A touring bicycle, as its name suggests, is a type of bicycle designed specifically for bicycle touring – the act of riding a bicycle for days, weeks, months or even years on end as you travel long distances across cities, states and countries.
While touring bicycles look similar to the road and mountain bike models you are likely already familiar with, there are a number of small, unique features found on traditional touring bicycles that make them better suited for traveling long distances, as you might on a bicycle tour.
Here are some of the features that almost all touring bikes have in common:
- Touring bicycles have wider tires than road bikes, enabling them to support more weight and ride in rougher conditions. Most touring bikes are designed to be ridden on paved roads, but can also handle a fair amount of off-road riding.
- Touring bikes are usually made of heavy-duty steel. Because touring bikes need to carry more weight, they need to be made of stronger materials.
- Many touring bikes have extremely low gears so that you will have an easier time climbing hills and mountains.
- Touring bike makers know that you are going to be spending a long time in the saddle, so they design the bikes to be more comfortable on your back, butt, hands and neck. On a touring bike you are in a more upright position than you would be on a traditional road or mountain bicycle… and you have more positions to place your hands on the handlebars.
- Touring bikes are also built to support racks on the front and back of the bicycle, allowing you to carry up to four panniers (or bags) on your bike at a time.
Plus, there are a bunch of other little features that touring bikes may or may not have that make them better for long-distance touring. Learn more here: www.touringbicyclebook.com.
While the term “touring bicycles” is used to describe a certain kind of bike, it should be understood that there are also a number of different types of touring bicycles…. and each different type of touring bicycle has been designed for a specific type of bicycle touring.
Here, for example, are the five main types of touring bicycles:
- Sport Touring
- Light Touring
- Road Touring
- Off-Road Touring
Each of these different types of touring bicycles has been designed for a different type of bicycle touring. For example, there are major differences between touring bicycles made for local commuting, and those designed for off-road bicycle touring. Pick the right bicycle for your trip and you’ll be sure to come home with those wonderful bicycle touring memories you’ve been dreaming about. But pick the wrong bicycle and your trip could be over before it’s even had a chance to begin.
Not only are there five main types of touring bicycles, but there is what is known as a “traditional touring bicycle.”
A traditional touring bicycle is a bicycle designed for long-distance, multi-day bike tours with a set of front and rear racks, panniers and fenders on mostly paved roads. Traditional touring bicycles are designed so that they are comfortable to ride, easy to repair just about anywhere in the world, and can be ridden easily on paved streets (and through small sections of off-road terrain). Bicycles in the “road touring” category can usually also be considered “traditional touring bicycles.”
Now that you know what a traditional touring bicycle is, you should understand what a traditional touring bike is not.
A traditional touring bicycle is not made of carbon fiber or any other lightweight material. A traditional touring bicycles does not have disc brakes. And a traditional touring bicycles does not come built with fancy parts or components that are not easily found all over the world.
A traditional touring bicycle is designed to go just about anywhere on paved surfaces, and be easy to repair or find replacement parts for anywhere in the world. That being said, traditional touring bikes usually are built with 700c wheels, tubes and tires (which are not easy to find in remote corners of the planet compared to wheels, tubes and tires of the 26 inch variety).
Below you find a list of common traditional touring bicycles. Pay attention to each bicycle’s specific look and design and you will begin to see what makes these bikes so similar to one another.
Volpe - www.bianchiusa.com
Elan – www.brodiebikes.com
Touring 1 & 2 - www.cannondale.com
Americano, Nor’Wester, Nor’Wester Tour - www.co-motion.com
Ultra Galaxy Ti - www.dawescycles.com
Tournado - www.dahon.com
Caribou 1 & 2 – www.devinci.com
Touring - www.fujibikes.com
Long Haul Trucker – www.surlybikes.com
What you see here is just a small sampling of some of the most popular full-size, single person, road-equipped, 700c, touring bike models.
To view more than 200 different touring bicycles and learn how to select the right touring bicycle for you, please see: The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles.