Recommendations for a Quality, Affordable Touring Bicycle
I’m not new to cycling. But, I am very new to travelling by bicycle. I’m looking to get a touring bicycle. What are your recommendations for a quality, not to break the bank type of touring bicycle do you suggest? Also, any recommendations on gear and panniers? I really appreciate your input.
Brands with a solid reputation for touring bikes, some models won't break the bank. Kona, Koga, Fuji. Trek aren't bad but I know a couple of people who have had problems, other people swear by them.
Ortlieb Panniers - the gold standard.
Any decent steel frame from a reputable maker should suffice. My Saracen cost me 250 pounds about 30 years ago and is still going strong. I second the Ortliebs can't go wrong.
do you know what model that rear dry sack is?
it's Ortlieb as well I keep my tent in it.
IMHO bikes such as Kuga and Surly are fine if you have the money but the second-hand market is awash with bikes that with a few additions will turn into suitable steeds.
Surly makes amazing bikes, I'd recommend looking into finding one used to save money. they're the kind of bikes that last forever; double-butted steel. less is more when you're having to pedal it everywhere, so leave the kitchen sink at home? if you end up going a more backpacking route, Oveja Negra make amazing frame bags good luck! bittersweet when you finally get all your gear together and realize that buying it was half the fun!
Good to read about this manufacturer of frame bags, unknown to me, the most useful type of bag at all. I used for decades the one from Velosport, which offered 7 litres but has drawbacks. My current favourite is Apidura, but again one problem in the form of the zips, which are waterproof, but moving hard.
Love my Surly Disc Trucker
Any bike works. I use my mountain bike with a rigid fork just fine. You can also just lock up the suspension fork You can even tow a trailer behind a road bike.
I would recommend you're better off buying a good quality second-hand one, than buying a cheap new one. I have a second-hand Koga Miyata Randonneur, it has a steel frame so not the lightest, but it's very good quality.
200% right. One can get top quality with almost any 2nd hand product at an often much lower price than by a new one of lower to medium quality. When my dealer had to move to a place with less space, the surplus stock was sold at a 50% discount. So I bought the last cross bike at 1800 instead of 3600$, although I had already one, although from 2010 with less modern equipment (rim brakes etc.). My idea was to resell it with a small profit if I not wanting to keep it. But I would not renounce now...
Marine four corners
If you are patient you may pick up a secondhand bargain. Otherwise, any bike that is comfortable to ride all day and preferably can take racks and handles well under load. Low gears or a wide range are a must. I have a great Koga-Miyata captured secondhand for a song. Lucky me.
Keep it simple. Old 90's rigid fork mountain bike. Facebook 100 bucks. Add a rack and cheap backpacks as panniers. I like the old Gary Fishers, Specialized, GT, and Diamondbacks. Any one of those will do nicely and won't break any budgets. I got my steel 93 Diamondback Outlook for 50 bucks on Facebook. You don't need an expensive bike. Also, stick with simple friction shifters. These old 90s steel bikes are indestructible and do the job. I've got 100000 dirt roads and trail touring miles on these types of cheap bikes.
You are right, I started touring this second-hand MTB shy under 100 bucks but later on, as the components have worn out became a 1000 bucks Bike due to top reliable components.
Ortlieb panniers or another brand Anke or something starting with A that everyone used to love. what brand of bike probably depends on what country you are in and how long your tour will be or how long you want your touring bike to be available for tours. If it is just one tour you don't need an expensive bike. Surly was the big popular value-for-money brand a few years back but something has changed in their company recently I heard. That's the American brand. You can also spend a lot of time on the web page of a guy called cycling about whose career it is to tour and check out the best equipment. He's very good.
Something starting with A, Arkel. Arkel is perhaps my dream bag at the moment.
It is worth buying the best panniers even if you can't afford the best of anything else. Someone else told me this when I started out and I haven't regretted it.
I second Cycling About. Lots of good gear reviews
ortlieb back roller classics and rack bag. I use my mtn bike with fast-rolling tires. any bike will work depending on what type of roads you are riding. don't spend a lot and keep it simple with components
Read TOMS BIKE TRIP. It has all the info
We got the Ortlieb ‘city’ bags, they’re a bit cheaper than the regular ones, but really well worth the spend.
Genesis touring bikes are great and as others have said Ortlieb are great and fully waterproof had them for the last 20 years no issues
Surly Ogre with Ortlieb bags
Look at trek500 bikes
Look at Stanforth Bikes and Restrap luggage
Beautiful Bike, looks like every component was chosen carefully.
hand-built/measured frame and everything top spec. It’s a lovely bike.
