Disclaimer: Bikexchange is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links on our site.

Best Touring Bikes in 2022

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - April 19, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Gravel Bikes, Touring

touring bike

Bicycle touring is by far the best way to travel and experience the world on two wheels. Touring bikes allows you to carry all of the necessities you need for a fulfilling life on the road. Whether you go out of town on the weekends or looking for a comfortable bicycle for daily commutes to work – down here you’ll find a brief selection of different types of touring bikes.


Best Touring Bikes of 2022


1. SURLY Disc Trucker 26″

26″ steel touring bike

surly disc trucker

MSRP: $1,999

  • 26″x41mm (2.1″ clearance)
  • 3×9-speed
  • Alex Adventurer 2 Rims

The steel-framed Surly Disc Trucker is built around a very unusual tire size for touring bikes of 26″. 

Generally, the touring market is dominated by either 650b or 700c wheels. So the 26″ is unusual. You’ll get quite a unique frame color and geometry. It is the 4130 ChrMoly steel that Salsa is well known for.

The drivetrain (a.k.a the engine of the bike) is a 3×9 speed Shimano Alivio/Sora setup with an 11-34t cassette, and a Shimano Alivio 48x36x26t crankset. The bike has TRP Spyre C Disc hydro disc brakes and tire clearance for 700c x 47mm tires. 

There are plenty of rack&fender mounts on the frame and fork, and then as a cherry on the top, the bike rolls on Surly’s ExtraTerrestial 41mm tires! Look no further when you want a bike that’s already got plenty of character and sentimental value before you have even touched it!

Buy on JensonUSA.com


2. CO-OP CYCLES ADV 2.3

Best value gravel/touring bike (REI Score: 4.5 / 5 out of 15+ ratings)

co-op cycles adv 2.3

MSRP: $2,399

  • Aluminum frame and carbon fork
  • Shimano GRX 600 1×11-speed
  • GRX Hydro disc brakes
  • 700x40c
  • Weight: 23lb

This is a bicycle that could easily take you around the world (maybe even more than once) if you had the time to do it. With a touring bicycle like this, you can not only ride on any road and path that you come across, but you can carve your own as well.

The ADV 2.3 gives you some incredible components for the money, so the spike in price is well justified. You’ll get a drop bar handlebar with bar-end shifters which are easy to use on rugged downhills and rough terrain. You’ll be also using them to control Shimano GRX gearing and shift through 11  gears. Plenty to hit any gravel climb.

On downhills, finely control the amount of braking power you need with a set of GRX hydraulic disc brakes that stop the 700c x 40mm tires from rolling. 

Make sure to take a look at the rest of the Co-op Cycles ADVenture series as well:

Co-op Cycles MSRP Wheels Frame Gears Group Brakes – Disc
ADV 1.1 1,399 700c Steel 3×10 Deore Hydraulic
ADV 2.1 1,099 700c Aluminum 2×8 Claris Mechanical 
ADV 2.2 1,499 700c Aluminum 2×10 GRX Mechanical
ADV 2.3 2,199 700c Aluminum  1×11 GRX Hydraulic
ADV 3.1 1,399 650b Steel 2×10 Deore Mechanical
ADV 3.2 1,799 650b Aluminum 2×10 Deore XT Hydraulic
ADV 4.2 2,099 27.5″ Aluminum 2×11 SLX Hydraulic

Buy on REI.com


3. Ride1UP 700 Series

An electric touring & commuter bike

ride1up 700 series commuting bike

MSRP: $1,595

  • Integrated rear rack
  • 30-50mi range
  • 750W rear hub
  • 60Nm of torque

The 700-series by Ride1UP is not your typical touring bicycle as it is an e-bike. Depending on your purposed field of use, it can replace recreational cyclists’ needs to carry pannier bags comfortably and commute easily with a punch of electric assist which is available in both pedal-assist and throttle power.

Although this is not the bike to use for a trip around the world, it is definitely something to consider when it comes to shorter-distance travel. The reason why it is not as suitable for long-distance touring is the fork, which should be rigid, and a single-front chainring derailleur system.

Other than that, we’d love to see more mid-drive electric touring bikes available in the future. Sure, those bikes would cover a tight niché market, which might actually be quite unacceptable to the touring bike communities, but seeing someone cycling around the world with an e-bike would be something to look out for!

