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Best Touring Bikes in 2021 – Long Distance Travel Bicycles

Among the most versatile bikes up for sale everywhere, touring bikes are indeed one of the aptest machines for those who want to start cycling, traveling, frivolous pedal riding, even touring cyclists looking forward to leisure by bicycle.

Featuring a more relaxed geometry and plenty of practical add-ons like rack and mudguard mounts, it’s no wonder touring bikes are the optimum bike for an everyday option. Apparently, touring names always give a hint about bikes being well-built, sturdy, and easy, a perfect pal to ride on over long distances and multiple days.

We have scoured the market and brought together the best touring bikes around, with a wide range of detailed selections.

Top 7 Touring Bikes

Listed below are our best picks for this year’s most promising touring bikes, making sure every journey – no matter how long –  is as fun, easy, and comfortable as possible.

Roadmaster 26” Granite Peak Men’s Mountain Bike

Touring Bikes Top 1

Our top pick for the best bike for long distance riding is the Granite Peak 26-inch Men’s Mountain Bike by Roadmaster hallmarks an outstanding all-around mountain bike. This one’s built just right for a rugged unpaved path or even just passing by the streets in your neighborhood.

Unveiling its steel mountain frame and front suspension fork, this bike offers a smooth ride, ensuring each that ride will be comfortable and easy to navigate. Not to mention, its 18-speed twist shifter for smooth shifting on the trail, this bike is surely one to beat. On top of that, the front and rear linear-pull brakes offer an incredibly quick and stiff stopping.

Additional durability of the bike lies with the alloy wheels and strong 3-piece mountain crank. Oh, did we mention its tool-free adjustable padded seat post? This feature alone is so convenient. Besides the handlebars with comfort grip is a plus. Talking about packaging, this bike is already partially assembled, so setting up is easy and only takes a few minutes.

  • 26-inch wheels with knobby tire treads
  • Suitable for riders 5’4” – 6’2” tall
  • Available in blue and black

Also check out: the best mountain bikes under $300

Schwinn 29” Traxion Mountain Bike

Touring Bikes Top 2

The Schwinn Traxion mountain bike is sure to let you ride around the most difficult trails and the steepest hills with its 29” wheels and mountain bike frame made of aluminum and featuring a dual-suspension design. It even has a suspension fork to provide superior comfort, along with hydraulic disc brakes. In other words, it’s top of the line.

Stopping with those disc brakes is sure to feel efficient and crisp, and more importantly, riding with the bike feels incredible as it handles incredibly smoothly. There are also EZ-Fire Shimano shifters in 24-speed gearings that make each gear shift easy, smooth, and fun.

Other features of this bicycle are a rear Shimano derailleur, along with alloy cranks made by Schwinn, giving you the best possible bike made with durable parts that bear superior brand names in the cycling industry. Even the double-wall, high-profile alloy rims as well as the knobby and thick mountain bike tires are sure to last long.

  • 29 inch wheels with extra-wide rims
  • Available in gray and blue
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Schwinn Sporterra Adventure 700c Adult Gravel Bike

Touring Bikes Top 3

If you’re looking for a next-level riding escapade with the best bike for long distances, this Sporterra Adventure Gravel Bike by Schwinn is unsurprisingly a good one to catch. Featuring a Schwinn aluminum gravel/ adventure frame and rigid fork, it’s definitely not mediocre for a bike. Just and perfect for fast riding on speckled terrain.

Comprising the 14-speed Shimano shifter/ brake lever combo and Shimano rear derailleur,  gear change will never strain again. Also, optimal gearing confides with Schwinn alloy duple cranks. You can ride with confidence and fancy-free, thanks to the superior stopping power of the alloy mechanical disc brakes.

Go anywhere and have an exciting bike adventure in multi-terrain. Plus, the quick-release seat post makes it easy for saddle height adjustments. You get to enjoy a limited lifetime warranty like all Schwinn bikes.

  • 700c wheels with multi-terrain tires
  • Suitable for riders 5’4” – 6’2” tall
  • Lightweight cross country frame

Related read: this year’s best gravel bikes

sixthreezero Around The Block Women’s Beach Cruiser

Touring Bikes Top 4

Cruise with style around The Block Women’s bike and experience the supremely comfortable feeling that the best budget touring bike can give. It highlights an upright riding design and smooth sweeping cruiser handlebars, keeping your back and shoulder relaxed.

Aside from the divine comfort it gives, The Around the Block amps up for its eye-catching curvy 17-inch steak cruiser frame. Bringing terrific details from high-density foam on the wide handlebars, dual-spring seat ensuring a tailbone comfort on long rides, to a 26-inch, 2.125-inch wide aluminum wheels with large waffle tread tires smoothing out the bumps.

