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Trek 520 vs Surly Disc Trucker 26"

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View Poll Results: Trek 520 or Surly DT 26"
Trek 520
37.50%
Surly Trucker Disc 26"
62.50%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

Trek 520 vs Surly Disc Trucker 26"

Old 08-20-18, 04:27 PM
  #1  
brushspin
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Trek 520 vs Surly Disc Trucker 26"

Yes yes, this thread again. Now bare with me here.
Working at a bicycle shop I have the opportunity of a lifetime. I have the ability to purchase these two bike brands at a LARGE discounted price. I have NEVER ridden a tour before but my daily commuter is a steel steed. I have a vision for bicycling around the world but not sure when I'll visit remote corners of the world. I would like to start out by visiting the other parts of the USA that I haven't yet; as I have only lived on the east coast my entire life. Then I'll move on to Europe and after that it's a toss up. Eventually I'd like to visit less fortunate - poor if you will - countries but this may be in ten years for all I know. In the meantime I'll be spending hard earned money to upgrade and modify the bike with better wheels (dynamos) and other custom parts.

I'll be using this touring bike as my daily commuter, long distance steed, and of course my touring bicycle to take me wherever my legs will carry me.

If given the opportunity between a new (2019) Trek 520 or the Surly Trucker Disc in 26". which would you choose as your FIRST touring bike?

Trek 520 ~$700
Surly TD ~$850
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Old 08-20-18, 04:45 PM
  #2  
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well there you go, the Gallop polls say 100% that you should get a 26in truck thing, so go forth and purchase.
You have been given permission my son.
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Old 08-20-18, 05:34 PM
  #3  
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Trucker has slightly better components but the overriding question is 'what wheel size do you want?'
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Old 08-20-18, 05:52 PM
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I have the LHT with 26 inch wheels, but not the disc. I bought the 26 inch rims over the 700s, for personal preference. I also have no desire for disc, so if you could save money on the LHT and not get the disc model, that may be an option. I have had mine for 7 years and still feel no need for disc brakes, though they are fine too. I have toured, commuted in the Ozarks, as well as the Western Pennsylvania area, so it has seen a lot of hills, fully loaded, and the brakes are fine.
Both bikes are great. I sort of prefer the more horizontal top tube of the LHT. Keep in mind though, the 56cm LHT has a longer effective top tube length than the 57cm Trek 520. The LHT effective top tube is 57cm and the 520 is 55.7.

Both are good, it comes down to what you want.
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Old 08-20-18, 06:04 PM
  #5  
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I was making a similar choice of LHT and 520 without the discount. I had a bias going in as I had ridden Treks and the company had also been good to me (longer story). Back then, I could not find a LHT to test ride. I did not want to spend that much money without the test ride. So, I bought the 520.

I now have thousands of miles including the southern tier, a ride from key west to Milwaukee, N. Sea in Europe, and many more on roads and unpaved trails. I have been very pleased. I would change the saddle before your first ride. And, the tires as well which only gave me about 1,000 miles. Obviously, if they have changed these features from my brownish (I think they might call it cola) color bike.

Good luck with your decision. From what I can tell, having discussed and research your question, you can't make a mistake between these two bikes.
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Old 08-20-18, 06:15 PM
  #6  
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There may other options; 1st; Before plopping down any money on a bike I think that you should try touring out first. Borrow a kids trailer, put some gear in it and try some over-nighters. I see way too many used touring bikes used on one tour, and then put up for sale on the local craigslist. (presumably at a decent loss) 2nd. Bikes direct occasionally puts the Windsor Tourist on sale for as low as $400. Also they have this nice dipped top tube (ez to mount) monster cross bike for $300. last I saw. 3rd Scope out your local craigslist for someone selling their touring bike. (I picked up a Windsor Tourist on craigslist that was my size and had been ridden around the block a few times, and they decided to sell it for $200.)
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Old 08-20-18, 06:20 PM
  #7  
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I didn't vote because I don't have a good basis for comparison. I have a good amount of experience with the 520 and none with the LHT. However, from all indications folks that own LHT seem to be pleased with their choices.

