Trek 820 Review 2021: A Great Budget MTB or Not?

The Trek 820 is one of the most affordable and legendary bikes out there. It will not cost you an arm and a leg to own a Trek 820 and hit those light trails and ride through potholed city streets without a fuss.

This is a versatile, dependable, and long-lasting mountain bike that you can pass down to your kids if you intend to.

The outstanding bike is easy to ride and improved over the years. Trek 802 will introduce you to the world of mountain biking. What’s so good about the bike?

Trek 820 Review

  • Frame: Custom stainless-steel
  • Size: 13,16,18, 19.5,21,22.5 (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
  • Available colors: Matte black or black.
  • Hubs: Formula FM21 front and Formula FM31 rear alloy hubs
  • Fork: SR Suntour 75mm
  • Rims: 36-hole Bontrager rims Model AT:550
  • Tires: Bontrager Model LT3, 26×2.00
  • Shifters: Shimano Tourney EF40 7 speed
  • Derailleurs: Front Shimano Tourney TY500 and Rear TY300
  • Crankset: Shimano Tourney M131, 42/34/24 teeth
  • Pedals: Padel by Wellgo
  • Cassette: Shimano TZ21, 7 speed
  • Seat Post: Bontrager SSR 2-bolt head
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Riser 25.4x30mm
  • Brakeset: Tektro allow linear-pull

Frame

Trek 820

As you already know, Trek 820’s frame is stainless steel built. That means that the bike is heavy but sturdy and inexpensive.

Trek builds its bikes professionally, and as you can expect, it has impeccable welds, impressive and sleek design, and high-quality finish and paint.

The 820 is not a light bike, which you’ll hardly notice. But you can crash hard with the bike, and the frame will only get a scratch or two. Besides, you won’t get tired looking at the bike, thanks to its appeal.

Suspension

The Trek 820 comes with an effective coil suspension fork built by SR Suntour, a Japanese company that manufactures low to mid-end suspension.

The travel is 75mm, which is short compared to today’s standards, but it helps you maneuver through rough roads at ease.

You also don’t have to worry about curb drops or small root-and-rock trails. The forks may not hold up to the worst hits, but that’s not what Trek 820 was built for. The suspension is sturdy and durable. It should serve you for years.

Wheels

The 820 rolls on a basic solid wheelset that will take you through the forgiving and non-forgiving trails.

They will do the job while keeping the overall them of the bike. Both wheels are 26 inches each. The size is no longer popular after the entry of the 29ers and 27.5ers, but it was the standard size for decades.

The hubs are not only durable but also effective. Both rims and tires are from Trek’s Bontrager. Bontrager is known for making solid, utilitarian parts, which are affordable.

The tires are a compromise, however. They are knobby for a good grip on trail conditions, but they also create a massive tire drag on cement if you ride on highways.

The tires will not serve you as an aggressive knobby tire would do on the trials, and neither will they be smooth and fast on cement, but they will offer you a solid platform on different surfaces.

The maximum tire width, however, is 2.0.” You can upgrade to a wider, more trail, more capable tire for this bike that’s beyond that width. You don’t have the option.

Drivetrain

The 820 is equipped with a Shimano 3×7 drivetrain, three gears in the front, and seven gears in the rear.

The shifters are all Shimano Tourney. These are the cheapest Shimano makes, but they are as effective as they can be. Shimano lets its technology trickle down on the components from to the bottom.

Once new upgrades go active on the top drivetrain, the old premium features move down to the parts on the lower level.

The Tourney drivetrain is not the type pro-cyclists use, but it will take you from point A to B. you’ll have the right gears to move you faster on level ground, assist you in moderate climbs, and slowly push up the steepest steep climbs.

However, due to compatibility, you’ll have to replace the parts simultaneously, which is an expensive affair.

Because this is a beginner’s bike, the durability and performance of the bike’s drivetrain depend on the owner’s good tuning as well as the proper shifting technique.

Be always sure that a qualified mechanic sets up the drivetrain before purchasing a bike. Your equipment will offer you better performance and last for years if you maintain it well.

Most complaints you see online are not about bikes and components but the assembly of the bike and the tuning of the drivetrain.

