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Best Touring Bike in 2023 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

review of the best touring bike

There’s nothing like a cycling adventure, pushing yourself forward with your own pedal power, the wind in your hair, the places you see, the people you meet. In recent years exploring by bike has become hugely popular. Maybe it’s the fact the roads are getting busier. It could be the hike in fuel prices and air travel. The best tool you can ever get yourself for cycling adventures is a touring bike. In this article, we’re going to tell you about the best currently on the market.

What Do We Look for in a Touring Bike?

When it comes to Touring bikes, there are a few things we look for in particular. These bikes have to be able to do big miles on multiple terrains and carry a lot of weight. This is what we focus on:

  • Frame and Forks (We like Steel and Aluminum)
  • Groupset (Lots of gears for climbing)
  • Brakes (We need excellent stopping power)
  • Wheelset and tires (Strong with hard wearing tires)
  • Special Features (What makes this bike stand out)

Looking at these, we can make a clear decision on the bikes and tell you why they are on this list. We also have to take into account price and also the brand and its reputation and values.


Surly Disc Trucker


Mongoose Elroy 700c


Diamondback Fitness 2

1. Best Value: Diamondback Fitness 2

Diamondback Fitness 2

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I am a huge fan of the Diamondback Fitness 2 because it is ideal for touring and at an excellent price. As far as ticking all the boxes, this bike does it.

Features of the Diamondback Fitness 2

  • Aluminum Frame with Steel Fork
  • Shimano 3×8 Groupset
  • Diamondback’s 29″ with Vee Tires
  • Tektro Mechanical Disc brakes

The first thing to mention is the aluminum frame and steel forks. Not only is this going to provide a great level of comfort, but it is also very strong and is going to be able to carry a decent amount of load. The geometry has been made for comfort and is excellent for long distance riding. I also love the fact it is full of mounts to extra carry bottles and equipment. The next thing is the groupset. It is a Shimano triple front crank with a 8 speed cassette on the rear. It is going to give you a huge amount of options for climbing and descending, and it is a very well made, reliable groupset.

As far as stopping, this bike has mechcanical disc brakes. They are very reliable and are going to be able to stop you quickly. The wheels are Diamondback’s own, and although not the lightest of wheels, they are very strong, and that’s the mainly quality you want on touring bike wheels. The tires equipped are Vee tires Zilent 35c. They are going to be good on the road and on those rough trails. The bike has all the mounting points you need for touring and, as far as cost goes, is incredibly cheap.


  • Price
  • Strong Comfortable Frame
  • Wide Range of Gearing
  • Wheels and tires for on and off road


  • The bike is fairly heavy
  • Looks very basic

Why We Like It

The Diamondback is an excellent bike for touring, and the price just makes it even better. It falls under the entry level tourers for us but is great for beginners bicycle touring and suited to paved roads more than anything else.

2. Escape 3 City Disc

Escape 3 City Disc

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The Giant Escape City Disc is a bike that is made for big miles and carrying heavy loads. This isn’t just made for the city. It can go anywhere.

Features of the Escape 3 City Disc

  • Aluminum Frame and Fork
  • Altus 2×8 Groupset
  • Giant GX 700c with 38c Tires
  • Mechanical Disc brakes
  • Rear mounting Rack

The Giant Escape 3 City Disc is an excellent bike, and you’re getting excellent Giant Quality at a very low price. The first thing to mention is the aluminum frame and fork. It isn’t steel, so it will feel stiffer, but it will still be light and strong great for touring. The Shimano Altus Groupset gives you a total of 16 gears but has a huge range to get you over any large climb with silky smooth shifting.

Giant uses their own wheelset here. The GX, its 700c, and they have paired it up with their S0X3 38c tires, which are great all terrain tires and fast on the road. The disc brakes are mechanical, so they are not as strong as hydraulic but do provide great stopping power in all conditions. The Giant Escape City Disc not only has all the mounts you will ever need but a rear rack for carrying lots of heavy luggage. It also has fenders for rough wet weather riding. As far as price goes, you get a lot of bike for the price, and having the rack and fenders come as standard is a big saving.


