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Vintage Trek Touring Bike Haul: 620 & 720 Exacta

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Vintage Trek Touring Bike Haul: 620 & 720 Exacta

Old 09-25-23, 04:08 PM
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BikingPR12
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Vintage Trek Touring Bike Haul: 620 & 720 Exacta

First post on here so I'll try to make it a good one.

I drove about 200 miles roundtrip today and picked up two vintage Trek touring bikes. The first one is a 21" 1985 Trek 620 that needs some work but is in overall pretty good shape. The second one is a 24" 1985 Trek 720 that is in rideable condition and was clearly ridden as a touring bike in the past. Thought I'd share here and get some feedback given this community likes old treks.

I'm still deciding on my restoration plan but the 620 is a perfect size for my wife and I would really like to make this a comfortable light touring bike for her. She hates drop bars and being in that position. Anyone have insight on how I might easily convert this to an upright tourer on the cheap. New stem? What bar type might work?

Link to photos as I can't imbed them into my post until I have 10 posts on here:
flic.kr/ps/436Jbq
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Old 09-25-23, 04:33 PM
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appreciate any tips on the fifth at Pimlico


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Old 09-25-23, 04:36 PM
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Lol! I'm still licking my wounds from Saratoga a few weeks ago so perhaps Im not the best one for a tip.
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Old 09-25-23, 04:37 PM
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I believe 52telecaster has quite a bit of experience doing this!
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Old 09-25-23, 04:57 PM
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I’ve converted lots of bikes from drop to upright bars. You usually don’t need a new stem, but you’ll need bars, brake levers, grips, and perhaps shifters depending on what’s already there and what the rider might prefer (downtube, thumb, stem, or bar-end?). Velo-Orange has much of what you’d need. I like their porteur bars a lot, and they frequently have 20% off sales.
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Old 09-25-23, 05:29 PM
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I like bars with just a slight bend for upright conversion. I believe it is stated as 15 degree. Stock stem works and these style bars come with differing amounts of rise to them. Sorry for the cluttered pic.




These are perhaps 50mm rise. 1x7 conversion with thumb shifter. Obligatory Mirrycle mirror of course. Nice project for you with your updating those Treks. Congrats, and many of us like builds posted on them.
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Old 09-25-23, 05:42 PM
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You don't necessarily need a new stem, but you will probably want one. The standard vintage quill stem that came in those bikes was a single bolt type that you had to needle the stripped down bar through in order to install it, a stem that lets you take out a plate so a put together stem can readily come in and out would make your life a while lot easier.

Look up touring handlebars, there is a ton of options, from the normal to the outright weird.
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Old 09-25-23, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Iíve converted lots of bikes from drop to upright bars. You usually donít need a new stem, but youíll need bars, brake levers, grips, and perhaps shifters depending on whatís already there and what the rider might prefer (downtube, thumb, stem, or bar-end?). Velo-Orange has much of what youíd need. I like their porteur bars a lot, and they frequently have 20% off sales.
I like the Porteur bar conceptually and it looks like it could work - thanks. Do you have a pic of how you are using them with brakes/shifters on your rig?
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Old 09-25-23, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782
I like bars with just a slight bend for upright conversion. I believe it is stated as 15 degree. Stock stem works and these style bars come with differing amounts of rise to them. Sorry for the cluttered pic.


These are perhaps 50mm rise. 1x7 conversion with thumb shifter. Obligatory Mirrycle mirror of course. Nice project for you with your updating those Treks. Congrats, and many of us like builds posted on them.
Are you still hunched over for the most part with the straight bar?
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Old 09-25-23, 06:14 PM
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You might take a look at Albatross bars, or the Soma Oxfords which are almost identical. I have them on one bike and they're great. A lot of hand positions.

