For many people, riding a bicycle is not a hobby, but a part of life. One vehicle became the basis for the emergence of various types of bikes, which now make it possible to play sports, go to work, carry goods or go on hiking trips. Touring bike – the version of two-wheeled companion, which is perfectly adapted for multi-day and even many months of travel. Consider what kind of bikes are these, their advantages, features and tips for choice.
What is a touring bike
Touring or, in other words, biking is an increasingly popular form of recreation. To enjoy the clean air, to observe the surrounding beauty of nature and feel your complete mergence with it – with this task can not do better than traveling by bicycle. And for this kind of romantic tourism was created touring bike – a mechanical vehicle designed for long tourist bike touring on flat roads and easy off-road with the carriage of significant loads. True, it does not develop great speed on it, but touring – is not a race, so the speed of such a bike is not particularly important.
Another clarification: touring bikes do not have cross-country, inherent in mountain bikes, but they create the maximum comfort for a long trip, which has neither mountain bikes, nor with road bikes. Plus, even a fully loaded bike, you do not lose anything in terms of handling and movement.
Given that the cyclist wants to enjoy the trip, the bike for tourism should:
- Be lightweight and durable;
- the most comfortable and convenient;
- Have special mounts for different needs;
- Have available spare parts for repair.
Going on a hike, it is worth stocking up on a set of tools, so that no accidents could not “knock you out of the saddle.” Namely:
- a chain clamp and a set of hexes;
- a pair of spare tire tubes and ropes (take two of each);
- brake pads and oil can;
- pliers and a bicycle pump;
- a crank wrench and pliers.
To play the role of a vehicle for long-distance biking, touring bike must have features that are not inherent in other types of bikes.
For long trips to the frame have special requirements: it should be made of chromium-molybdenum steel, which is stronger, more pliable and easier to repair than carbon and aluminum frames installed on other types of bikes.
If a crack appears or a “cock”breaks off, soldering and repairing them is much easier on a steel frame. Breaking a carbon or aluminum frame will put an end to cycling. And another advantage of a steel frame is that it easily absorbs the vibrations of unpaved roads and other uneven pavement.
The frame of a touring bike should have:
- for luggage that will be placed on the front fork – dropouts and brackets;
- for luggage that will be placed at the rear – the holes on the side of the forks and the connecting bar;
- on the seatpost there should be clamps;
- on the wings, hinges.
In the conditions of long travel rigid rigid fork – we can say it’s a vital necessity. It will keep the heavy-loaded bike rolling and optimize the rider’s power consumption.
True, the rigid fork adds vibration, which leads to fatigue of the hands. However, this problem is solved by cycling gloves (grips) with silicone inserts that dampen the vibration. This is also solved by the handlebar, which has different grip variations.
On touring bike is usually installed 28-inch road wheels, although there are options with 29″, and less often with 26″. Compared to the road, the wheels of touring bike is wider, the tires feel great not only on asphalt, but also light off-road.
Spokes steel (stainless steel), there is a double (or better – three-walled) profile at the rims – another couple of chips that ensure the strength of the wheels of this type of bicycle transport.
Size – 32-35 millimeters; if there will be reflective strips – this is a big plus when moving at night.
Bicycles for touring with planetary hubs, in which the rear stars and the speed switch are placed inside – an absolute favorite among fans of long-distance cycling. The closed casing reliably protects against clogging by dust, dirt and rain.
Thanks to the high discretion between gears and magnetic shifting, bike starts from a place of comfort, the speed is very fast.
You should not use hydraulic disc mechanisms in touring bikes – the breakdown of such a system is not that difficult to solve in terms of cycling, but will deliver a lot of inconvenience.
Mechanical disc brakes with steel cables are also not suitable for long rides. If dust and dirt contaminates the caliper, which presses the pads to the rotor, the accuracy of the brakes will be compromised. Solving the problem will take time, special tools, and the knowledge and understanding of how to do it.
Cantilver rim brakes are a great option for touring bikes. They have a large mud clearance, so they are not afraid of mud, are great responsive, and adjust quickly. Problems with this braking system are quick and easy to fix with an Allen key.
Touring bikes come with a wide variety of handlebars with fancy shapes like ram’s horns, bow handlebars, etc. Their main task is to provide a variety of hand grip during a long ride.
What else you should pay attention to and what additional things should be equipped with bikes for touring:
- The shape of the saddle should be comfortable, so that the rider is as tired as possible, being in it for hours on end.
