Best Touring Bikes for Traveling the Country

Last updated: February 03, 2020
BEST OVERALL
Durable, Light and Nimble
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BEST BUDGET
Affordable, Powerful and All-Terrain
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BEST FOR WOMEN
Versatile, Light and Smooth
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BEST FOR MEN
Strong, Affordable and Light
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Best with Rear Rack
Affordable, Hybrid and Versatile
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Your guide

Getting the right touring bike can be a nightmare, but it does not have to be.  Of course, you should not buy the first touring bike you see and you should not use other bikes for long-distance touring. 

Top 5 Touring Bikes

Your bike is all packed, you hop on and are ready to hit the open road for a few days touring.  A few hours later, everything hurts. There are now muscles in your body that you never knew about that are aching. The reason?  You have the wrong bike for touring.

You might be wondering: What do you mean I don’t have the right bike?  Touring is just riding a bike and any bike should do, shouldn’t it? No, any bike you have will not do for touring.

four people on their bikes

Touring is not something to be taken lightly and you have to be prepared.  Getting the right bike is the best way to prepare, but which do you choose?  What are you meant to look for in a touring bike? Are these bikes really different from others on the market?

To get the best touring bike, you need to do some research.  This is a niche market and your local bike store is unlikely to stock or even know a lot about touring bikes.  The only problem is that most of us do not have the time to do all of this research.

If you don’t have the time for research, we have taken care of this for you.  We have taken a look at all the top touring bikes on the market and compared them to whittle down a list of the best.  All you need to do is buy choose from this list and get ready to start touring.

1. Best Overall - Schwinn Vantage RX 1

Specifications:

  • Speeds → 22-speed
  • Drivetrain → SRAM Rival
  • Fork Type → Carbon
  • Brake Type → Hydraulic disc brakes

Key Features:

  • Disc brakes
  • 22-speed SRAM Rival gears
  • Antishock stem
  • Fizik Ponente saddle

Schwinn Vantage RX 1 Bike Review

If you are looking for the best touring bike, the Schwinn Vantage RX 1 is the answer.  This bike continues the quality that Schwinn is known for. The Vantage RX 1 is also classed as the adventurers touring bike which tells you everything you need to know.

Introducing Triple-Butted Aluminum Frames 🚲

The frame of the bike is made from road-tuned triple-butted aluminum.  While this is not surprising, the front fork material is different from others on the list.  The front fork uses race carbon instead of the usual steel.  This makes it more durable and intermediate to advanced riders will really feel the difference.

The frame includes features that make the bike more comfortable to use such as a TransX Antishock stem.  The frame also has elastomer in it which provides better cushioning when you are out and about.  As this is an adventure touring bike, the frame has been made to absorb more vibrations than the standard bike.

The Brakes and Drivetrain ⚙️

The premium nature of this bike is seen further when you look at the brakes.  The RX 1 offers hydraulic disc brakes.  These brakes will help you control the bike better and will work in any conditions you might face.

While it is important to know how you are going to stop, what speeds can you use with the RX 1?  This bike offers an SRAM Rival 22-speed drivetrain.  The crank is an FSA Gossamer 386 EVO 53/34T.  These gears are considered by many to be a step up from the Shimano gears on offer with cheaper bikes.

The RX 1 has a suggested rider height range of 5’7” to 6’1”.  If you are smaller, you may need to consider the Vantage RX 2 that has a lot of the same specs.

The Schwinn Vantage RX 1 is a great advanced adventure touring bike.  It is not for new riders and offers a lot of premium features from the brakes to the drivetrain.  If you are willing to pay a higher price, you will be able to feel the difference on the road.

Pros
  • Triple-butted aluminum frame
  • 22-speeds
  • Lightweight
  • Carbon fork
Cons
  • Should be assembled by a professional

2. Best Budget - Tommaso Sentiero

Specifications:

  • Speeds → 24 (3 x 8)
  • Drivetrain → Shimano Claris
  • Fork Type → Steel
  • Brake Type → Disc brakes

Key Features:

  • Shimano crankset
  • Avid BB5 disc brakes
  • Steel forks
  • 40c tires

Tommaso Sentiero Bike with Disc Brake Review

While the Tommaso Sentiero is not the cheapest bike on the market, it is still the best budget option.  It is a great combination of road biking and adventure biking resulting in a budget-friendly touring experience.  This all-terrain touring bike has a bit of everything and is built to last.