  • Price
  • Strong Aluminum Frame
  • Wide Range of Shimano Gearing
  • Wheels and tires for on and off road
  • Rack and Fenders
  • Flat bars for control and comfort


  • Aluminum is stiffer than Steel
  • Basic Coloring

Why We Like It

The City Escape 3 has everything it needs to be a great touring bike, and also the rear rack and fenders are a great touch.

3. Best Budget: Mongoose Elroy 700c

Mongoose Elroy 700c

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Mongoose has a huge heritage when it comes to bikes, and with the Elroy, it shows. This is one of my favorite tourers and has some very cool features.

Features of the Mongoose Elroy 700c

  • Aluminum Frame and Steel Fork
  • Shimano Tourney 2×7 Groupset
  • Unbranded 700c wheels with 40c tires
  • Mechanical Disc brakes
  • Front Rack

The Mongoose Elroy is a very cool bike and hidden in the depths of Amazon and is an incredible bargain to be found. The first thing to talk about is the frame. It’s a very unique design and is made of aluminum but paired with a steel fork for comfort. The low-slung top tube keeps the weight low giving this bike excellent handling. The groupset is fairly basic and is a Shimano Tourney, it will provide you with good shifting and 14 gears with a decent range, but it isn’t amazing compared to other bikes on this list.

The wheels are unbranded, and I can assume Mongooses own and are equipped with some 40c tires. It also has mechanical disc brakes to help you stop quickly and will be very easy to maintain and cheap for parts. What I think makes this bike very special is that it has all the rack mounts you will ever need, plus it has a front rack and frame bag as standard. It adds so much value to this bike, and from the get go is literally adventure ready.


  • Price
  • Strong Aluminum Frame, with Comfort Steel Fork
  • Shimano Gearing
  • Wheels and tires for on and off road
  • Front Rack, Bikepacking Frame Bag


  • Basic Components
  • Unbranded Wheels and Tires

Why We Like It

The Mongoose Elroy is an epic bike, and although the components are basic, it’s ready for an adventure straight out of the box. Highly rated from us for such a low cost.

4. Marin Nicasio+ 650B Bike 2022

Marin Nicasio+ 650B Bike 2022

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The Marin Nicasio+ 650B is a bike that is going to take you anywhere, and it’s going to embrace everything you throw at it.

Features of the Marin Nicasio+ 650B Bike 2022

  • Chromoly Frame and Fork
  • Mircroshift 1×9 Groupset
  • Marins own 650B Wheels with 47c Tires
  • Mechanical Disc brakes

I am a very big fan of the Marin Nicasio range, and the 650B + is just a bike that screams capability. Let us start with the frame and fork. They are made of chromo steel, and not only will they soak up all the bumps in the road it is also designed to be ridden all day long. It’s got an incredible geometry that puts the rider in a very comfortable position. Then we have the groupset, it is using the Microshift 1×9 speed. It offers a good range of gearing with a single chainring at the front and a large cassette on the rear.

Marin is using their own wheelset here, which is super strong and, compared to the other bikes on this list, slightly smaller at 650b instead of 700c. It means it’s much more agile and can fit larger tires on, which they have done with the huge 47c WTB Horizon, which are amazing for riding on the road and off road touring. The brakes are mechanical disc brakes. They will stop you ok, but hydraulic brakes are better, in my opinion.


  • Price
  • Cromo Steel Frame and Fork
  • 650B Wheels
  • 47c WTB Horizon Tires
  • Loads of mounts for racks and cages


  • Hydraulic brakes would have made this perfect
  • Only 9 gear options

Why We Like It

The Marin Nicasio is a tough bike and is ready for any terrain. The 650B wheels just make it more capable than a typical touring bike.

