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2019-23 Trek 520 ďarchivedĒ

Old 03-18-23, 03:42 PM
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2019-23 Trek 520 ďarchivedĒ

https://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en_CA/bikes/adventure-touring-bikes/520/520-disc/p/569323/

So is it discontinued or not ?
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Old 03-19-23, 01:02 AM
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Looking at the Canadian (your link) and the USA website I would hazard to guess that the venerable Trek 520 is no longer being produced.
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Old 03-20-23, 07:41 AM
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Maybe ask Trek?
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Old 03-20-23, 03:46 PM
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I just called the Trek store in Manhattan (Chelsea location). The Trek 520 is permanently discontinued. Trek's touring frame is now their gravel bike, the Trek Checkpoint.

As I said in the recent bikepacking discussion thread, gravel bikes are the up-marketed, functionally identical replacement for touring bikes and utility-cyclocross bikes. The inflated pricing of gravel bikes makes more money, so the old bikes are now being discontinued. This has been years coming and should surprise no one.

The most recent Trek 520 was $1679. The cheapest Trek Checkpoint is $2500.
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Old 03-20-23, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I just called the Trek store in Manhattan (Chelsea location). The Trek 520 is permanently discontinued. Trek's touring frame is now their gravel bike, the Trek Checkpoint.

As I said in the recent bikepacking discussion thread, gravel bikes are the up-marketed, functionally identical replacement for touring bikes and utility-cyclocross bikes. The inflated pricing of gravel bikes makes more money, so the old bikes are now being discontinued. This has been years coming and should surprise no one.

The most recent Trek 520 was $1679. The cheapest Trek Checkpoint is $2500.
Yeah. Look what Trek says about the Checkpoint:

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/checkpoint/
ensures youíll reach all the places you dream of exploring on
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Old 03-20-23, 04:39 PM
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To be fair I think the Trek Checkpoint is a pretty nice frame. The drawbacks are:
  • Only one screw boss on the front and rear dropouts, so rack and fender have to share the same screw
  • Fork crown mounting hole does not pass completely through front to rear, so while a fender can be mounted, a dynamo light cannot
Unfortunately both of these are pretty big drawbacks. You can still mount a light on the bars, but then you can't mount a handlebar bag.

This is a fashion bike that conforms to the magazine image of bikepacking. Fenders and racks at the same time? Get out of here dorks.
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Old 03-22-23, 11:28 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Yan
I just called the Trek store in Manhattan (Chelsea location). The Trek 520 is permanently discontinued. Trek's touring frame is now their gravel bike, the Trek Checkpoint.

As I said in the recent bikepacking discussion thread, gravel bikes are the up-marketed, functionally identical replacement for touring bikes and utility-cyclocross bikes. The inflated pricing of gravel bikes makes more money, so the old bikes are now being discontinued. This has been years coming and should surprise no one.

The most recent Trek 520 was $1679. The cheapest Trek Checkpoint is $2500.
You may have said that in the other thread, but once again, just because you said something doesnt make it true or accurate.
You just reiterated your claim that gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes and utility CX bikes, but then you list reasons why the Checkpoint is inferior to Trek's dedicated touring bike. So to recap, gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes, but the Checkpoint gravel bike is inferior for touring when compared to the 520.
I mean, that clearly conflicts. It conflicts because you consistently use broad claims to cover more situations and examples than can be defended. Its hilarious that you even make the claim in a thread where you then disagree with your claim.

I do agree that the fall of traditional touring bikes is years in the making and should surprise no one. Touring bikes back in the 80s were all the rage in the first half of the decade and were overstocked in the second half, leading into the 90s(this is well documented and not worth arguing over). Traditional touring bikes never regained the popularity they once had as the 90s came to a close. The 00s saw a resurgence in touring bikes since Surly introduced its LHT and also since bike made from steel and viewed as utilitarian got a bump in interest. But that has largely passed too.
There simply is not a large market for traditional touring bikes and so mass produced options are currently relatively rare. <---part of what doesnt help is that those who do have a touring bike are not buying a new one every few years or so. From what I have seen- compared to road or mtb, the average lifecycle of a touring bike is significantly longer. This means fewer sales in an already small segment of bike sales. That obviously cant help things.