Light-Weight Aluminum Frame 🔧

When you first look at the Sentiero, you will notice the compact frame.  The bike is made from aluminum making it light.  According to the manufacturer, the bike weighs a fairly light 26.2 pounds, but this depends on the size you get.

Talking about size, there are a few options depending on your height.  Getting the right size is important for comfort and Tommaso has an easy XS to XL scale complete with height ranges for each.  The smallest frame is ideal for riders 5’2” to 5’6” while the largest is ideal for riders 6’2” to 6’5”.

While the frame is made from aluminum, the front fork is steel.  This is common with touring bikes for durability and the SST front fork offers a premium feel to this budget bike.  Tommaso is sure that their frame will hold up against anything and offer a lifetime warranty.  The frame has been drilled to fit different bike accessories such as racks and fenders.

Looking past the frame, you will notice the 3×8 Shimano Claris groupset.  This features a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T cassette.  This combination offers the best performance across different terrain.

The crankset makes it easy to ride on flat terrain, climb hills or navigate rocky terrain.  The Shimano Claris shifters on the handles work perfectly with the rest of the drivetrain for a smooth and consistent ride.  While the crankset might seem intimidating for new riders, the 24 speeds are easy to use.

The TC-20D Wheelset 🚲

While the crankset is impressive and offers great performance, what are the wheels like?  Poor quality wheels will reduce the effectiveness of the crankset, but you do not have to worry about this.  The Sentiero comes with the Tommaso Corsa TC-20D wheelset.

The wheelset offers 40c heavy-duty tires that are able to take on any conditions you face.  The tires are stable and tough making the roughest terrains easy, but not too wide that they make road biking hard. Past the tires, the wheelset is specifically designed for a disc brake.

The disc brake in use is an Avid BB5.  These brakes have been designed to work in all weather conditions.  They also offer better stopping power giving you peace of mind that you are in control whatever the road throws at you.

When you get onto the bike, there are two things you will notice.  The first is the handlebars and the second is the WTB Volt saddle.  Both have been designed with comfortable touring in mind.

The UltraCompact handlebars help you maintain a comfortable position as you ride.  The drop bars also reduce the wind resistance you face on the road allowing you to ride for longer and faster.

The Volt saddle provides the cushioning you need for long rides.  While it does not have the width of comfort seats, you will be comfortable on the road and off it.

The Tomasso Sentiero touring bike is the best budget option on the market.  It offers a solid aluminum frame with steel forks and Avid B5 disc brakes. The Shimano crankset gives you all the control you need while the saddle and handlebars provide the comfort you need for long rides.

Pros
  • Avid BB5 disc brakes
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Shimano crankset
Cons
  • Requires professional assembly

3. Best for Women - Vilano R2

Specifications:

  • Speeds → 21-speed
  • Drivetrain → Shimano Tourney
  • Fork Type → Aluminum
  • Brake Type → Alloy caliper

Key Features:

  • Entry-level
  • 21-speed Shimano gears
  • Light
  • Thin road tires

Vilano R2 Bike Review

There are times when you want to use your touring bike for more than a long journey, but do not want to compromise on the specs.  The Vilano R2 is the solution as it is a great touring bike that you can use for commuting. While it does not appear to be the best women’s touring bike, there are certain features that make it the best.

The frame design is one of the reasons why people assume this is not a women’s bike.  The frame design is the standard for touring bikes with a high top tube. Traditional female bikes have a low top tube, but this is not ideal for the stability of a touring bike.

Three Frame Sizes 🚲

To make the bike more appealing to women, there are three frame sizes on offer.  This makes it easier to find the right size for your height and the most comfortable bike.  To determine the size you should get, you need to measure your inseam and match this to the sizes on offer.

Looking past the design of the frame, it is made with aluminum.  The aluminum tubing is light which makes the bike easier to ride and handle.  Unlike other bikes on this list, the front fork is also aluminum instead of steel.

