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Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900(14 posts)

Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900Andy
Oct 24, 2002 5:37 PM
Does anybody have any personal experience riding these two bikes? Can you explain the difference in the way these two frames feel on the road? I thought I saw someone say they wouldn't want to ride a 5900 on a long ride... which makes me think the 5900 is a harsh bike.
Sorry, no experience but I can't sleep so I wanna respond.MXL02
Oct 24, 2002 9:00 PM
Others can give you there own take or experience on this but in my mind, the difference can be summed up by how the bikes are utilized in the TdF. The 5500 is the everday workhorse, while the 5900 is reserved for the mountain stages where weight is a big issue. If Lance doesn't wanna use a 5900 except when he has to, that pretty well convinces me that the 5900 may not be a good everyman bike. Other quotes I have read here claim that it is very light but also very stiff. Don't know much about the ride but must be a little harsher than the 5500, I would guess.
I know of only one person who rides a 5900 as his weekend road warrior bike, and he is a 150lb hammerhead LA fanatic. All the other Treks on our route seem to be 5500's.

I am sure there will be other 5900 owners who will respond with horror and disdain at some of my negative appraisals, but no matter what anyone says here, the only way you will be able to determine if it is right for you is to go test ride them. Good luck.
From a 5900 ownerhirevR
Oct 25, 2002 3:38 AM
I recently switched from a featherlight aluminum/carbon mix bike to a 5900 with more carbon that I could mention in a lifetime and I would have to say that I am not replying with disdain or horror to MXL02 reply but surprise. I wasn't aware fo the use of the 5500 and 5900 in the tour. I like the bike plenty. I use it for long rides, hills, sprints--it's my racer and sunday club rider. I think it is very forgiving and very stiff. I tend to hammer as much as possible (even though I wish I was more of a spinner) and find that it has the least amount of flex I've ever felt in a road bike. To sum it upI like it--I like it alot.
re: Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900Wild Bill
Oct 25, 2002 4:24 AM
I used to ride the 5200(one summer) and 5500(two summers). This bike was the best!
I rode the 5900 all last year.
The difference in the 5500 and 5900 is weight but most importantly is comfort! I believe you will never find a more comfortable bike than the 5500. I am saying that the 5900 is very HARSH due to the straight fork and the denser carbon of the frame.
Riding, it means that a 60 mile ride on the 5900 will make your body feel like you have rode over 100 miles. This bike will beat you up when ever it can!
The 5900 was mad to climb and that is what it should be used for.
re: Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900CARBON110
Oct 25, 2002 4:45 AM
I own both and have over 10k miles on them. I prefer the 5900. The geometry is the same, but the 5900 is stiffer and nimbler. The 5500/5200 is a sweet bike. I did not find the 5900 to be harsh at ll and nor was the 5500. Both excellent choices, both very stable and comfortable after 6 hours on bike.
re: Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900TrekFurthur
Oct 25, 2002 6:51 AM
Having owned both a 5200 (same as 5500 but with Ultegra) and, currently, a 5900, I agree that the 5900 is stiffer, but that's only a matter of degrees. It's still a very comfortable ride, very smooth though you will feel pavement seams. However, I race and participate in fast club training races--this is my race bike, though I find myself on it instead of my training bike often enough. Put a set of trad. spoked DA/open pros on it and it's great.

Yes, the 5500 will be less stiff, but you need an extended test ride on both to see which you prefer. I've steered plenty of rec. riders to the 5200/5500 over the 5900.
Question for 5500/5900 riders...what is your weight?MXL02
Oct 25, 2002 7:03 AM
My guess is that lighter riders won't find the 5900 a bad ride, whereas, it would be intolerable for Clydes. Thoughts?
Probably just the oppositepmf1
Oct 25, 2002 7:57 AM
Heavier riders tend to be more comfortable on stiffer bikes than light riders.
Agree.TrekFurthur
Oct 25, 2002 10:19 AM
BTW, I come in at 165-175 depending on the time of year at 5'7-8".
re: Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900torquer
Oct 25, 2002 7:23 AM
I rode a 5500 (actually a 5200-decalled frame built-up with a DA kit) for 3 or 4 years, until it was totalled in an accident last October. I replaced it with a 5900 with similar kit and identical wheels.
I went with the 5900 because I was offered a deal on one with last year's paint scheme, and the driver's insurance company paid me the MSRP of a new 5500; I frankly don't think I would have spent the $600 plus difference if it was all comming out of my pocket.
The old bike had the original style fork; the new one has the straight-bladed one (which I believe is standard on the 5200/5500 as well this year), but I can't feel any significant difference there; for the kind of riding I do (fast 30-50 mile group rides, only one 20 mile open race a year) any additional stiffness has only helped on climbs, and I have not felt any more beat-up at the end of these admittedly short rides than I used to; my sprint is as pathetic as it ever was.
(A final, though totally subjective difference, is the subtle exclusivity; you have to look for the Shimano & WV decals, otherwise it's just another LA wannabe's ride in the eyes of the snobs who love to run down Trek.)
Unfortunately, I can't offer experience of a direct side-by-side comparison, since the accident also left me with injuries that kept me off the bike for almost 3 months, and when I started riding the 5900 my fitness level was obviously down, and I feel that I spent most of the year trying to play catch-up; can't blame it on the bike, though.
Bottom line: if you've got the money, you'll definitely get an improvement over an already superior climbing bike, while you run the risk (degree unknown)of being less fresh for the finish sprint versus Eric, Robbie and Mario, . Otherwise, I don't think there is that much difference that you need to worry about.
re: Difference in ride between the Trek 5500 and 5900raptorUW
Oct 25, 2002 8:08 AM
I can offer a direct comparison between the two bikes. i've been on an oclv 120 frame for a year, and just got a new 5900. I've only had a few rides on the 5900 so i may not be that useful, but i've ridden both bikes. Here's what i have concluded so far:

the 5900 feels faster..call it new bike syndrome if you wish, but it feels amazing. the rear end on the bike doesn't feel like its there. its october, so i haven't put any scary fast efforts in yet, but i can tell already that this bike will scream up hills.

the 5900 has a longer wheel base...about .5-1cm?...not enough for me to need to change sizes or anything..but long enough to notice when the bikes are side by side. this comes from changes in the forks dimensions, not the frames.
(btw, the "new" 5500 fork is not the 5900 fork, only aesthetically similar)

the bikes feel completely different. i'm not sure what's causing this...and i definitely like the 5900 feel better.
i went with a new kit for the bike... OS handlebars, stem, seatpost & seat are responsible for the different feel, i'm convinced.

bottom line on the "feel" issue...i think a lot of the different responses have to do with the components, not the bike itself. If you want it to ride "softer" get a padded seat, a layback post...std. stem/h-bar vs 31.8...i'd go so far as to spec a lighter than avg handlebar...you'll want to replace it every year for safety reasons, but they all flex more than heavy bars. and if you're buying a 5900, you can't complain about replacing a bar once a year!

even things like pedals could make a diff: get a pedal with a higher relative stack ie look vs speedplay or spd-r/spd-sl. this will raise you seat, more seatpost = more seatpost flex = more comfort

btw, i'm on the 60cm frame. 6' to 6'1", 140-145lbs
Only difference was Ultegra to DA--the rest was the frame (nm)TrekFurthur
Oct 25, 2002 10:22 AM
Thanks everyone... ( nm )Andy
Oct 25, 2002 2:13 PM
OK, I'll bite - - - - 5900 - 5500 = 400? -nmgrzy
Oct 25, 2002 2:56 PM