Originally Posted by Yan
To be fair I think the Trek Checkpoint is a pretty nice frame. The drawbacks are:
  • Only one screw boss on the front and rear dropouts, so rack and fender have to share the same screw
  • Fork crown mounting hole does not pass completely through front to rear, so while a fender can be mounted, a dynamo light cannot
Unfortunately both of these are pretty big drawbacks. You can still mount a light on the bars, but then you can't mount a handlebar bag.

This is a fashion bike that conforms to the magazine image of bikepacking. Fenders and racks at the same time? Get out of here dorks.
- Why is the lack of a front dynamo light mounted to the fork considered a pretty big drawback? Seriously, what % of touring bikes have a front dynamo?...so how do all the other people manage?

- As for fender and racks being mounted at the same spot, I would think you would be more irate that a 2022 and forward Trek Checkpoint cant even handle a front rack. That makes your concern at the front end moot, but also really doesnt support your claim that gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes. https://trek.scene7.com/is/content/T..._27May2022.pdf

- Why cant you use a handlebar bag and a front light? Thats done all the time. Slap a bag on the bars and slap a light on the bars. Boom- done. If you are saying a dynamo light cant be mounted with a bar bag, well I will refer back to my first response to your post and point out that countless people manage to tour just fine without a dynamo hub or connected lighting.







Here is reality-
- Trek 520 historically is a more capable platform to tour in a traditional manner when compared to a Trek Checkpoint.
- Trek 520 has not had large sales numbers for years and years. Like even before they went to the aluminum fork and goofy thruskew setup on the 520, it wasnt selling like hotcakes.
- Trek axed a model that just hasnt been popular and has a lot of overlap with a more popular model.
- Traditional touring is not mainstream.
- Gravel bikes are not just rebadged traditional touring bikes or functionally identical to traditional touring bikes, despite your insistence.

Looks like the Fuji Touring(if anyone can actually buy one?), Surly DT, Salsa Marrakesh, Kona Sutra, Marin Four Corners, Bombtrack Arise Tour, and many others are all thats left for traditional touring options where front and rear racks can be used on a steel frame and fork.
One of the local shops here has multiple Trek 520s in stock- both the touring version and the goofy short lived Grando version. They are in stock sitting right there for immediate purchase while customers walk past and buy what works best for them.
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Old 03-22-23, 12:35 PM
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It seems the demise of the 520 is reported every year. Who knows if it will be true this year.

In past years, it appears that Trek makes a very limited number of 520s and runs out. And then people claim it's been discontinued.

Last edited by njkayaker; 03-22-23 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 03-22-23, 12:41 PM
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welp, I'm glad I bought one last year.
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Old 03-22-23, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
It seems the demise of the 520 is reported every year. Who knows if it will be true this year.

In past years, it appears that Trek makes a very limited number of 520s and runs out. And then people claim it's been discontinued.
Local Trek dealer said both versions of the 520 are discontinued.
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Old 03-22-23, 01:25 PM
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They killed sales with the aluminum fork. A steel fork was cheaper(?) and better.

The 520 was my second touring bike, and quite possibly the best one I have had (although my Soma Saga disk is better, I spent far more money pimping out a steel frame and fork -- you couldn't get the whole bike).

My first significant tour with the (1990) 520 was down the West Coast. It held up great. The headset got slightly loose, but apart from that it was flawless and zero maintenance. I finally gave it away (ca 2005) after years of heavy use, and it was still a great bike then.

I guess they just didn't make enough money on it, and it became harder to source the steel frame and parts during the 2020s.
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Old 03-22-23, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
You may have said that in the other thread, but once again, just because you said something doesnt make it true or accurate.
You just reiterated your claim that gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes and utility CX bikes, but then you list reasons why the Checkpoint is inferior to Trek's dedicated touring bike. So to recap, gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes, but the Checkpoint gravel bike is inferior for touring when compared to the 520. I mean, that clearly conflicts. It conflicts because you consistently use broad claims to cover more situations and examples than can be defended. Its hilarious that you even make the claim in a thread where you then disagree with your claim.

