In a world with ever-rising temperature, vastly due to the crazy level of carbon dioxide emission through millions of gallons of fossil fuel burning per day, bikes are getting more relevant in modern transportation.
When you care about the environment and your health, you'd definitely leave your car in the garage and hop on your favorite bike to cover both short and long distances. This is where touring bikes come into the picture.
For touring, you'd need a specialized bike designed to mainly ensure comfort instead of speed, unlike the racing models. The very best touring bikes would be amazingly comfortable for long rides, lightweight, and sturdy with loading supports for your luggage and essentials.
Check out our comprehensive reviews on the market's new game changers and the free buying guide to make an informed buying decision.
How We Picked These Products
After spending close to 20 hours on web research we were able to spot 30 most popular touring bike models on the market. Then, we bought these products to test them ourselves. We sought help from some volunteers since we couldn’t work on all the products due to inadequate funding.
During our rigorous test rides, we closely monitored how each of the bikes performed on different roads and tracks. We rolled them on broken surfaces to see if they were reliable in providing sufficient comfort. Then we did comparisons of features and thoroughly analysed the units. Based on their ease of use, level of comfort, braking capacity, building materials, weight and stability we narrowed down our list by championing 10 models.
Also, we consulted with other industry experts and professional riders to know their views and expectations from our final list. They helped us learn more about them. Then we ranked them according to their distinctive features, price, and other categories. Finally, we compiled our findings by putting out a comprehensive review for each of the products along with their pros and cons.
Our Top 10 Best Touring Bike List
So, what is the best bike for touring? Here is our list that we have prepared with so much care and dedication for you to find out for yourself. We’re reviewing each of the products along with their merits and negatives for you to pass your verdict with ease.
Other Good Brands & Tested Products
We came across numerous bicycle brands during our market research and many of them were quite reputable. Since we had option for only 10 models, not all of them could be included. However, if you are into further market research, you can surely check out these name:
Giant, Specialize (popular model- Awol Comp), Surly (popular model- Disc Trucker, Long Haul Trucker (LHT), Cross Check), Kona (popular model- Kona Sutra LTD), Bianchi (popular model- Volpe Disc), Adventure Outdoor Co. (popular model- Flat White), Masi, Soma (popular for their Saga lineup), Trek (popular for their assosiation with celebrity cyclist Alberto Contador, popular model- 520 Disc, 1120), Fuji, Nishiki (popular for their vintage model Cresta), Rohloff (popular for their patented Speedhub designs), Cannondale Bicycle Corporation (popular model- T800), Lemond Bikes (famous for its founder Greg Lemond), Dawes (popular model- Galaxy), Jamis Bikes (popular model- Aurora Elite), Salsa (popular for Marrakesh Sora model & Fargo Frameset), Koga, Masi, Cube (popular model- Touring EXC 2017), Scott, Van Nicholas (popular model- DEVERON), Pinarello (Known for their Dogma F10 model famously ridden by cyclist Geraint Thomas), Stanforth, Garmin, Ridgeback, Continental (popular for their Touring Plus tires), Thorn (popular model- Audax, Nomad MK2), Mavic (popular model -A719), Windsor, MKS (popular for their Sylvan touring pedals), UK brand Genesis (popular model- Tour De Fer 30), Polygon, Nashbar, Aarios (popular for their Mixte touring models), Tout Terrain (popular model- Silkroad), Evans Cycles (popular model- Roux Etape 150), WTB (popular for their 650B touring tires), LKLM, Co-Motion Cycles.
What Is a Touring Bike Exactly?
Touring bicycles have special features like a longer wheelbase and flexible frame for smooth conveying of loads. They have various types for sports, road, recumbent, among others, depending on the configuration.
Touring bikes are different from road bikes. The sport-touring or racing bicycles have lightweight frames, lighter wheels, and narrow tires. They’re faster and easier to maneuver or handle than regular road bikes. Since it’s having a lighter frame, it can only convey the rider and a few loads.
Road touring bikes have sturdy body frames with fenders, mounting points, and racks for stable and easy handling. Also, road touring bikes feature the 700c or 26-inch wheels, wide rims and tires making it ideal road and off-road rides.
