What is a Touring Bike? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for a bike that can handle long rides and different types of terrain, then you might be wondering what is a touring bike.

A touring bike is designed for long-distance riding, and it’s perfect for cyclists who want to explore new areas. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the features of a touring bike and how it differs from other types of bikes.

We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right touring bike for your needs. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced cyclist, this guide has something for everyone!


What is a touring bike and what are its features?

A touring bike is a type of bicycle that is specifically designed for long-distance riding.

It typically has a more relaxed frame geometry, which allows for greater comfort and stability when travelling over uneven terrain.

Additionally, touring bikes are often outfitted with wider tires and fenders, making them ideal for cycling on unpaved roads or in adverse weather conditions.

Touring bicycles are typically made out of steel, which makes them strong and durable. However, there are also some touring bikes that are made out of aluminum or carbon fiber.

Aluminum is a lightweight material that is corrosion-resistant, and carbon fiber is known for its strength and stiffness.

So, if you’re looking for a bike that is lightweight and durable, then you might want to consider a model that is made out of aluminum or carbon fiber.

How does a touring bike differ from other types of bikes

There are several key features that distinguish a touring bike from other types of bicycles.

For starters, touring bikes usually have a longer wheelbase and slacker head tube angle than road bikes. This provides greater stability and makes it easier to handle rough terrain.

Additionally, touring bikes usually come equipped with wider tires, which offer more traction and cushioning. And, as we mentioned earlier, many touring bikes are also outfitted with fenders, which can be helpful when riding in wet or muddy conditions.

Finally, touring bikes are often equipped with additional accessories that make them ideal for long-distance rides.

These accessories may include a rear rack, front panniers, and a kickstand. The rear rack allows you to attach cargo such as a camping tent or sleeping bag, while the front panniers provide extra storage space for food and other supplies.

And the kickstand helps to keep your bike upright when it’s not being ridden.

Who is the typical touring cyclist?

Not everyone can be a touring cyclist. It takes a certain amount of determination and grit to take the road less traveled, but there are some who do it consistently. Who is this person? What does he or she look like? How much money must he or she get together for such an undertaking?

The truth is that no one has been able to answer these questions definitively, mainly because many different individuals have cycled around the world in their own ways and have come from all walks of life.

For example, while some have done so purely out of love for travel and adventure, others have done so as a political statement or even as a commercial venture.

In any case, let’s examine the cycling experience through the eyes of several individuals.

Bobbin Bicycles

Started in 1908 by two bicycle makers, Jack and Tom McAndless. These two brothers were very skilled at what they did and even had their bicycles ridden by Harold Hilton and Reggie MacNamara, cyclists who would go on to win the first ever Tour de France.

This company is still around today and witnesses a constant flow of customers coming through its doors for repairs and new bikes.

One of these individuals is Bill Irvin, a retired engineer from Alaska.

Bill Irvin

He has been cycling all his life because he has always loved it; he even cycled back to Alaska after having lived away for over 50 years. When asked why he chose to ride rather than drive or fly, Bill says that it’s because he loves to see new places and meet new people.

Even when a nearby town is in a state of construction, he is undeterred from cycling there. He continues to do so regardless of rain or snow because it’s his way of getting about.

Giuseppe Ciccotti,

An Italian who cycled around the world for six years during the 1920s.

Unlike Bill Irvin however, Ciccotti was able to cycle across continents because he made money by selling photos and films that he took while on his journey.

This allowed him to travel without having to beg for food or shelter along the way.

Touring Bike Through Mountains

What type of terrain can be ridden on a touring bike

First, the type of terrain that you’re comfortable riding on is definitely something to keep in mind. 

If you really enjoy bombing downhill at high speeds, then chances are that a mountain bike would be better for this application than an upright touring bicycle with fat tires and no suspension. 

But if one’s preference leans toward sightseeing at a casual pace (for example by participating in Italy’s yearly Giro d’Italia), then an upright touring bicycle with fat tires has considerable advantages over any other common type of bicycle.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that your choice is now made – you’re committed to using an upright touring bicycle for your tour. 

I’ll explain what terrains you can cover on a touring bicycle here:

Touring bike with fenders and front/rear racks:

A very easily rode, the well-equipped touring bicycle can be ridden everywhere. 

The big fat tires have a low rolling resistance under heavy load, the upright position is comfortable for your back and allows you to spot potential hazards before they become dangerous – this increases your safety margin substantially because it lets you plan ahead much more effectively. 

Note that this last point becomes even more important in poor visibility conditions such as rain or darkness. 

In addition, you will notice that your touring bicycle has three water bottle cages (or at least two spaces where these could fit). 

If one drinks enough while cycling (on average 2 liters per day), then there should always be enough space for all of your water.

If you’re not keen on carrying any luggage, then this is the bare minimum that should be required to get you through pretty much any terrain without problems.

How much does a touring bicycle cost?

The price of a touring bicycle varies widely depending on the materials used in its construction, the general quality of the frame and components.

Where it is bought (a more expensive bicycle will almost always be found at specialty stores, while cheaper bicycles are more readily available at mass market retailers).

Across the board, however, touring bicycles tend to cost at least several hundred dollars. As such, they may be out of reach for many casual riders and even some serious cyclists – particularly those whose budgets are small or tight.

While a bicycle’s price will usually provide a good indication of its quality and suitability for long-distance riding, it is important to remember that the total cost of owning and riding any bicycle is more than just its upfront expense.

Bicycle owners must consider factors such as ongoing maintenance, storage needs, and the potential for theft when determining how much they should spend on a bike in the first place.

For riders looking to get into touring or who live in areas with high rates of bicycle theft, for example, purchasing a new and relatively expensive bicycle may be unwise.

On the other hand, new or even used riders willing to purchase their equipment from specialty dealers such as Quality Bicycle Parts (QBP) can find bicycles of high durability and reliability at prices that are very affordable.

These bicycles help new cyclists get started with their cycling journeys and will not force them to spend a fortune in the process.


Sometimes, the best way to get what you want is to wait for it.

If you’re planning on going on a long-distance bike ride, choose your equipment very carefully before making that big purchase.

By buying a more affordable bicycle, you can see whether or not touring with such a bike is for you. If it isn’t, you haven’t made a super costly mistake!