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.
Elan – www.brodiebikes.com
Caribou 1 & 2 – www.devinci.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.
112 thoughts on “Traditional Touring Bikes – Bicycles Made Specifically For Long Distance Touring”
My lbs suggested the KHS TR-101 for me to tour the Katy Trail in MO
KHS TR 101
Thorn in England makes a good range of touring and MTB frame sets and bikes.
Bruce Gordon’s bikes are just beautiful. Could never afford one, but still. The Windsor Tourist has been knocked around as a good, inexpensive tourer, but I don’t know what it’s like. I had a Windsor road bike that I bought in 1979 or 1980 and I loved that bike.
I love my Trek 520. It’s the best bike I’ve ever owned. If I had to choose only one of my bikes it would be the 520, hands down.
I’d add the Novara Safari to the list. The link would be the same as above for the Randonee.
I like that it has the Expedition bars and big tires. There is a good review of it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB_7U2RbnOg from the riders of oz.
Thanks everyone! I will add these others as soon as I have a chance. And if you can think of any others to add, please let me know! Keep them coming!
Don’t forget that touring bikes also usually have these features:
> Frames w/ longer chain stays for pannier heel clearance
> Raised stem & frame geometry suited for a more upright riding position
> Bosses for 3rd water/fuel bottle cage
> More comfortable saddle than racing bike
> 700cc (sometimes 26″) wheels w/ strong hubs (w/ 36 or 40 spokes)
> Rear/front racks & fenders sometimes included
> High end models may have disc brakes (i.e. Raleigh Sojourn)
These are arguably the Land Rover / Hummer of road/off-road touring bikes…
(Very pricey, but probably the best for anywhere…world tours!)
(R&M IE is the best of the best! Over $5,000 :-o)
Riese & Müller Intercontinental Extreme
I just realized you don’t have Independent Fabrication. Nice bikes!
Or Rivendale, old school cool.
You should add hewitt cycles touring bikes also…
Excellent service, free bike fitting (if you buy the bike, £50 otherwise), built to order. here’s the photos of mine…
You are missing recumbents. I ride a HP Velotechnik Grasshopper that is an excellent touring bike, as are most of their models.
Andy, thank you, but this is a list of “traditional” touring bikes. This is why I have not included mountain bikes, folding bikes, tandems, or recumbents on the list. I plan to release articles that list these types of touring bikes in the future, but that’s not what this list is about. It is strictly about traditional touring bike models. Stay turned for a future article on recumbent touring bikes. I’ll save your suggestion for that future article.
I have the Long Haul Trucker. A little heavy but quite a bike especially for the money. On ‘crazyguyonabike’ there is discussion about hitting the front tire with the front of the shoe when pedaling with a medium frame. I have the medium frame and a size 10 foot and there is at least an inch clearance at the closest point. . Somebody either has big feet or their pedal/shoe adjustment is off. The bike comes with spare spokes and a holder, good tires, spokes, rims, and a low granny gear. I added a Brooks seat, rear rack, Ortlieb panniers, computer, red light on the rear, and Ortlieb handlebar pack. It has an adjustable stack for the front bar height.
Okay everyone. I just added Hewitt, Independent Fabrication, KHS, Seven Cycles & Thorn Cycles to the list.
I have excluded the Novara Safari, the Tour Terrain and the Koga Miyata because they are more of off-road touring bikes. They have flat, mountain bike type handlebars and wider, thicker tires. I plan to do a future post on these types of touring bikes and will be sure to include them there.
In addition, I have chosen to exclude Rivendell from the list because they make bikes that are more custom than the ones listed above. This list here is simply for bikes that you can order straight from the company without serious modifications, upgrades, etc. I will do a list like this in the future where I list touring frames and custom bikes and I will add the Rivendell to that list.
If you have any more “traditional touring bikes” like the ones seen above that you think should be included on this list, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Thanks again everyone for your assistance in updating this list.
There are a little bit of MTB style touring bikes from big Asian bike makers.
Maybe they are not satisfying your classification. But I think it will be helpful for your future list.
Great Journey Series
And there is one more english brand.
Some other touring bikes:
Rodriguez: http://www.rodcycle.com (they make a range of touring bikes, in both 700c and 26-inch wheel versions, also with Rohloff hubs).
Bob Jackson (UK)
Mercian (King of Mercia – UK)
Roberts Roughstuff (UK)
Kona has a model called the Kona Sutra
Rocky Mountain Cycles – (I forget the model name)
Bianchi Volpe is frequently used for touring.