- As for fender and racks being mounted at the same spot, I would think you would be more irate that a 2022 and forward Trek Checkpoint cant even handle a front rack. That makes your concern at the front end moot, but also really doesnt support your claim that gravel bikes are functionally identical to touring bikes. https://trek.scene7.com/is/content/T..._27May2022.pdf
There's only a conflict in your imagination where the Trek Checkpoint is the only gravel bike that exists in the world. In reality here on Earth, there are plenty of gravel bikes which do not have these flaws. Then on the flip side, there are also touring bikes which do have these flaws. For example certain model years of Co-motion bikes, which are as traditional purist touring as they come, also do not have through-bolt fork crowns. If naming ****** bikes is the game you want to play (yawn), I can go on all day. So what's your point? These particular flaws are problems with the specific bike model, and have zero to do with gravel and touring bikes in general. Your logic is a dead end.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
- Why is the lack of a front dynamo light mounted to the fork considered a pretty big drawback? Seriously, what % of touring bikes have a front dynamo?...so how do all the other people manage?
You are way behind the times. It's 2023. I can't speak for your joe schmo hick cousin who gets off his lard ass once a month, but these days almost every elite level multi-day gravel rider is running a dynamo light. Read and learn: https://bikepacking.com/bikes/2022-t...e-rigs-part-2/

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
- Why cant you use a handlebar bag and a front light? Thats done all the time. Slap a bag on the bars and slap a light on the bars. Boom- done. If you are saying a dynamo light cant be mounted with a bar bag, well I will refer back to my first response to your post and point out that countless people manage to tour just fine without a dynamo hub or connected lighting.
No, not "boom-done", more like "boom-can't". Look at the photo below. The bar bag blocks the light. HELLO???

Hanging a stuff sac off the handlebars like in the photo you showed is not a serious solution. It's a drooping potato that swings around like a flopping ball sac, clapping into your headtube with every bounce. Rubs off the paint on your headtube too. Your front end bag is where you keep your ready to access items. Let's say you're into photography and that's where you keep your camera. So are you going to stop your bike an unroll a freaking stuff sack every time you want to take a photo? Hell no. In the top level gravel world, the typical setup is aerobars with a stuff sack hanging below. The light is then attached to the aerobars above the stuff sack. That's the kind of setup you see in gravel bike advertisements; but it has very poor ease of use. Better to choose a model of bike that has the correct hole in the fork. Now you can freely switch up your setup depending on the type of trip. Why limit your options?

Example of aerobar dynamo light mount in the photo at the top of this page: https://www.cyclingabout.com/bikepac...ke-adventures/


Last edited by Yan; 03-22-23 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 03-22-23, 05:00 PM
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Yan - smart to have edited that post.

I don't think a checkpoint is the only gravel bike, nor did I even suggest that. I own a different gravel bike and clearly know others exist.
Once again, you threw out an overly generalized claim and it was foolish to do so. It's a common theme for you.

As for dynamo lighting, why are you suddenly referencing 'elite geavel riders' when this thread has been about a traditional touring bike setup?
Dynamo hubs are neat. They are not a requirement to tour and are relatively rare based on the untold number of touring bikes I've seen in person and online thru the years.

As for your handlebar bag example, yes that is certainly one style of handlebar bag. It's about the most extreme style when defending the position you have, but it is an example.
The example I provided is commonly used.
Perhaps the lesson here is to select gear that matches your setup and needs. Wild, right? If you need to mount your light on your bars, then don't buy a handlebar bag that sits comically high. Seems pretty easy to resolve.

