Author Topic: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????  (Read 5546 times)

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Offline lar49

1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« on: February 11, 2011, 08:04:19 pm »
Just bought a "new" 1988 Trek 520.  Looks like it may have a couple of hundred miles on it if that.  Stock everything.  6 speed rear, 3 ring front, cantilever brakes, down tube shifters, maybe even the original tires.  This was all pretty good stuff in it's day but components have improved since then. 

My plan is to use this bike for a loaded X-country ride.  I'm wondering what upgrades would be sensible?  I'm thinking upgrading to 9 speed and real brakes (perhaps a front disk?).

Tickle my imagination.
Larry

Offline whittierider

Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 08:45:27 pm »
If the fork is not made for disc brakes, then don't try it.  Disc brakes apply the forces differently and can flex or bend frames and forks not made for them, even if the original caliper brakes were good enough to stand the bike on its front wheel just fine.  Just put Kool Stop pads on the existing brakes and leave it at that.  Even if you buy a new bike, just consider it standard practice to replace the existing pads with Kool Stop pads.  They will stop better, make the rims last longer, and they don't get the metal bits embedded in them like other brands do.

I have updated a couple of old bikes and concluded that in most situations, it's not worth it.  It turns out to be kind of like peeling an onion-- you're not done until there's nothing left and for the amount of time and money you put into it, you might as well have bought a new bike.

Online John Nelson

Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 09:31:23 pm »
I agree. Just ride it as is and make do. If you want a different bike, buy a different bike.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2011, 06:11:57 pm »
I had a 1991 Trek 520.  Little different than yours.  7 speed, bar end shifters, half-step plus granny gearing.  Check if your rear 6 speed is a cassette or freewheel.  I'm not sure cassettes were ever made in 6 speed so you might have a freewheel.  If so, then changing the number of cogs means getting a new rear wheel.  Although there are 7 and 8 speed freewheels made.  Not sure if there are 9 speed freewheels in existence.

If you do decide to go with 9 speed gearing in the back.  Consider Shimano bar end shifters.  $80 from England shops.  Work quite well.  Cantilever brakes are exceptionally good.  No need for nonsensical disc brakes.  You would need a new fork for disc brakes anyway.  Don't get Kool Stop pads unless you love to hear your brakes squeal like the proverbial stuck pig.

Offline whittierider

Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 06:34:37 pm »
Quote
I'm not sure cassettes were ever made in 6-speed so you might have a freewheel.
I had one of the eariliest Shimano freehub/cassette combinations, and when the freehub went out, I found it was not compatible with anything available now, so I had to get a new rear wheel.  Freewheels are being made even today though, even 5-speed.

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Although there are 7- and 8-speed freewheels made.  Not sure if there are 9-speed freewheels in existence.
I think they stopped at 8-speed, and there weren't very many 8-speed freewheels made.  The problem with more speeds on freewheels was that with the right-side wheel bearings getting farther and farther from the dropout, it was getting easier and easier to break the axle.  The industry's answer was to go to the freehub, where the right-side wheel bearings were in the freehub body (ie, ratchet assembly).

Quote
Don't get Kool Stop pads unless you love to hear your brakes squeal like the proverbial stuck pig.
We have Kool Stop pads on all our bikes in this family, and they are all silent.

Offline DaveB

Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 06:36:44 pm »
Don't get Kool Stop pads unless you love to hear your brakes squeal like the proverbial stuck pig.
You were doing fine until you wrote this.  I have Kool Stop salmon (red) pads on 5 bikes with caliper brakes and one with cantilevers.  Adjusted properly, they are very powerful, work well in the wet and are silent.

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: 1988 Trek 520 recommended upgrades????
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 06:59:16 pm »
Same here. Be sure to give 'em some toe-in. And yes, adjusting them is a PITA.

Fred