Also: I think your decision to exclude Koga Miyata should be re-considered. They are *not* off-road bikes, and they are available in the US via a distributor in Santa Barbara. The fact that they have “flat” bars does *not* mean that they are meant just for off-rode riding. Surely by now you have noticed that “trekking” bars are more popular for touring in Europe than in the U.S. Rather than dismiss them as “unsuitable for paved” road riding, you could perhaps explore why Europeans have different preferences in handlebars than Americans.
I don’t see why you would exclude Rivendell for being “custom” and then include a $$$$$ bike like the Independent Fabrication or Seven. I’ll be *lots* more people tour on a Rivendell Atlantis than on an IF bike.
Gunnnar makes a mountain bike called the “Rock Tour” that should be included in this list.
I ride a Windsor Tourist touring bike. I got it mail order and had to assemble it. It cost under $600 new, four years ago, including shipping. The rear rack was included with the price. I got it to try out touring and had originally intended to replace it with a better (read more expensive) bike. After four years, I’m quite satisfied with it and currently see no need to replace it.
It’s not a light weight at about 29 lbs. before add-ons (it has a steel frame and fork). I added a front rack, front and rear panniers, fenders, a handle bar bag, computer, lights, tire pump, three water bottle cages (It has braze-ons for two; the third one clamps on), a “bento box” to keep snacks handy, and a bar end mirror. It came with 36 spoke wheels and takes 700 mm tires. I have had up to 35 mm width on it but I have now settled on 32’s. (I would have included a picture with this message if I knew how.) In a little over 4 years I have ridden it over 32,000 miles.
There were some problems initially. Rear, drive side spokes were breaking until I respoked the rear wheel at about 1800 miles (cost about $20 for the new DT Swiss spokes). I have not broken a rear spoke since. In the first 32,000 miles I have broken one front spoke so no problem there. I carry 4 spare spokes. The paint started to soften and come off the top tube around the decal. I had the top tube professionally repainted to match and clear coated the whole bike using a spray can. This was about 3 years ago, total cost about $120. The mail order firm did not seem to remember me when the problems arose. Maybe they didn’t get my e-mails. I know I did not get theirs.
The bike came with good, mostly name brand components. In addition to the “no-name” spokes, the hubs are “no-name” but have not given any problems. I repack them about every 7500 miles. I have replaced a couple of cones but they probably did not really need replacing. In addition to normal maintenance (tires, chains, a couple of replacement cassettes), I replaced the bottom bracket at about 20-25,000 miles. I check it whenever the chain is off and the original one seemed a little rough to me so I just replaced it. It was working fine at the time. I’ve replaced one brake and a brake cable not too long ago. Of course all the brake pads have been replaced. I just replaced the front (Shimano) derailear. The tab that holds the spring tension broke off. I was able to ride and even shift with the broken derailear to get home but shifting was a bit of a problem, requiring gentle toe action to move the derailear in the direction the spring normally moves it. I believe if I had had this problem on tour, I could have ridden to a bike shop.
Most of my riding is around the local area but I have done several tours of about 500 mikes each, one self supported, two credit card, and several organized, supported tours. After 32,000 miles, I trust the bike and would not hesitate to take it anywhere (on paved roads). I”m planning a 10 day tour for later this month in the Big Bend area of Texas.
What about the Salsa Fargo? It is built with drops in mind and comes that way “complete” and if you swap out the tires for Schwalbe Big Apples then it (or the Novara Safari, the Tour Terrain or the Koga Miyata) would have a particular appeal to a heavier rider. (at 270# + 32mm tires + a pot hole = bad day. 50 to 60mm tires that roll like touring instead of MTB tires + sturdy, stable long wheel base frame + the usual bad pavement = bring it on!)
It seems like there are a lot of fine touring bikes, but they are all at least exspensive to semi custom, and for all day rideing we are going to customize them ourselves to some level.
This list is a geat start, but how about an article on the evolution of the touring bike and where do we go from here?
Beautiful bikes. But mud guards are esential for touring so why do they take pictures of bikes without them ?
We tour so we know about rain. I have heard that it even rains in California (where ever that may be).
Get real show the bike with mud guards. If I wanted a fast road bike I’d buy one (and then add mud guards)
Matt (in sunny England)
hi there you should have a gander at the ridgeback range of touring bikes good spec steel framed touring bike i did a end to end on mine last year great bike carried plenty of weight inc me
Okay! Wow! Thank you everyone. I’ve added the Bianchi, Dawes, Koga-Miyata, Kona, Louis Garneau, Mercian, Ridgeback Bikes, Rocky Mountain, Roberts, Rodriguez, and Windsor.