Buy from Ride1UP.com


4. Tommaso Sterrata

Best value touring road bike

MSRP: $1,025

  • Alloy frame & carbon fiber fork
  • Shimano Claris groupset
  • Avid BB5 disc brakes
  • 700x40c tires
  • Weight: 25.4 lb

Tommaso is a company that is well-known for its valuable budget bicycles. They mainly specialize in road bikes, but with the gravel madness at its highest, Tommaso decided to give adventure cycling a try as well.

The result is one of the most beautiful and budget-conscious touring bicycles we have. Tommaso Sterrata is an aluminum travel bicycle with a carbon fork and 40 mm tires.

Italian Design And Top-Notch Engineering. Tommaso Illimitate is one of the cheapest bicycles in this overview. Therefore, if the price is your only criterium, this is the obvious choice. However, it might be the obvious choice for some other reasons as well.

Obviously, thanks to the super-wide CST Tirent 40 mm tires, Tommaso Illimitate is capable of tackling all types of terrain. The Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes help as well by providing lots of consistent braking power in all weather and road conditions.

The only setback is the 11-32T cassette, which might be too small if you plan to ride in very hilly areas. However, the 2x crankset provides some balance by offering you a wider gear ratio.

Buy from TommasoCycling.com


5. SALSA Marrakesh

Salsa knows their way around bikepacking

salsa marrakesh

MSRP: $1,999

Weighing in at 31lbs, the Marrakesh Alivio is Salsa’s vision of touring bikes. Equipped with TRP Spryre-C hydraulic disc brakes, 700c x 42mm tires, and touring bike geometry – there’s not too much to add or remove from the bike. It’s ready to roam out of the box!

Salsa Cycles know their way around materials and components, hence the reason the frame and fork are made of steel! Besides that steel is one of the most bulletproof materials to use, there are multiple mounts for racks and/or water bottles: 3x on the frame and 2x on the front fork.

When carrying a bunch of extra gear along, you really need to find the right gear and cadence to keep you motivated. Therefore Salsa has chosen the 3×9 Shimano Alivio derailleurs and shifters.

However, Shimano Sora is an entry-mid range groupset suited for all-rounder cyclists, they last up rather well when taken proper care of. The longevity of the crankset is provided by Shimano Alivio 48t/36t/26t

All-in-all, the Marrakesh is a great touring bike equipped with somewhat foolproof basics such as the steel frame and disc brakes – making it a great deal to consider. These are components that you wouldn’t want to upgrade when getting a touring bike.

Buy on Aventuron.com


6. MARIN – Nicasio+

Eye candy

MSRP: $1,179

Marin Nicasio is a brand-new bike coming off the production line of this California-based company. It’s among the more affordable models on this list, offering fantastic value for the money. If you can afford just one bike but you want to do both on-road and off-road traveling, then this Marin model is a safe choice.

Just like the previous bikes I’ve shown you in this review, it’s built around a lightweight and bump-absorbing steel frame. More precisely, it’s the Series 1 Double-Butted CrMo steel frame.

In terms of components, Marin Lombard 1 is very similar to other adventure bikes in this price range. However, it has some crucial differences that make it even more suitable for pulling lots of weight and covering great distances daily.

For example, it’s equipped with a 1×9 speed microSHIFT drivetrain that features a subcompact 42T crankset and an 11/46T cassette.

The microSHIFT groupset is a common sight on gravel bikes that cost around $900, so there are no big surprises there. It’s a reliable shifting system that’s easy and cheap to take care of.

This Marin also comes with Tektro Road Mechanical Disc brakes and Marin’s double-wall, tubeless compatible wheels that sport 650bx47mm WTB Horizon tires. They’re ideal for gravel rides, but they’re quite fast on tarmac and asphalt as well.

Buy on JensonUSA.com


7. Rondo – Ruut ST1

rondo ruut st1

MSRP: $2,999

Another mid-priced adventure bike with all the classical elements to expect from a decent touring / gravel bike. The Ruut ST1 by Rondo features a steel frame and carbon fork for best bump-absorption and front-end stiffness, mounts for fenders and racks, and a drop bar. There’s also the 1×11-speed SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain which is quite a decent choice at this price range.

