What Makes The Best Touring Bike?
The best touring bikes are not designed for racing. As cliché as it sounds, nothing comes close to bike touring when it comes to getting in touch with nature on the way. Can you honestly recall the last time you woke up just to marvel at the beautiful sunrise were it not for touring? Remember when you just stopped to gaze at waves crashing in on a lonely beach? Well, such is the therapeutic power of nature, and you get to experience this every time you embark on a bike tour.
Why buy a touring bike?
Most of us biked as kids only to stop the moment we got driver’s licenses. Well, this is no reason to end this fun and gratifying activity. Save some money and get a good touring bike, get fit and save the planet as you get intimate with nature!
What is a touring bike?
At the glimpse of an eye, a touring bike looks no different than a racer bike primarily due to the similarly dropped handlebars. But on closer scrutiny, you will notice the rear carrier, cantilever brakes, mudguards, wider tires, three chain rings, and bigger rear wheel sprockets.
In essence, a touring bike goes beyond the typical bike parameters by merging a trekking bike’s efficiency and practicality with a racing bike’s seamless performance. It gives you the ultimate touring experience.
Just like cars can be optimized for high performance such as off-road tracks, sports cars or even SUVs so can touring bikes depending on the type of trips you will be taking.
• Long distance tours
Long distance touring bikes are made with a wider range of gear ratios to help you make your way up the steepest of terrains, comfortable saddles, front rack provision and a stable wheel base.
• Short distance tours
These have a lighter frame to produce fast bikes that can take panniers and racks. They typically come with 700c wheels and very narrow tires and look more or less like a standard road bike only that their gear ratios are higher.
• Dual suspension
This touring bike is one of the most comfortable. It is primarily a mountain bike with dual suspension, a higher front end with optimized angles. Its racks are built right above the suspensions. Dual suspension tour bikes are ideal for a rough terrain.
•A trekking tour bike
This is a hybrid tour bike that is a staple in popular European brands. It’s typically designed for short distances with a light load, an aluminum frame, suspension fork, rear rack and gear ratios that are best suited for bicycle paths and sealed roads.
Things to consider when buying
The touring bike you select for your adventures is an essential piece of riding gear that you are going to purchase. The trick is that you only have one chance to find the perfect bike and be confident that it can achieve all that you need it to before you start pedaling. The range of touring bikes in the market can be baffling to a newbie, and so it’s only fair for a person to start wondering what the best touring bike is? But the problem is, this is not a question with a black or white answer. It’s important that you start by putting this into context.
The perfect scenario
You probably picture yourself going on the biking tour of your life with lots of magical adventures and experiences that will remain engraved in your mind. Experiences so beautiful you will live to tell your grand kids.
The simple truth is that you may never complete your tour only because you made the wrong choice of touring bike – one that was not built for the nature of your bike tour- and this robbed you of the magical moments you were dreaming of.
There are five fundamental factors to consider before buying a touring bike and help turn your perfect scenario fantasy into reality.
• What’s your total budget?
• The terrain
• How long is your tour?
• Will you be using other transport means?
• Utmost comfort
Top 5 Best touring bikes
Claud Butler Mavern Green
If you are planning on a long distance tour, then this is the ideal bike for you. With wide ratio gears, K-shield puncture protection, full mudguards, front low-rider bosses on the suspension fork and a robust rear carrier made from alloy that comes with a 25 kg capacity. You can be sure of an adventure filled bike tour.
With a completely new face-lift given to the Claud butler for 2014, this tour bike’ road offering is bigger and better than ever! They’ve introduced new ladies and gents touring series for riders who are new into the sport and are looking to get started. New features such as a concealed rear brake routing, larger than life head tubes and hydro-form tubing give it an amazingly modern and crisp look. The new set of rim profiles has made the wheels significantly lighter.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade overtaking the Regent are the Shimano disc brakes that offer one of the safest stopping powers. Retailing at circa £500, the Malvern is a must have for any rookie rider.
Mizani Wayfarer, Touring Road Bike
Your daily commute, longer tours or adventure riding. It has wide ratio gears, a superior quality aluminum frame with an integrated head tube, 35mm tires and puncture protection. It also has a rack and full mudguards.
The bike is designed with a 3 by 8 gear set up and fitted with the latest Shimano chain set with 48/ 38/ 28 teeth. A four point rear carrier can carry a load of up to 25 kg making it great for long distance adventures.
With a high tensile steel fork and a rigid aluminum frame, the Mizani Wayfarer retailing at approximately 500 GBP is a great upgrade with regard to performance and power for bike riders who have been riding the typical steel framed bike.
Ortler Lindau Trekking bike Gentlemen Black Trekking bike
The Ortler Lindau is a normal 28” touring bike that is suited for both rural and urban environments. This is a perfect choice for rookie bikers as it offers reliability and simplicity with no complex components such as forks that can be very high maintenance. You can take this bike for occasional tours or use it for regular trips to work or school.
Fitted with the Shimano 21-speed derailleur, this trekking bike has seamless gear changes and wide range for different terrains ranging from flat planes to steep climbs. We can compare this trekking bike to the Muddyfox Road 14 – 700C Wheel Touring Road Bike which is also made with the rookie rider in mind. They both have the basic features for a long ride on flat land as well as long, climbing hills and they are also very pocket friendly with the Trekking bike retaining for 200 GBP.
Col de Turini Bellano 700c Touring Bike
This touring bike combines all the best elements of the perfect touring bike. With the smoothness and strength of Kenda K-934 700 X 40C tires, unmatched braking power of Tetro Alloy v-Brakes and the complete Aluminum frame construction of the Col de Turini series, what you have is a bike built for touring!
Robust steel forks and a rigid 20-inch aluminum frame makes the Turini a perfect touring bike. Designed with 21 speed Shimano gears, an inside measurement of 32 to 35-inch and 28 inch wheels, this bike offers excellent performance at a retail price of 220 GBP.
Muddyfox Road 14 – 700C Wheel Touring Road Bike
Are you scouting for the perfect first-time touring bike? With a simple but robust design combined superior components, the Muddyfox Road 14 takes the crown. The 14 Speed Shimamo Gearing gives this bike the best gear ratios for climbing or descending the steepest of hills while the two-way caliper brakes give the bike the perfect stopping power. Its 700c alloy frame is super lightweight and wonderfully aerodynamic making it perfect for fast speeds.
The road bike is excellent for touring across large distances, be it on level ground or up steep hills. The racing handlebar provides riders with greater control when touring on an open road. At well under £200, this is a great first touring bike investment.
Before you make up your mind, remember to give the bike you are interested in a test ride to determine if it’s the best fit for you. We can all agree that bike touring is not a race. But there are times you need to find out exactly what you are made of and riding more than 200 kilometers at a go is the most gratifying feeling you’ll ever get.