When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (2023)

During the epidemic, cycling has experienced an unprecedented upsurge, which has also prompted many riders to trybike tour. Or you might know it by its funky names: bike wrap or adventure bike.

Whatever you call it, there's no hard and fast definition to touring, and there's no wrong way to do it, assuming you're safe. I think of touring as a non-race ride, but more cyclists think of touring as a ride that includes at least an overnight stay away from home. You don't need special gear to travel, though there are plenty of companies eager to sell you travel gear. Grab a bike, pack some supplies in a backpack, and start pedaling—you're on a bike tour.

Join Bicycling All Access for more gear tips

More from Cycling

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (1)

However, if you want to improve the comfort and convenience of your travels, you'll want to jump down the rabbit hole and explore the wonderful and geeky world of bicycle touring equipment. The longer your trip lasts, the more important equipment (and preparation) becomes.

Below, I'll cover the basic features you'll want to look for when considering a touring or touring-capable bike. This is not a discussion of the best frame material for traversing the continent nor the best number of spokes for traversing the continentKazakhstan—I'll save them for another story. The thing I want to stress most is that you don't need a traditional touring bike to take a bike tour. Many bags can be strapped to traditional frames without special attachment points. and some shelves fitCyclingNorack mount. But by paying attention to some or all of the features below, you'll have a better tour experience.

high weight limit

Before loading a ton of gear and supplies onto your frame, check your bike's overall weight limit. If you have a dedicated touring bike then this is less of an issue, but if you're touring with a carbon fiber race bike you'll need to make sure it's not overloaded or it could cause a breakdown. Also, the frame, wheels, and other components (handlebars, pedals, seatpost) often have their own weight limits, so be sure to check all of them.

generous tire clearance

Higher loads and the comfort of sitting in the saddle for long periods of time are two of the best reasons you'll want the biggest possible tires on your touring bike. You'll also get more grip and safety, more tire clearance also means you can fit fendersaddwider tires.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (3)

The direct fit bag is secure with no disruptive straps.

many mounts

Short trips don't need racks and bag racks——strap bagA small backpack is enough. But if you're planning to embark on a more ambitious trip, you'll need racks and accessory mounts to mount the extra gear and supplies you need. Front and rear rack mounts hold the bag inside. Not only do they swallow a lot, but they also mount lower on the bike for improved handling. The three-pack holders on the forks (they look like water bottle holders with extra holes) make it easy to attach additional water bottle holders (standard or extra large) or something similarSalsa's Everything Cage

Some frameworks also have the ability to install packages directly. A direct mount bag can be more stable and has more security (it's harder for a thief to walk away with a bolted bag). Plus, bag straps can scratch or scuff the frame, especially if the bag is heavy and has many miles of use on wet or dirty rides. The challenge with direct fit kits, however, is that they tend to be specific to a particular bike model and, furthermore, frame size specific.

You can find other mounts depending on your preferences and type of travel: light mounts, bracket mounts, pump spikes, chain holders, and additional water bottle mounts.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (4)

Disc brakes handle heat better than rim brakes.

Disc brakes

There are many reasons why you might want to travel with disc brakes. The biggest reason is that disc brakes manage heat better than rim brakes, which is critical when riding a loaded bike. Hard braking with rim brakes can overheat the rim, causing tube and tire failure. Disc brakes also provide more consistent braking performance, especially in wet conditions. Additionally, with disc brakes, riders can install larger diameter disc rotors when they need more power and thermal capacity while touring, then swap to smaller diameter rotors for everyday riding and enjoy the reduced weight and The benefit of better conditioning. For best performance and safety on a loaded touring bike, pair disc brakes with thru axles.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (5)

SRAM's ecosystem of AXS parts lets you combine mountain, gravel and road drivetrains.

low debt ratio

I'll detail the various drivetrain options for touring bikes in another article, but for now, know that low gear ratios are an important attribute of a touring bike. The extra weight of laden bikes, the added rolling resistance of tempered tires, and the aerodynamic losses of the upright position and trunk are all reasons for the low touring gear. how low as low as possible. Maybe even too low. Because the rotation is conducive to climbing up when going downhill. If you're repurposing your standard bike, consider installing a larger cassette and smaller chainring. With some modern drivetrains, like SRAM's AXS, it's easy to mix parts from a brand's mountain, road, and gravel drivetrains to build a touring-friendly gear line.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (6)

Farr's Aero Bolt on is an easy and easy way to add extra hand position to a flat or drop bar.

various hand positions

Cycling for long periods of time can get tiring. You want a handlebar setup that lets you switch between multiple hand positions to keep it as comfortable as possible. Traditional drop bars are a good start, and you can enhance it with add-ons like clip-on aero bars with extensions and elbow pads, or something simpler likeFarr's Aero Bolt-on. For riders who prefer flat bars, there are a few more options. Flat bars with various hand positions, e.g.Sally's Milk, or you can addInsideand / oroutsideThe rod end is a standard flat rod.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (7)

A coupled bike can make traveling easier.


If you plan to start your trip from a distant destination, considerframe with coupler. This allows you to pack the bike into a smaller case, potentially avoiding the airline fee. Plus, smaller boxes are easier to move through airports and load into trains, taxis and rental cars.

