Raleigh steel frames any good for cycle touring bike?


New Member
I’ve been looking for a good steel frame to build a cycle touring bike. I’m a small lady so finding a good trek or specialized frame is quite hard. I keep finding Raleigh frames however and was wondering if anyone knows if they make good frames? I’ve got my eye on a Raleigh cassis at the moment.
this is my very first touring bike I’m putting together and I have no idea what I’m doing (yet) so any tips or help is greatly appreciated :smile:


I've just put this together for my son using an old Raleigh Amazon frame. It's not the lightest frame but it's strong and has mudguard/rack eyelets on the dropouts and cantilever brakes.



Legendary Member
Accra, Ghana
Hello Hannah and :welcome: to the forum.

What sort of touring do you intend to do? Fully loaded or credit card? You can tour on any type of bike of course but a steel frame might give you the best options, I.e. mounts for racks and guards and a more relaxed geometry.
There are dedicated steel touring frames but these might be pricey, a nineties MTB would be a cheaper but heavier alternative. You’re talking about building from a frame but buying a complete bike would be easier and cheaper.
The Cassis appears to be a low spec 10 speed drop top bar mountain bike. It won’t be any lightweight but should fit the bill quite nicely. You could use it “as is” but a change of tyres to smoother faster Schwalbe Marathons or Continental TourRides would be an advantage both in terms of puncture resistance and pedalling efficiency. It’s a few years old so you need to check it out carefully especially the wheels as they'll be carrying the weight. Might be worth putting in some fresh brake blocks too. Change all the cables, inner and outer as well. Also make sure the seat post moves, they can become corroded and stuck.

Good luck, if you need any further advice just ask.
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Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Land of Lincoln
Raleigh makes some excellent touring frames, then and now. I ran across a 2012 Sojourn frame a year or so ago. It had all the touring braze-ons and disc brakes as well. I think those went down to 53 cm, but they are a compact frame, and run a tad small to size, IMHO. Here's mine, but it is a 59CM, top of the range, I think.

I also am currently working on an old Raleigh Competition G.S. from 1980 that may make a good tourer as well. It is currently cleaned and stripped, and in its first coat of primer before gloss black as the original was. Do not be afraid of a bit of a project. You can build a good touring bike from an old MTB frame, just get some high pressure touring tires in 26", 100 psi, and throw a rack on it. Durability over light weight. Look at @Reynard 's posts on the topic. I think she just converted an old Raleigh M-Trax frame recently.


Raleigh Cassis is fairly low end and makes a decent eveyday commuter bike. It doesnt seem to have rack mounting eyelets on the seat stays. You can get wrap around clips but if you building up a tourer you should start with an appropriate frame
Look for a midrange brand name mtb ( but not GT). You may have to swap suspension forks for some steel forks unless you can find a genuine old rigid mtb.
3x8 speed is the best transmission style and was standard for many years.

As a small lady, stick to 26" mtb wheels not larger hybrid or 700c size.
The raleigh frames mention above , such as none suspension MTB frames are ideal for the job you intend , just make sure the frame you choose has mounting points for mudguards and racks if you need them, and the frame fits you.
Do not be afraid of a bit of a project. You can build a good touring bike from an old MTB frame, just get some high pressure touring tires in 26", 100 psi, and throw a rack on it. Durability over light weight. Look at @Reynard 's posts on the topic. I think she just converted an old Raleigh M-Trax frame recently.
It's actually a Max, not the better-specced M-Trax... :blush:

The final result of my build is a bit of a frankenbike, because it's set up mostly as a MTB, but with touring gearing and commuter tyres, which makes it a whole lot more versatile.

I'm a bit undertall, so it's a 15 inch junior frame with 24 inch wheels. It's a comfortable bike; a bit of a steady plodder on the road but a whole lot of fun on mud and gravel.

Oh, and :welcome: to the forum @Hannahbonanab
Hi @Hannahbonanab and welcome aboard.

I have no idea what knowledge and experience you have in cycling so forgive me if this seems patronising. When I started out I had no idea about braze-ons, tyres etc.

The first thing I'll say about a potential touring bike is that it has to be comfortable, otherwise hours in the saddle won't be fun. Saddles can be changed, handlebar height and/or saddle height can be adjusted (within reason) but the right sized frame is very important.

After that, tyres, racks etc. can be made to work within reason.

A bit more information about you - experience, skills etc. - would help a lot.

In any case, as others have said an old Raleigh frame can make a good base, an old MTB frame a good, go anywhere, do anything bike.

There's a whole lot of advantages to putting together an old bike to your own needs - it's typically cheaper and it's what you want being the main ones.

At the risk of committing heresy on a cycling forum, the bike is only a teenytiny part of a bike tour - the attitude of the tourist is most important. People tour on all kinds of bikes!

Be careful! Touring can change your life and can be highly addictive!^_^

Good luck!
I think you are getting some great advice on this board. I've toured on an old 1990s Raleigh Technium bonded steel/alu frame. Just in case.... Don't! They don't make bonded frames for a reason. Mine started to separate.

I second old 1990s all steel or all alu mtb frames, they are perfect. I did a Yorkshire Dale's tour on an old Specialized steel Rockhopper of early 1990s vintage and it's still my run about bike today. While it's not impossible to use a frame without rack eyelets or mudguard brackets, it's usually easier to have them (google "c-clamps" for bicycle tourers). On the off chance you are considering suspension, I would definitely say don't (unless it's for the seatpost).

Unless you know you are going to cycle a lot in the rain, I'd say you can make do without mudguards, but that's a subjective opinion. And frames are just one part of the comfort equation -handlebars, grips, saddles, tyres, seatposts(suspension ones), tyre pressure all make a big difference to comfort as well. All of the above are important.

Sorry got a bit distracted, yes definitely for Raleigh steel frames! Good luck! Please do post when you get something.

HobbesOnTour is spot on as well, attitude is huge. People have toured on many, many different kinds of bikes...


Raleigh Royal has done everything I have needed. Racks front and back and carries a lot and I can tow a trailer when allotmenting. Never had an issue with it.
I'd second the comments about the Raleigh Royal. I have a 1985 one that I don't use for touring at all, so I run it without mudguards or a rack. It's an excellent quality frame, relatively light as it's mostly made of Reynolds 531, and rides very nicely. They were the equivalent of about £1,000 in today's money when new, so not cheap machines.

Other options are flat bar hybrids with wide range gearing, that have suitable frames that can take racks and mudguards. If we are talking about steel framed Raleighs there is plenty of choice, some very common bikes, some a bit more unusual.
The common one is the ubiquitous Pioneer made in various specs at different price points. This one is a a high spec Trail model from 1995 with a Reynolds 501 frame. Although not specifically marketed as tourers, they have stable geometry and long chainstays so are very suited to carrying touring loads.

A much rarer machine, but well worth buying if you can find one at the right price, is a Gemini 18 hybrid, with a Reynolds 531 frame and some very decent quality mechanical parts. These were the predecessors of the Pioneers and were only made from 1988 to 1989/90, so there are not loads around but they are lighter than a top spec Pioneer and the frames are touring geometry and comfortable to ride. This one dates from 1988.

Finally you could of course use a suitable rigid MTB frame as a base, and the 26" wheels might be an advantage on a smaller size bike because they cause less geometry compromises, but an MTB will be a couple of pounds heavier than a dedicated Tourer or Hybrid due to the frame & forks and wheels being more robust. Avoid anything without rack & guard mounting points. There are plenty of frames around that do have the necessary mounts, especially if you stick to the late 80's/early 90's era. There is no need to mess about trying to bodge up DIY mounting solutions if you use the right frame.
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Skipdiver and others make some valid points with some good recommendations based on experience.

One thing to bear in mind though.

Lots of those older bikes referred to above, though doubtless fine fine bikes which ride well loaded, have horizontal or near horizontal top tubes.

Although I do think that makes them look nice, I personally, and i stress personally, prefer sloping top tubes for what to me are practical reasons.

So my self-built tourers (I also have a new one) are founded on late 90s 700-wheeled hybrids which do have sloping top tubes, courtesy of MTB genes.
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