And Matt, the bikes you see here are typically (but not always) shown without front and rear racks and fenders because when you buy the bike these items are not included. Most bikes do not comes with the racks and fenders. And those that do come with a rack, typically just come with the rear rack – not the front. You usually have to buy these items in addition to bikes themselves. This is why the racks and fenders are not featured in many of the photos.
I think you should look at 26″ wheeled bikes as these are more suited to ‘worldwide’ touring. I have a Thorn Raven which comes with a Rohloff Rub.
You could compare the strengths and weaknesses of 700cc vs 26″ vs recliners.
A really interesting article would be comparing gear systems: standard indexed, bar ends with friction system, Rohloff etc.
I’ll be releasing another article similar to this one in the very near future where I will list all the different type of 26″ touring bikes. Like you said, these probably are more suited for “round-the-world” bike travel.
I’ll also do future articles on folding bikes and recumbents. Maybe even unicycles? ha! What do you think?
Go Fuji! This list is great. I had no idea some of these companies made touring bikes. Unlucky enough for me, this is exactly what I spent time searching for a year ago before I bought my touring bike. (Luckily I ended up with a good one anyway.)
Awesome post, Darren! Thank you for introducing me to some very cool companies I had never heard of before!
I agree with the two that said the Salsa Fargo and the Gunnar Rock Tour. I think 29’ers are the way to go for anybody that likes to be more efficient with their pedaling, and those that love to ride singletrack (should the opportunity present itself, all you need is a set of knobbies).
I would recommend the Gunnar, they have a wonderful team that combines talent and great customer service for people who are looking for a way to get a nice customized bike for an affordable cost. They are owned by Waterford who makes a number of bikes specifically for touring.
Some very cool hand-built bike builders to check out would be Tony Pereira, Joseph Ahearne, Crisp Titanium, Llewellyn Bikes, Calfee Designs (BAMBOO BIKES!!!), and Jeff Jones to name a few that have been very cool to me in the past.
How about the Waterford? They make custom touring bikes.
Specialized Sequoia touring with carbon fiber front fork, seat post, and rear fork, and zerts@ vibration control technology.
This is a great list and I like seeing the Co-Motion Americano posted. You shouldn’t forget that Co-Motion introduced the “Super-Duty” touring bike at Interbike called the Pangea. This is the 26″ wheel version of the Americano. It is offered as an S&S coupler model (Co-Pilot) and standard issue. Disc brakes or linear-pull brakes.
The great thing about the Co-Motion Americano and Pangea touring bikes is that they start out with tandem bike tubing meaning they feel like a regular road bike once they are fully-loaded. Without the bags, the frames are remarkably stiff and efficient but the true beauty of the bikes are not realized until you ride them with all your gear loaded up making for a great handling bike.
You can check the newest models here: https://www.co-motion.com/single_bikes/single_bikes_tour.html
I really enjoyed looking at the touring bikes, many from companies I have never heard of before. You might want to add the Rivendell Atlantis from rivbike.com to the list of touring bikes.
Here’s one from Salsa that isn’t exactly traditional but is definitely a touring bike.
If it doesn’t make this list then maybe with the mountain bikes. It’s really something in between.
Don’t forget about the Norco Kwest.
Just thought of a few more…
Devinci Caribou, Caribou 1 & 2
did you ear about the fahrradmanufaktur T400 ?
I don’t have it. It’s on my wishlist.
found another one
Vicious Casual Agent
This list is amazing. Thank you so much
I just purchased Brodie’s first touring bike- Elan. I love love love it!
Vivente World Randonneur (Australia & New Zealand):
I know it is not a typical touring bike but many have used it as such recently. The Surly Big Dummy is worth a mention. I know this was for road specific bikes but the Dummy can have some more road oriented tires put on it and does well.
Thanks for this list. It is really great. There are some beautiful bikes here. Now, its a matter of choosing. My Bridgestone has just about had it. Many miles on it and age. I’ve just started looking at bikes again for the first time in years and it is great to find your site.
One bike that I didn’t see mentioned is a Terri Bike; made for women, but women do tour!!
I’m leaning towards the Trek but now might need to look around more.
Donna, I think of all these bikes here, the most “bang for your buck” is the Surly.
I just bought a touring bike by Norco called the Kwest. It is definitely a touring bike with all the standard touring equipment. Cantilever brakes, bar end shifters, 9 gear freewheel, 3 water bottle braze ons, air pump mounting nipples under the top tube ,fender and rack mounts front and back etc.
Does anyone have a Windsor Tourist? Any reviews?
Why nobody recommends GIANT ?
not good for touring?
Zachary, you are right. It would be good if I talked about each of these bikes in greater detail. The reason I decided not to do that here is because it 1) it would take a huge amount of time and 2) I figured you could get this information from the company websites.
