Dating vintage cars
The price list and values page also has a list of bike prices when new.This information was provided mostly by visitors to this site.The Model 170, arguably Treks best steel racing frame, was available during the period 1983 to 1985. It still is offered by Trek in steel (although not lugged), which has helped maintain significant model recognition among bicyclists.This longevity and popularity has raised the value of this bike over similarly-priced vintage Treks of the period.
It usually is easy to identify a bike frame as a Trek, even if it has been repainted, as virtually all of them have "TREK" conveniently stamped or cast into one or more places on the frame.Two parameters are specially important to the 520 over the years: chainstay length (as pointed out by Robert Cooke) and the type of brakes used.Long chainstays are used on touring bikes to provide a more stable, cushioned ride and to provide more room for panniers (saddle bags).The sidepull brakes of the time were considered less capable for such extreme duty.It wasn't until Shimano developed their "V-brake" (known generically as the side-pull cantilever or the direct pull brake) that a viable alternative to the traditional cantilever was available. The table below shows these two 520 characteristics through time.
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Another special feature is the three holes, of increasing size, in the top of the seat lugs and head lugs.