Buy Touring Bike
Thorn offers near-endless customisation, allowing you to tailor the bike exactly to your needs and desires, as is well-illustrated by our test bike, mixing a V-brake fork on the front with a disc on the rear. The options are endless.
buy touring bike
A triple (48/36/26t) Shimano chainset is paired with a wide-range 11-34t cassette, giving super-wide, loaded-climb-friendly gearing. In-line brake levers are also a rare and welcome addition to this bike.
There is no right or wrong handlebar setup for a touring bike. Some will prefer the upright position and extra control a flat bar will offer, while others prefer the additional hand positions and more aero position that is attainable with a drop bar.
What the best touring bikes tend to share, however, is a durable design and the ability to carry luggage. Some opt for the bikepacking variety, which usually consists of frame bags and oversized saddle bags, whereas others opt for the traditional rack and pannier bag method of carrying luggage.
As with any bike purchase, consider the riding you plan to do with the bike. For those looking to travel far-and-wide, a bike with more luggage carrying capacity will be preferred. For those who are looking to travel off-road, look for a bike that can handle the rough stuff. Live in the mountains? Look for a wide gear range.
Touring bike frames feature a relaxed geometry, with a taller head tube and shorter top tube for a comfortable and more upright riding position compared to a racing road bike. In addition to this they feature a longer wheelbase, which keeps the bike stable even when loaded with heavy luggage. Since they're designed to be cycled over long distances, they're equally designed to stay comfortable for as long as possible.
If you're a geometry nerd you may notice the for trail is a little lower than you'd expect for a relaxed ride, but this is often done to counteract the slowing effect on the steering of a heavy front load to avoid the bike feeling like a barge when laden.
Gearing-wise, what you should pick really depends on what type of riding you'll be doing. If you're taking on hills regularly, then you'll want a cassette with larger sprockets on the back. Some touring bikes offer a triple chainset too, with easier gearing on offer compared to a double chainset. The addition of extra gear combinations into the mix will add an extra component to maintain, so those on flatter terrain might prefer a single chainring at the front.
As with much of the cycling world, rim brakes and disc brakes are both available, with rim brakes found more often on lower-end bikes. Rim brakes feature two pads grabbing onto the wheel rims to stop the bike, while disc brakes grip onto a separate rotor on the wheels instead.
The best touring bikes are designed loaded up and to be reliable and comfortable to get you from A to B, even if B is in Mongolia. That means prioritising a robust frame over light weight, with steel being a popular material choice, although you'll find alloy framed or even titanium tourers too. The ride position is typically quite upright, as with the best endurance bikes.
There'll be mounting points for a rear rack, and often a front one too, letting you fit panniers to carry your luggage, rather than the more trendy bikepacking bags which just lash to your frame. Mudguards are also normal, making riding more comfortable in all weathers, while multiple bottle cages mean that you can keep hydrated even when you're far from a tap.
Paul has been on two wheels since he was in his teens and he's spent much of the time since writing about bikes and the associated tech. He's a road cyclist at heart but his adventurous curiosity means Paul has been riding gravel since well before it was cool, adapting his cyclo-cross bike to ride all-day off-road epics and putting road kit to the ultimate test along the way.
This is the diameter of the wheel, times the size of the front chainring and divided by the size of the rear cog. With this information, we can compare bikes with different wheel sizes, tyre widths and drivetrain setups.
The majority of touring bikes support a front and rear load, and your frame is the medium that needs to resist the twisting forces between these two points. A bike that is not stiff enough will feel unstable, and can more easily induce speed-wobbles.
Long-distance touring bikes are optimised to carry heavy loads on a mix of road surfaces, however, they specialise in smoother surfaces. This is the kind of bike suitable for cycling around the world on primary or secondary roads.
This tourer is fully decked out, ready to go. It has racks, fenders, pedal-power dynamo lights, an ever-popular Brooks B17 saddle, ultra-tough Schwalbe touring tyres and a full Shimano XT groupset, which is about as good as it gets.
What really draws me to the Libre is the frame geometry. Most bikes in this category have evolved from a race bike lineage, which results in a long reach to the bars, and a substantial saddle-to-bar drop. This puts your body in a speedy ride position but tends to be less comfortable over long distances.
Interestingly, the head tube angle is quite steep compared to modern mountain bikes, which results in a quick steering feel and reduced wheel flop. Given your front luggage weight slows the steering back down again, this is not a bad thing at all.
I have always try and get a bargain on everything I buy. For me there was no difference when buying my SURLY LHT. I ended up pay a grand total of $250 for my touring bike. Which has been with me for tours over japan, many places in Australia and in Europe (very soon).
I want to share everything I have learnt from my experience buying a used touring bicycle. If you do it the right way you can save a lot of many, if you were to pay retail. Think about it, I paid $150 for my Surly LHT and they cost $1,350 RRP. That is quite a saving.
Depending on where you live it can be more difficult to find great deals on used touring bikes. If you are in the United States there is plenty. Australia where I am from is okay. But other places I am not too sure how established a second hand market is for touring bikes. I would assume UK and European countries would be good too.
You can shop at Pawn Shops and other second physical store dealers too. Places like Garage sales are gems too. I bought my Surly from a Cash Convertors, which is a National Pawn Shop here in Australia.I want to do a quick experiment. At the time of writing this post. I am going to do some quick searches to see what used touring bikes are available right now. I love this stuff.
Here is a Surly Long Haul Trucker all complete and looks ready to go for $1,200 AUD not bad as they retail for around $2,000 AUD. Finding a great brand, used touring bike. For half of the retail price is about the right price you should expect to pay.
This is what my Surly looked like when I brought it for $220 AUD. As you can see the frame was the only good thing about the bike. But over time I have been able to build it up into a nice touring bicycle.
This is the heart of your bike. If the frame and fork fail, then the potential costs to replace would be the same or even more then buying a new bike. So make sure to look over the frame and the body of the bike. To see if there is no dint, scratches or heavy damage to the bike in any way.Before purchasing make sure that the bike is the correct size for you. Get on and have a ride if you must.
Ask the seller how many miles have they rode with the bikes current drivetrain setup. After a few thousand miles you are looking at replacing the cassette and chain. This is not the most costly job, but something to consider before buying a used touring bike.
Check the tyres on the bike also. As you may find that they have a considerable amount of wear and you may encounter flat tyres. Sooner rather then later. So you should also expect the buy some tyres if needed.