Touring bike: what is it and how to choose?

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touring bike
What is a touring bike? How to choose it? Which are the best? Discover this and more in our article.


Did you choose what is the bike itinerary to face? Are you ready for your bike trip, but you feel like you are forgetting something? Of course… you don’t have your touring bike yet.

Your travel bike is definitely the most important thing to have if you want to travel on two wheels, but, as you may have already seen on the web, not all bikes are equal and suitable for this type of vacation.

If you don’t know where to start when choosing your bike, keep reading the article and find out what is the right touring bike for you.

What is a touring bike and what does it look like?

The touring bike is your faithful companion on long distances and difficult terrain.

These are the elements that distinguish a touring bike:

  • Reliability
  • Comfort
  • Lightness
  • Load capacity

These features, which are all you need, are fundamental to ensure that you have an enjoyable, comfortable, long-lasting, and as self-sufficient trip as possible.

Our advice is to opt for a steel frame, both because of its light weight but also because it is easy to repair in the event of problems.

And let’s not forget a good bike seat. The comfort of your bike seat will be critical for making the best of long rides, since you will have to sit on it for much of your bike ride.

After making sure these items will take you far, let’s get down to serious business: what are the questions you need to ask yourself before buying your bike?

How to choose a touring bike? (4 questions to ask yourself before buying it)

Choosing the right touring bike for your needs, if you ask yourself the right questions, can be easier than you think.

Before considering the purchase of a (not very cheap) bicycle, it is necessary to consider whether your cycling trips are just for an occasional holiday, or an investment that will last for a long time.

Obviously we recommend the purchase of a good touring bike if you plan to use it for many trips and for life.

If, on the other hand, you just want to do a vacation which is different than usual or it’s a rare event for you, we recommend you renting the bike.

Bikeit makes it easy to rent the right bike for you: you can choose from a wide range of bikes and e-bikes, depending on the level of difficulty of the route and your physical fitness.

Rent the right bike for you and your trip on Bikeit

But let’s get back to choosing your touring bike, and start with the first question we think you should ask yourself.

1. What kind of roads will I face on my journey? (paved or unpaved?)

The terrain and type of roadyou face on your trip can greatly determine the type of your touring bike:

  • if mostly paved roads are planned in your trip, you may lean towards a more racing-like bike, lighter, with finer wheels and tires, and with a curved handlebar to promote aerodynamics;
  • on the other hand, for unpaved roads and rough climbs, it’s a good idea to choose a bike with a more compact and lightweight frame, stronger wheels, a comfortable saddle and straight handlebars to dampen vibrations.

If you want to be more prepared about your itinerary, read also: “Bike Itinerary: 5 tips for creating the perfect route.”

2. Do I need a trolley or bags for my touring bike?

What kind of cyclotourist are you?

Will you be carrying several items of luggage and will you be independent throughout the trip or will you choose to travel light, perhaps taking advantage of a luggage transport service?

In relation to this, you will need to opt for a bike with adequate provisions for inserting a trolley and for hanging your panniers, or not.

3. Can the bike be easily dismantled for transport by train or plane?

How will you reach the first stage of your itinerary and how will you return home once you have reached your destination?

If you think that your means of transportation will not be solely by bicycle, but you will have to rely on public transport frequently, we certainly recommend you that you choose an easily disassembled bicycle.

4. Are the components easily available in the countries where I will be travelling?

Finally, one should not forget that, unforeseen events are always around the corner (we hope of course not). Therefore, it is good to consider that the essential components of your bike are easily available in the countries you decide to travel to, so that your trip can always go smoothly.

Also remember to always carry a travel kit with you for your bike trip, so you are ready for anything. If you want to choose the ideal travel kit, read also: “Traveling by bike: the travel kit for your bike trip.”

So, what are the bike touring bikes chosen by Bikeit that are right for you and a good compromise for every cyclist?

Best touring bike: the 3 best for value for money and versatility

We will not be exhaustive in offering you these touring bikes because every cycle tourist and every need is different from another, but, we have selected for you the best touring bikes that, in our opinion, stand out for price/quality ratio and versatility (so suitable for every cycle tourist):

1. Cinelli Hobootleg

Cinelli Hobootleg is the perfect steel bicycle for adventure. Winner of the Guinness World Record for round-the-world cycling, it is one of the most reliable adventure bikes around:

  • Its triple-butted steel frame and fork are certainly synonymous with reliability, comfort and durability.
  • It can be fitted with wider tyres to ensure effectiveness on all types of terrain.
  • And finally, it features a very robust luggage rack set capable of carrying heavy luggage up to 40 kg at the rear and 18 kg at the front.