No need to fuss about stopping, it has front and rear handbrakes to a much easier and precise stopping. Additionally, this bike is made up of a 7-speed Shimano external hub allowing you for a wide range of riding, from leisure to long-distance travels. And, a 3-speed Shimano internal hub allows you to handle longer distances and moderate hills easily.

  •    Available in 4-speed gear options
  •   Comes with a rear rack and chainguard
  •    Suitable for riders 5’ – 6’4” tall

Learn about the different types of handlebars here.

Tommaso Forza Fitness Bike

Touring Bikes Top 5

Make your day in and day out awesome with this sturdy urban bike from Tommaso. Aside from featuring a great performance when on the ride, the Forza is also equipped with Avid BB5 disc brakes, assuring all-out stopping power in the bumpiest situations.

Not to mention, the lightweight and compact aluminum frame combined with an SST steel fork for extreme toughness makes it hard to beat. Likewise, featuring a 30/39/50T tourney crankset and 12x28T tourney cassette, this 3×7 Shimano tourney groupset is exceptionally perfect for varying terrain, from flats to hills.

Adding the amazing BB5 disc brake for reliable all-weather stopping power is a major plus. Great shifting in all riding conditions is all on the Shimano Tourney shifters. You will have on-demand power at your fingertips, with this Forza Fitness Bike.

  •  Can be customized with racks and fenders
  •  Optimized for increased power and riding comfort
  •  Limited lifetime warranty

TYCOLIT Adult Mountain Bike

Touring Bikes Top 6

A bike for work, school, even just a cross country ride, the great aluminum Alloy frame which amazingly reduces the weight of the bicycle provides an exceptional riding experience at a faster speed advantage makes it an ideal bike to go for everyday rides.

This mountain bike offers an effective start if you’re just new to cycling and operate your driving with smooth shifting with its 24- speed/21-speed Shimano speed control, front derailleur, rear derailleur. Lightweight calls its name as the wheels are created from alloy rims featuring spoke wheels with good toughness and impact resistance.

This long distance bicycle can exclusively meet the needs of increasing transmission power without any fuss. Also, it doubles riding efficiency, bringing you an exceptional racing experience. All in all, the TYCOLIT adult mountain bike is a great option for touring and other riding styles.

  •   26 inch or 700c wheels
  •   High-quality Shimano and TAINX components
  •   Available in blue, black/blue, and black/red

hosote 26 Inch Mountain Bike

Touring Bikes Top 7

Finally, if you’re up to challenge the mountain, this 26 inch Mountain bike by hosote is the perfect gear for you. The dual suspension frame and fork soak up bumps and thumps, providing you a resilient riding experience. Besides its outstanding features, the bike also highlights the sturdy solid frame.

The merging of the high carbon steel material folding mountain bike frame and excellent welding technology allows this bike to be a sturdy and durable touring bike. Also, it has 21-speed trigger shifters – bringing you a strike and stable riding experience. Furthermore, the read derailleur makes gearing change easy and smooth.

Aside from those, it hallmarks mechanical disc brakes on the front wheel, thereby increasing your stopping power with equal force for easier adjustments when needed. On the other hand, mechanical disc brakes on the back wheel provide a fine crisp stopping power and steady speed regulation on downhill descents, keeping you safe and in control.

  •   26-inch wheels
  •   Ergonomic rapid-release seat
  •   Available in blue and black

Touring Bike Buying Guide

Frankly speaking, laying out specific criteria in choosing a travel bike is not as easy as it may seem. Buying touring bikes depends on how you like it to be. No two tours are the same. However, keeping in mind the key elements of selecting your two-wheeled riding buddy can help you pinpoint the best elements that your bike should have.

Most bike trips fall somewhere on the following spectrums:

  • Fast vs slow riding
  • Short vs long-distance rides
  • Traveling light vs packing cargo
  • Pavement vs off-road paths

Mentioned above are the questions that will help you choose the best touring bike to have.

Type of Touring Bike

An ideal bike for your touring trip relies on the terrain you plan on taking and how many kits you wanted to bring on the ride. Here are the most common types of long distance bikes:

Classic

A classic touring bike will typically be made of steel, featuring pannier racks and fenders, sporting an upright geometry, and showcasing long chainstays. Aside from the functionality of these features, you’re also getting a vintage aesthetic even with a brand new bike.

Another common feature of classic touring bicycles are 700c wheels with a high 32 to 36 hole spoke count. Previous classic touring bikes featured rim brakes, though mechanical disc brakes are becoming more and more popular now.

bicycle tour in sunset

Adventure

Adventure bikes love pavement, gravel, and dirt, which is pretty good since it is possible to encounter these kinds of trails on track. These bikes typically have drop bars and disc brakes, as well as a wide range of tire and wheel sizes. Oftentimes, an adventure bike will also feature a design that is able to handle dropper posts.