The E512 jump into the eyes, safety first! those Enduro rated can take some beating. Never an overkill, i went with Rhyno lite wheels on my touring bike which is also in my touring tandem 😀
From the left field, we tour on Brompton folding bikes. We find them fantastic as you increase the options for other forms of travel combined with your bike. As an example, we fly to Bangkok with the bike, put on the bags and wheel to the Metro, then stay overnight, get a train to the outskirts of the city, ride a few hundred km, fold the bike, get the ferry, ride more, get a fishing boat, stay on the island, and it's easy
That's not cycle touring.
we also take camping gear on multi-day rides or weeks.
yeah. Sounds better.
This is my Wheeler 26" MTB that I bought 13 years ago + my BOB Yak trailer I picked up second hand, it's a really good and inexpensive setup, but also not so attractive to get stolen. A couple of years ago I cycle Holland to Norway and back, fully in camping gear and it works really well except for heavy Mountain.
I have a cheap old Giant, which I bought in Taiwan. Don't even have disc brakes. Put a motor on it and solar charge the batteries. Works great. 26" wheels.
My second and newest bicycle is a Surly Ogre, Rohloff 500/14 speed hub and 4000$US + Set up is also a fantastic bike to travel on.. but you do not need to go expensive..... so to different solutions and the same fun
I have a Giant Escape 2, 2016 model. V braked at the moment but put Magura hydraulic brakes on soon. Use Ryder Sputnik wheels. My bags are Ortlieb.
Can't go wrong with a trek 520 if you can find one
Looks like you are based in the US then is really easy for you to get a good Bike. By Touring Bike general speaking is mainly for asphalt roads then a Trek 520 is your reference to get or similar. It could be that you want to go mainly on dirt roads self-supported then a Surly ECR is your reference to get or similar. You can also get an MTB with eyelets for a rear rack like Marlin from Trek or X-caliber and go on any surface confident to have an excellent Bike (MTBs are made for abuse and Trek welding technology is a the top of the game). You can get second-hand the marlin for under 500 bucks and the x calibre for under a grand (both are 29" and you can fit up to 2.3 inches tires). if you want to spend under 250 then a Trek MTB 26" like 4100 will do the trick. (i made over 10,000 km on a Trek 4100). The Bike in the pic below is a Trek X-caliber 9, an amazing drivetrain, light and right now it has 29" 2.3 Tyres.
I made mine from an old aluminium frame like giant. I ordered wheel and hub parts, XT Hubs, DT spokes, and built the wheels myself. Front XT dynamo, rhino lite wheels 26inch. Square taper Shimano bracket, alivio triple cranks, tubus front rear racks stainless steel, dynamo headlight with a USB outlet for charging while riding, B17 leather saddle, magnesium pedals, ortlieb roller panniers front and rear. Oh and sks mudguards. 50,000km later, nothing has broken. I changed the bottom bracket once, which costs $13 new. On the second lot of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, just changed at 40,000 km. Still on same chain, sprockets, Deore derailer, 8-speed shifter. Wax your chain, not grease Cheap as cheap can be. Maybe $1,000 all up for almost a new bike
As touring folders go, Airnimal is very good and can fold into its own trailer for train or plane rides.
I have a genesis tour de fr with flat bars that I’m very happy with. 4 years old 2 long tours with a camping kit in France and doubles up for winter training and commuting/shopping
Thorn cycles are fantastic and Ortlieb panniers are legendary. I have used both companies' bikes and bags for decades and they are just bombproof
Dawes tourers are very good bikes. We have had ours for 25 years and they are still going well. We have in the last five years bought Bromptons which are perfect for long trips. Easy to put on trains to reach the starting point and then easy to make a return journey. No need to worry about packing cases as one does with tourers as long as you have a soft bag for putting them in for train journeys, it’s easy. The bags fold easily and fit into a small pocket behind the saddle. With a front pannier each, we find we can easily carry what we need for a month of touring. If you were wild camping you’d probably need a rear pannier too. There are masses of inspiring photos and lots of advice on the Brompton Touring site. Good luck
It depends on the type of surface you want to travel on. Road, gravel, offroad, all of the above? That goes for tires and handlebars as well. I think if you edit the post and list everything about your trip, like what kind of route and paths you want to use, then people can offer more specific answers. I have a Salsa Fargo and it can go on anything. I have travelled the East Coast and Northern Tier from Maine to Illinois. Now I am on Route 66.
Keep it simple. Drop bar and 1x drive Tran. Don’t buy into the “comfort bike”.
I just got a Poseidon X. Honestly, one of, if not the best bike in it’s price range. There are tons of good reviews about it.
Genesis Tour De Fer runs a three-by but great go anywhere do anything steel touring bike IMHO
Look online for a used Surly Longhaul Trucker...
Hi, Marty. There is a YouTube channel called CYCLINGABOUT that recently posted a video titled "13 Best Touring Bikes For 2022". Alee, who produces the content, is very knowledgeable and helpful with questions you may have. Good luck and have fun with your search.
Join the surly buy/sell group on Facebook just got my disc trucker a few months back it came with rear rack/painers I LOVE it!!!!
