Author Topic: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520  (Read 5242 times)

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Offline rcook

Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« on: March 17, 2011, 05:14:55 pm »
I have been out of the road bike scene for, well, decades having switched to MTB. Recently I visited a local bike re-habber that had a Trek 520 in my size, the price was right and everything worked fine so I bought it. One thing I'm not impressed with are the brakes, I have discs on my MTB so I'm used to on/off brakes. While I realize that discs aren't an option could 'V' brakes be installed to replace the cantilever brakes?

While I don't want to spend a ton of money on the bike I wouldn't mind modernizing it a bit. The components are actually all pretty decent spec gear for 1988 but I know that things have improved. So aside from brakes which I feel are something that I will spend money on from a safety perspective what would be logical to upgrade? 

Offline whittierider

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 06:00:56 pm »
Start by replacing the brake pads with Kool Stop pads.  The pads on the bike are undoubtedly hardened and less effective than they were when new, but Kool Stop pads will improve even new, modern brakes, giving you better stopping and less rim wear, and they don't get the metal bits embedded in them like Shimano's and other brands' pads do.  You don't have to have discs to get good braking.  I can easily stand my single bike on its nose, and our tandem, with a gross rolling weight of 350 pounds can lock up even the front tire with one finger on the lever, dry or wet, with the inexpensive mini-V rim brakes.

Other than that I would just add clipless pedals, a cycle computer, and maybe aerobars.  I've updated a couple of older bikes and found it wasn't really worth it to go further.

Offline rcook

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 09:47:05 am »
I took it in to the LBS last night and they agreed completely with you, tuneup new brake pads, pedals, saddle, panniers, and wider bars. Just that will cost more than the bike ;)

A friend with waaaay to many spare parts gave me a set of fenders, there for 700c wheels but fit fine without binding, SKS brand. He also gave me a headlight and flashing taillight. I actually was given a saddle by my LBS on a trial basis, if I like it pay for it thing so that's awesome. I think this will be a great bike once I get it setup for me.

Open to suggestions for panniers and bars, I'm planning to get some Shimano PD-A530 pedals which are the combo clip/platform style and they work with my existing shoes.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 10:31:08 am »
Open to suggestions for panniers and bars
Panniers...  I like the Nashbar or Performance waterproof ones just fine.  Inexpensive and work fine.

Bars... Whats wrong with the existing ones?  I have always just used the stock bars that came on my bikes some were nicer than others but not enough that I would bother to swap them.


Offline rcook

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 10:41:52 am »
Too narrow, I'm 6'3" with equally wide shoulders. For comfort mainly.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 12:06:46 pm »
Too narrow, I'm 6'3" with equally wide shoulders. For comfort mainly.
Different strokes, but I never found bar width to be a big issue even if they were substantially narrower than my shoulders.  I think it is less critical if your elbows are bent a good bit any way (IMO they should be).  So if you are more comfortable with wider bars by all means go for it, but if you are riding with straight arms I'd address that first.

Offline rcook

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 12:11:57 pm »
Anyone used Axiom panniers? I found these on Amazon, looks like a decent amount of space for the price.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Logical upgrades for an '88 Trek 520
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 12:44:09 pm »
Anyone used Axiom panniers? I found these on Amazon, looks like a decent amount of space for the price.

Never used them, but they are supposed to be OK.  The size is probably intended to be a front pannier, but I think I could get by with 4 panniers that size.  It depends how much you pack and whether you are willing to have the tent (and maybe sleeping pad if you aren't using one that packs small) on top of the rear rack.