Going on a bike tour is an exciting adventure. However, before you hop on your saddle and hit the road, there are a lot of factors to consider to make your journey hassle-free. It all starts with picking the right touring bicycle.
The right gear and equipment are essential to the success of your ride. Having a checklist will help you identify the proper tools you need. Here are some aspects of what to look for in a touring bike.
- Strong and solid bike frame
- Relaxed geometry
- Good handling especially with additional load
- Heavy-duty wheels
- Low gears
- Uncut steerer cube
- Long chainstays
- Clearance for bigger tires
- Mount points for racks
Once you’ve gotten a grasp of these must-haves, then it’s time to go out and look for that perfect touring bicycle. To help you get started, here’s a peek at some of the top touring bikes in the market.
Reviews of The 5 Lightest Touring Bikes
1. TREK 520
The Trek 520 is the longest-running bike model of Trek. The geometry frame of this prototype has been improved over time. It is a classic touring bike developed for optimal comfort and stability that will last for years.
- This model is built with proper geometry to provide you with a comfortable fit.
- It is built with strong and durable materials including a steel fork and frame.
- The gears range from 22 to 118 inches which is reliable for climbing uphill. You can also switch the cassette to 21 inches for lower gears.
- The saddle is a bit hard, making it uncomfortable during your ride.
The Trek 520 is a reliable touring bike that you can use for long rides. It is built with heavy-duty parts and tools for a comfortable and stable journey. The gears and shifts are easy to manage, making them suitable for long climbs.
2. Surly Long Haul Trucker
The Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) is a suitable bike you can use for both long tours and commuting. It’s comfortable, reliable, can carry enough load, fast, and efficient. This model is a versatile bike that you can use for any occasion.
- The frame is built with Chromoly steel which is more durable than regular steel.
- It has a great design and geometry frame for a stable ride.
- The tubes are made from durable materials and are sturdy enough to carry a load.
- It is equipped with a good wheelset with reliable and high-quality spokes.
- There is no kickstand mount on the frame.
- The stock rim brakes are not good. It is highly recommended that you upgrade it.
The Surly LHT is designed and built for long rides that can haul heavy loads. It is a classic touring bicycle that you can use for off-road and paved road adventures. This model is built with a solid performance. This bike is available at an affordable price point.
3. Fuji Tour
Fuji has greatly improved the design and development of their bicycles over the years. The Fuji Tour is currently the only touring bike produced by Fuji Corporation and yet it has become a popular choice by many riders. This model can be used for multiple purposes such as a commuter bike or for long-distance rides.
- The frame is built from Chromoly steel which is strong, flexible, making it comfortable during long rides. It is also easy to maintain and repair so you won’t have to worry much in case it breaks down.
- This bike’s frame has a long chainstay making the bike longer than a traditional road or mountain bicycle. This allows for a more comfortable and relaxed ride.
- The fork is also manufactured from steel which makes it durable and it can perform well under heavy load.
- The wheels are durable and can withstand a tough environment. It has stainless steel spokes and rims made of double-walled aluminum.
- No front rack, fenders, lights, and panniers.
- The bottom bracket tends to get loose once in a while.
The Fuji Tour has all the necessary tools you need in a traditional touring bike. Performance-wise, it can endure long-distance tours and withstand the tough road environment. You can use it to do your errands, go on short bike trips, and travel long distances. Either way, this is an excellent bike that will not disappoint you.
4. Thorn Raven
The Thorn Raven is a top-of-the-line expedition bicycle. It is built and tested to withstand extreme conditions you may encounter during your journey. This bike is easy to maintain and is very versatile. The Raven provides a smooth and enjoyable ride.
- The ergonomic handlebars allow you to sit in a natural upright position for a more comfortable ride.
- The rear sprocket and chainring are reversible which will last you for a long time.
- It is manufactured with a sturdy frame that can withstand harsh surroundings.
- The Raven is developed with a Rohloff Speedhub which features a 14-speed precision internal hub that is infamous for its reliability.
- The steel frame is quite on the heavy side.
- It has noisy gears and is heavier to shift.
The Thorn Raven has a solid track record and is a very popular choice among cyclists. It is built with strong and durable materials for a versatile ride. The brand Thorn is known for having excellent customer support which assures riders that they can count on them even during their tours.
5. Specialized AWOL Elite
The Specialized AWOL is a modern and versatile touring bicycle that can be used for practical purposes and epic rides. This model is designed for adventures and exciting expeditions.
- The front rack is designed to carry a weight of at least 15 kg.
- It has a top-quality rear rack for conventional panniers. You can throw in practically anything and haul it effortlessly.
- This bike is equipped with heavy-duty mudguard rods that can survive harsh conditions.
- The saddle is appropriate for long-distance rides. The skinny seat post and tapered seat tube allow the rider to have a comfortable ride.
- This doesn’t ride as fast as you want.
The Specialized AWOL Elite is a sporty bicycle that is designed for short and long-distance rides that can be used for both roads and terrains. It is built with tough components and tools for an exceptional ride. The bike’s wheels are strong and durable which makes it appropriate for off-the-beaten paths.
The Trek 520 is a reliable and stable touring bike that you can use for any condition. The gears are easy to operate which makes them perfect for uphill climbs. On the other hand, the Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT) is designed for long rides that can carry heavy loads. Its frame is built with Chromoly steel that is stronger than regular steel so it can endure harsh conditions.
If you are looking for a bike that has all the essential factors, the Fuji Tour has all the necessary components needed in a touring bicycle. It has a long chain stay so that riders can have a comfortable and relaxed journey.
Meanwhile, the Thorn Raven is a solid touring bicycle and is an extremely popular choice among riders. It is versatile and reliable equipment that can be used on different occasions. Lastly, the Specialized AWOL Elite is perfect for adventure rides. It is built with strong and durable high-quality materials that can withstand tough environments.