Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Locked Up: Lugged steel Trek downtown

Posted by on January 3rd, 2012 at 9:53 am

Finding lugged steel frames built by Trek and other large manufacturers is uncommon. It’s even more rare to find them in good condition.
(Photos: Will Vanlue)

The latest edition of Locked Up is a blast from the past.

These days when you hear the name “Trek” what probably comes to mind are sleek, light weight, aluminum and carbon fiber frames.

However, there was a time not too long ago when those materials weren’t available to bike builders and frames were all made from steel.

I’m a big fan of steel framed bicycles personally so it was a treat to find a steel Trek road bike locked up on the corner of SW 2nd and Ash, just outside Captain Ankeny’s Well.

The bike featured downtube shifters…

And some original components, including a vintage Trek headbadge…

If you had any doubts the frame is made of steel, the original True Temper sticker was still intact…

It was great to see this bicycle out on the streets in good working order.

Have you found an interesting bike locked up? Let me know by sending pictures to will[at]bikeportland.org and we might just feature them in the next edition of Locked Up.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Editz January 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Quick release on the front wheel and no lock connecting it to the frame. Stolen wheel in 3…2…

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    • Spiffy January 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

      I never lock my wheels… but I also never leave it locked and alone longer than a trip into the bar for a couple hours… bike parking at work is secure…

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      • was carless January 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        It takes approximately 7 seconds to disconnect a quick-release front wheel.

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        • Natalie January 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

          yeah but it generally takes 7 seconds at 3 in the morning downtown… i never locked my wheels and the one time they got stolen, so was the entire bike.

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  • Rol January 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Maybe it’s my weird luck, or maybe it’s Portland, or maybe it’s the specific places I frequent in Portland, but I seem to see old Treks like this (and other classic bikes) fairly often.

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    • Mike Fish January 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Yeah, aren’t that a lot of bikes like these around? Especially Univegas.

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  • NW Biker January 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I have a 1980s steel Bianchi touring bike locked into my garage. Does that count? 🙂

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  • Art Fuldodger January 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

    steel nice.
    lugged steel sublime.

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  • Portland's One-Stop Electric Bike Shop
    Portland's One-Stop Electric Bike Shop January 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Love the old-school Zephal pump clip. Brings back memories of bike touring in my teens. I am going to call 86 or 87, ridden for a few years and the parked for 2 decades.

    J- might be a good idea to be a bit more obscure in reporting location. Readers appreciate the bike, thieves want location

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Julia January 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Great looking bike!

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  • brian January 3, 2012 at 11:51 am


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    • spare_wheel January 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm


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  • Scott January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The Apel years I believe. Lovely.

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  • Scott January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm


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  • OnTheRoad January 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    And it hasn’t been turned into a single-gear bike either.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • wsbob January 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    That’s not my bike, because if it was, it wouldn’t be left on the street out of my sight, locked or not.

    New, quality steel production bikes are still made, but they’re not as common as aluminum and carbon fiber.

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    • Lester January 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Cap’t Ankeny’s is wrapped in windows. The bike would only be out of your sight if you were to visit the restroom.

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  • Joe January 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    good mix of Components 600 was a great groupo
    whoa is that a nice old flight saddle? touring rims too 🙂

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  • Andrew Holtz January 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Ah, memories… I had a steel-frame Trek in the 1980s and early 90s. But I loved it to death… putting so many miles on it that the frame turned all mushy.

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  • Peter Buck January 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    If I remember correctly the 80’s Treks were painted with DuPont Imron, which wears like iron. I’ve used my ’83 Trek 620 continuously since I bought it new and the paint is still shiny. These old Treks, especially the touring versions (the ’83 Trek catalog offered four touring bikes) make great commuters and utility bikes with their easy ride and good carrying capacity. My 620 rides almost as good as my custom Co-Motion Nor’wester (also steel, of course) and is more stable under load, much to my chagrin. Steel is easier to upgrade than aluminum or carbon. I had the rear triangle spread and aligned to fit a 7-speed cassette (from the original 6-speed Maillard Helicomatic) and over the years have migrated from down-tube friction to down-tube index, to SIS to bar-end shifters as each previous version wore out. It is still possible to get good 27″ tires as well, though not with the same selection available as 700C.

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  • dwainedibbly January 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Shimano 600, post-Arabesque, makes it 1983 or later, if I recall. Non-aero brake levers make it 1986 or earlier, if I haven’t gone senile. I’ll guess 1984 or 1985.

    A nice bike, for sure. I wanted a Trek, but ended up with a Fuji.

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  • TK McGuinness January 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Nice Trek…pre ’86 vintage but it is still under warranty!

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  • Dan! January 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Nooooo! Non drive-side photos!

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  • spare_wheel January 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    the angle of that saddle is giving me symapthy pains.

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  • Peter Buck January 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    ’85 Trek 420 in “taupe” is my best guess.

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  • bearcub's a snob January 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    these keep getting more and more ridiculous. low end model trek with a clapped out, mismatched 600 gruppo? really?

    Do yourself a favor and STOP trying to emulate John Prolly. Or at the very least don’t bother going for the “Portland aesthetic” of jank and disrepair. there are plenty of worthwhile bikes to photograph around town. not to mention MUCH better looking vintage treks around town. just don’t bother with those alu/carbon travesties held together by 20 year old krazy glue.

    also, j.a. saddle angle = j.a. with boner problems.

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