While the weight makes this bike easy to handle, the Triple 50/40/30 crankset does not hurt.  The drivetrain offers 21 speeds using Shimano Tourney derailleurs.  This number of gears ensures you can handle any road conditions when touring or commuting.

To improve your control over the bike, the R2 offers alloy caliper brakes.  While the brakes are not as good as disc brakes, they have quick braking power.  The brake levers are easy to use and feel natural in the hand. They can also be adjusted if you are not comfortable with their original placement.

The wheels are the same as the other Vilano bike on this list at 700c x 25c.  The tires are double-walled CNC alloy machine sides.  This is a slightly less traditional wheelset that can be stiff in certain areas.

The Vilano R2 is a great touring and commuting bike for anyone.  The handlebars lower wind resistance and the brake levers can be adjusted for additional comfort.  Everything combined creates a great entry-level bike that is small enough for any woman.

Pros
  • Different sized frames
  • 21-speeds
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The seat can be uncomfortable

4. Best for Men - Vilano Shadow

Specifications:

  • Speeds → 14-speed
  • Drivetrain → Shimano Tourney
  • Fork Type → Steel
  • Brake Type → Dual-pivot

Key Features:

  • Entry-level
  • 14-speed Shimano gears
  • Steel forks
  • Thin road tires

Vilano Shadow Road Bike Review

The name of this bike might be a bit misleading as it is a good touring and commuting bike.  The Vilano Shadow road bike is an entry-level option making it easy on the bank balance. However, the budget-friendly nature of this bike does not mean it is lacking in any way.

The Lightweight Frame ❌🔩❌

The first thing you notice about this bike is the solid aluminum frame.  The frame is made from 6061 aluminum and is extremely lightweight.  The entire bike weighs just under 30 pounds making it one of the lightest touring bikes in this price range.  The front fork is stamped steel making the frame more durable.

As with the EVRYjourney, this bike has a one-size-fits-all design.  The manufacturer does not provide a guide on the recommended height range.  However, most customers have found that it is ideal for heights of 5’6” to 6’.

The overall design of the frame is the standard for road and touring bikes.  The frame traditionally would be for men, but women can also use the bike. However, some women feel that the frame is slightly large for them.

Looking past the frame, the Shadow offers a good Shimano drivetrain.  The derailleur is the Shimano Tourney and you have a double crank.  The combination of the front and rear derailleur results in 14 speeds with 2 in front and 7 in the rear.

To better control your ride, the bike offers traditional dual-pivot type brakes.  The brake pads that come with the bike can be a bit soft, but they are easy to replace.  Based on the price of the bike, it is not surprising that you are unable to install disc brakes.

The wheelset is also fairly basic with a CNC alloy wheelset on offer.  While this is not the best wheelset on the market, it is ideal for a starter bike and for this price range.  The Kendra tires that come with the bike are very durable with a good grip for the road ahead.

Thin Road Tires 🚴

The width of the tires is what you expect from road bikes.  The tires have a dimension of 700c x 25c.  If you are nervous about riding on thin road tires, it is possible to replace them with slightly thicker ones

To ensure you are comfortable while riding, the Shadow offers an anatomic comfort seat.  While this is a comfort seat, it is small but that should not be a deal-breaker.  The seat post can take other saddles if you want to change it.

One of the best things about the Shadow road bike is the customizable nature.  As it is an entry-level bike with an entry-level price tag, you can upgrade it as you become more comfortable with touring.  As your skills improve, you can improve your bike for less than the price of more advanced touring bikes.

If you are looking for the best entry-level touring bike for men, the Vilano Shadow road bike is the answer.  This affordable bike is easy to hop on and offers features that make long rides easy. There are 14 speeds to tackle any conditions and it is very lightweight.

