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The long chainstays, 47cm, provide heel clearance for the rear panniers, and contribute to a comfortable ride.
These frames and bikes are still highly sought after by knowledgeable tourists.
Long chainstays are used on touring bikes to provide a more stable, cushioned ride and to provide more room for panniers (saddle bags).
Serious touring bikes in the 80s and 90s were equipped with cantilever brakes (the classic center-pull cantilevers).
There also are four early price lists from bike shops in Santa Barbara, CA.
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.
This page also includes suggestions for estimating the current value of a Vintage Trek.
The sidepull brakes of the time were considered less capable for such extreme duty.
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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.
These data should be of use to people who plan to buy a vintage 520.
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The geometry and frame materials are normally given in the brochure for that year.