It's nice having downtube shifters, isn't it? One less thing to worry about when you're changing handlebars. There's also less cable involved, and you get a cleaner cockpit.
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Old 09-25-23, 06:18 PM
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I’d go north roads or something else with more sweep back as they have more hand positions. I have some Soma Oxford bars that I have put on several bikes with bar end shifters. On the oxfords, she can stretch out into a headwind if she wants to. 85 was a good year for those #20s. Definitely worth the trip.


yep Jeff hit it. But you can and I have run the shift cables outside the bar tape with a bit of twine a la Grant Peterson. And someone who doesn’t like the drops won’t like reaching down to shift and will therefore have less fun being in the wrong gear.
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Old 09-25-23, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingPR12
First post on here so I'll try to make it a good one.

I drove about 200 miles roundtrip today and picked up two vintage Trek touring bikes. The first one is a 21" 1985 Trek 620 that needs some work but is in overall pretty good shape. The second one is a 24" 1985 Trek 720 that is in rideable condition and was clearly ridden as a touring bike in the past. Thought I'd share here and get some feedback given this community likes old treks.

I'm still deciding on my restoration plan but the 620 is a perfect size for my wife and I would really like to make this a comfortable light touring bike for her. She hates drop bars and being in that position. Anyone have insight on how I might easily convert this to an upright tourer on the cheap. New stem? What bar type might work?

Link to photos as I can't imbed them into my post until I have 10 posts on here:
flic.kr/ps/436Jbq
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Old 09-25-23, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingPR12
Are you still hunched over for the most part with the straight bar?
Not hunched over, but leaned forward slightly with a bit of weight on hands. A bit of weight on hands helps with control and with ride compliance vs all the weight on the saddle. Bars can rotate but are perhaps an inch or two back from the flat tops of drop bars and of course higher depending on how this style is rotated. Rotating, and degree of rise gives some customization. The slight bend is more comfortable to me than straight style mtb or hybrid bars. YMMV
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Old 09-25-23, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingPR12
I like the Porteur bar conceptually and it looks like it could work - thanks. Do you have a pic of how you are using them with brakes/shifters on your rig?
Hereís a somewhat recent example. This one has a 3-speed internal hub gear, so shifting considerations are different than converting a derailleur-equipped bike:

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Old 09-25-23, 09:16 PM
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I have one bike with Porteur bars. I did not like reaching down to the downtube shifters. But then I'm not flexible. I went with stem shifters.

The VO Porteurs come in both road and MTB sizes. They also have levers that will work with either.

I have the road sized ones and bar end brake levers right now, so I had to go with a stem shifter.

If I had to do it again I might choose the MTB sized one so I can use thumb shifters.
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Old 09-25-23, 10:02 PM
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Alternatively. Get a tall stem, no hunching over. Use the drop bars.
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Old 09-26-23, 06:12 AM
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The conversion is easy, personally I prefer portuers bars from velo orange in 23.8 size. Velo orange also sells levers to fit those bars. Depending on your wife's preference you may want a taller stem as well but the switch to the portuers may be enough. By going with 23.8mm bars you will have the option to use barcons. Ultimately this is the most comfortable for this old man. It will turn a 620 into an all day comfort machine. Btw congrats on the 720. I have one and its awesome!
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Old 09-26-23, 06:16 AM
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My main touring rig
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Old 09-26-23, 07:07 AM
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I'm having a hard time believing no one else here is flipping **** that you just walked into 2 of the finest touring bikes ever! I guess I'll have to do that for everyone!

Congratulations!!!

1985 was THE year for the 620- the most desirable iteration- no other year of the 620 was close to it- the 531/CrMo frame, the 47cm chainstays, the "eclectic mix" of parts and the deep blue Imron paint... And the matching 720 is a relatively rare bike... one could make the case 1985 was the high-water mark for grand touring bikes.

I will be "that guy" about doing anything "on the cheap" with those bikes. Those are both very desirable bikes. Although people don't go quite as bonkers about them as they used to 5+ years ago- there are still people that would shank their own mother for one of either of those bikes. They're kind of a big deal. They're great riding bikes, loaded or unloaded; they're supremely upgradeable; and can still function in their intended purpose as a tourer or as a more leisurely bike or as a quite capable all-rounder.

