Taking a tour around your favorite destinations on a bike sounds like a fascinating idea. However, you need a perfect companion for it. Not another partner, but the right touring bike is essential for a fulfilling trip. There are countless touring bikes available in the market, how can you find the right one?
It's daunting. There isn't a single type of bicycle that you can buy and roll out. You will find road bikes, mountain, hybrid and so on. In these categories, touring bikes are an entirely different spectrum. But don't you worry!
This guide will help you get the precise information necessary to buy the right touring bike. It won't go in-depth about the specifications and 'expert' knowledge. The guide aims to deliver clear and comprehensive knowledge for you.
In simple words, this guide makes choosing the right touring bike a piece of cake! So without further ado, let's begin!
Before you get down to the guide, you need to understand the difference. For that, you need to understand what a touring bike is and the specialization it offers.
A touring bike is generally an enhanced version of a road bike. It brings you speed and ease of acceleration. At the same time, it is more durable, not as much as the mountain bike, but enough to sustain long tours and maintain performance.
On tours, you need to carry luggage. The wheelbase of the touring bikes is generally wider than other bikes. This provides you ease of paddling while maintaining apt space for luggage storage. Despite the extra weight of the luggage, you will have an easier time paddling through the trails.
Often, touring bikes encompass several other valuable features such as dynamo power. Thus, you have headlights and a little power output to charge your GPS. Given its geometry, positioning of the seat, and the handlebar, you will have more comfort while riding.
Thus, you can ride for a more extended period without requiring frequent breaks. If you choose, touring bikes can be modified for different types of trails. You can even install a gear system for additional speed requirements. It is primarily a good idea if you're touring on unknown roads that could have highs and lows.
In simple words, touring bikes make it highly enjoyable for you to ride a long distance. They are customizable, like any other bike. Thus, you can modify them to meet their needs. You can use them for touring, commuting, shopping, and many other activities.
Are you wondering whether these touring bikes are for you or not? Then you might have a better time understanding the purpose of these touring bikes. Here are some of the reasons that will hopefully help you in deciding whether it is the right choice or not.
If you're a fitness freak or someone who loves a little ride on a bicycle to stay fit, you might enjoy taking a trip with your touring bike. It brings you more comfort for an extended period as you travel longer distances. Thus, you can burn a lot of extra calories and enjoy a vacation or trip simultaneously.
Even if you're someone seeking to have an active lifestyle, a touring bike could be a great choice. More importantly, it's not only great for your health but also the environment. By not using vehicles, you reduce the use of oil and fuels that could harm the environment. So that's a win-win for health and nature lovers.
For nature lovers, the touring bikes bring you a perfect opportunity to experience the trip by connecting with nature. You can harmonize without any disturbance from the engine sound. It allows you to flow with the winds and enjoy a great ride.
Touring on a bike feels more natural than any other vehicle. Thus, you will have a remarkable experience. Many people who taste touring on a bike end up using it for all of their plans. You get a more natural experience where you can take breaks anywhere you like.
You don't have to worry about running out of fuel or energy to function your bike. Thus, you don't have to invest in their storage. You have lesser things to worry about. If you have a bus, train, or airplane, you will be worried about reaching on time. More importantly, if you get late, then you can't blame anyone.
However, with a bike, you are in complete control of the time you have. You don't have to worry about missing a train or bus. Similarly, if you want to take a break, you can park the bike on the side of the road and enjoy it.
All of these factors combine to make touring on a bike a perfect recreational activity. It is more fun if you have a partner, or even a group of friends and family to join you. Thus, you can multiply the amount of fun you will have. It brings a sense of achievement and unity as you paddle down the roads and explore the world.
You don't have to invest in costly tickets or fuel expenses for other vehicles. All you need is a bike and your ability to paddle. You have the most cost-effective method that saves a significant amount of time compared to walking or running.
In comparison, you can't walk forever, or you will tire out and cover less distance. Running is undoubtedly out of the question. You can cover a more considerable distance with bicycling's utmost comfort, especially if you have a touring bike.
The touring bikes are perfect as multi-purpose bikes. You can commute with them to your work regularly. It is easier to go on shopping, especially with luggage support. And of course, you can always take them out for a trip.
If you're not someone looking for heavy-duty and performance-oriented bikes like road bikes for speed, or mountain bikes for rough trails and offroading, then touring bikes are the best choice.