I didn’t want to describe or review the bikes here either, simply because I have only ridden a handful of these bikes and don’t feel it would be right to write up descriptions/reviews for bikes I had never used myself. (If you own/work for a company that make one of these bikes and would like me to review it here on BicycleTouringPro.com, I’d be happy to do that. Please contact me.)
But like I said, I think you are right. It would be great if there were one place to compare all these bicycles, their compontents, etc. I just think that doing this would be a full time job, as most of these bike companies release a new version of their bikes each year… and keeping up with these changes alone would require a huge amount of work. I don’t want to do that, but if someone else does, then feel free to contact me and let’s make it happen!
On another note, people keep mentioning the Rivendell bike. The reason I’ve excluded it up until this point is that I thought it was a custom built bike – not a bike you could simply order straight from the company without specifying the components you wanted, etc. I even contacted the company and asked them if their bikes were custom made or not and their answer left me unsure as to whether they should be included here or not. So I’m going to leave it up to you.
Do you think the Rivendel Atlantis should be included in this list of Traditional Touring bicycles… or should it be on a separate list with custom built bikes?
Here’s the link: https://www.rivbike.com/products/list/bicycle_models#product=50-038
Let me know what you think! Thanks
I think the Rivendell should be included, but indicate the difference between it and the rest of the bikes listed. It’s not custom in the sense that you have to go to the manufacturer and get personally fitted, but you can’t order a complete “stock” bike. You have to specify the build.
If you wish to include european manufacturers that does not provide english language websites, have a look at polish Unibike and Kross:
I’m a hair’s breadth away from pulling the trigger on the Garneau. I don’t like the components that much, but they can be upgraded easily.
I’d like to add another vote for the Soma line. If they were carried in my country I’d probably go that route. Sweet frames.
Rohloff equipped (26 inch Wheel) Thorn Raven Tour
Van Nicholas in Europe make Ti touring bikes: Amazon, Pioneer, and Yukon, at https://www.vannicholas.com/
Specialized Tricross Sport
Triple, 3 bottle fittings, front/back rack and fender fittings
That’s what I use. Mine’s an ’08 with a 11-34 cassette. The ’09’s have just an 11-32 for some reason. I’ve been surprised to see how many are out there touring this summer!
I got all the way through the comments only to find Bill beat me to it!
The Specialised Tricross makes an excellent tourer, even if you’re doing a bit of rough stuff.
Great to see Mercian included. My 1981 version still hits the road and it looks great with my wife’s “not so vintage” 2006 model. The biggest problem for anyone ordering a Mercian will be color selection – 63 colors in almost any combination.
I am new to your site, so I don’t know your opinion of recumbents. However, you haven’t included any in this post on best touring bikes. I highly recommend some recumbents as touring bikes. I personally ride a Bachetta Gyro, but for long distance touring I might a longer wheel base such as the Cycle Genius Raven or Falcon.
Have just finished a three month tour through the Himalayas and Bangladesh on a
Thorn Raven with the Rohloff hub. Unbelievably good and worth every penny on the Manali- Leh and around Sikkim. will be my lifetime long distance tourer i think.
Has the list all the different type of 26? touring bikes been published? I am interested in bikes more suited for “round-the-world” bike travel.
Hi Logan. No, I haven’t published the article on 26 inch touring bikes yet. I hope to have that article in the next month or so. It, like this article at the very beginning, will be a work in progress. But with your help, and the help of other Bicycle Touring Pro readers, we will make the list complete.
Are you planning a round the world trip? Where will you be starting from? When do you plan to take off?
I am hoping to do the Himalaya epic (Kashgar to Kathmandu) this summer. My trek 520 just wont cut the dirt roads. I am looking to buy a new bike with 26 inch wheels and a front suspension fork. I am from the US and it is very difficult to find a bike that doesnt cost an arm and a leg because the dollar is so weak. I like thorns but I dont know if I could justify spending 3,000 dollars for a bike when a mountain bike would do just fine. I like having the right equipment but an off the self mountain bike $800 would work which makes justifying the purchase rather hard.
Hello, I have a question I hope some can answer. I can’t find non-rap handle bar grips for my drop bars like the ones pictured on the Koga-Miyata Traveller bike. On my last tour I met a guy on a world tour with a european touring bike I cant remember with leather non-rap handle bar grips. They really worked great for him and I would like a pair. I wore through three sets of grip tape on my last tour and would like something more durable. Thank you for all your help.