I have two Trek 520s, a 2004 model and a 2007 model. Both have seen a moderate amount of rough use:
- The 2004 model went on a ~2600km trip from the Hungary/Ukraine border to the Volga River. It also went on the Pamir Highway and into China (ridden by a friend). I just finished riding it last week for ~300 miles across Arkansas.
- The 2007 model went on a ~13000km trip from Amsterdam to Vladivostok, ~4000km across China and numerous other places. This July I rode it ~1350 miles on the Great Plains from Abilene to Minot. It has also seen a fair amount of daily/commuting and shorter tour uses over the past decade.
I am large and heavy cyclist and upgraded: wheels, saddles and pedals. I added front racks and also broke/replaced the rear rack on the 2007 model. I've worn through multiple drive trains replacing bottom brackets, chain rings, etc. I have not had occasion to care whether my bike had 700c or 26" wheels. (I rode a different 26" mountain bike across South America, but even there the issue wasn't availability of basic parts - but access to higher quality tires - in which case I was bringing extra tires anyways).

From my personal experience, I don't you'll go wrong with the Trek 520. I just don't have experience with the LHT to make an equivalent comparison.

I have wondered about sometime replacing my Trek 520s for a new model. I don't have a particularly good reason to do so, though I have become more of a fan of disc brakes (because otherwise I eventually wear through and brake rims). The other change I might eventually want to make is replacing my hub/rim combo from 48-spoke Phil Woods rear hub to a 40-spoke DT Swiss Tandem hub. The reason is more based on experiences with the hub failing in the field and not being as easy for me to service (discussed on BF: https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...ds-others.html).
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Old 08-20-18, 07:51 PM
  #8  
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As someone who had a Disc Trucker and knows the 520 well I would go DT or LHT in a heartbeat. It is a quality bike with great component selection for touring. Decent steel frame and fork with a cost savvy but decent quality parts.
The Trek isn't a bad bike frame wise for sure but a touring bike with racks that don't hold much weight and an aluminum fork is a deal breaker. Also I personally would not want STI levers on my touring bike, Gevenalle levers are fine and bar ends are just dandy but I just don't care for STIs for touring.

I will say the 520 does have TRP Spyre brakes which are excellent and the external bottom bracket is slowly winning me over from square taper but overall they use a lot of cheaper parts. Surly uses Deore and XT derailleurs while Trek uses Sora and Alivio as a for instance. Also Surly uses Continental which are high quality and long lasting. I think my Disc Trucker just recently had its tires replaced after I rode on it for a few years and my friend put a couple tours under his belt as well. I would swap out the stock Trek/Bontrager tires right away which would add extra cost.

9 vs 10 speed. I am fine with 9 as I have 3 9 speed bikes (one of which I am in the process of building) but have been thinking about upgrading my touring bike at some point down the line to 10 or even 11 speeds but no need right now. The Surly is now 10 speed and that is fine, Trek is 9 speed and that is fine as well but obviously components wise I would go Surly because I would rather have an XT RD than Alivio.
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Old 08-20-18, 07:56 PM
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When I bought my LHT (nor disc), I test rode a Trek, and just liked the feel of the Trucker better. But, really, I'm sure either will do fine. The Trek is cheaper, and comes with a rack, as I understand it.

Do you know which one takes the widest tires?
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Old 08-20-18, 08:09 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by brushspin View Post
Yes yes, this thread again. .... which would you choose as your FIRST touring bike?...
i dinna vote, cause you dinna offer the right choice.

as long as yore employed and not relying on the kindness of strangers (or brothers in laws), buy 'em both.

plenny o'room in mom's basement to store 'em and gaze longingly during midnite runs....
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Old 08-20-18, 08:50 PM
  #11  
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I suspect the lht can take wider tires, and for sure the stem use longer uncut so gives you more higher bar position possibilities.
i tend to agree with the higher level of components, which is nice for long term life.
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Old 08-20-18, 08:56 PM
  #12  
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559mm/26" Disc Trucker accepts significantly wider tires ie 53mm (with fenders) vs 520's ~max 38mm with fenders. IMO it's nice to have the wide tire option since even a touring frame can only soak up so much road shock.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:03 PM
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You've never toured before, but from my experience bike touring in all kinds of trainte, 26in and wider tires are the way to go. I've ridden alot on 45-50mm tires loaded up, was very appreciative of the added comfort and float of larger tires, and anyway, you can put skinnier tires if you want.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:04 PM
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Which one fits you better, and which is more comfortable? Thats the one you should buy.

Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Bikes direct occasionally puts the Windsor Tourist on sale for as low as $400.
Coming from a notoriously cheap guy, between the 520 and Tourist for $300 less, I'd go Trek anyday if I were buying new. Then again, I love barends
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Old 08-20-18, 09:21 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Which one fits you better, and which is more comfortable? Thats the one you should buy.



Coming from a notoriously cheap guy, between the 520 and Tourist for $300 less, I'd go Trek anyday if I were buying new. Then again, I love barends
Sorry, but bar ends disappear from Trek 520 for 2019. Maybe find previous years with bar-cons.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:27 PM
  #16  
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I’d go with the Truly Sucker.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Sorry, but bar ends disappear from Trek 520 for 2019. Maybe find previous years with bar-cons.
Guess that just solidifies the Marrakesh as the front runner if I ever feel the need to buy something new. Brifters are just weird to me, barends are completely natural!
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Old 08-20-18, 10:48 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Which one fits you better, and which is more comfortable? Thats the one you should buy.

Coming from a notoriously cheap guy, between the 520 and Tourist for $300 less, I'd go Trek anyday if I were buying new. Then again, I love barends
A lot of good advice in the previous posts, but IMO this is probably the most important consideration when buying a touring bike. LHTs have a long top tube, and can be a poor fit for someone with a short torso and long legs. The plus side for truckers is that they come with uncut steerer tubes, which allows more flexibility for dialing in the fit.
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Old 08-21-18, 04:34 AM
  #19  
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I voted for the 520, as I ride one and it fits my type of touring - mostly credit card style, all on road or crushed limestone, always less than a week on the bike. I did not want 26' wheels and I did want STI shifting.

If I flipped all those criteria, the Trucker would have won. The wheels and the shifting are my go/no-gos.
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Old 08-21-18, 06:30 AM
  #20  
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For those of you unfamiliar with the new Trek 520, the 2019 model comes with clearance for 29 x 2.0" tires, front and rear rack, larger diameter down tube, and STI shifters.

Info about me: 6' 0" guy with a 35" standover height. Road bikes is 56cm and hybrid Trek 700 Multitrack is 23".
I always think the 26" model of any bike is going to look awkward on a tall guy like me.

It looks as though most people like the Suly much more and I can't deny the fact that the Trek model HAS skimped out on the components which means I'd have to replace some parts from jumpstreet anyway.
The only issue with that is I'd immediately void my two year parts warranty with Trek. I think it's nonsense.

I will be using this bike for commuting long distances to Uni and work all season long. Studded tires and mudguards will be an inevitably with the bike I choose.

I'll call around to other LBS to see if they have a surly. I really doubt it because here in NJ not many people are bikepacking, at least that's the feeling I get from most working at a LBS.

Thanks for all the replies ya'll.
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Old 08-21-18, 08:36 AM
  #21  
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given that you will not be doing far off tours for possibly a long time, the 520 will be more fun to ride, as sti's are just plain fun to use. The sora level 9 speed shifters work and feel just like the previous gen of tiagra 9sp shifters, ie the trickle down effect, and will last a long time iin real life. My tiagras are 9 years old and still shift perfectly well, and have ridden newer soras with the paddle shifters and they feel identical.
re alivio stuff, sure its lower than deore etc , but it will last well also, especially if you use common sense and keep your drivetrain clean.
Its an obvious price point that they didnt use deore 9 sp 48/36/26 crankset, although that could also be because that crankset now is officially 10 spd., so slightly heavier but will still work.

re riding in winter, its still a nice bike, so if you ride it in salty conditions, youre not doing your bike a favour....get a crap bike for salty conditions, it aint worth it.

oh, and backpacking is using frame bags and whatnot, not panniers.
enjoy whatever you get young feller.
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Old 08-21-18, 08:43 AM
  #22  
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there is a 520 Disc too..

