A touring bike is designed for long rides both on highways and city roads as well as dirt roads, forest trails, and mountain passes. It should be reliable, unpretentious on the road, easy to repair and able to hold all the necessary equipment. To have a successful trip is worth giving your two-wheeled companion increased attention: choose a high-quality and reliable option and properly prepare him for the trip.
About the benefits of tourism on a bicycle
Thanks to riding a bike, muscles are strengthened, vessels and heart are trained, excess weight goes away and the skin tightens. There is a charge of vivacity, depression passes, we can say that the nervous system gets a “reset”.
Hiking on a bicycle – it is a great way to maintain not only physical fitness, but also to learn the world, savoring every detail of it. You do not get that kind of pleasure when riding a car. And not every corner will pass a car, plus the cost of it is much higher than the two-wheeled vehicle.
Of course, you can travel on foot, but do not go so far and can not carry a lot. A bicycle allows you to cover significant distances and carries all the equipment on itself. We can say that hiking on a bike is the golden mean between traveling by car or on foot.
Requirements for touring bikes
There are a few general requirements for a touring bike, whether you’ll be taking it across a speedway, forest paths, or mountain pass:
- The tourbike must be lightweight – during a hike there may be a situation where you have to dismount and carry the bike on yourself along with the load. It will be easier for you to do this if the vehicle is lightweight.
- The bike should be provided with mounts. If the model will not be a trunk, all things will have to put in a backpack and hang it on his shoulders. It is unlikely that with the load on his back you can fully enjoy the beauty of the world, and multi-day bike trip in general will turn into a torture.
- In turn, the mounts should be strong, otherwise, if they break there will be serious problems with further movement.
- If the road will need to repair, spare parts for the bike should be available and sold at any bike store, even in the provincial hinterland.
- The bike must be comfortable – especially with regard to seating. It is also worth taking into account its maneuverability and sail. On a multi-kilometer ride it is important which load goes on the arm and back muscles.
Do not neglect any of these five requirements for touring bikes – they are all equally important for a long trip.
There are four varieties of touring bikes suitable for biking, each with its own features.
Mountain Bike .
Mountain bikes, or as they are also called MTBs, are the most common bike options for long hikes. This is really a great choice when riding on mountain roads, dirt and forest trails – such a route on it will be easy to overcome due to:
- straight steering;
- low riding position;
- front shock absorber;
- 26-inch wheel diameter.
Mountainbike endurance on difficult sections of the road, well overcomes long climbs with poor pavement. He feels good and on the roads, but if you have to go for a long time on them, he will not give the necessary dynamics, because it is necessary to choose a high-speed model of travel bike.
Not a bad option if your route runs on paved roads and occasionally on dirt. It has its own advantages:
- spacious trunk to carry cargo;
- the steering wheel is comfortable, as well as a wide seat;
- the wheels are large, allowing you to save energy on the road due to the good rollability;
- mudguards and wide fenders protect from dirt, small stones and water.
True, do not buy a bike like this, if you plan to overcome it bumps, to make a permanent uphill and sharp long descents – its braking system is not effective enough for this.
A hybrid bike is almost perfect for touring because it combines the power of mountain bikes and the speed of road bikes.
The advantages of a hybrid are obvious:
- from mountain models he inherited the strength from the mountain models – lightweight, so the frame of this bike is strong and lightweight;
- a considerable distance between the centers of the wheels provides elongation of the frame;
- Wheel diameter 28″ (taken from the road bikes) and wide aggressive tires (taken over the advantage of mountain bikes when riding on dirt roads);
- Straight handlebars, like a mountain bike.
Make sure that your favorite model of hybrid bike fork was not rigid, otherwise all its advantages will be equal to zero.
The hybrid is fully suitable for roads with intermittent pavement: the smooth asphalt, then dirt, then with obstacles. If you ride it only off-road or exclusively on flat surfaces, it will lose to the highway and road bikes.
Like the hybrid, this type of bike is an improvement. It has also taken a lot from road bikes and mountain bikes. Among the advantages are:
- 28″ wheels;
- a steering wheel shaped like ram’s horns (taken from a road bike);
- rigid front fork.
Compared to the hybrid, on asphalt roads cyclocrosser behaves more confidently, but on the rocks and off-road it has a worse passability. But it’s just as light as a road bike and easier to handle than a hybrid.
But this bike is not the best option for biking, despite the fact that some riders go on it in tours. Although it is considered a better version of the classic mountain bike, the niner is heavier and more cumbersome. For transportation, it is uncomfortable, too much hand energy is taken because of the elongated fork. Yes, 29-inch wheels make the ride smoother – but that’s all the advantages of this type of bikes, if we consider nainers as a variant for hiking.
Before buying a bicycle for tourism, carefully study its parameters:
- Handlebar – based on the characteristics of your route, choose either a flat handlebar, a “bow handlebar” or a “baran handlebar”. The latter two have a good advantage – they have plenty of grip options, great for riding on asphalt. The regular flat handlebar is good when traveling on dirt roads, rough terrain, and downhill.
- Frame – it should have special sockets for fasteners. Steel frames – strong, perfectly overcome road obstacles. But aluminum frames have an important advantage in long hikes – lightness. Titanium frames are light and strong, and well dampen vibrations, but they are not cheap. A longer frame increases the wheelbase, helps distribute the load evenly and improves maneuverability.
