My "re-imagined" trek 720 multitrack

Commuter type bikes are my favorites. Race bikes are boring because they all have to conform to a norm in order to work well. A commuter bike is where someones personality, or lack thereof, shows. It's also where you see all sorts of interesting home solutions and odd-cobble jobs.

The last few winters I've spent a lot of time on my bike riding Rochester area gravel roads, bike paths and commuting. I've gone through quite a few frames and parts while I've searched for what worked best for me. I also use this bike for almost all my summer commuting and for non-offroad touring. Here is what I'm riding (or at least the important parts) and a bit about why...

Frame- 1999 Trek 720 Multitrack. Stable, durable, cx type frame that fits 700x42s with fenders or 29x1.9 without.

Fork- Nashbar carbon 1" cyclocross disc fork. I debated about spending the $40 for this, but it dropped a lot of weight off the frame and improved the geometry for my use... PLUS it allowed me to switch to a disc brake.

Headset- aheadset 1" headset, had to swap to this to run the fork as I went from threaded to threadless.

stem/bars/post/saddle- 130mm 3T stem (slammed!), truvativ stylo mtb bars in 580mm, Thomson 0 setback post, Ti railed WTB saddle. Tried to skimp on post, but the infinite adjustability that cheap posts lack keeps my taint from hurting! This stuff is relatively light, but also likely to last forever.

Wheels- front- no name front 32 spoke 29er wheel with 160mm lock-on disc. rear- coda rear hub (dt swiss internals) laced with 40 spokes to a sun tandem rim. Needed something beefy that wouldn't need much work to keep going, rear hub is the place to spend the money! Front hub is simple and bearings could be replaced if needed.

brakes- BB7 road front, Shimano lx canti rear, old school avid flat bar levers (SD7?)

tires- 700x42c nokian 240s in winter or Bontrager XR 29x1.9/1.8 in summer.

fenders- planet bike, modified to mount with the disc brake up front

crankset- Ultegra 6500 triple with only a 39t middle ring, bashguard. Internal bottom bracket for durability in crud, bashguard keeps my pants out of chainring.

cassette- Ultegra 6500 12-27. Good, higher end cassette that gives me final gearing similar to what I ride in summer. No taking a nap and totally spinning up hills.

chain- kmc x9. I've had a lot of issues with chains over the years. These are my favorite cheap 9sp chains, prefer DA 7700 for "race" bikes.

derailleurs- no front derailleur, XTR M952 rear. Awesome quality sealed bearings that worked until I wore out the teeth and had to replace them!

shifters- sram attack gripshift- simple and durable. Not different in feel than the X0 on my race mountain bike. I run a full-length cable housing.

pedals- crankbrothers quattro sl. I use them or the Ti ones on everything. They are holding up great.

All in all this is a bike I feel comfortable with. I can take a quick-link, multi-tool and a couple tubes and be confident in making it home in any conditions. I am also comfortable on it for long rides and find that it handles quite well. Building up a winter bike/commuter with this level of compenentry has greatly increased it's functionality such that I now use it a ton, easily enough to justify the cost. I find it appealing visually as well, but I think it flies under the radar too... I'm not having to constantly worried that it will be stolen from a gas station or bike rack.

I've since gone back to dropbars as shown here.

Here is a link to a similar post by my friend Will...


What are you riding?


  1. Good morning... beautiful Trek!

    Question for you...

    I'm looking at buying a Trek 720 for just this kind of build. I already have a nice Soma steel hard tail mountain bike that I love, but I want something that I can hit the streets and bike paths around here. I haven't gone to check out the bike I have my eye on, because I'm concerned about the frame size.

    Can you tell me the size of your Trek's frame and how it compares to other bikes you own? I've owned a 56cm road bike and my Soma is a 19". I'm confused on what size I should be looking at for the Trek. Any input would be appreciated!

  2. My frame is a 58 (would have been labeled a large?). I generally consider myself a 55-57cm frame size. I run zero setback on the seatpost on this bike, a 100mm stem and short reach "cyclocross" bars these days. When it was built with flat bars I needed a 130mm stem to have it fit right (I'm stuck with zero setback on the seatpost because it's better on my knees).

    My regular mountain bike is a size L cannondale flash carbon.

  3. Thank you for the previous reply. I was able to track down and purchase a very clean Trek 720 last week. Now to start collecting the parts for the conversion to a light tourer. Another question(s) for you... which shifters are you using on your drop bar setup? Any recommendations on where I might find a set? Thanks...

  4. Awesome- maybe link to some pictures when you get it done!

    I am riding singlespeed this winter on this bike, but the bar end shifters that I prefer are the older suntour ones in friction mode. They trade for $40-70 it seems- so still a bit cheaper than modern shimano DA. Otherwise you can't really go wrong with 7700 or 7800 Shimano.