Recumbent bicycles allow you to sit in a reclining position with the legs outstretched. The loads mount under the sit or on the racks to enhance its carrying capacity.
Tandem bicycles are designed for two-person riding. It may not accommodate many loads but you’ll manage it better with trailers. You might consider folding your bike when traveling by airplane or train. In this case, a foldable bike is what you need since it allows you to collapse its size so it can fit in a box or bag.
Touring Bikes - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Touring bicycles usually come with designs for holding loads, ensuring that you enjoy optimum comfort when riding. Since they come in different arrangements, you need to know their basic features and types before buying.
Your purpose of shopping will determine which bike type is perfect for you. So, let’s find out which group might suit your needs the most.
- Classic touring bikes – These are like most traditional bikes on sale, having steel frames, full fenders, high-speed gears, and wider rims. The rider often sits in an upright position but tilts slightly towards the handlebars making it ideal for street rides during cycling vacations.
- Adventure bikes – These are better than classic touring bikes even though they’re similar by tires, frame, and braking system. Yet, adventure bikes have stable geometry with drop handlebars that allow for a less-stressful ride. They’re very versatile and suitable for touring, commuting, and road rides. If you are planning to spend quality time with your family members on a holiday, get one of these bikes. These are also ideal for backroads trips in places like Burgundy.
- Flat-bar hybrid bikes – These types are more common in European roads and features strong alloy frames, tires, and modern v-brakes for a powerful stop. Often, they’re loaded with pannier racks and mudguards to enhance its loading capacity. You don’t expect them to pull-off much on rough roads but you’ll enjoy a smoother ride on good roads and bike pavements.
- E-bikes – There is no possibility of listing touring bike types without mentioning an e-bike or electric bike. Recently, they’ve become more popular among riders because of their speed and effortless riding. They have the same build as most hybrid and mountain bikes (MTB) but are more expensive and need regular charging of the battery.
- Expedition touring bikes – These are the most rugged touring bike types because of their capacity to carry heavy-duty loads. They’re more efficient for riding through rough terrains without compromising on comfort. They feature huge steel frames and suspension forks. The good thing about them is the ease of availability of the parts making it easier to maintain. These are the bikes you choose for touring around the world.
Although most touring bicycles have similar handlebar design like road bikes, they’re very different in the aspect of geometry, wheelbase, and points for attachments. They have longer chainstay to accommodate panniers and also to prevent it from interfering with the rider’s feet.
Besides, the frame must be tough enough to withstand long rides under load. The mainframe material for touring bicycles includes aluminum, steel, and titanium. Titanium frames are the lightest yet the toughest of them all.
The frame size is crucial when fitting the bike according to the rider's height. Tall riders must choose a bike with higher frame that has longer distance between the seat and handlebar.
Touring bikes feature high-quality wheels for handling heavy loads and difficult terrains. In most cases, these wheels have double rims with 36 or 48 spokes of 3 or 4 crosses. They use either 26-inch or 700c wheel size. However, many riders prefer the 26-inch wheel size because of their strength, durability, and availability. The wheels for fat tires will differ from the ones used for regular tires.
While racing bikes use caliper brakes, touring bicycles function with linear-pull brakes. It’s not advisable to use caliper brakes on touring bikes because of their poor performance when the bike is heavily loaded. Some feature disc brakes since they provide better stopping under slippery roads and muddy terrain.
While it might reduce wear of the rims, disc brakes are complicated and difficult to repair in remote locations. Also, they’re heavier than cantilever brakes putting more weight on the spokes which reduce the wheel’s lifespan. So, a good touring bike might be strong and rugged but might have limited speed because of the load and braking efficiency.
Derailleur gears with wide ratios are more common with touring bikes because of their reliability when cruising steep hills. The gearing system has three chainrings like most mountain bikes while road bicycles often have two. The use of 11-34 tooth cassettes with a triple chainring setup is gaining popularity since they likely offer a gear range of 18-104 inches.