Back to a dynamo setup with dedicated lighting- what % of your riding consists of riding in the dark while touring? A rechargeable light really won't suffice?
It's just touring...it isn't thru the night endurance gravel racing.
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Old 03-23-23, 09:23 AM
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Yes, I re-read it and thought it was a bit harsh, so I toned it down. Sorry.
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Old 03-23-23, 09:55 AM
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Maybe Trek would have sold more 520s if they didnít go to the aluminum fork. Not speculating if this would have made a difference in the current outcome, other then the fact that they did lose some sales because of it. Itís really too bad Trek is abandoning its longest running model and not capitalizing on tweaking the design a bit to appeal to more people. Itís ironic this current model had aesthetics that capitalized on the 520s heritage and then they deep six it. With a company name like Trek I guess itís more figurative than literal now.
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Old 03-24-23, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by speyfitter
Maybe Trek would have sold more 520s if they didnít go to the aluminum fork. Not speculating if this would have made a difference in the current outcome, other then the fact that they did lose some sales because of it. Itís really too bad Trek is abandoning its longest running model and not capitalizing on tweaking the design a bit to appeal to more people. Itís ironic this current model had aesthetics that capitalized on the 520s heritage and then they deep six it. With a company name like Trek I guess itís more figurative than literal now.
Not sure why its ironic that Trek discontinued a product after the latest version pays homage to past models. And did the current model have aesthetics that capitalized on the 520s heritage? It was a disc brake, sloping top tube, STI shifting, aluminum forked touring bike. That, to me, seems nothing like a 520 from 25-40 years ago.

Trek has moved to where they see the market headed. Trek is not a non-profit, the entire reason for its existence is to sell product, so if they have a model that is no longer popular, it makes sense to discontinue production and dedicate resources elsewhere. It would be foolish to expect a brand to continue to make a specific product just because it was a popular product decades ago or just because their brand name creates a similar feeling to what the product intends.
FYI- Cannondale doesnt have a touring bike, even though that company got its start in bags and softgoods. Oh, and The Pro's Closet basically no longer sells any bikes that came from pros.
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Old 03-24-23, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Not sure why its ironic that Trek discontinued a product after the latest version pays homage to past models. And did the current model have aesthetics that capitalized on the 520s heritage? It was a disc brake, sloping top tube, STI shifting, aluminum forked touring bike. That, to me, seems nothing like a 520 from 25-40 years ago.

Trek has moved to where they see the market headed. Trek is not a non-profit, the entire reason for its existence is to sell product, so if they have a model that is no longer popular, it makes sense to discontinue production and dedicate resources elsewhere. It would be foolish to expect a brand to continue to make a specific product just because it was a popular product decades ago or just because their brand name creates a similar feeling to what the product intends.
FYI- Cannondale doesnt have a touring bike, even though that company got its start in bags and softgoods. Oh, and The Pro's Closet basically no longer sells any bikes that came from pros.
You're confusing popularity with profitability. The part you forgot is margins. Companies discontinue popular low margin products all the time to force consumers to spend more on high margin products. The consumer is the loser
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Old 03-24-23, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
You're confusing popularity with profitability. The part you forgot is margins. Companies discontinue popular low margin products all the time to force consumers to spend more on high margin products. The consumer is the loser
The Trek 520 has never been a ďpopularĒ model. It has people who buy it, yes, but in terms of sales, itís not even a bike that many Trek dealers keep in stock. Itís a special order item for the most part. Iíll agree that it is a low margin bike but most bikes are. Bicycles are, for the most part, ways to get people in the door to buy other stuff for the bikes that they purchase. The margin on accessories is far higher than on the bicycle. Bicycle tourists are also a class of people who donít tend to upgrade very often nor embrace new technology much. Lots of people own old Trek 520s but very few of them are probably in the market for a new one.
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Old 03-24-23, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
You're confusing popularity with profitability. The part you forgot is margins. Companies discontinue popular low margin products all the time to force consumers to spend more on high margin products. The consumer is the loser
I am not confusing popularity with profitability. Furthermore, you dont know the margins so implying the 520 is a low margin product is baseless.
Based on observation, the 520 was not a popular bicycle in recent years.
Furthermore, while I agree that sometimes a company will discontinue a popular low margin product, Trek has shown that it absolutely will not only keep low margin products that are popular, but they will actually invest new design into those low margin products. I am referring specifically to the Trek FX1 and FX1 Disc models, whose costs, both shop and retail, I am very familiar with for the last 8 years due to a program I help run which a local shop donates new bikes to.