Any bike that will take medium wide tires (32-35) with a sturdy frame will due. I have both a Trek 720 and a MTB that I added racks to. Both have gone a few thousand miles fully loaded with no problem. Just find a bike that fits you and feels good to ride and load it up.
My one is Ridgeback World Panorama Deluxe
For good quality, panniers I use Ortlieb but if you're 'testing the water' maybe it's best to start with some lower cost ones as I have done on my first 2006 & 7 tours, similar to those ones shown. So far as the bicycle, anything will work, providing it's mechanically okay, has reasonable tyres & is set up suitably for your height/legs... I recently had a guest via the warmshowers website, it was his first tour, riding Paris to Glasgow, on a 40-year-old steel-frame road bike, with skinny 23c tyres & just a 5-speed cassette, the one thing that kept him going, determination. For cooking I originally used a low-cost gas stove, a £15 tent & £25 sleeping bag...the rest, as they say, is history. A pic from my first tour (Le Havre to Barcelona)
My first touring bike was a mountain bike with no suspension and a lower centre of gravity than I see on MTBs these days ( a GT Timberline). I tried off-road riding, didn’t like it, then became a cycle tourer by adding a rear rack and panniers (oh and road tyres; Continental or Schwalbe Marathon are good). This setup served me well in Scotland for 10 years. The only problem was that the frame was a bit too small so I added long end bars so I could stretch out more. Got the original bike in a sale for £250 new (add 20 years of inflation to this). Point is, you can do tours in Europe / N America on any bike with low gears and a system for carrying luggage. Now I have a Salsa Marrakech with a Rohloff hub: expensive but after 15 years I knew what I wanted in a touring bike so it’s worth it.
(Long Post; Ten typographical Splits) When it comes to getting a touring bicycle, please realize that hills, gravel, and dirt are an inevitable part of bicycle travel. As such the multiple gearing on the bicycle should allow you a low of 20 gear inches or less. A good touring bike should allow you approximately 20 to 100 gear inches for riding. The formula for gear inches (GI) is as follows: The number of gear teeth in front [t(f)] divided by the number of teeth in the rear [t(r)] times the outer diameter (D) of the drive wheel in inches. (1 inch = 25.4 millimetres). In equation form: t(f) / t(r) × D = GI. For better info on bicycle gearing (including a gear calculator), I proffer this link: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/bicycleGears.html Good luck in finding the touring bicycle fit for you.
you make it sound awfully complicated. If you are a bike mechanic then try to put yourself in the shoes of people who are not mechanically experienced or minded.
, I am no mechanic, but I do not mean to sound complicated. The point of my post is that a touring bike has to have a low enough gear [ratio] to carry the rider plus 70 + pounds (or 30 + kilograms) of baggage up hills, through gravel & dirt, and also against headwinds. That low enough gear ratio is 20 gear inches or less. This is something that needs to be checked & spec'd by the rider before purchasing a touring bicycle. It's no use buying a touring bicycle only for the rider to kill his knees climbing on too stiff a gear.
I want to ride my bike 🚴 with a group of people or almost with another person. I live in Lubbock Tx .
This is my Koga Worldtraveller best bike for the job. Dutch made🙏 If you want to order any new bicycle, nowadays you’re lucky if you can pick it up after this summer. If not October or so
That's not a mid-range priced bike though is it? What if he only wants to go on a two-month bike tour once?
Koga is only 2200€ and cheaper than a steel-framed Surly or steel Comotion but you’re right👍🏽
I use a Surly LHT. I like it, but admittedly, I haven't tried any others.
Get a used Surly. People love them.
I love my Surly Bridge Club! And Darren Alf has a YouTube channel “Bicycle Touring Pro”… he’s very informative and chill. Have fun!
Hey Adrienne I am doing the EuroVelo 6 for the month of September. I have a lighter older bike (Ritchie Breakaway) and a heavier Bridge Club. The BC has 27.5x2.4 tires and is a bit heavy. Which should I use and do you have smaller lighter tires/rims on your BC?
Steel is real. (1); buy simple and remember: no electric gearing, No disc (2) then you will find Support all over the world. Bike Picture: 30year Steel max cycle, Campagnolo Mirage, Mavic Aksium Race.
Fuji Touring disc
All terrain bike, I can assure it
I just bought a Marin Four Corners to travel. It’s the best bargain that I could find and also available in my size. That’s the most difficult to find an available bike in a good size…. I should receive it in 10 days.
I just bought a Marin Nicasio—a gravel/tour bike for $1k. Considered the low end of the category I think mostly because it has less expensive parts. But nothing else is available to me in my area at my budget. I was set for $2k so I figure if I even upgrade some parts I’ll still be within budget. Others on here were emphatic about a steel frame, so I went with that advice.
Love my 2008 Surly LHT. With Surly fr/RR racks and Ortliebs, it is great. Friction Barend Shimano XT, canti brakes, 2.2” tires. It’s a monster but a comfy ride loaded or not. Great day bike or heavy tourer