Besides the numerous rack & fender mounts, the bike comes with 700x40c tires and Rival hydraulic disc brakes. The frame has clearance for 650bx2.1″ tires which is excellent for a touring bike.

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


8. ALL-CITY – Gorilla Monsoon Apex

All-city gorilla monsoon apex

MSRP: $2,599

The Gorilla Monsoon is an excellent-value touring/adventure bike. With an SRAM APEX 1×11 drivetrain, 612 select steel tubing Chromoly steel frame and fork, and Tektro MD-C550 mechanical disc brakes it has it all. The bike also has unique features like a TranzX dropper post and tubeless-ready rims and tires.

The wide WTB Riddler, 27.5×2.4” tires allow you to tackle almost any terrain you want and All-City packed the frame full of mounts to make this bike perfect for bicycle touring. 

Buy on JensonUSA.com


9. NINER – RLT 9 2-Star Apex

niner rlt 9 2-star apex

MSRP: $3,099

Niner RLT 9 has a Reynolds 853 Steel frame with an RDO carbon fork. Together, they keep the weight down and boost comfort, which is great if your intention is to travel long distances.

Niner RLT 9 2-Star implores you to take it on an adventure over gravel and dirt road with every component fitted on it. The loudest of them is the SRAM Apex 1  groupset. This is SRAM’s gravel-specific groupset that’s built for the roughest of terrains. It’s incredibly reliable and shifts smoothly in dirt, dust, and sand.

This RLT 9 model also has a pair of Schwalbe G-One Performance 700×40 tires which offer maximum traction even when the bike is fully loaded. If you find yourself racing the dark to find a place to camp, you’ll be in good hands.

The brakes are also SRAM hydraulic discs, which means that they are optimized to provide the maximum amount of power and control in loose conditions, such as gravel or mud.

We’d recommend this bike to all travelers and adventurers out there who are looking for a foolproof bike touring choice to start their across-the-world travels.

Buy on JensonUSA.com


10. PRIORITY – 600

Commuter / Touring bike with carbon belt drive

priority 600

MSRP: $2,299

If you want to get a quality touring bicycle that comes with some handy accessories that you will find useful when you hit the road, you should check out Priority 600. This bike comes equipped with front and rear fenders as well as front and rear lights powered by a front dynamo hub.

Its frame and fork are made of lightweight aluminum which is the favorite material in the bicycle touring the world. It’s incredibly strong and unbelievably light. The fork is rigid and the whole bike is bejeweled with a plethora of eyelets to fit all of your accessories.

The next reason why this is a great bike touring choice is the drivetrain and the components. Namely, Priority 600 comes with a sealed Pinion gearbox and a carbon belt, which don’t require any maintenance.

Pinion simplifies shifting quite a bit. The tires are WTB Horizon 650B, tubeless-ready, so you don’t need to worry about punctures. Therefore, if you’re planning to combine both off and on-road routes on your adventure, this is a great choice.

Braking is done with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, which are easy to adjust and maintain wherever you are. They offer excellent performance as well.

The conclusion is that you can’t go wrong with the Priority 600, no matter what kind of adventure you have in mind, as it’s a pretty much do-it-all companion.

Buy from PriorityBicycles.com


11. SALSA – Mukluk

salsa mukluk

MSRP: $4,199

  • Lightweight carbon frame
  • 26″x4.6″ tires
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain

The Mukluk adventure bicycle is optimized for long off-road rides on gravel and dirt roads that you would choose if you wanted to see the backcountry or the bush. All of the features listed above come together in this Salsa bike to create a bicycle that can navigate gravel roads, cobstones, and even mild singletracks.

This version of Salsa Mukluk comes with a premium Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain with a 10-51t cassette. That’s a very decent range that will allow you to actually ride your bike most of the time instead of pushing it.

The tires are massive compared to other adventure bikes 4.6″ wide. Coupled with 26″ wheels, they’ll ensure comfort and grip at all times. They’re tubeless-ready as well, so you can say goodbye to punctures. Finally, this bike comes with SRAM G2 RS hydraulic disc brakes which provide swift stopping power.

