Differences between a tourer and a road bike with added mudguards and carrier rack?


Should I be looking at touring bikes or road bikes?

I don't really know what I want and I know I should go and look/try in a bike shop but I also don't want to walk in completely clueless!

This would be to replace my Townsend C1988 ladies bike. It has drop bars,18 gears, comfort saddle, mudguards and carrier. I don't really want a new bike but it's not going to last for ever!

The last few years I have started putting a lot more miles in, (about 2500 last year, probably more this year) mostly on roads. I like going fast but am cautious on corners, uneven surfaces and in bad weather and my average speed is about 12mph on long rides and faster in a group or on short rides or long stretches without junctions.

If and when I get a new bike it should see me through the next 15 years at least (I'm nearly 52).

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Senior Member
East Yorkshire
Giant have just brought out a ladies range called LIV, it might be worth looking at those on line to get an idea of what is available. I would think what I like most about the bike I want to replace and also what would make it better, better brakes, gearing etc.
Disc brakes would be a good move as they give better stopping power, especially in the wet.
I think there is still a lot to be said for steel frames in terms of longevity and ride comfort.

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
East Devon
There's a continuum from out-and-out road-racing bike through sportif, fast tourer, long-distance tourer, to expedition. In general, the wheelbase gets longer, tyre clearance greater, handling less twitchy, positioning less aggressive, and braze-ons for racks and sundry stuff become more numerous.


Quite dreadful
lost somewhere
I think it might depend on what weight of stuff you might want to carry. My last bike was a Specialized Secteur that had lugs to take a pannier rack. It was quite light and nippy as a weekend and commuting road bike, but I put on a rack and panniers and carried about 12 kg of extra stuff with no problem at all on 25mm tyres for several brief weekend trips to Holland. Yes, it was all pretty flat, but if I wanted to carry more stuff and go up hills, I suspect it's just a matter of different gearing. Bikes are pretty well made these days.

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I think there is still a lot to be said for steel frames in terms of longevity and ride comfort.
So do I, not least because I see a lot more old steel bikes still in regular use than I do old ally ones.

I've just bought an aluminium bike and it is surprisingly comfortable, there's none of the harshness I recall from aluminium mountain bikes of 20 years ago.

But if 'last 15 years' was on my spec sheet, I would have aimed for steel.

Flick of the Elbow

Expecting vaccination in August at best
Start with road surfaces and luggage. If you are happy to be restricted to smooth surfaces and lightly loaded then you can go for a sporty bike with 25mm tyres. But if you expect to hit rough roads and tracks then you might need up to 35mm tyres, this will put you into adventure bike/leisure cross bike territory. And if you want to carry enough for a camping tour then you're in touring bike territory.
Look at cyclocross/'adventure'/'gravel' bikes too. A lot of them can take mudguards and a rack.

If you might ever cart baggage up mountains or lots of hills then make sure you buy a bike with plenty of low gears, especially if you plan to be using it when you are old!
Colin has it spot on. Look at CX or adventure or even audax bikes and keep the gearing low.

The main difference between the 2 type of bikes you mention is the stiffness of the frame and how they handle under weight at speed. Yes I know you said you are not fat, but this is downhill speed and if the bike frame is going to flex and single at speed.

Also now is a good time to ask yourself dropbars or flats? CX bikes come both ways I believe. Touring bikes vary in the UK.

And how you tour as @Flick of the Elbow states also controls which bike, if you go with little clothing to b&bs then it won't matter. Of you want to take camping gear, then a touring bike might be your better option. A road bike will cope with it but you will need to be aware of the handling differences and the gears are much less likely to be set up for getting you up hills when you have kit on your bike.


Personally I went the touring bike route as for me it is all about practicality and versatility. It has 700x32 tyres on it, and is not what I would call slow. Not as light and as fast as a road bike, but I joined the CTC not a racing club. I mainly commute and take road trips with mine (and used to do my shopping with it until I became lazy), with the occasional Sunday CTC ride.


This is an example of what are now called "Adventure" bikes:

Essentially it's a more relaxed Cyclocross bike, and very nice it is too. I could fit proper mudguards on it and it has clearance for wide tyres. I have 28mm on at present, but 32mm / 35mm or even 40mm would be fine. For B&B touring, it did great, especially as gearing is quite low (not as low as a full Tourer though).

You can also get this style of bike with flat bars if that is preferred, and lots of makers are jumping on the bandwagon.


I'm thinking that I'll have to start saving then I've come in from work tonight and my husband wants to know what my inside leg measurement is because he's seen a.....

2014 Dawes Super Galaxy on offer!!!!
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Convoi Exceptionnel
Quedgeley, Glos.
Lots of good advice above. I would also mention that touring bikes generally tend to have a more relaxed geometry to the frames. This might be less of an issue with ladies' bikes, as I notice they tend to have handlebars higher up in relation to saddle height than mens' bikes. But it might be worth bearing in mind anyway. You want to be comfortable over a distance. If I were ever to change from steel touring bikes (which I probably won't), I'd have a Specialized Roubaix, which has just such a relaxed geometry. I can't stand bikes where your bum is up in the air and your head is aiming down to the ground, giving you a stiff neck through having to look up all the time.


Puzzle game developer
I'm thinking that I'll have to start saving then I've come in from work tonight and my husband wants to know what my inside leg measurement is because he's seen a Dawes Galaxy on offer!!!!
I don't think leg measurements are that important in deciding bike size because you can always put the saddle up or down. Some people have long legs and short torsos and vice versa.

As long as you are not freakishly unusual in your proportions then I would be guided by the manufacturer's height/frame size recommendations and fine tune the bike to you by adjusting the saddle height/setback and choosing a suitable length/angle of handlebar stem and spacer stack.
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