Darren and everyone else,
I’m seriously considering buying a 2009 Windsor Tourist. Any thoughts on the overall quality, reliability, etc of the Tourist? Also, another big question – I’m thinking of buying the bike from bikesdirect.com. Any thoughts/reviews on that website? Everything would help. Thanks!
how about german “Patria”?
the Randonneur is exelent (looks good)
I own a Soma Saga with very similar components to a Surly LHT build. It is a great touring bicycle that should definately be added to the list.
The wanderer is a handmade touring bike by coho bicycles in North Carolina USA.
What about Unibike Globetrotter?
Masi Speciale Randonneur & GT Peace Tour needed to be added to this list as well.
Don’t forget recumbents. I’ve owned a slipstream longbike since 2006. When I retire my intention is to tour all over the US on it. I’m currently using Arkel panniers and I like them a lot.
Van Nicholas in Holland make several titanium tourers, such as the Amazon or Pioneer, with Rohloff hubs, Gates Carbon belt drive, carbon forks that can take a rack, disc brakes ‘etc’ and if you get a custom build they can add S&S couplers, not cheap but quality rarely is.
Reminder to self: https://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/Products/Urban/Details/1379-S10WORT-World-Tour-DLX
I’m looking to buy a woman’s touring bike for a 2year world tour. Planning on carrying tent, sleeping bag & mat, cooking equipment etc. Am only 5’3″ and am having problems finding something suitable. Preferably steel and 26″ wheels and drop handlebars and plenty of gears for hills. Any ideas?
Note to self: Add the Jango 700c https://us.jango-bike.com/products/7.1/Touring
Kalililrth , I would look at this bike (T-400 Deore 24-Gang) from VSF Fahhrad Manufaktur in Germany. More info here: https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de They have some other touring bikes as well (some specifically for women), so check into those as well. But these bikes would be great for a round-the-world bike trip like the one you say you are planning.
Surly long haul trucker is the best bike on this list. It will blow your mind. After thousands of miles and tons of tours, I still call it my Cadillac.
I have been building custom bicycles for several years. I specialize in Touring bikes. I make a model named the Nomad. If you would like a picture without panniers I would be happy to supply it. The Nomad is built with the long distance tourist in mind.
Dwight, feel free to email me a photo of your bike. I won’t add it to this list, however, because none of these bikes are custom made. I may make another list in the future, however, and on this list feature custom touring bicycles made by companies and individuals like you.
Add these as well:
SANTOS Travelmaster (various models) http://www.santosbikes.com
CUBE Kathmandu http://www.cube-bikes.de
Expensive but worth mentioning.
Isn’t the IndyFab custom made as is the case with several other of the higher end bikes you have listed?
Although alot of folks look down on Schwinn, I have had reliable performance out of all of the Schwinns I have owned (which is now up to four at this point in my life). You should at least list the following bike:
Schwinn 2010 World Tour DLX
I’ve had a Robert Beckman SAKKIT touring bike for ten years now. Beautiful, well-made, and tough.
Send your wheel to Devinci and ask what they have to say.
Dawes Sardar https://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/road/product/sardar-08-24163/
Go to https://www.gtbicycles.com/peace-tour to view details on a truly excellent long distance touring bike. It comes with disk brakes, mudgaurds, and a wonderful strong Reynolds alloy steel frame with all the required braze-ons. And it doesn’t cost the earth!! The GT Peace Tour is great value.
Also worth consideration is the Jamis Coda Sport. It has the correct geometry to make a great tourer and is also very competitively priced.
I like the Marinoni, especially without disc brakes. I don’t want to deal with them on a long trip. Steel frame is a must for a touring bike. I’m torn between a Thorn Raven Sports Tour and the Marinoni. If I could could get the latter with a rohloff hub, I’d much rather purchase locally.
I own 8 bikes , two MTB , Trek Navigator 3 m , Modified Electra Fink Rat beach cruiser and 4 touring bicycles , Trek 520 for long distances tours in North America , back in Europe for rough roads I have good use for Koga Miata World Traveler , on asphalt and hard packed road in Western EU I use Rivendell Atlantis. I also ride my first real touring bicycle Cannondale 1000X , I have after some 80 000 + kilometers special attachment to this bicycle , so it was completely rebuild and is again in show rooom condition . I using this bicycle for commuting in fast bicycle lanes ….. Month ago I did see Trek Transport on bicycle shop , I did try it , like it so I pay for it . I ride this bicycle just about week , my wife hate to pull trailer and was interested how this bicycle will perform so she take it for ride , she did stop in bicycle shops and buy Brook’s seat made for ladyes …….