Buy on Aventuron.com


12. Surly – Straggler

surly straggler

MSRP: $1,799

  • SRAM Apex 1×11
  • Surly Knard 700c x 41mm
  • Steel frame & fork
  • SRAM Avid BB7 Road mechanical disc brakes

One of the most-searched touring bikes online is the Surly Straggler. This model s obviously equipped with all the essentials for a long-distance bikepacking tour.

The quality of components is quite good for this price range so expect it to perform according to the stats. These include an SRAM Apex groupset, Surly Knard tires, Alex Adventurer tubeless-ready rims. This bike is great for recreational cyclists who want the best bang for their buck so don’t hesitate to look this bike up!

Buy from Aventuron.com


How to Choose a Touring Bike?

What is a touring bike?

fully equipped fat bike touring bike

Touring bicycle is essentially designed to accommodate multiple racks for pannier bags and water bottles. Travel longer distances, usually overnight, is a place where a touring bike thrives. They are different from bikepacking bikes in the way the gear is carried on the frame.

Must-have components

  • 650b or 700c wheels
  • Multiple eyelets for racks, panniers, and water bottles
  • Drop-bar handlebar
  • Relaxed fit
  • Rigid frame
  • Generally made of either aluminum or steel
  • 2x or 3x front chainring for a wide variety of gears
  • Mechanical disc brakes for easy maintenance on the road

Commuter / Hybrid / Gravel – Which is best for touring?

Apparently, many cyclists confuse these three different types of bicycles because they have some things in common. Touring bikes are bicycles with a rigid fork and plenty of mounts to add the gear on, while:

The commuter bike is widely known as a bicycle that’s used for, yes you guessed it – for commuting. Other times are known as everyday around-town bikes.

Gravel vs. Cyclocross vs. Touring Bikes — Differences Explained

Road bikes and mountain bikes may dominate the cycling scene but in between these two extremes, you'll find several ...

Hybrid bikes on the other hand are bicycles that are a mixture of two worlds – most of the time a mixture between a road and a mountain bike while they are equipped with front suspension and lack the comfort for all-day cycling trips.

Gravel bikes are often related to touring bikes due to their wide range of use, geometry, and build quality. Although a classic gravel bike features more performance-based geometry, components, and set-ups (with 1x chainring, etc)

What are the key features a touring bike should have?

trek touring bike

Bicycles that are used to cycle around with all share pretty much the same characteristics. Most of the time, you see those bikes use 650b wheels (27.5″), while there are the occasional 26″ wheels still around.

The frames are made of either aluminum or steel for extended durability, and as a rule of thumb with a rigid fork and a 1x front chainring means lesser maintenance while limited gearing, especially when riding around with excessive baggage.

Is a carbon fork good for touring bikes?

touring bike forks

When talking about forks, which take the first beating in most cases, there are three options to choose from. Check out the pros and cons for each material:

  • Steel – Cheap, durable, good vibration qualities. Very common as steel forks on touring bikes can accommodate various accessories on the bike.

Beginner Tips for Handling a Carbon Fiber Bike

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Stigmata, a carbon gravel bike frame If you have found this article it’s likely you have ...
  • Aluminum – Affordable, durable with plenty of eyelets to add racks and water bottles on the fork.
  • Carbon forks are common for most road bikes at the sub-thousand-dollar mark, and nowadays some touring/commuter bikes come equipped with carbon forks as well. The reason why most carbon forks don’t have eyelets is that any direct vibration reduces against the fork reduces.

Touring Bike Wheels And Tires

26″ x 650b vs 700c

  • 26″ = Commonly used tires that are easily found all around the world.
  • 650b (27.5″) Wide and sturdy, great size for gravel & touring bikes. Allows getting the pressure low for harder passes.
  • 700c = Best for fast commutes on paved roads

The most popular choice of wheels for touring bicycles are 26″. The reason is that they are stable, comfortable, and easy to find even in the least developed countries in the world. On 26″ inch wheels – instead of 32 spokes, touring bike wheels usually have 36 spokes which make them sturdier.

650b wheels are better for off-roading, while 700c boasts better speed on paved roads. You can fit chunkier tires on a 650b wheel for better, while the selection for 700c is not as wide.