- Wheels and rubber – touring bikes carry the owner, luggage and the bike itself, so the wheels have an increased load. It is considered sufficient wheel diameter of 26-28″, 32 spokes and steel rims. Based on the texture of the road surface, choose tires.
- Transmission – there are no special requirements for the number of gears. Here you can choose to your liking, ranging from 6-8 speeds, ending with 27-30.
- Brakes – high speed and loaded luggage require a special braking system. In this case it is worth to prefer disc brakes with a mechanical or hydraulic drive. On the bike can be installed rim mechanisms – they are easy to repair, they are quite reliable, but the wear and tear of the pads is quite fast.
- Fork – in the two variations offered by manufacturers, there are advantages and disadvantages. The suspension fork has excellent ability to swallow bumps when riding on rough terrain, but it needs service from time to time, which may not always be available if you get stuck in some secluded corner. The register fork doesn’t have the best bump cushioning, but it’s light, doesn’t break down, and doesn’t need service. By the way, you can improve damping abilities with a titanium or steel fork.
When choosing the perfect touring bike, there is no room for minutiae and insignificant details. It is important absolutely everything, because the reliability of your two-wheeled companion will depend on the quality and pleasure of travel.
Rating of the best bikes for tourism
Models of touring bicycles on the market offered a great many, consider a few of the best options that combine all the advantages of bicycles for hiking and travel.
Merida Crossway 300 – a mountain hybrid, which is highly trusted by cyclists due to the quality of construction and technical capabilities. Shock-absorbing fork, seatpost, which perfectly smoothes the shocks, the accuracy of control, provided by the tapered handlebar cup, 28-inch wheels with tires with reflective strips, double rims for reinforcement, sports disc hydraulic brakes, plenty of room for luggage, all wiring is inside the frame, which fully protects it from moisture and dirt – all the advantages of one bike. 30 speeds and low weight of the model of 12.5 kilograms – more to the merits of this hybrid. This model of touring bike is the most reliable and fastest.
Cube Touring Pro – lightweight and comfortable touring bike with aluminum frame for both travel around town and touring. The owner of a powerful hydraulic disc system, a reliable 24-speed Shimano gearbox, built-in lighting system, mudguards, footrest, chain protection, rear rack. This model is one of the new ones on the market, gaining respect and increasing popularity among buyers, despite its rather high price.
Stinger Vancouver Pro 28 – road bike from the Russian manufacturer. This is a man’s touring bike with dynamic characteristics. You can ride it to work and on forest trails. Due to the shock-absorbing fork and eight-speed Shimano transmission ride on any surface is quite comfortable. Ribs make the frame extremely strong, there are hydraulic disc brakes and full-size fenders, the gears are shifted clearly thanks to the planetary hub. On the trunk you can fix the load up to 25 kg. The model is well controlled, versatile and reliable.
The Forward Raptor 2.0 disc is a great two-paddle MTB for mountain and off-road riding. Due to the front and rear shock absorbers difficult parts of the road are quickly overcome, on the turns control does not create any problems. This unisex vehicle is equipped with a steel frame, mechanically actuated disc brakes, Shimano derailleurs, threadless steering column. The disadvantage is the plastic fenders.
Stinger Graphite Std 27.5 – its main advantage in a wide choice of speeds – 21. Budget option of touring bike, durable, has a lightweight aluminum frame, not impairing stability and controllability, is not prone to swinging, quickly picks up speed. On it you can feel comfortable on the mountain road, and when riding on rough terrain, however, on a gravel road vibration is quite noticeable.
Tips for choosing a touring bike
Bike, designed for long trips, can not cost cheap. Therefore, if it is purchased, then only in the case of committing big trips. First of all, it is worth to decide on the route:
- If you will ride on roads and rough terrain, opt for a hybrid bike;
- if you will be riding on a smooth road surface with a small amount of dirt roads, choose a road model;
- If your route will be cross-country and off-road, you go for a mountain bike.
Well, if the route will be unpredictable and combine all kinds of roads, a hybrid is the best choice.
If there are mountain passes and hard-to-reach sections of road ahead of you, take a bike with a multi-stage transmission. With smooth asphalt and minor slopes cope with the planetary hub.
Step by step instructions on how to prepare your bike for a hike and travel
So you picked up the best for you bike for tourism, now we should prepare for the journey. The good news is that there is nothing complicated about it:
- Inspect all mechanisms and assemblies for serviceability;
- Replace what might break on the road or in pre-renovation condition;
- wipe down and lubricate anything that needs it.
In addition to your backpack, grocery kit, and other unrelated items on your bike, take a set of tools and accessories with you:
- spare tubes, cables, and brake pads (2 each);
- first aid kit and bike pump;
- a chain compressor and oiler;
- pliers and crank wrench;
- hex wrenches and wire cutters.
Some of these supplies are sure to come in handy on the road. Do not be lazy to take this set to the campaign, otherwise there is a risk to drag the faulty bike with all the luggage on him.
Overcoming difficult mountain passes, forcing rivers, admiring nature, the feeling of space and total freedom – all this is available during a bicycle trip. The main thing – to pick up suitable for your needs and parameters travel bike, paying attention to its quality features and the possibility of equipping under the equipment. All the knowledge you need for this, you already have.