The most available gearing system is the 5, 7, 8, 11, and 14-speed ratios since their reliable and easier to maintain. Single speed touring bikes are widely popular in Asia. However, multiple gear system is always relevant in such touring bikes unless you are talking about party bikes or pedal pubs.
Many riders prefer trailers to panniers because they’re easier to use and also attachable to bikes with no racks. Yet, trailers with double wheels aren’t good for rugged terrains since it reduces the bike’s speed and maneuverability making single wheel trailers the better alternative.
7. Luggage and Lights
Since touring bikes are designed for heavy-duty loads and distance travel, they’re equipped with racks, panniers, and lights. You can even carry wine bottles with your bike. Although these parts would add to its weight, the fact is, this is what makes it a touring bike. These parts can be found in bike store for sale. You can get them and attach to your bike if you bike lacks one.
If you’re uncomfortable with the weight, you might consider buying one with eyelets to allow you to take out the racks and mudguards at will. Again, you might get some specialized saddlebags to attach to the frames for effective weight distribution.
Touring bikes are available at different prices depending on the type and brand. The fact that the bike is cheap doesn’t mean it’s quality is poor neither does expensive translate to high-quality. However, most expensive bikes will have some advanced specs that might be lacking in the cheap types. All the bikes on this list are under 1000 and are carefully selected to ensure you enjoy what you’re paying for.
Care & Maintenance Tips
Knowing how to maintain your bike can save you from unnecessary spending on repairs and prolong the life of your bike. Even the greatest riders in the world take care of their bikes and bike accessories. So, pay attention to the following tips.
Cleaning – It’s good to wipe dirt off your bike on a regular basis. Start by dipping a rag into a soap solution and then clean the grease or dirt from the frame and other parts. This will enhance the bike’s looks and allow you to see the components clearly when inspecting for possible faults.
Inspection – You should look at the moving parts and their components since they wear out easily. These parts include the wheel and tires, cable housing, drivetrain, and brakes.
- Wheel and tires – Check the wheels to see if they’re rolling smoothly and also inspect the spokes for firmness. Now, look at the tires for cuts and frays on the walls. If you find any fault in these parts, they should be repaired or replaced immediately.
- Cable housing – It’s important to look up for frayed parts on the cable housing and try to feel its response by pulling the twist levers. If you feel much friction when you’re engaging the levers, change the cables.
- Drivetrain – By looking at your drivetrain, you’ll know if any of the components are in shape. These parts are chain, cassette, derailleur, and crankset. Applying a few chain maintenance tricks will tell you if it’s in order. Perhaps, you might want to replace the entire components so they can wear out uniformly.
- Brakes – Surprisingly, the brake is often easier to maintain than the drivetrain. Here, you’ll consider the pad and the spring’s tension. If you notice much wear in the brake pads, then it needs a replacement. If you’re not satisfied with the spring tension even when using a new cable, it’s better to replace it.
Lubrication – Once you’re done with the cleaning and inspection processes, it’s time to add some lube to the moving parts. You may have to check with the bike’s manufacturer to know which lube to use. Lube is used for protecting moving parts of your bike from wear caused by friction.
When choosing your touring bike, it’s important to consider the wheel size, flexibility of handlebar, brake type, frame material, and riding position. Each of the products on this list has been selected in consideration of these parameters to ensure that you have the correct information.
If you’re still confused about the model to buy, I suggest you look at our best choice; the Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bikes. This hybrid bike boasts of a dual-density aluminum frame which is light yet strong enough to navigate the city lanes with ease. It comes with shock-absorbing front suspension fork and a rear rack for loads.
The sixthreezero EVRYjourney bicycle features as our best women’s bike because of its versatility and upright riding position. Besides, it’s equipped with a 26-inch wheelset and 1.95-inch wide tires to deliver stable ride and smooth-rolling. You’ll also like the soft saddle, matching fenders and chain cover.
You might wish to buy the Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike because of its affordability and dependability. This model features the Shimano 21-Speed Drivetrain for riding under all conditions. Also, it comes with dropped handlebars to limit air effect while allowing you to enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride.
Now that you’ve got enough ideas about each of these products, feel free to choose the model that meet your needs and preference.