Is there a special type of bike used for bicycle touring? Or can you use any type of bike for long-distance touring? Can you use a road bike for bicycle touring? Or a mountain bike?
The truth is, almost any type of bicycle can be used for bicycle touring, but the longer the bicycle tour, the more important it becomes to use a proper touring bike.
A touring bicycle, as its name suggests, is a type of bike made specifically for long-distance bicycle touring… and there are a number of different types of touring bicycles on the marketplace.
While many touring bicycles look similar to the road or mountain bike models you are likely used to, there are actually are a number of small differences that make a touring bicycle better equipped for long-distance riding.
Here, for example, 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 you will have an easier time climbing hills and mountains while carrying a heavy load.
- 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.
- 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.
There are a bunch of other little features that make touring bikes better suited for bicycle touring adventures, but it should be noted that the bicycle you select for your travels is the most important piece of bicycle touring gear you’ll ever need to purchase.
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 – a bicycle that wasn’t built for the kind of bike tour you were participating in – and your bike tour might come to an end a whole lot sooner than you had hoped for.
If you read “The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles” before you make your bicycle purchase, you can be certain you’ve purchased the best touring bike for your specific needs.