Which Bike is best to get for touring?

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Grolsche11976, 31 Jan 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    I am going to be new to touring and with all these sales on new bikes on at the moment, I thought about getting a bike to use specifically to tour with.

    I am not new to bikes either. I do have a road bike and a full suspension mountain bike. Was thinking of getting rid of one of the bikes and get one that is more suitable for touring short and long distances on.

    I plan to tour doing a few weekends and bank holidays to start with to get myself in to it but I would then like to start going on a week long tour.

    I have read many articles and to be honest they are all confusing as some say you can use any bike and others say it's best to get a bike that suits the kind of tour you are doing and then other people say this bike is best with someone always disagreeing.

    I plan to tour doing camping in a small 2 man sized tent.

    So based on what I have told you so far, which bike would all you more expert tourers suggest? Or perhaps you can give me some pointers that will help me to decide the bike I need. I would probably like to be able to add pannier rack to the back and maybe look at some other bags placed elsewhere on the bike.

    I would like to try and stay as cheap as possible and not spend money on something I don't really need. But if I have to spend the money to get the bike I want to do the job then so be it.

    If you have any further questions you need to ask so you can best advise then pl;ease ask them and I will be happy to answer them in return of some good advice :smile:
  2. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    You could start by having a read here


    If buying new £750-1000 seems about normal for a starter tourer

    That said you can put a rack and panniers on very many bikes. Like your roadbike (unless it’s a carbon race machine perhaps)
  3. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    djb1971 likes this.
  4. OP

    Grolsche11976 Member

    I'm from Pontefract, Yorkshire and I am 5ft 10.
    Milzy likes this.
  5. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    I’d go to Spa up the road in Harrogate :okay:

    But also look at the what tourer thread I linked
    Or use your current roadbike at least while you do the short ones and get a flavour for it
  6. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

  7. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    I'm not surprised you've been finding it confusing, because you certainly will get many different suggestions. And I think the reason for that is essentially that if you have a bike that will take mudguards, a pannier rack, and tyres at least as big as 28mm (I like 32mm), and it's comfortable for full-day rides, you can pretty much go touring on it.

    Classic tourers, Hybrids, Mountain bikes (particularly rigid-framed ones), even a lot of straight road bikes - people go touring on them.

    My preference is the classic steel tourer style (I currently have an old Raleigh Royal, which I like a lot), and if searching for a new touring bike I'd be having a very close look at Spa's steel tourer.
    gilespargiter and Blue Hills like this.
  8. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    I have a Surly Disc Trucker now, but my touring started out on some very basic bikes including a retro Mongoose MTB that was a too big for me and a funny hybrid that would shimmy like a shimmying shimmy thing. I also have toured on my current cheap hardtail and my cargo bike. I could go on light tours on my Audax bike too.

    This won’t win prizes for being a helpful post will it?
    gilespargiter, mickle and raleighnut like this.
  9. midlife

    midlife Veteran

    Ridgeback do a series of "off the shelf" tourers...

    raleighnut likes this.
  10. OP

    Grolsche11976 Member

    The full suspension on my mountain bike kind of takes up all the room where you could possibly add bags since it was built more for Trail and jumps. The road bike. Not sure If I would get much thicker than the wheels it came on as I bought it originally on the cycle to work scheme where I used to work and it was more to get me from a-b in the fastest time possible. Hence, why I thought maybe getting one that would suit racks and bags being attached to it and have slightly thicker tyres. Also, would you recommend drop handle bars or straight for touring? As I see some tourers have straight and some drop.

    What makes a specific tour bike better than say a cheap mountain bike or a road bike. I would say my touring would probably start on like roads, cycle paths and tracks like canal tow paths. Nothing too off roady but hey you never know what I might expect. Does anyone have any thoughts on the ridgeback voyage touring bike mentioned above? Whose tried touring on a road bike with 700c wheels and what did they think of the entire journey?

    Might even be nice to hear some stories of what people have tried and how they got on with it and if they was to start out again what they would recommend.
  11. GrumpyGregry

    GrumpyGregry Here for rides.

    I started touring on a Spesh Rockhopper rigid mtb with slicks, then on a Brompton (no camping), then on an Edinburgh Bicycle Coop Revolution Country Explorer now on a Jamis Aurora Elite. The 'rora is the best tool for the job by a country mile. For lightweight credit card touring, staying in B&B's etc as I loathe camping, my Genesis Equilibrium with a Tubus Fly is fine. Way more than fine.
    wicker man and Heltor Chasca like this.
  12. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    Nobody can really recommend what's best for you. Personally, I prefer randonneur pattern drop bars - they're a bit wider than standard road bars, and slightly swept upwards and outwards. But straight bars suit a lot of people better. Butterfly bars are also popular with a lot of touring cyclists, and I've tried them and I can see what people like about them (but I still preferred my randonneurs).

    In addition to racks, mudguards and plenty of tyre clearance, essentially they're going to be built with the robustness and geometry best suited to touring while not compromising efficiency any more than necessary - the strength to go long distances carrying heavy loads, and more relaxed geometry for better comfort and ease of handling.

    You'll often probably get cantilever or disk brakes to help with stopping a heavily-loaded bike.

    How much you need of these touring-specific features depends a lot on what level of touring you do. I've done 1-week and 2-week tours over the years, just putting a rack and mudguards on a general-purpose drop-bar steel bike, and that's been fine. If I could ever devote myself to serious long tours, I'd want something closer to a modern top-spec tourer (possibly with hub gears to minimize maintenance).
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  13. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Any bike you can sit on all day comfortably will set you off to a good start. That statement in itself means something different to every rider. You need to be able to carry kit so a strong bike would help. If your luggage is going to be traditional panniers, a bike with longer chain stays (to avoid heel strike) is handy.

    Alternatively you could go down the ‘Bikepacking’ style of bags. Or, like I did in my yoof, you always have the option of a backpack. Not comfy, but when I was young, the excitement of new destinations anaesthetised the discomfort.
  14. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Old-school rigid frame MTB designs from the late 80's/early 90's typically have frame geometry of around 70 degrees parallel, which is even more relaxed than the typical 72 degree frames found on touring and general purpose steel utility bikes. Ditch the knobbly tyres for reduced rolling resistance and a sturdy old rigid MTB with decent tyres and a set of mudguards can make a very robust and low-cost means of transport. They don't carry the weight penalty that those horrible suspension frame bikes suffer from.
  15. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    There is no "best" bike for touring, I would suggest getting a substantial hybrid, perhaps second-hand, and start touring on that.
    After a few tours a pattern will emerge, you will discover what kind of tourer you wish to become, a fully independent tourer who carries tent, cooking equipment, spare parts and a wardrobe of clothing to cope with blizzards and/or heatwaves, or a faster tourer who travels light.
    There is no typical touring cyclist, all have their idiosyncrasies and it is only after acquiring some touring experience that you will begin to get a feeling for which touring bike would best suit your particular touring style. In the meantime, most hybrids would suit your requirements. Starting off on a relatively inexpensive bike also gives you time to consider the choices of gearing you may want to have on your ideal tourer.
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