When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features (8)

Matt Phillips

Senior Test Editor, Cycling

Matt has been an equipment editor his entire career, and he started in 1995 as a leading bike tech reporter, and he's been at it ever since. Cycling along the way probably has more gear than anyone else on the planet. before he andCyclingAfterwards, Matt worked as a service manager, mechanic and salesperson in bike shops. He lives in Durango, Colorado and loves to ride and test any type of bike, so you'll likely see him on a Lycra road bike at the Tuesday Night Ride of the World just as much as you'll find him on a Lycra bike . Ride an enduro bike with a full face helmet and pads at the bike park. He doesn't play very often, but he has a passion for anything. Competed in road races, criteriums, trials, slalom, downhill, enduro, stage, short track, time trial and grandos. Next on his to-do list: multi-day bike tours and e-bike races.


When looking for a new touring bike, make sure it has these 7 features? ›

A comfortable and upright ride position, plentiful mounts to easily fit copious amounts of luggage, additional water bottle mounts, overbuilt framesets – most often made of easily repaired steel – and wide tyre clearances are all hallmarks of a good touring bike.

What should I look for in a touring bike? ›

A comfortable and upright ride position, plentiful mounts to easily fit copious amounts of luggage, additional water bottle mounts, overbuilt framesets – most often made of easily repaired steel – and wide tyre clearances are all hallmarks of a good touring bike.

What to look for when buying a bike? ›

Top 5 things to consider when buying a new or used bike
  • Size/Fit. Each body is different, and bikes come in many sizes. ...
  • Use(s) An equally important factor to consider when shopping for a new or used bicycle is what it will be used for. ...
  • Accessory compatibility. ...
  • Aesthetics. ...
  • Maintenance.
Feb 18, 2016

What are the features of a good bicycle? ›

  • Very lightweight frame, wheels and components.
  • A drop (curled) handlebar, though some have a flat bar like a mountain bike.
  • Narrow wheels and tires.
  • A composite (carbon fiber) front fork.
  • No front or rear suspension.
  • Men's and women's styles and a wide range of sizes.

Which cycle is best for touring? ›

  • Best Touring Bike – Overall. Thorn Nomad Mk3. Pros: ...
  • Best Budget Touring Bike. Surly Disc Trucker. Pros: ...
  • Kona Sutra. Pros: > Comes with a Brooks B17 Saddle. ...
  • Surly Long Haul Trucker. Pros: ...
  • Koga World Traveler. Koga World Traveler. ...
  • Santos Travelmaster. Santos Travelmaster. ...
  • Trek 520. Pros:
Jan 12, 2023

How much should I spend on a touring bike? ›

How much should I spend on a touring bike? For your first touring bike, it makes sense to buy a good quality used one that is the right size and in good condition. A price range between $1000 and $2000 should see you pick up a touring bicycle that will see you through a few trips or perhaps even the rest of your life!

Does bike weight matter for touring? ›

The flatter your tour route, the less weight matters.

This seems obvious, but if your ride is completely flat, you can go pretty nuts with what you bring because it only adds a handful of minutes to your day.

What questions to ask when buying a bike? ›

Questions to ask when shopping
  • Can I take a test ride? ...
  • What level of fit do you offer? ...
  • What's the difference between the groupsets on these bikes? ...
  • Does the bike come with a warranty or included maintenance? ...
  • Do you offer any bike mechanic courses for the public?
Sep 22, 2020

How much is a good quality bike? ›

What is the Cheapest Bike Brand?
Type of BikeAverage Price Range
Beginner Road Bike$800-$3000
Beginner Mountain/Trail Bikes$800-$3500
High-Quality Used Road Bikes$1000-$2500
High-Quality Used Mountain/Trail Bikes$1500-$3500
1 more row

What is the right size bicycle for my height? ›

Mountain Bike Size Chart
Rider MeasurementsSuggested Frame Size
HeightInseamSize in Inches
135 - 145 cm 4'5" - 4'9"64 - 68 cm 25" - 27"11 - 12
145 - 155 cm 4'9" - 5'1"69 - 73 cm 27" - 29"13 - 14
155 - 165 cm 5'1" - 5'5"74 - 78 cm 29" - 31"15 - 16
4 more rows

What is the most important thing on a bike? ›

The frame is the very foundation of the bike as it is where the other components of the bike are installed such as the wheels, the handlebars, and the like. Learning about the frame is important because if you want to purchase or replace your bike, you will have to choose one that fits your activity, and your height.

What is the most important part of a bicycle? ›

When it comes to how your bike fits, rides, handles and reacts, the frame is the most important physical part of the bike. The frame is also usually the most expensive part of the bike and the most involved to replace.

What size tires are best for touring bikes? ›

For tours on a mix of dirt and pavement, 40c is a good choice. And for those riding on very rough dirt roads or trails, the bigger the better! Just be sure to check what size will fit within your bike frame.

What are the disadvantages of touring bikes? ›

The way touring motorcycles are designed means that they are heavier than other bikes, which can be a challenge for some riders. Because of the extra weight and size, these bikes aren't built for nimble maneuverability and handling.

How many gears should a touring bike have? ›

However, most touring and mountain bicycles use a 'triple' front crankset and 8 or 9 rear cogs to give you 24 to 27 different touring bicycle gearing. The rear cogs or cassettes that are suitable for touring bicycles usually have a 12 tooth smallest cog for 8 speed systems or 11 tooth for 9 speed systems.

What is the difference between a road bike and a touring bike? ›

Touring bikes are heavier, stronger, and more robust than road bikes, although it's hard to tell the difference with an untrained eye. Road bikes are meant to be fast, lightweight, and agile, which are not qualities that anyone would ever use to describe a touring bike.

What is the difference between a touring bike and a sport tourer? ›

Unlike a full touring model, a sport tourer will typically have more ride height ground clearance for better cornering, less storage, lower weight, a less relaxed seating position, less room for the rear passenger, and higher overall performance.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated: 09/06/2023

Views: 5740

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.