Now that you’re ready to buy a touring bike, it's time for you to get right into the guide. As mentioned above, these factors are simple for ease of understanding. You don’t need bike-specific knowledge or expertise to understand it. Thus, this guide aims to make it easier for anyone to buy the right touring bike.
This guide doesn’t consider external factors like the purpose of the bike or a trail-specific consideration. Apart from that, here is everything you need to know to browse through different types of touring bikes available in the market:
There can be a debate between how many types of touring bikes there are. It should be a singular type. However, different types of tours offer different types of roads. Correlatively, it means there are bound to be various choices in touring bikes to fit these trail requirements. Ergo, there are three types of touring bikes:
These are great for on-road touring. If you don't plan on going off-road or running into some mountain trails, then a classic touring bike would be a good choice. It usually has a steel frame and standard performance components.
You will learn more about the components and their relevance below. However, a classic touring bike is straightforward and durable. It can sustain extended performance. Regardless, it won't provide you much comfort if you decide to go on roads that aren't pavements.
Adventure touring bikes are performance-counterparts of classic bikes. These are suitable for the possibility that you will come across uncomfortable trails. It is the right choice for dusty or uneven roads. Even minor offroading is possible with them. However, these are not designed for heavy-duty offroading performance.
These get the job of 'traveling' through these roads easier. Thus, if you think that you are going on unpredictable roads, this is the right choice. It often has a more robust braking system, suspension, and durable tires. These are still suitable for pavement road touring but not as efficient as a classic.
These types of touring bikes are usually great for taking short tours. The expedition has the endurance of adventure and speed of a classic road bike. Thus, it aims to provide balanced performance. These are generally good for tours that are focused on exploring a short area.
In other words, if you want a bike that can go around a city or two, this could be the right choice for you.
Once you determine the touring bike you want, it’s time for you to get into the essential factors to consider. Now, the primary factor to consider would be the frame of the bike. A bike’s frame determines its durability and performance. The overall weight of the bike is affected by the structure.
From vibration absorption to component compatibility, everything can rely upon the frame. However, here is a quick and simple explanation for choice:
This is the most common and cost-effective option available for touring bikes. A steel frame is highly durable, a little heavier, but durable. You can drastically cut the cost if you’re looking for budget-friendly touring bikes. Therefore, steel gets the job done. Many classic touring bikes fall under this category.
Aluminum is more of an adventure touring bike choice that is more lightweight than steel and provides better strength. Correlatively, it has a unique ability to absorb more vibrations than steel. Thus, for a little off roading or uneven roads, it could make a significant impact. Aluminum frames are generally more costly. You can still get them for classic touring bikes.
A carbon frame makes any bike high-end and way too costly. Unless you want a long-term bike that will last for years to come, carbon isn’t worth consideration. Of course, you’d have to pay a significantly higher amount for a carbon frame. It is more flexible, durable, and lightweight.
Most people who want a performance bike consider carbon. A carbon frame is rarely available for a road bike, so it might be a little challenging to find them. Most of the time, road bikes and mountain bikes utilize carbon frames for competitive athletes.
Apart from the frame’s durability, the components and their durability are equally vital. Many people overlook the quality of their components. Thus, it invites frequent maintenance and repairs. The components mean the paddle of your bike, chain, gear system, wheelbase, and tire. It also includes a saddle, handles, and other essentials.
While most of them are related to the quality and material, here are some that might require extra consideration:
Don’t fall for nylon or any other artificial saddle with different cushioning and covering. The best you can do for a saddle is to get a leather one. It is highly breathable and comfortable for you to sit.
Unless you want to invest some extra bucks, you can get some addition in the saddle for extra comfort. A saddle of your touring bike is essential because of the convenience it brings while sitting.
You might think that handle doesn’t matter. However, it is the most crucial aspect to consider in terms of bicycle parts. The handle of your touring bike determines the comfort you will have while riding. Additionally, it determines the stability, steering, and overall riding experience.
You can now choose a curved handlebar or a drop-down handlebar that would bring you extra speed. However, if you like an upfront sitting position, a flat bar would be an ideal choice. Correlatively, if you want an option of changing hand positioning for varying handling requirements, you can stick to the popular butterfly handlebar.
A tire is an indispensable component to consider in your bike. First, you need it to be highly resistant to foreign objects and the possibility of puncture. There are many highly-durable and high-performing tires available in the market. People also prefer a tubeless tire for its quick fix and better acceleration on-road. So that’s the right choice.