QBP "Surly/Salsa" has a limited time Frame warranty, Trek is lifetime.
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Old 08-21-18, 10:54 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by brushspin View Post
For those of you unfamiliar with the new Trek 520, the 2019 model comes with clearance for 29 x 2.0" tires, front and rear rack, larger diameter down tube, and STI shifters.

Info about me: 6' 0" guy with a 35" standover height. Road bikes is 56cm and hybrid Trek 700 Multitrack is 23".
I always think the 26" model of any bike is going to look awkward on a tall guy like me.

It looks as though most people like the Suly much more and I can't deny the fact that the Trek model HAS skimped out on the components which means I'd have to replace some parts from jumpstreet anyway.
The only issue with that is I'd immediately void my two year parts warranty with Trek. I think it's nonsense.

I will be using this bike for commuting long distances to Uni and work all season long. Studded tires and mudguards will be an inevitably with the bike I choose.

I'll call around to other LBS to see if they have a surly. I really doubt it because here in NJ not many people are bikepacking, at least that's the feeling I get from most working at a LBS.

Thanks for all the replies ya'll.
26 inch wheels won't look awkward. I'm only an inch shorter than you and they are fine. As I said, I bought it with 26 inch rims on purpose. I like them, and like the choice of sizes. I also like the fact I can mount my Road Morph pump behind the seat post, between it and the wheel.

None of what I like matters though, nor does what anyone else likes, only you. I will just say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with 26 inch rims. I will also add that no matter which you get, have the spokes de-tensioned, re-tensioned properly. That will go a long way towards the durability of the rims. Mine were done by a competent wheel builder when I got the LHT, seven years ago, and they are still true. I did hit a chunk of concrete at around 40mph on a downhill that dented the rim, and after shaping it back using a hammer and metal block, the rim was still true.

You sound as if you are leaning towards the 520. That may say something. Look at what your reasoning is and go from there. For me, I prefer Tubus racks, so the racks on the 520 are not a selling point. The racks on the 520 are most likely absolutely fine. I also don't really care for STI shifters on a touring bike, and prefer bar ends, and have friction only now. The Surly came with indexing on the rear, and when they failed, I replaced them with good, friction only, after having switched the failed indexing shifter to friction after it failed. You though, may prefer STI. For touring though, and commuting, I don't find myself constantly making small gear changes. I do like being able to make large changes at once with friction shifters though, blasting downhill, then being able to make a large change in gearing as I go up a steep hill.

As for the components on the 520, if you feel you would have to immediately upgrade them, don't buy it, that would be a waste of money. If you buy the 520, ride it with the OEM components until they give you issues, then replace them.

It's all in what is important to you.
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Old 08-21-18, 12:42 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
there is a 520 Disc too..

QBP "Surly/Salsa" has a limited time Frame warranty, Trek is lifetime.
Dude. That's exactly where I'll be getting it from. Interesting you mention it, I had no idea. Will I need it, realistically? I don't think so, especially on a steel frame so I don't mind.

Also I'm actually leaning towards the Surly. I simply know more about the Trek because the shop I work at sells them exclusively. I also want to give people an idea of the changes made to the newest year model 520 so we're all on the same page.

After the flat rate shipping though the Surly will $800.
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Old 08-21-18, 12:44 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Which one fits you better, and which is more comfortable? Thats the one you should buy.
:
+1 more.

Many moons ago, I needed another bike, and couldn't find a touring bike near home. I made a long day trip to Atlanta to buy a Cannondale Touring the REI there had in stock. Tried the Cannondale, tried the Novara, went down the road to another dealer that had a Jamis(?). That was too noodly, the Cannondale felt awkward, the Novara came home with me.

Moral of the story: ride them all, buy the one that feels best.
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