Chain vs belt drivetrain

Touring means going out in the wild elements of nature for extended periods of time, so be prepared to keep the bike up to its best performance. In recent years, we’ve seen many globetrotters use a carbon belt drive instead of the classical sprocket & chain derailleur system.

A Guide to Belt Drive Bicycles – The Advantages and Disadvantages 

Cannondale Bad Boy 1 | Image source: Cannondale One of the first parts that wear out on a traditional bicycle is ...

As belt drives don’t need any lubrication and have a life expectancy of up to 19,000 miles / 30,000km, it is quite logical to think of it as a perfect alternative.


FAQ


What components should a touring bike have?

When it comes to the components on touring bicycles, less is always more. You should be looking for simplicity. The reason is that simple components are much easier to repair on the fly if something breaks down while you’re in the middle of nowhere. Still, you should be aiming for quality Shimano and SRAM parts that won’t give in that easily after thousands of miles of abuse.

What bike accessories do you need for touring?

Finally, a touring bicycle is of little use without its accessories. The indispensable ones include racks, water bottle cages, and bike bags. Some travelers also like having a dynamo which allows them to charge their batteries while riding and power bike lights.

How much do touring bikes weigh?

The weight does not play such a significant role when it comes to touring bicycles.

That’s why they are made from heavier materials such as steel and aluminum. Why spend thousands of dollars on lowering the weight of your bike by 500g when you’re going to undo that by carrying a gas canister. When you’re tugging 20-40 lbs of weight with you, a few pounds of weight up or down does not make a big difference.

What’s the difference between men’s and women’s touring bikes?

Although we haven’t listed any specific women’s touring bikes in this list, you can check out our Best Hybrid Bikes for Women to get a broader view of what to expect.

Important Factors to Consider

Mountain Bikes sectionApart from the aspects mentioned above, here are some additional points that you should consider when buying a touring bicycle. The beauty of bike touring is that there are no strict rules. You can go on a bike tour with a used $200 bicycle, or you can do it on a new $3,000 machine. It’s up to you.

Touring Bike Frame

The most popular frame materials for touring bicycles are steel and aluminum. Steel is the strongest and the most comfortable material out there. Moreover, it is the easiest to repair in case of any problems. On the other hand, aluminum is not as strong and not as easy to repair, but it is significantly lighter.

Touring frames have longer chainstays and longer wheelbases. This makes them more stable and allows riders to fit them with bike bags and other accessories. They come with numerous eyelets that let you attach racks, bike bottles, and other equipment.

Gears

Even though touring bicycles look more like road bikes, they borrow gearing from mountain bikes. They often feature MTB groupsets and gear ranges which makes it easier for riders to climb steep hills under heavy loads. The most popular are 2x and 3x systems with 11-32T cassettes and higher.

Although, it’s been proved that the 1×12 gearing is among the most optimized options for longevity, price, and gearing.

However, you’ll see many belt-drive bicycles coming to the scene due to their internal gearing, and 19,000-mile belt life expectancy!

 

5 thoughts on “Best Touring Bikes in 2022

  1. Joseph Wagner says:

    Starting my research for a bike to do several multi-hundred mile rail to trail vacations

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Good luck and have fun! I think this selection is a good place to start.

  2. Paul says:

    I did not see one bike that looked like it could handle riggers of touring, 40soke hubs/front rack with mounts, any idiot that tours with too much weight on the front wheels are asking for trouble front rack is a great area for bag lower packs book stove and fuel handle n=bar bag passport/ money and maps and music easily detached/ backpacks clothing tent/ pad/ food for 7days ( big issue water) make sure that everything comes off easy /Been robbed a few times in three different countries/lighting and roll-up solar panel/ something that can be used while riding on the back rack / You would be amazed at what you can get by with less is always better/ cloth hanging on the bike to dry works. and that beer at night sure hits the spot. I use to live on a bike / for months at a time.

    1. James says:

      What would u recommend for extended touring then? I don’t know

  3. Allen b Harris says:

    Again many thanks. You have certainly given me much to consider. However, the Tektro CR720 are themselves cantilever brakes too. So I wonder why you have suggested these as a possible alternative to my present Tektro Oryx cantilever brakes on my Ridgeback? They look very similar.
    I do appreciate your comments on this subject

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Bikexchange
Logo