit 38s on the 520 with fenders. Is this reasonable, or am I looking for trouble every time something brushes up against the fenders? Many folks say good things about Continental Ultra Gatorskin, but they don't come very wide. What would be a good tire?

Lights: I don't ride at night, but I won't ride without flashers front and rear. It's easy to install an inexpensive flasher on the Trek's rear rack, but I can't imagine what a good front light setup might be, considering I may well want to put a front bag on the handlebars later on. I also like to keep the handlebars as clean and clutter-free as possible. I started to look at a couple of sites, but the options seem pretty overwhelming at the moment. Can somebody point me in a good direction?

Saddle: Normally I wouldn't worry about this right away, except that I rode the Trek and found the saddle to be pretty bad. The B17 seems to be the hands-down choice. I was thinking of the Champion Flyer, which I believe is a B17 on a single rail with a spring. Did I get that right? What are the advantages / disadvantages of the B17 -vs- the Champion?

I believe everything else can wait until I get more experience. Thanks in advance for any advice you care to give.

Offline Galloper

Re: New 520 - setup questions
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 06:00:16 am »
Hi, we don't see too many Trek 520s in the UK but the specification looks pretty good.   SKS do a good range of fenders and should fit easily.   The original tyres, according to Trek's website are 700x32 which is OK but I agree with you that you a larger size is a good idea.   I use 35s and 38s which are both very comfortable.   As for tyre choice, Schwalbe Marathons are generally regarded as being pretty good.   If you can get them in the USA, Panaracer Pasellas are also excellent and roll faster than the Schwalbes because of a smoother profile.   The Schwalbes will be a better choice if you are likely to ride some rough stuff.

With regards to saddles, the Brooks B17 is an excellent saddle.   Be warned, however, that they can take 1000 miles or so to break in.   They don't suit everyone so my advice would be to go with the standard saddle and see how you get on with that first.   Brooks also do a pre-aged saddle which makes the breaking in process a little easier.

With regard to lights, it may be worthwhile to consider a front wheel dynamo, Shimano produce a very good product.   You can then have your lights on permanently without having to worry about batteries.   Failing that, Topeak (I think) make a very nice solar powered light.

Plenty of choice on bar bags bu probably Ortlieb is your best bet and most easily available.   My own choice would be Carradice but I don't think they're easily available in the States.

Have fun

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: New 520 - setup questions
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 08:37:44 pm »
Fenders: You want SKS P50 700c x 50 mm full fenders which will fit 38 to 45mm tires.  Be careful to measure the tire clearance around your bottom bracket if you decide to get any tire over 38 mm.

Tires:  After you wear out the Bontrager Hardcases, get Schwalbe Marathon Supremes in 37-622 (assuming you'll be touring on asphalt).  They have a Kevlar liner and a rubber compound that works very well in the wet.  Most people love them.  Very light too.  They are expensive >$50, but here you truely get what you pay for. 

Lights: Since you don't ride at night, blinkies are cheap and effective.  Mount them on your helmet.

Saddle: The Champion is very heavy and (IMHO) doesn't give any more comfort than the B-17 or B-17 narrow.  If you have a skinny butt, get the latter.  If you don't like the OEM saddle, get rid of it immediately.  I have two Brooks saddles and never had any issues with breaking them in.  From what I've read, I'm lucky. 

Racks:  Be aware that the rack that comes on the 520 is for show only.  Tubus racks are the way to go, assuming that you're going to use panniers.  Other people like other racks, but Tubus is cromoly.

Cassette:  Comes with an 11-32 and probably a Shimano chain.  After you wear them out, consider a 11-34 or a Sheldon Brown 14-34 cassette (pricey) with a SRAM or Wipperman (pricey) 9 speed chain.  The latter have power links which make it possible to detach and reattach the chain without using a tool and a pin.

Panniers:  First, decide what sort of touring you're going to do.  If you go ultralight, then you can get away without using racks / panniers at all.  I am not an UL person, so I'm not going to venture any more advice there.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: New 520 - setup questions
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 08:51:11 pm »
Thanks for the advice, guys. I pulled the trigger. I decided not to wait for the original tires to wear out -- I'm swapping them right away. This is my first decent-quality bike. I've had several times where my cheap bike took me out but didn't bring me back. Now that the last college tuition check is paid,  I can afford something better. It's going to be a great year.

Offline manjack

Re: New 520 - setup questions
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 10:30:26 am »
With regard to the Brooks Champion, keep in mind that any seat with springs will give you a little bit of lateral movement. It bothers me but that just a matter of personal preference.