However, make sure to keep a tube with you, just if you might want an added cushion and resilience of a tube inside your tire. Apart from this, the most crucial consideration is the tread. The more tread a tire has, the better it is for off-roading and uneven trail. You might want to consider something balanced there.
More tread is not always better. It could lead to a bumpy ride if you get too many or too big treads. Similarly, your touring bike will become louder with more tread. Other than the tread is the size of the wheel. Bigger wheels mean more acceleration, and wider means more grip. It would be best if you balanced here as well. The standard 700c is not a bad size for a touring bike.
Perhaps you can consider changing the tire size and other aspects once you become more of an expert. For tires, you can stick to an all-season tire if you won’t travel too frequently. If you plan to explore unknown territories, then an all-terrain tire would be better for the touring bikes.
Once you understand each component's role and how they impact your comfort, it’s time to consider the bike's stability. The wider wheelbase of the bike is designed to bring ease of handling. You can change directions easier and have more control. Apart from that, you will need two things for stability and control: a braking system and suspension. Let’s take a quick look:
If you want to save some bucks, you can get standard rim brakes or V-brakes. However, if you can invest, then disc brakes remain an excellent choice for any bike. Hydraulics are overpriced and generally not essential for a touring bike.
Disc brakes are costly but long-lasting. If you want easy replacements, then you might want to stick to rim brakes. For best convenience, rim brakes are often preferred by touring bike riders.
A suspension system is not vital for a touring bike unless you have the chance of getting into some off-roading trail or uneven trail. Even then, the frame of your bike is durable enough to withstand the trouble.
If you’re someone who likes to be on the safer side of things, you can consider getting a rear suspension for your bike for extra convenience.
All of the above-given factors will help you get the best touring bike in your budget. However, there are some other essential aspects to consider. These are found explicitly in touring bikes. Thus, it could be a good idea to have some information about them:
A mudguard is something absent in most of the bikes, especially a road bike. As a touring bike is very similar to a road bike, a significant difference would be the mud guard's availability.
Don’t go for plastic or rubber mud-guard. While they may reduce some weight, it is not worth having them. Metal mudguards would be best. These prevent mud from getting splattered on you.
It is essential for a touring bike because of the wider wheelbase and often bigger wheels. If you come across a muddy road, they will protect you.
The touring bikes are known for bringing you a leisure of storing extra luggage. For this, you might either have a brace at the backside of the cycle or the side of the bike. Either way, it will allow you to put luggage and store items.
Depending on the size of your touring bike, the luggage space would vary. It is also vital for you to consider the ‘weight-support’ a touring bike provides. This is often a factor people look for when buying a touring bike.
The weight support specification allows you to understand how much luggage you can pack and carry with your bike without affecting its integrity.
A touring bike will always come with proper weatherproofing that would allow it to last long. From anti-UV coating and features to waterproofing. A touring bike needs to sustain itself in foreign elements. As you don't know how the weather could change, a bike should have to be weatherproof despite all the planning.
You can also reinforce these qualities by getting waterproof coating, polish and other lubricants for the bike. It would further enhance the longevity and performance of your bike.
A: Yes, it is a wise idea to always carry a repair kit with you, especially if you’re on tour. This could include a quick puncture repair kit and some essential tools to calibrate your bike’s components as you ride. Additionally, you may carry a tube and air pump for a seamless touring experience. However, these are not essentials.
A: It depends on the weather and your requirements. However, more breathable fabric is better as touring is a time-consuming activity, and you might want to maintain optimum performance. A waterproof jacket is always a must-have for traveling, camping, and other requirements.
Although you should avoid traveling at night, wear bright neon colors like red, white, and yellow for evening and night-time traveling.
A: If you’re choosing a touring bike, then you might have to consider the length of your tour. How frequently you take a break will also matter. You might have to plan and understand the terrain you’re about to embark on and other similar factors. There are countless external factors.
Tour bikes are a brilliant innovation, especially for any ordinary person. If you’re not an athlete or don’t require mountain bikes, road bikes, or hybrids, these are a perfect choice. Even for everyday use, touring bikes provide a valuable investment.
The guide aims to help you get the best touring bike according to your requirements. It considers various specifications. You can flexibly adjust your budget by considering the factors provided above. With answers to some common questions, hopefully, this guide brings you everything you need to know.
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