Brakes

The 820 is fitted with alloy linear-pull rim brakes from Tektro. These brakes function by clamping two rubber pads on the rim immediately you pull the brake trigger.

It’s an old-school braking technology that has been replaced disk brakes which are common in more expensive bikes.

Disk brakes work better in wet and muddy conditions, but rim brakes will stop you and stop your speed.

Be careful if you want to use another wheel. Most mountain bike wheels of the same size are interchangeable.

But rim brakes require compatible rims. Many rims designed for disk brakes cannot work with rim brakes.

Other Components?

Trek fills out the 820 with solid, reliable parts. Nothing is high-end, and nothing here is a head-turner, but every aspect of the bike will fulfill its purpose and hold up to the everyday abuse.

The frame also comes with mounting points for luggage racks. This is extremely important if you are working or riding down to the store, and you need to carry a lightweight load. The racks make it a lot easier to carry items.

The 820 is also an affordable bikepacking bike. The mounted kickstand that is rarely included on higher-end bikes is fitted to this bike, making short-term parking easier.

Catch the Trek 820 in Action

Who Should Get the Trek 820

  • You want a trial mountain bike for trial before you can scale up to a costly model.
  • You have no experience hitting the off-road.
  • You want a bike that you can ride both on trails and the road.
  • You are on a low budget to buy an exclusive mountain bike.
  • You want a low-cost bike for a mountain track, light singletrack, or pitch in the city.

Price Vs Value

There isn’t much that you get with the bike, considering its low budget, but once you start pedaling, you’ll realize that it was all worth it. You can change the bike’s overall look if you feel like it’s quite generic to you.

Customize the lights, fenders, etc. The main part of the bike, which is also the hardest, is the frame made of stainless steel, which can withstand rough action.

You can ride on trails and concrete smoothly as the tires are semi-slicks. The wheels are durable and lightweight. They are also super comfortable.

The bike is a hardtail MTB, meaning it doesn’t come with a rear suspension. The bike is suitable for the lighter trail so, it’s all fine with just the front suspension.

The front fork provides all the balance that you need. The massive space inside the frame can fit a water bottle.

The bike weighs about 34lbs and can carry up to 250lbs, but don’t add any more weight. The bike can carry your teen kids while you ride. Bikers who are 6’8” can ride the bike smoothly. That means the bike is available for all heights.

Trek 820 Pros

Trek 820 review

Low Priced with Good Quality Equipment

The Shimano Tourney drivetrain, the Tektro brake system, and the Bontrager parts make the bike worth every dollar spent on it.

At its low price, the bike is the best amongst all the bikes at that level. You can say the components are incredible, the structure is impressive, and the bike is a real performer.

The Trek 820 model is one of, if not the best bike you’ll stumble upon and get the value of your money if you need a bike and you are on a budget.

Fantastic Suspension

The most competent low prices suspension you’ll ever get is the Trek 820 one. Every biker knows that the most significant and competent part of a mountain bike is the suspension.

You are guaranteed to get true comfort while riding through rough roads, rocky paths, steeps, and everywhere without any worries.

Versatile and Dependable

Versatility is what we look for when buying mountain bikes. The entire drivetrain of the Trek 820 is reliable and adaptable, making the bike one of the best to jump on.

You can make it better by customizing the bike to a groupset that satisfies your needs or decide to stick with the custom one that comes with the bike.

If it’s not versatile and dependable, then it’s not a mountain bike. Trek 820 is all of these, and you can ride it on tough trails, in-plane roadway, on grass. The bike will meet your needs without any stress.

Perfect Positioning

The Trek 820 has individual components from the manufacturer that makes it more improved than other bikes from the competitors. The frame, handlebars, and downward tube or perfectly positioned.

The bike fits everyone and also supports an additional “upright” position for those who prefer that kind of comfort while riding through the city.

Smooth Riding

The Trek 820 rides on Bontrager LT3 tires fitted on the AT-550 Bontrager rims. The Shimano drivetrain and the wheels provide the rider with an outstanding performance.

If you are looking for a smooth ride but on a budget, this is the bike to consider buying.