Pros
  • One-size-fits-all design
  • Entry-level model
  • 14-speeds
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The saddle can be uncomfortable

5. Best with Rear Rack - SixThreeZero EVRYjourney

Specifications:

  • Speeds → 1 to 7-speed
  • Riding Position → Upright
  • Fork Type → Steel
  • Brake Type → V-brakes

Key Features:

  • Retro cruiser handlebars
  • Various speed options
  • Steel forks
  • 26” tires

SixThreeZero EVRYjourney Bike Review

Casual touring riders may feel limited with the touring bikes on offer.  While they are versatile, they do not feel like a bike you can ride in the city or as part of your daily commute.  This is where the SixThreeZero EVRYjourney bike comes in. This is a touring bike that has comfort, versatility, and fun ingrained in the design. 

At first glance, you may think the EVRYjourney is not a touring bike at all.  The frame design is a mixture of hybrid bikes and cruisers with touring tubing thrown in.  This design places you in an upright position instead of the crouched position of other touring bikes.  

One of the features of the EVRYjourney is the two model options.  There is a model for men and one for women based on traditional bike standards.  This means the women’s bike has a low entry top tube while the men’s bike has a higher top tube reminiscent of mountain bikes.  Other than the top tube, the difference in the models is the range of colors they come in. 

One-Size-Fits-All Frame 📏

Looking past this, both models have an aluminum frame with steel forks.  The frame has been designed as a one-size-fits-all.  According to the manufacturer, the bike can be used by riders with a height from 5’4” to 6’5”.  This is a fairly wide range made possible by the adjustable seat post

While there is little option in frame size, the same cannot be said for the gears.  The basic EVRYjourney will be single speed, but you can upgrade this to a 7-speed.  The gears are a Shimano internal hub and offers enough speed to get you up hills and across most terrain.  

The tires are 26” by 1.95” making them ideal for any journey.  They can easily tackle the city streets and hard-packed trails.  Unlike the Sentiero, these tires are unlikely to hold up too well on rugged terrain.  

The V-Brakes ⚙️

While the tires can take you almost anywhere, how are you are going to stop?  The EVRYjourney offers V-brakes which are ideal for the type of riding you are likely to tackle with this bike.  It is not possible to change the brakes to disc brakes because the frame is not suited to this. 

The retro and comfort handlebars are different from the drop handles commonly found on touring bikes.  The cruiser handles help you maintain your upright position and many people find it more comfortable.  An upright position lets you take in your surroundings better and keep an eye on traffic when riding in the city. 

The saddle on this bike is larger than others on the list.  The upright riding position requires this and the saddle has additional padding.  If you find it uncomfortable, you can change the saddle with ease.  

One of the standout features of the EVRYjourney is the inclusion of a rear rack.  This is a strong rack that can easily fit a child’s seat or your groceries.  The weight limit is 45 pounds which is more than enough for most people. 

If you are looking for a more casual touring experience or a bike that you can also use in the city, the SixThreeZero EVRYjourney is the right choice.  This bike offers a cruiser ride, but it able to handle long journeys with ease. The versatility will also not break your bank account.

Pros
  • One-size-fits-all design
  • Various Shimano speeds on offer
  • Rear rack included
Cons
  • Handlebars can be too wide for shorter riders

Touring Bikes: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Touring Bike for Long Distances?

Any touring bike can be used for long-distance touring. The key to finding the best one is to look at the features on offer. Comfort is important for long-distance touring and this should be your priority.

Most long-distance touring bikes have drop handles for reduced wind resistance. The bike should also have 7 speeds at least to tackle all road conditions. Disc brakes are also best for a long-distance touring bike.

What Are the Differences Between Road and Touring Bikes?

There are many differences between these bikes with the most important being the frame. Touring bikes are generally made with aluminum while road bikes often have steel frames. The aluminum frame can handle heavier loads which are necessary when traveling distance.

Can a Road Bike Be Used for Touring?

Under certain circumstances, you can use a road bike for touring. If you are going to stick to paved roads and are traveling light, this should not be a problem. However, if you want to carry more or head off the paved paths, you cannot use a road bike for touring.

What Are the Best Touring Bikes Under $2000?

Touring bikes do not have to cost an arm and leg. There are a lot of good touring bikes under $2000. If you are new to touring, there are entry-level options like the Valino that cost less than $500. More expensive options like the Schwinn RX 1 will be for more experienced riders and rival the even more expensive options on the market.

Best Touring Bikes for Traveling the Country in 2020 — Bike Hacks