The Koga World Traveler, the Novara Safari and the Co-Motion Pangea come as 26-inchers. At the very top it says “700c touring bikes”. Just to let you know I’m paying attention. Anyhow, I have a Bianchi Volpe, my primary touring bike, a Novara Safari “expedition” bike, and a Trek 4600 patrol-modified mountain bike. (I’m a park ranger) I have been using the Volpe on the wide-open plains of the Lewis and Clark Trail in SD the past two years, but did the first 30 miles or so of the L&C in Missouri on my cop bike. (I was in St. Louis for a police cycling conference.) I like all 3 of my bikes, but seem to be trending more to the Safari for travel. Unfortunately (and this is the point of my post) neither the Safari nor the Volpe are the bikes they used to be 5 or 6 years ago. REI/Novara has radically changed the Safari to make it more popular with the “commuter” buyers. Medium to larger sized are 700c instead of 26″, the frame is now chromoly rather than aluminum, and it has a cute brown “leatherette” WTB saddle. (BTW, I did put a WTB SST on mine almost as soon as I got it.) It does still have superior mechanical disc brakes. I just wish there was a way to put drops on it.
The Volpe, on the other hand, seems to be moving towards being more of a cyclo-cross bike. For a couple years they did away with the front fork rack braze-ons, although I see they are back on the 2010 and ’11 models. The suspension seatpost is no more. They have replaced the horrible faux-leopard skin colored saddle with a Velo VL racer saddle, but that’s okay, because I replaced it with a Brooks B-17.
If money were no object, I would buy a CoMotion Pangea with disc brakes. 2nd choice would be the Koga Myata World Traveler. Maybe when I “retire”. (Uh-huh. Right.)
Hans – if you really want to put drop bars n your Safari it’s possible but will take some $$$….
There are drop brake levers from Tektro ($30) and Cane Creek ($60) which are long cable pull and would work with mechanical disk brakes. Shimano bar ends ($90) are the most common option for 9spd without STI shifters. In addition to the above you’ll need drop bars ($10 used to $100+ depending upon taste) and appropriate stem ($10 used to $50+), tape ($15) and new cables ($25). You may also need to add “in-line” cable adjusters for the brakes as Mtn brake levers include adjusters and road levers do not.
One less expensive option for the shifters are the “Thumbies” from Paul Components (approx $55). These are mountain bike style shifters that can be purchased with a 26.0mm clamp so they will work on most road bars.
Anyone reading: I am a complete newbie on a very tight budget, with a lot to learn. How tough is it going to be to find a solid, dependable, affordable used starter bike for touring? Suggestions? Things to watch out for in cheaper bikes?
Rob, I’ve seen used touring bicycles for sale at garage sales and even at bike shops for very cheap prices. They’re hard to find, but it does happen sometimes. Many times, people will buy a new bike to go on a tour, they use the bike for that one trip, and then the bicycle sits at their home for years. If you can find one of these used bicycles, you can save yourself a huge amount of money and get yourself a pretty good bike in the process. Sometimes a really good bike! But again, finding a touring bike like this is rare and it can take a lot of investigative work. But if you are tight on cash and you have some time to spare, this might be an approach you can take.
I was on a bike show Yesterday and I saw one of theese beauties.
Even if I do prefer recumbents over upright bikes. I fell in love into this a fascinating masterpiece
It is a bike that literally never lets you down. Very sturdy..
I don’t know if there is any dealer in the us or not..
Hey, I bought a Devinci Monaco Hybrid about 10 years ago. The bike has been outstanding as far as durability is concerned. I have ridden it approximately 35,000km now and the repairs are as follows. 2 cassettes, all 3 chain rings one time, 1 dérailleur 1 bottom bracket, 5 chains, 2 sets of pedals. This bike moves every day, as I do not own a car. I cannot speak highly enough of the work this company does. Would I buy another Devinci? In a heartbeat but I have too many bikes now. 🙂
I just bought a Dawes Nomad with Alfine11 hub gears:
It has caused quite a stir amongst some forums, for a range of reasons.
A couple of issues are with the chainwheel and sprocket – Dawes have chosen a 45t chainwheel, and an 18t sprocket: the Alfine system comes with options for 39t chainwheel and 20t sprocket, which gives more suitable touring ratios. I am ordering the replacement chainwheel and sprocket, but it seems odd that Dawes didn’t put the ‘sensible’ options on in the first place…
The stem is also not ideal – although it gives plenty of option for adjustment, it feels slightly loose, and I would anticipate this to be an issue with a fully loaded bike.