5. Ruut Al1 2x

Ruut Al1 2x

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If you’re looking for a bike to make big distances quickly, the Rondo RUUT AL1 is an incredible machine, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Features of the Ruut Al1 2x

  • Aluminum Frame with a Carbon Fork
  • Shimano GRX 2×10 Groupset
  • Rondo Aluminum Tubeless Wheels with 37c
  • Shimano Hydraulic Disc brakes

The Rondo RUUT AL1 is an excellent bike and is going to put a smile on your face while touring. It’s a gravel bike with all the mounts for touring. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum, and the forks are carbon. It’s a light but stiff setup, but that’s what makes a bike fast. It’s paired up with the Shimano GRX400 Gravel Groupset, which is super reliable and great on and off road.

Rondo has used their own wheelset, which is actually very good and comes tubeless ready as standard. It comes with WTB Riddler tires. They use a 650b wheelset on the smallest model to keep the geometry correct. It also has Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, which are absolutely incredible for stopping power. A very special feature of this bike is that you can adjust the rake geometry on the forks to either suit road or off road better. It has all the mounts for front and rear racks and is just excellent as far as long distance tourers go.


  • Lightweight bike
  • Adjustable rake
  • Tubeless wheels and tires
  • Looks epic
  • Shimano Gravel Groupset
  • Shimano Hydraulic Brakes


  • Slightly more aggressive than other bikes on this list

Why We Like It

The Rondo RUUT AL1 will be amazing for riding far, and it will be a lot of fun while doing it.

6. Gazelle Medeo T10 HMB

Gazelle Medeo T10 HMB

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We have seen many amazing E-Bikes come on to the market in recent years, and with battery technology advancing so much, we are even seeing electric touring bicycles now. The Medeo T10 HMB is an excellent example of this.

Features of the Gazelle Medeo T10 HMB

  • Aluminum Frame with a Suspension Fork
  • Shimano Deore Groupset
  • Aluminum wheels with Stainless Steel spokes and Hybrid Tires
  • Shimano Hydraulic Disc brakes
  • Racks and mounts

The Medeo is an incredible bike. The frame is aluminum, and it is paired with a suspension fork to make it probably one of the most comfortable bikes on this list. This is a specialist frame as it has to house that massive motor near the crankset. The bike has a Shimano Deore Groupset, which gives you a huge range of gears on a single front chainring. This groupset is paired up with a Shimano Hydraulic disc brake set which is needed when you have all that power in the bike.

The wheels are strengthened, and instead of typical aluminum spokes, it has stainless steel spokes. They are backed up with Schwable Big Apple tires for road and light off road riding. The Bosch motor in this bike is incredible and can produce 65nm of torque, and gives you a maximum speed of 20mph. On top of that, it has a 500w battery which, on a light setting, can get you around 70 miles of travel on the right terrain. We’re not done yet though. This bike also comes with fenders to keep you clean and racks to carry luggage. What’s not to like?


  • Electric Bike
  • Shimano Gears and Brakes
  • Strong Wheelset
  • Rear Rack
  • A powerful motor that goes the distance


  • Heavy
  • Needs charging

Why We Like It

The Medeo T10 is an amazing electric bike that opens up so many people to touring who might not have the fitness yet or purely just want to go further.

7. Orbea Vector Drop LTD

Orbea Vector Drop LTD

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If you decide that you want to go touring and need the perfect bike for some serious miles, the Orbea could be your new favourite bike.

Features of the Orbea Vector Drop

  • Aluminum Frame with a Carbon Fork
  • Shimano Tiagra Groupset
  • Ready GR 29″
  • Shimano Hydraulic Disc brakes

The Orbea Vector Drop is an excellent bike for touring and starting at the frame. It’s lightweight aluminum, and it’s strong. Then it is paired up with carbon forks that are not just good but super light and strong. The Shimano Tiagra groupset is a 2×10 groupset that is going to really aid you in getting up some challenging hills.

Orbea uses a Ready GR wheelset on this bike, which is paired with a dynamo hub so you are able to charge while on the go. The bike also has Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes, and they are very good at slowing you down quickly and safely. This bike even comes with fenders, lighting, and a rear rack to help you stay clean and carry everything you need.


  • Excellent touring bike
  • Shimano Gearing
  • Strong Wheelset with Dynamo
  • Fenders, lighting, and Rack


  • Not the cheapest

Why We Like It

This isn’t the cheapest bike on this list but it’s one of the best. It has a dynamo as standard and everything you need to be on an adventure quickly.

