Questions About Finding The Perfect Touring Bicycle

I’ve got some exciting news!

This Saturday I am going to be releasing an incredible new book all about Touring Bicycles. The book is going to be called “The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles” and it’s going to be a book that is designed to help you learn about touring bikes and to help you find the perfect touring bicycle for you and your specific needs.

But in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some emails I’ve received lately about bicycles made specifically for bike touring.

Ready? Here it goes:

Question From A Reader:

I keep hearing about different touring bikes. Everyone seems to have a different bike that they love the most. What kind of bike should I get and what price range should I expect?


My Response:

Seifer, you’re right! There are a ton of different touring bicycles on the market. You could do research for days and days and never discover them all. To make matters worse, there really is no touring bicycle that is best in every situation.

There are touring bicycles made for a number of different purposes.

There are touring bicycles made for short trips around your home (that are also perfect for commuting). There are touring bikes made to go fast and that can be used for racing. And then there are touring bicycles that are designed to carry you and your gear all the way around the world.

So, the first step to finding the right bicycle for you is to first determine what kind of touring you wish to do.

If you want to take a short trip near your home, you’ll likely want a totally different bike than someone who is going to ride their bicycle all the way around the world.

Once you decide what kind of bicycle tour you want to go on, then you have to think about:

  • How much gear do you need to carry?
  • What kind of roads will you be traveling on? And will they be paved roads or dirt roads filled with rocks?
  • Will you be pulling a trailer or carrying a set of panniers?
  • And what exactly is your budget?

There are touring bicycles designed to fit your specific needs in any of these various categories. But first you have to decide what type of bicycle tour you are going to be taking! Then you can start looking for your ideal touring bike by narrowing down your choices and weeding out the bikes that are out of your price range or not designed for your specific type of bicycle touring.

As for price, this too varies greatly.

You can find cheap touring bicycles for as little as $600 USD… and you can purchase high-end touring bicycles for as much as $6,000 USD (and possibly even more).

On average though, you should be able to find a great touring bicycle for anywhere between $1,100 and $2,500 USD.

It should be noted, however, that these prices are for the bicycle only. By the time you add on the extra expense for front and rear racks, panniers, camping equipment and all the other gear you need, you could be paying a whole lot more than this to fully-equip yourself for life on the road.

It should also be noted that many touring bicycles today come with everything you need to get started on your first bicycle tour. For example, the Koga-Miyata WorldTraveller is a touring bicycle that comes fully-equipped with front and rear racks, fenders, lights, a bell, pump, kickstand and water bottle cages.

Other companies sell only touring bicycle frames. After buying the frame, you then have to build up the rest of the bicycle yourself using the parts and components that you like best.

Most touring bikes, however, come with a rear rack (and sometimes even with pedals), but if you need a front rack, fenders, and any other extras, those will have to be purchased in addition to the bicycle itself.

As you can see, the price of a touring bicycle can really vary. But for a good, quality touring bike that will likely suit your needs, you can probably expect to spend anywhere between $1,100 and $2,500 USD.

Another Question From A Reader:

Hi Darren,

First of all, I love your site. I tell people about it all the time. But I have a question for you. I am saving up to buy my first touring bicycle and I am trying hard to decide between which bicycles to buy. I plan to ride my bike from my home in upstate New York to my aunt’s house near Lake Michigan this fall. I saw you rode a Bike Friday folding bicycle through Europe last year and I am wondering if this kind of bicycle would be good for me also. Can you help?

Dave England

My Response:

Dave, thanks so much. I’m glad you are enjoying my website and learning so much. And congrats in advance on making the decision to participate in your first bicycle touring expedition.

Upstate New York is one of my favorite areas I have ever cycled in. I rode my bike up the East Coast of the United States in the summer of 2003 and Upstate New York was the greenest, most beautiful part of the entire trip.

Anyway, you asked about what type of touring bicycle you should get for your upcoming bike tour.

To answer, I first have to tell you about why I took my little Bike Friday folding bicycle to Europe with me.

I took the folding bicycle to Europe with me because my plan for that trip was to travel both with my bicycle and on the trains. As I’ve learned from doing 6-different long-distance bicycle tours in the United States, traveling on a train with a full-size bicycle is usually not a lot of fun. You usually have to box the bike up, pay an extra fee, and then reassemble the bike when you get back off the train.

I knew I was going to be traveling via trail a lot when I was in Europe last year and I knew I didn’t want to deal with the headache of traveling with my full-size bicycle – so that’s why I decided to take my folding bicycle instead.

In the end, I took 35 different trains when I was in Europe last year and having the folding bicycle with me made traveling on those trains SO MUCH EASIER!

Plus, the Bike Friday New World Tourist worked perfectly for my time off the bike as well. It was able to carry all the gear I needed and I was able to ride the bike all the way from Switzerland to Greece.

But in your case, I don’t think you need a folding bicycle. You’re trip through New York and Canada is going to be mainly on paved roads.

Unless you plan to travel a bunch in the future, you would probably be a lot happier with a full-size touring bicycle designed for travel on paved streets.

Just so you know: I have a folding bicycle that I use for touring, but I also have a full-size touring bicycle that I ride most of the time… and in your case, I think you might like the full-size touring bike a whole lot more.

I hope this helps!

*   *   *

These are just two examples of recent emails I have received from Bicycle Touring Pro readers who are looking to purchase their first touring bicycles. But the truth is, I get emails like this all the time!

Finding your ideal touring bicycle can really be tough… and that’s why I have put together this new book I was telling you about – “The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles.”

In the book, I take you by the hand and walk you through the process of finding your ideal touring bike. Plus, the book features more than 200 touring bicycle models from large and small companies all over the world. It’s going to be the most extensive guide to touring bicycles ever created… and I think it is going to help a lot of people like Seifer and Dave who are in the process of finding their perfect touring bike.

I plan to officially launch the book this Saturday (in just two short days), but in case you want to read more about it and pick up your advanced copy right away, here is the link you need to visit:

So, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading… and be sure to check out “The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles” when it officially launches this coming Saturday!

You can get the book now by visiting the link above, but I’ll be sending out more details very soon about both the book and some super cool, top-secret gifts for those who decide to purchase the book during its first week of publication.

Until then… make it a great day and I’ll speak with you on Saturday.


5 thoughts on “Questions About Finding The Perfect Touring Bicycle

  1. Jeff says:

    Hey- I’ve been looking at getting the Trek 520 for my tour this coming summer. I’m riding 4,000 miles across Europe. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.

    • Bicycle Touring Pro says:

      I think the Trek 520 is a great choice for a bike tour across Europe. Which countries do you plan on cycling through?

      The only thing I personally don’t like about the Trek 520 is its bar-end shifters. This is just a personal preference sort of thing, but I don’t like bar-end shifters. If you don’t mind them, then this bike will certainly be capable of transporting you and your belongings across Europe and beyond.

      Those are my thoughts. Hope they help!

  2. Helia says:

    Hello thanks for the information! I’m also planning to do a tour across Asia and I chosed Giant ARX2 but haven’t bought it yet. Any thoughts or suggestions?💕

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