I took it for a short (50k) ride; loaded up rear panniers just to see how it rides, and was very pleased with it! The gears are smooth and changed easily (I have not ridden and Rohloff, so can’t compare), the ride was very comfortable: the only gripe being the looser-than-ideal bars/stem combo. I didn’t have any proper hills to contend with, so can’t comment on the gearing ratios, however, with the current (stock) ratio of 45t chainwheel and 18t sprocket, it is only good enough for unloaded hill-climbing – as I found out on some local evening rides.
I have contacted Dawes raising the questions about the ratios – omitting the stem issue, as rigidity and adjustment have to compromise – and hope that they will receive similar responses from other riders, and make some changes.
I do hope to have a long-lasting relationship with this bike – despite a couple of gripes, it was superb to ride!
In your movie (bicycle touring – the movie), your freind with the yellow panniers ride on GIANT SEDONA DX 2009.
although Is not exactly traditional touring bike, you think the Gaint can handle with long trip in eorupe?
You are right Eliran. My friend, Josh, isn’t riding a touring bicycle in the video. The bike he is riding is really a sort of hybrid bike – capable of riding on and off roads, yet notreally specializing in one particular area. The good thing about this bike is that it is capable of mounting a rear rack and carrying a certain amount of weight on the back, but it isn’t really meant for long-distance touring. You can tour on a bike like this, but you want to pack as lightly as possible. For a tour of Europe, this might be totally possible if you don’t plan to camp and carry a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cooking equipment, etc. If you just stay in hotels/hostels and carry nothing but 2 panniers and a few spare changes of clothes, toiletries, a sleeping bag (perhaps) and a few other essentials, then a bike like the one Josh is riding might work out just fine. This sort of touring could be considered “Light Touring” and not necessarily “Fully Loaded Touring”, but it is certainly an option. I hope that answers your question. What kind of tour of Europe are you thinking about? How far do you want to travel? And how long do you want to spend on the road?
I just bouht a REI Novara Safari, 2011. It is freaking awesome! Right outta the box, REI sales staff was very supported, I test drove the Randonee and Safari, I found the Safari to be real comfortable. It bosts 4 water bootle places, 700×42 tires. When I look at what details the other bikes here have and the Safari, I wonder why it was not mentioned nor the Randonee. The are World class bikes, from components to frame and REI tried and true support and design history. Please list this bike as well.
Carl, I’m well aware of the Novara bicycles and while they are not listed on this page, they are listed inside The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles http://bicycletouringpro.com/touring-bicycles-buyers-guide/
This page stopped being updated a long time ago and now all the updates for more than 200 different types of touring bicycles can be found inside The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles, which is updated with new bicycles, photos, and information each and every year.
I’ve been getting your emails for a few months now: very interesting. I notice the Vivente Randonneur is mentioned above. I bought this bike a few months ago and went from Coonalpyn in South Australia to Melbourne in July, a distance of around 650 km. It took me 8 days and was by no means trouble free, but the bike was. I bought this one because it had all the right specs and came with a Tubus rear rack, a dynamo hub and light, a really nifty horn (the type you squeeze a rubber bulb), a rear light, disc brakes on the front and touring bars instead of the drop ones that I don’t like. All this for A$1800: A$150 more than a Surly LHT would have cost without any of those accessories. The bike performed really well and continues to do so: I ride to work (40k round trip) twice a week and I’m planning more trips of a week or so in the near future and hopefully six months swanning around the UK and Europe next year. I had to buy a front rack, but that was the only extra expense. I’ve also found the manufacturer very responsive so far: when I was looking for a pump that fits the brazed-on points (unsuccessfully in the end: they don’t make ’em any more!), the CEO emailed me from his bike tour in South America to try and help. If anybody’s interested, I’m (very slowly) writing a blog on the trip on http://www.everyvillagehasitsjack.com: up to day 5, comments welcome. By the way, one thing I discovered after buying this bike was that I had been riding a bike that was too big for me for the last twenty years! The pic shows the bike all loaded up and ready to go.
By the way, Juan: respect mate. Well done
to Paul A. Landry,
I’m not one of those folks who look down on Schwinn either. I am still riding a LeTour that I bought new in the Spring of 1983, I’ve put over 500 miles on it so far this year (2011) – before the LeTour I rode a Schwinn Continental that I bought new in 1973. People may “look down” on them these days, but they sure were built to LAST!!!!!
My wife and I are planning a unsupported bike ride across Canada and I’ve been considering the Trek 520, Kona Sutra or a Cannondale. I’m just wondering why the Trek or Kona are not on the list. Would they be fine for a tour across Canada or are they not heavy duty enough.