The Trek 820 is a standard choice because it’s built to satisfy your needs. It provides comfort and an excellent track on lighter trails so that you can hit the outdoors and feel some fresh air.

The Wellgo nylon wheels make the bike feel lightweight and eliminate the rigid pedaling or sluggish feeling when riding the bike. It will react to every push you give it without any setbacks.

Trek 820 Cons

The Bike is a Bit Heavy

Most low-end bikes are built with less costly materials, including stainless steel; hence they weigh heavier.

The Trek 820 is one of those budget bikes constructed with a steel frame, but it is not as heavy as it appears.

It’s neither the most challenging bike to control, but being heavier than some bikes in that price level might be a personal concern.

Especially during fast tracks or downhill, you might feel like the bike is harder to control than most, that’s if you have experienced riding other bikes.

It might be a little risky for you to ride on these trails with Trek 820, but you have nothing to worry about if you are a professional cyclist. You can manage to handle the bike easily.

Uncomfortable Seat

Bontrager SSR seat is the only thing from Trek that most riders complain about. The saddle is not as comfortable as most seats are out there.

This is because it feels a bit harder when you ride for a longer period, and it might hurt your bum a bit and cause some discomfort.

When you try to hit the rough trails, the saddle will intensely cause inconvenience and affect your ride quality by disconcerting your crotch.

The good news is that you can change the seat right away and get a comfortable one to enjoy your rides.

Is the Trek 820 a Good Buy?

It’s clear that this bike is not the best option for everyone. It will not meet the needs of seasoned bikers and might make them feel like their range of options is limited.

If you happen to be a seasoned rider, you have no other option than to save up for a better bike.

However, not everyone fancies a high-end bike, and some want a bike that can take them through town, to the grocery store, for lighter trails, or just a good bike to hit the outdoors with.

The Trek 820 is an excellent choice for beginners or hobbyists looking for a bike at a lower budget. The rider does not want to spend over $1,000 for a more professional model.

This bike costs less than $500 and remains an affordable option. Besides, you’ll remain with some pocket change for servicing and buying extra accessories for your bike.

You will still be able to dip your toe into the water of mountain biking, but if you feel like it’s not your kind of thing, you can easily ride the bike at home instead.

This bike is also a perfect toy for the occasional cyclist who cycles when on holiday.

This is the kind of bike that you will enjoy riding and experience a lot of comfort on it without having to break your bank account. In fact, you’ll not have to pay off for the bike for the next few years. That said, we must admit that this is not the best model out there. There are real deal bikes even from Trek that are head-turners. But to own one of these bikes might cost you over a thousand dollars.

The Trek 820 is, however, the best bike in terms of value for the money. It has what’s required to welcome you to the world of mountain biking.

You’ll find yourself getting addicted slowly, and in no time, you’ll be looking into an upgrade. Besides, the bike is versatile, and no money is wasted if you decide this is what you will stick with.

FAQs

Is Trek 820 a good bike?

Not only a good bike, but the Trek 820 is also one of the best bikes at this price point. It’s an affordable entry-level bike packed with tons of great features, making it an excellent performer for that price. It’s an excellent option for anyone looking for a bike to learn the art of mountain biking with. So, yes, the Trek 820 is a good bike.

What is the Trek 820 worth?

The Trek 820 goes for about $399 on retail. It’s the impressive features and components that make it worth that money. It’s pretty refreshing to know that you can get such a good bike at such a price.

What year was the Trek 820 made?

The first Trek 820 was built in 1998. Many upgrades have come to pass since then. In 1998, the Trek 820 had a rigid fork, but the latest one sports a suspension fork from SR Suntour. The colors have also changed from the traditional Ice Red and Ice Orange fade to Mate Black and Black.

What size is a Trek 820?

The wheels are size 26”. For the frame, it varies with the rider’s height. It starts from extra small, then small, medium, large, extra-large, and extra extra large.

The Bottom Line

If you are getting back on two wheels since childhood, then Trek 820 is the perfect choice to kickstart your mountain biking endeavors with.

It’s affordable, as I have said so many times, and it doesn’t hold you back. If you are on a budget, go ahead and grab this bike. In case you have more questions, feel free to ask us. 

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 10+ trails across the globe, for Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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