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Trek 520, new touring bikes, now available in Australia

Alia Parker's picture
A cyclists riding a Trek 520 touring bicycle. Source: Trek. Cycle Traveller

It has been many years since the Trek 520 touring bike has been available in Australia, but the US-based company has this year responded to demand and resumed shipments to Australian retail stores, while also expanding its touring bike line-up.

The Trek 520 – a classic touring bike which emerged back in 1983 – has somewhat changed since it was last available for purchase on Australian shores. While the geometry and gear ratios stay true to classic design, the company is moving toward disc brakes, reflecting new technologies and the trend in consumer demand.

Demand for the Trek 520 Disc model has raced ahead of the original rim-brake model, so the distributors have decided to only ship disc models to Australia. The rim-brake 520 is still available in the United States.

Wheels of change

Cyclists on Trek 520 touring bikes. Source: Trek. Cycle Traveller

The resumption of 520 shipments to Australia is not the only good news. The growth of bicycle touring world-wide has prompted a rather exciting move from the US bicycle maker, which has beefed up its touring-bike line with two new models – both available in Australia.

The two new bikes are: the Trek 720 (a “roadies” touring bike), and the Trek 920 (a 29er off-road adventure touring bike).

The first shipment of 520s, 720s, and 920s to Australia has proved popular, with the 720s in particular hitting the ground running. There is also very limited stock available of the 920.

On an aside, Trek also shipped 30 of its Farley fat bikes to Australia earlier this year and the allocation was completely snapped up. These bikes have been growing in popularity for adventurers looking to ride through deserts, beaches and snow. The Farley was shipped out to test the market and you'll need to phone around if you want to find a shop that has one because, at present, we don't know if another shipment will be sent. Here are the specs via Trek's US website.

Back to the touring bikes, here's how the three models differ.

Trek 520 Disc – $1,399 RRP

Trek 520 Disc. Cycle TravellerThe 520 is designed for long-distance touring, predominantly on road, but also on good dirt roads and pea gravel surfaces, such as rail trails. It has a classic steel-frame and touring geometry, designed for comfort and practicability. The latest model maintains a classic touring gear ratio, with a Shimano Trekking M590 triple crank (48/36/26 teeth) combined with a Shimano HG50 9-speed cassette (11-32), and uses a reliable Shimano Deore rear derailleur. It continues to sport bar-end gear shifters, which allow a drop handlebar to operate with mechanical disc brakes. The bar-end shifters are reliable, but also allow space for a handlebar bag. The mechanical disc brakes are combined with a 160mm disc rotor. The model includes a very sturdy Bontrager rear rack. It's available in sizes: 48, 51, 54, 57, and 60cm.

All together, a great value and sturdy bike for classic touring. View full specs here.

Trek 720 Disc – $1,999 RRP

Trek 720 Disc bicycle for road touring. Cycle TravellerThe 720 is perfect for gravel grinders and light-weight road touring. Essentially, it is an alloy road bike with a carbon fork designed for travel. It's designed for those looking to ride faster as it comes with road-bike gear ratios and more aggressive frame geometry. This bike has a rather interesting brake setup using TRP's HY/RD cable/hydro disc brakes, a system that combines mechanical and hydraulic technology. Essentially, the fluid reservoir is located near the disc brake calliper rather than near the brake levers, meaning a cable is used to operate the brakes. This type of brake is compatible with STI lever shifters found on most road bikes today, so the 720 doesn't use bar-end shifters like the 520 or the 920. A nice addition are the two light-weight dry bags mounted to the front forks, similar to a mountain-bike style bikepacking setup, and it would work perfectly with a large seatpack and frame bag (however, you can also mount a rear rack). Light-weight travel is best however, because this bike isn't designed to have as many low gear options as the 520. It sports a Shimano RS500 compact crank (50/34 teeth) combined with a Shimano 105 11-speed cassette (11-32). Derailleurs and brake levers are all in the trustworthy Shimano 105 family. It's available in sizes: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm.

The 720 is a really nice option for ultra-light travellers, credit card tourers. View full specs here.

Trek 920 Disc – $2,199 RRP

Trek 920 Disc for off-road touring. Cycle TravellerThe 920 is a beast designed to tackle the hard roads. It's an alloy 29-inch wheel mountain bike, minus the suspension, and comes complete with heavy-duty front and rear racks. Keeping in line with the mountain bike trend for micro-drive gear setups, it runs a SRAM S1000 double crank (42/28 teeth) combined with a SRAM PG-1030 10-speed cassette (11-36). The smaller front cranks help to create more clearance over objects while riding off-road and also provide many low gear options for climbing. It sports full hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors and uses bar-end shifters. It's available in sizes: 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 61cm.

All up, ideal for adventure tourers and well suited to Australian conditions. View full specs here.

It's unlikely that your local bike shop that 

Images from top: 1 & 2. Riders on Trek 520s. 2. Trek 520 Disc. 3. Trek 720 Disc. 4. Trek 920 Disc. Source: Trek.


Just love my Trek 520. 30,000-plus kms and still going strong

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