Expedition

In essence, an expedition touring bike is designed to handle the beating of high mileage rides in unfamiliar territories. As such, an expedition bike will usually feature all-steel builds, rim brakes, and 26” wheels. These features make the bicycle easy and hassle-free to work with, even when it comes to replacing spare parts.

Bike Frame

Bikes suitable for touring will have a much-relaxed geometry; meaning, a shorter top tube, and a taller stack to put the rider in a more relaxed position. The wheelbase will be longer, creating a feeling of stability. Aside from the frame geometry, however, it’s also important to consider what material a touring bike frame is made of.

Steel

Steel is a sensible option for long trips and demanding adventures since it offers comfort and resilience. Of course, you do need to factor in the character, strength, and weight of the kind of steel the bike frame is made of, but essentially, that’s what you can expect from a steel bicycle frame.

Chromoly

Chromoly is also a highly common bike frame material for touring bikes. Actually, chromoly is a type of steel that is low-alloy, and its main characteristic is added strength. The term “chromoly” comes from the two alloying materials that are used, namely molybdenum and chromium.

Carbon / Aluminum

Finally, for those of you who have a need for speed, especially when participating in touring activities, short rides, daily commutes, and club runs, carbon and aluminum are great choices for touring bike frame materials. These two materials are also great options if you want a light touring bike.

Wheels

When it comes to bicycle wheels, you’ll usually look for slickness and low weight. There’s nothing wrong with that especially if you’re after gaining as much speed as you can from your ride.

But for the goal of actually reaching your destination with the least strain on your body and least amount of wear-and-tear on your wheels, you should at least consider getting strong wheels with high spoke counts. Yes- higher than what’s on a typical road bike.

Tires

Your set of tires on a touring road bike can incredibly create a huge difference when it comes to bikes. Usually, you’ll see bicycles advertised as comfortable; meaning, the focus is placed on the frame quality and geometry.

But, it’s also important that the bike be fitted with the right size tire filled with the correct tire pressure. Otherwise, you won’t feel that promised comfort, and you’ll go home with a sore bum from all the bumps you’ll feel along the way.

As a touring cyclist, it’s best to opt for relatively wide 28mm tires. These are better for touring as compared to the standard tires on a road bike. Basically, the rougher the path is, the wider the tires should be. Then again, comfort and speed don’t always go together, so that’s one thing you’ll have to consider.

You might also want to check out this comprehensive guide on mountain bike tires.

Gears

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. Additional 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.

The majority of touring bikes offer a standard external gear system – the chainset, chain, and cassette we’re all used to. Belt drives are also available – this is a multi-tooth belt instead of a chain, so no regular cleaning or lubrication is required.

Brakes

Touring bikes traditionally featured rim brakes. While they work just fine, disc brakes still provide stopping power that is simply so much better, especially in wet riding conditions. Besides, you’re getting a reduced risk of wearing out your brakes due to build up of debris since you’re not utilizing the rims to stop your bike. 

Not to mention, it’s also a good thing that disc brakes don’t really add much weight to the bike while still being powerful under all weather and road conditions. This is particularly beneficial for touring cyclists who often carry luggage along for the long trips ahead.

Seat

Saddles are another important factor that you should consider, being the main point of contact with your body. Here’s what you need to understand, though: padding doesn’t always equate to comfort. Sometimes, saddles with seemingly thin padding can feel a lot more comfortable than those sporting two-inch-thick cushions.

Added Features

Common inclusions on touring bikes are fitted pannier packs, built-in lights, and fenders. It’s also great if the bicycle features eyelets so you can install racks and guards as needed, and remove them freely whenever you need speed.

More than that, you will also benefit from smart storage solutions such as bike handlebar bags, saddlebags, and framebags. These should let you differently distribute cargo weight over your bicycle, and even not have to use a pannier.

Final Tips

The best touring bikes hold the name of a durable design and the ability to carry luggage. While some opt for a bikepacking variation – which commonly consists of frame bags and oversized saddlebags, others opt to have the traditional rack and pannier bag method of carrying luggage. It’s very important to go with what you’re comfortable with.

When purchasing a bike, it is very crucial to consider the riding you plan with the bike. If you wanted to travel far-and-wide, it is best suitable to go with more luggage carrying capacity for your riding essentials.

However, if you’re into off-road traveling, a bike that can handle rough stuff is preferred. Live in the mountains? Best check the bike with a wide gear range for a better biking experience!