In short, the bike is ready to go with you to go fast and strong as far as you want.

It weighs a total of 12.6 kg and costs just under €1500.

But, if you want to know more, also check out the review of the Cinelli Hobootleg on YouTube.

2. Trek 520

The Trek 520 is a touring bike designed and built for suburban roads use.

The perfect model to accompany you and your equipment on the longest adventures:

  • The aluminium fork mounted on a steel frame, the pivot safety system and the wide range of ratios make climbing and your general ride much easier.
  • The touring geometry and rack attachments make it an ideal choice for carrying large loads on multi-day rides, or for comfort-focused Sunday adventures.

The 520 is built to last and is super reliable in the long term. It has an affordable price, just above €1700.

Go ahead and watch the YouTube review of the Trek 520 bicycle.

3. Giant Toughroad SLR GX1

Giant Toughroad SLR GX1 is perfect for all your adventures:

  • This adventure bike features an aluminium frame and a composite fork for light weight and all-terrain reliability.
  • It can also be fitted with a luggage rack thanks to the eyelets on both the fork and the rear axle, making it ideal for either a short day trip or a multi-day adventure.

The watchwords are comfort and stability thanks to its geometry. And the price is really “wow”, because it has all of these characteristics for only €1400.

If you are intrigued by this bike, also check out the road test of the Giant Toughroad SLR GX1.

Used touring bike: yes or no?

used touring bike

Used touring bikes, why not?

It’s certainly a good way to buy a quality bike without breaking the budget. Our advice in this case is not to make an impulse purchase, but to carefully consider several factors:

  1. Always ask for the bike provenance, especially so that you do not run into the unfortunate misunderstanding of buying a stolen bike or one of dubious origin;
  2. Never forget to check the health status of the bicycle, without stopping at appearance and advantageous price;
  3. Ask, therefore, to have them show you the receipt, if you bought from a private party, but also the bike manual, warranty (if it is still valid) and the frame number;
  4. Also, avoid flea markets and overt announcements: “I’m selling my brand new bike!”.

It would be better, in our opinion, to buy it from a trusted dealer and official websites dedicated to the sale of used bicycles.

With careful evaluation of your bike, you can play it safe and buy your first professional touring bike at a truly affordable cost.

Ebike: the electric bicycle for bike touring suitable for everyone

touring ebike

The e-bike is a revolution in travelling by bike and guarantees absolute comfort..

This wonderful innovation has even brought the less experienced and the physically less prepared, closer to the beautiful world of cycling.

Thanks to the e-bike, you will no longer have to fear fatigue and will be able to explore even the most difficult routes and discover incredible places that can only be reached by bike.

This type of bike is equipped with an electric motor that is only activated when you operate the pedals, helping you to pedal with less effort.

The mechanical gearbox lets you adjust the speed and effort of your pedalling, and you can also choose the level of electric assistance according to the route you have to cover, your fitness level and how much effort you want to put in.

The advantages of using an e-bike are certainly:

  • Versatility, perfect for both longer and more demanding journeys and for avoiding city traffic.
  • The speed and convenience, you can reach up to 25 km/h and you can really park it wherever you want.
  • Due to its green nature, the electric motor is eco-friendly and also does not emit sound, preventing noise pollution.
  • It is good for your health, avoiding sedentariness.

If you really care about the environment and sustainability, read also: “Sustainable tourism: bicycle tourism as a virtuous example“.

So, if you think the world of cycling is too far away from you, the e-bike is definitely the perfect solution. The e-bike is the touring bicycle suitable for everyone, including families.

It can be a really good investment for your Sunday rides and everyday life, as well as for longer and more demanding cycling trips.

Have you ever tried one?

Rent the best touring bikes on Bikeit

To every itinerary and every bicycle tourist, his or her own travel bike.

As we have already pointed out on several occasions, each itinerary has its own characteristics that are more or less suitable for one type or another of travel bike.

A bike route, may be characterized by more unpaved and impervious terrains or more paved and easy, as well as different levels of road steepness. Most of the time, this implies the need for versatile and different bikes.

In addition to this, your physical fitness, the type of trip, the difficulty of the route, and your willingness to toil can also determine the choice of one bike over another.

Does this mean that you have to buy a bike for every need? Absolutely not.

With Bikeit you can choose and rent online the bike that suits you best, comfortably picking it up at the first stop on your route. Gravel, trekking, MTB, e-bike, racing bike, and more. A huge range of choice to suit your needs.

You will be able to choose the bicycle in relation to your trip, the route you have decided to take, and your level of fitness.

What are you waiting for? Why don’t you try booking your two-wheeled vacation with Bikeit now?

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