- Bicycle fenders should be extended, made of plastic. Quick release fenders are not suitable for these bikes, especially when traveling on muddy roads and in the rain.
- Touring bags should be made of waterproof fabric.
- Headlights, bicycle lights will give the ability to navigate in the dark.
- A navigator, fixed on the handlebars, will give you the best route.
- With the help of a bicycle computer, you can track your speed, the distance already traveled, and more.
To summarize some of the above, for a bicycle for long distance travel and in all weather have high requirements:
- The frame for the bike must be strong and quickly repairable;
- the handlebar should be straight, with the ability to carry out a large number of grip;
- construction details must be of high quality and reliability
- wheels with a diameter of 26-29 inches;
- stainless steel spokes;
- wheelbase is elongated, center of gravity should be low
- comfortable saddle;
- Availability of fasteners for accessories (luggage racks, lights, fenders, water bottles, bike computer, etc.).
Rating of the best touring bikes
Surly Disc Trucker – long considered the best touring bike, practically the standard for touring bikes. It’s a long-haul trucker that was specifically designed for the super-efficient braking you might need in heavy-duty conditions in bad weather on uneven pavement. The bike feels great even with all the luggage, no scuffing is produced. Brake compatible with disc brakes, rim brakes require equipment verification. The wheels are 26 inches in diameter. Experts call the geometry of the frame of this touring bike almost perfect.
Kona Sutra – a great model of touring bike, his saddle is a favorite among cyclists. Chrome moly frame, cork handlebars, Shimano Deore 3×9 transmission. A more sporty version, LTD is the choice of those riders who like not only long trips, but also fast off-road riding. The model has thicker tires than the classic Kona Sutra and hydraulic brakes.
The Pride Rocx Tour is a fairly popular chromoly tourer “on axles” front and rear from the Ukrainian manufacturer. The wheels are 28″ in diameter. The inner width of the double aluminum rims – 19 mm, which prevents the appearance of “eights” and can withstand a heavy load. The bike is especially notable for the number of sides, which allows you to take with you on the road almost unlimited amount of luggage and flasks with water. It has rims for tubeless use, a removable holder for the rear derailleur.
Format 5222 is a budget touring bike made in Russia. It is considered to be the best option in terms of price/quality ratio. Equipped with a rear rack and wide fenders. There are brackets to fasten the flask holders, bags and front luggage rack. Chrome moly frameset, Shimano Claris 2×8 drivetrain, Proweel unassembled system.
Marin Four Corners – more expensive all-purpose touring bike wins due to the comfortable frame geometry, which is especially felt on long bike trips. In terms of weight, it’s a fairly lightweight bike, with a large front triangle for bulky luggage. The fork has 2 bonnets on each side to attach the fenders and luggage rack. The wheelbase of this touring bike model is one of the largest, which gives it attractive stability. Another advantage is the height. Both high- and low-growth riders can find a suitable bike this model.
Trek 520 – an iconic touring bike with more than 30 years of history, is considered one of the best models for long-distance tourism. Its characteristics speak for themselves: disc brakes, excellent frame geometry, possible tubeless use, high-speed shifters on the handlebars, two proprietary racks. The bike is perfectly balanced and completely ready for long rides.
Tips for choosing a touring bike
The great thing is that touring biking is an activity that has no age or gender restrictions. However, it is important to know how to choose a touring bike so that the trip brings maximum pleasure. When choosing should take into account:
- The height and gender of the rider;
- Technical features and characteristics of the vehicle;
- the quality of components;
- model and brand;
Now there is a huge selection of touring bike models from different manufacturers and at very different prices. Beginning bicycle tourer in the first place should not buy an expensive model. In this case, the manufacturer should be known, with positive reviews and reputation. Buying a bike from an unknown manufacturer, you risk buying a low-quality transport.
The most important thing that should be paid close attention is the components. On them you should not save money because the low quality components can affect the integrity and proper operation of your two-wheeled companion. Durable and reliable parts material from reputable manufacturers will add to your confidence in the successful completion of the journey.
Biking helps you rest your soul and improve your physical and emotional well-being. To travel at its best, manufacturers have thought through and created the most functional touring bikes, specially designed for comfortable travel. Choosing a touring vehicle, take into account all the parameters that will be important in the road. And then, after returning home from one bike trip, you will plan a new trip with anticipation and pleasure.