Update June 2019
The Trek 820 is a very old model hardtail mountain bike (MTB) and no longer available to buy online new. The equivalent entry-level MTB from Trek is the Trek Marlin 5 at around US$500.
If you have your heart set on the Trek 820, try to grab a second hand one on Ebay.
Mountain biking requires a special kind of bike. It needs to be strong and sturdy, capable of handling the roughest terrain.
The Trek 820 mountain bike is an excellent starter model with enough of a professional feel that you get a real idea of what off-roading is like, but not so much that it becomes exorbitantly expensive. At under $500, it is an option that won’t break the bank either, making it a good entry level bike for beginners.
It is better suited to light trails or driving over rough roads with lots of potholes, so, if you are already an advanced rider, this will probably not hit the right note for you. It is a hybrid between a street model and off-road model and really awesome for beginners.
The color range, unfortunately, is limited to black with a matte finish but this does give it a very sleek and contemporary look.
This Might Be Good for You If:
• You have never tried off-roading before.
• You want a complete trial before you take the plunge on a very expensive model.
• You want to be able to ride it in the city, or off-road just as easily.
• The only tracks that you will be considering are less intense. Like, for example, light singletrack, gravel pathways or tarmac in the city.
• You have something of a restricted budget.
• You want a good MTB brand, Trek is top MTB manufacturer.
What you get when you buy a Trek 820 mountain bike
You are not going to get all the bells and whistles here. But, at that price, you cannot really complain. If you feel that the overall look is a little too generic for you, you could always add lights, fenders, a kickstand, fenders, etc. As regards the actual features of the bike itself, you have a frame that is built to last, and that will stand up to a lot of rough treatment.
The tires are semi-slick to help you ride smoothly on trails or on pavements, as you like. The wheels themselves are well-crafted with a durable alloy, giving you the best of both world’s strength and lower weight.
There is no rear suspension as it’s a hardtail, but this should not be too much of an issue because you will be using it on the lighter trails anyway. It does have a suspension fork in front so that you are not going to rattle your teeth out of your head when going downhill. There is plenty of space on the frame to attach a water-bottle holder, a fitness monitor, etc.
Just be careful, though, the total weight the frame can carry is 300 pounds. The bike weighs in at around 34 pounds without accessories, so that leaves you with 266 pounds to play with. These do come in a wide range of sizes. With the smallest being a size 13. This is a big advantage as not all companies offer models for people that are 4’9”. It also means that if you have a teen in the home, you are bound to be able to get them one of these.
The maximum is size 23, and that is for someone who is around 6’8”. So, in terms of the size range here, you really cannot go far wrong. This bike also has a women’s model with Trek’s women specific design.
• Great price
• Gives a taste of what a professional bike can do.
• The front suspension works really well.
• The tires are built to last and provide a good grip.
• The semi-smooth nature of the tires makes it possible for them to transition to normal roads and pavements easily.
• You can accessorize it quite easily and inexpensively.
• Will do duty as an off-road bike but just as happy to get you to work and home again as well.
• Handles really well.
• Great design.
• Will last.
• Relatively light for riding on.
• 34 pounds is still considered a little on the heavy side if you are planning on entering competitions. It should also be borne in mind that if you walk yourself through an area of a trail not suitable for cycling, this is deadweight to carry.
• This is a hybrid and tries to span two worlds. This is not optimal if what you want is an off-road bike. The tires are not suitable for extremely rough terrain, and so you may become frustrated with it at a later stage for this reason.
• The seat is not all that comfortable, especially over longer distances, so do consider changing that out or at the very least looking for a padded cover to provide a lot more of a cushion.
• The frame is good, but the rest of the components are not great so put some budget aside to swap them out as necessary.
An alternative to the Trek 820 is the Mongoose Impasse under $500
Is the Trek 820 mountain bike a good buy?
In conclusion, it is clear that this is not the best option for everyone. It will not suit the seasoned biker and may leave them feeling that they have a very limited range of options. If you are a seasoned biker, you will need to start saving for a better-suited option.
Having said that, this is an excellent option for a beginner or the hobbyist cyclist. Someone who does not quite know for sure that they will enjoy it and who doesn’t want to shell out over $1 000 to find out. (Most professional models cost well in excess of $1 000.)
Coming in under the $500 mark means that this is a really affordable way of dipping your toe into the water. You get to experience the wonders of mountain biking and, if you decide it is not for you, you can easily ride it at home instead.This is also an excellent option for the occasional cyclist – the one who only really cycles when they are away on holiday.
This will give you a reasonably comfortable ride with making you wince when you see your bank statement and without leaving you paying it off for the next few years. All, in all, this is not the very best model out there. But it is definitely the best in terms of value for money. It has all the makings to start a lifelong love with mountain-biking for you. And, hey, it is versatile, so there is no money wasted if you decide not to carry on with it.