This list of touring bicycles is far from complete and is no longer being updated. The complete and annually updated list of touring bicycles (with more than 200 different bikes and tons of photos, etc) is available here: http://bicycletouringpro.com/touring-bicycles-buyers-guide/
Darren, I have ordered online a Long Haul Trucker frameset from Bikeman.com which is in delivery. I am building this bike and would be grateful if you can advice on what components to install to make it comfortable for me. I am 63 years old and arthritis has affected my knees, lower-back and neck. I love cycling and have done so for many years and now beginning to embark on touring. Should I buy a carbon drop-bar and high-angled stem to reduce road vibration or would an aluminium one do just as well? Can a LHT ride on gravel roads safely or should I stay on paved roads?
Lots of questions Yeoh. First of all, congrats on your order!
Building up bikes from scratch is not my specialty, so I don’t know if I am the best person to talk to there, but since you have some back, neck and knee problems, you are probably going to want to avoid drop bars and go for either flat or butterfly bars instead. You want those bars to be as high up as possible (not too high, of course). You just don’t want to be bending over too far as you ride.
As for riding on dirt and gravel roads, the frame of the Long Haul Trucker can handle that kind of stuff just fine. It is the wheels you need to worry about. Make sure you get strong wheels with at least 36 spokes. The more spokes a wheel has, the stronger it tends to be… and lighter wheels usually have fewer spokes.
You will also want to get wider tires if you are planning to ride the bike a lot in off-road conditions. Did you get the Long Haul Trucker frame that is designed for 700c wheels? Or the frame designed for 26 inch wheels?
I have more than 7000kms on a Vivente Randonneur with trek bars and it is going well. I worried about trek bars at first but they are second nature now and great. I am 66 with parkinsons disease and the trek bars give lots of movement for my hands when they get shaky. I tow a bob for special jobs and the combination is working well. A lot of my kms are just for movement or sightseeing with longer distances less often as I would like. But there are always plans. I leave the lights on all the time day or night and hooked up a rear light to the generater hub its worth it. The new model randonneur has the new rear rack that looks an improvement. I am not keen on kick stand but at times it would be useful, esp in those treeless roads.My bike is now 18 months old.
I understand that the Koga-Myata World Traveler is only available now as a custom build-up, and no longer available in the North American market. (USA and Canada)
thank you thank
What about all city, they have a touring bike and a cross bike
I have to disagree with some of your advice . If a person has back pain drop bars should not be automatically excluded. In fact if your back problem is a herniated disc flat bars would more than likely cause more pain. Upright seating position puts more weight on your bottom where drop bars place some weight on your arms. I seeso many so called experts recommend flat bars for people with back pain whereas doctors recommend drop bars.i can speak from experience drops are better
Recently purchased a 2013 Fuji Touring bike. Got the touring bug in the last year and have found that the Fuji is an excellent entry level selection. Completed an out and back ride to Key West, FL from Miami and the bike performed beyond expectation, comfortably handling the changes in road surface without jarring or shocking my musculoskeletal system. The stock Oval seat, handlebars and stem are comfortable and easily adjustable to individual requirements. I accessorized with a Topeak MTX Rack, TrunkBag DXP with the built in Panniers and Planet Bike Fenders. Cargo capacity with the TrunkBag DXP was more than adequate for a short tour and I suspect that if you pack efficiently and add front panniers and a handlebar bag it would also work fine for a longer tour.
I see that there is only one woman commenting here. I wonder about some of these beautiful bikes, and their fit to a female frame. I see that Georgena Terry’s bikes are not on your list either. I personally am hampered by having bikes that just miss fitting perfectly, so I rotate them, and also the pain each one causes because of that miss…
Velo Orange Campeur is a lovely unit.
A nice “after 1500 miles” customer review can be found here.
Darren, good work, have enjoyed looking over your site for a few years now.
I have a Waterford Adventure Touring Bicycle. After 14 years it is still going strong. The Waterford is based on the Schwinn Paramount frame. It is a steel ride with Reynolds 800 series steel. Very light, comfortable and strong in its ride. The frame has braze on attachments for front and rear panniers and 3 water bottle mounts and is made in the USA.
I have a Sage Titanium Barlow Gravel/ Adventure bike that I recently purchased and absolutely LOVE IT! It is a Made in USA frame that is designed in Beaverton, OR, and manufactured in Tennessee. Quality is top notch across the board. The frame is designed to fit 40mm tires AND a full gear range from a 53/39 all the way down to a 50/34 while still running the 40mm tire. It has 3 water bottle mounts, and separate rack/ fender mounts for back country exploring. Low BB and long top tube are super comfortable from an all day riding perspective. Sage is a new company I recently found about and could not be happier as I was able to buy directly from the company and they were very attentive to my needs.
You can check them out at: http://www.sagetitanium.com
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