If you have sales figures that show the 520 was popular, by all means- list em.
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Old 03-25-23, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I am not confusing popularity with profitability. Furthermore, you dont know the margins so implying the 520 is a low margin product is baseless.
Based on observation, the 520 was not a popular bicycle in recent years.
Furthermore, while I agree that sometimes a company will discontinue a popular low margin product, Trek has shown that it absolutely will not only keep low margin products that are popular, but they will actually invest new design into those low margin products. I am referring specifically to the Trek FX1 and FX1 Disc models, whose costs, both shop and retail, I am very familiar with for the last 8 years due to a program I help run which a local shop donates new bikes to.

If you have sales figures that show the 520 was popular, by all means- list em.
tough to be a popular bike when no shops stock them or hardly stock them
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Old 03-25-23, 06:14 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by speyfitter
tough to be a popular bike when no shops stock them or hardly stock them
Perhaps it is a chicken/egg scenario.
Of maybe, and hear me out on this wild concept, shops had them in stock then noticed a long trend of them sitting longer than other inventory, so shops adjusted inventory over time to better reflect what customers in their area want.

Hot take right there!...or simple business practice and logic.
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Old 03-25-23, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Perhaps it is a chicken/egg scenario.
Of maybe, and hear me out on this wild concept, shops had them in stock then noticed a long trend of them sitting longer than other inventory, so shops adjusted inventory over time to better reflect what customers in their area want.

Hot take right there!...or simple business practice and logic.
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Old 03-28-23, 01:38 PM
  #23  
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A couple years back Jamis axed its touring bike, the Aurora, in favor of just having their gravel bike, the Renegade, do-it-all.
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Old 03-28-23, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
They killed sales with the aluminum fork.
Originally Posted by speyfitter
Maybe Trek would have sold more 520s if they didnít go to the aluminum fork.
There's really no way this is true to any measurable extent. In any case, they were apparently selling out the limited runs of 520s they were still making based on comments here. This seems like more of an opportunity cost decision. They could probably have sold a few more 520s by manufacturing a few more. But how many? Is it really worth doing the design work when those employees could be doing something else? How many of those "lost" 520 buyers ended up buying a higher-margin Checkpoint?

I understand the sadness about the 520 going away. The good news is bike touring is cool again, albeit under the new name and modified style of bikepacking. Of course it's not exactly the same thing, there's a real shift in function and aesthetics which of course doesn't sit well with everyone, but people are excited to get out on their bikes and have an adventure. That's great! Enjoy it while it lasts - no doubt the current surge in commercial interest in bikepacking will also ebb and flow with time.

The loss of a value bike option is also understandably disappointing but this has also been an issue for a long time. When my friend and I were in college and doing tours together in the mid-00's, an affordable rig and gear felt every bit as out of reach. The talk on this touring forum was often about Arkel and Ortlieb bags, Tubus racks, Bruce Gordon bikes, all stuff that was just completely unattainable to a 20 year-old with a work-study job. Today's version of me and my friend would probably reach for the same sorts of tricks we did - secondhand or repurposed bikes, off-brand and inexpensive bags, jury-rigging solutions with what we had, and so on. Bikepacking has the added benefit over traditional touring of asking the prospective tourist to consider what they don't need. Can you just carry less stuff? I wish we'd thought of that - my knee would've thanked me and I might've made it to Canada! I'm still hoping to get back to doing some trips on my bike. It might be something fun to do with my daughter when she gets older, if she's interested. Maybe my friend and I will make another attempt to ride to Canada, 20+ years later. Either way I find the new style of packing a bit lighter very appealing and I think I'm more likely to find myself "bikepacking" than "bike touring" again.

For the time being, though, traditional options still exist. The Disc Trucker is still out there, and Fuji is continuing to offer a real option with the Disc Touring. Traditional touring ain't dead yet.
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