Ode to my 1985 Trek 520

March, 2021

The other day I was repairing the brakes on my old Trek road bike. I picked the bike up used from a friend-of-a-friend in 2017 when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin (close to the Trek headquarters in Waterloo). I realized that despite cherishing the bike greatly, I didn’t know the bike’s model and year.

Outside Shadow Puppet Brewery in Livermore, March 2021

After photographing decals on the frame, and a bit of Googling, I learned it was an 1985 Series 520 (based on color, decals, and a Reynolds 501 chromealloy-m sticker). I found the original brochure on the Vintage Trek website.

The bike rides great, and feels very nimble and responsive. While it does go through tire tubes like nothing I’ve ever ridden, it has held up great over the years. The only repairs I’ve had to make have been:

  • Replacing the Super Turbo bike seat after about a year of it leaving black smudges on the butt of my pants
  • Replacing the tires – the old Michelin tires I replaced were made in France.. new set I purchased (same style) are now produced in Taiwan
  • Replacing brake cables and break lines

Here are a few more pictures. As most people do with their bikes, I’ve developed a sentimental attachment. Looking forward to many more rides together!

Shortly after purchase in Madison, 2017
Bike made the move to Oakland with me, 2019
Leaning up against a pine tree in Yosemite, 2019
Back brake cable snapped in March, 2021

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