The positive thing with flat/riser/north road style bars is having the brakes and shifting right there at your hand, but the negative is the lack of hand positions- for me, that gets to be an issue after about 7 miles (almost clockwork 7 miles). I've tried the 'butterfly bars,' but they don't work as well for me as I imagined they would- that could be me, it could be the particular bend of bars that I chose... in the end, I've decided I prefer drop bars- but the only time I'm ever in the drops is into the wind. My choice has been to use the old Suntour Command Shifters, which allows me to have the tops, corners, ramps and hoods positions on the bars and still have shifting at my fingers/thumbs.

IMG_2402 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

I have both a 1985 620 and 1985 720. Both are set up pretty similar with 10 speed rear ends and with higher stems and drop bars and I love them very, very much.

85720Yard by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

IMG_3366 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

IMG_0616 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

1985 Trek 620 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 09-26-23, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
I'm having a hard time believing no one else here is flipping **** that you just walked into 2 of the finest touring bikes ever! I guess I'll have to do that for everyone!

Congratulations!!!

1985 was THE year for the 620- the most desirable iteration- no other year of the 620 was close to it- the 531/CrMo frame, the 47cm chainstays, the "eclectic mix" of parts and the deep blue Imron paint... And the matching 720 is a relatively rare bike... one could make the case 1985 was the high-water mark for grand touring bikes.

I will be "that guy" about doing anything "on the cheap" with those bikes. Those are both very desirable bikes. Although people don't go quite as bonkers about them as they used to 5+ years ago- there are still people that would shank their own mother for one of either of those bikes. They're kind of a big deal. They're great riding bikes, loaded or unloaded; they're supremely upgradeable; and can still function in their intended purpose as a tourer or as a more leisurely bike or as a quite capable all-rounder.

The positive thing with flat/riser/north road style bars is having the brakes and shifting right there at your hand, but the negative is the lack of hand positions- for me, that gets to be an issue after about 7 miles (almost clockwork 7 miles). I've tried the 'butterfly bars,' but they don't work as well for me as I imagined they would- that could be me, it could be the particular bend of bars that I chose... in the end, I've decided I prefer drop bars- but the only time I'm ever in the drops is into the wind. My choice has been to use the old Suntour Command Shifters, which allows me to have the tops, corners, ramps and hoods positions on the bars and still have shifting at my fingers/thumbs.

IMG_2402 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

I have both a 1985 620 and 1985 720. Both are set up pretty similar with 10 speed rear ends and with higher stems and drop bars and I love them very, very much.

85720Yard by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

IMG_3366 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

IMG_0616 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

1985 Trek 620 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
I was pretty excited about them in my head! As for hand positions, I get plenty on the portuers except for drops, which my shoulder won't do anyway. 50-70 miles is a nice day on them I think.
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Old 09-26-23, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by sd5782
I like bars with just a slight bend for upright conversion. I believe it is stated as 15 degree. Stock stem works and these style bars come with differing amounts of rise to them. Sorry for the cluttered pic

These are perhaps 50mm rise......
Do you happen to have a make/model or link for those bars in the pic? They look great.
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Old 09-26-23, 10:16 AM
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I had a 720 of the same vintage as yours, it was the best bike I ever had and still regret selling it.
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Old 09-26-23, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by clarkbre
Do you happen to have a make/model or link for those bars in the pic? They look great.
I donít recall exactly, but I did some searching and measuring. I believe they are Dimension high rise alloy bars as shown on universal cycles website. Those however were 660mm in length and mine are around 600. I donít remember cutting them for length, but perhaps I did. I do remember that they were only around$20, which puts them in that price range.
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Old 09-26-23, 11:58 AM
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I like the nitto albatross bars along with a tall technomic stem; combine that with some mountain brake levers, 9sp shifters and a long-cage derailleur and you can fit a nice big cassette in back for all the gears you'd ever need. That's what I did with my 82 720 (seen below taking the water taxi) and I love it.


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Old 09-26-23, 01:34 PM
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FWIW- I love the Sachs/Huret ratcheting shifters- they're among my favorite- but they don't work well on Shimano bar-end pods- which means they probably wouldn't work on other similar bar end or "thumbie" pods:

Sachs/Huret shifters on Shimano pods by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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