8. Best Overall: Surly Disc Trucker

Surly Disc Trucker

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One of the most famous touring bikes you will hear about is the Surly disc trucker. It is the standard for going anywhere touring bikes. When it first came out it heavily raised the bar.

Features of the Surly Disc Trucker

  • Chromoly Steel Frame and Fork
  • Shimano Alivio 3×9 Speed Groupset
  • WTB Wheelset and 2.5″ Tires
  • Tektro Disc Brakes
  • Racks and mounts

I am a huge fan of Surly bike, and they make incredible robust bikes that just keep on going. Suppose you’re serious about touring off road. Surly has your back. The Disc Trucker is an amazing example of an excellent off road touring bike. Starting with the frame, it’s strong, flexible chromoly, which is going to soak up all the vibrations of the road or trail. The geometry on this bike is an very comfortable and gives the rider an upright riding position. The Shimano Alivio 27 speed groupset and is great for gravel bikes and capable touring bikes.

Surly use the Alex Adventurer rims, which are tubeless ready, and they are paired up with Surly Extra Terrestrial 700c x 41c tires which are absolutely huge. Tires like these make this bike an expedition touring bike. The Tektro mechanical brakes are excellent for cycle touring. They are easy to maintain and fix on the road but not as powerful as hydraulic, but better than rim brakes. It comes with all the mounts you will ever need for racks and even has a dropper post for those seriously tough descents.


  • Excellent off road bike
  • Shimano Gearing
  • Tubeless ready wheelset
  • Strong Frame with comfortable geometry


  • Not cheap
  • Hydraulic brakes would be better

Why We Like It

Surly makes the best premium touring bikes, in my opinion, and as far as the Disc Trucker goes, it is one of the best touring bikes on this list. It can go anywhere and is just made to be so comfortable you can ride it all day.

9. Public R18

Public R18

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There’s something very unique about a classic looking bike with modern components, and Public captured this magic in the R18.

Features of the Public R18

  • Chromoly Steel Frame and Fork
  • Sora 2×9 Drivetrain
  • Public Rims with Kenda Tires
  • Rim Brakes
  • Fenders

The Public R18 is an amazing looking bike and just screams classic touring. The frame and fork are chromoly steel, giving it amazing strength and comfort. The geometry is great for long rides and big days out on the bike. I love that they are using modern Shimano gearing and have gone with as Sora Road groupset, which will give you plenty of climbing options.

The wheels are road bike size and come in at 700c. They are equipped with Kenda Kwest 28c tires, but you do have clearance to go to 35c with the fenders still on. This bike isn’t made for a trail. It’s a bike for the road, because of this, it does have pretty basic rim brakes. The bike does come with fenders, and unfortunately, you will have to use clip-on racks as there are no mounts on this, as is the case with many classic tourers.


  • Classic Styling
  • Modern Shimano Groupset
  • Chrome detailing
  • Fenders
  • Chromo Steel Frame


  • No Modern Rack Mounts
  • Rim Brakes

Why We Like It

The Public bikes R18 has a classy look with chrome detailing and the classic brown bar tape on the drop bars. It may not be the most practical tourer, but it’s probably one of the best looking and ticks the boxes for being part of the long distance touring bikes club.

Touring Bikes Buyers Guide

Touring Bikes Buyers Guide
Photo by Dibya Jyoti Ghosh on Unsplash

Touring bikes are a lot of fun and can take you to where ever you want to go under your own steam. What you need to look for when buying a touring bike can really differ from one person to another or even from one trip to another. This guide is here to help you, so don’t worry.

What Kind of Tour?

When you start thinking about buying a touring bike, you need to think about what kind of tours you plan to go on? If you love road riding and plan purely just to be on roads, you can use a less capable bike with maybe smaller tires and a very lightweight frame, like a road bike style touring bike. If you plan a mix of different terrains, do you need possibly larger tires and a more durable frame like a mixed terrain gravel touring bike? If you plan to be off road, do you need to be using suspension and maybe be on more of a mountain bike style touring bike? Once you know what kind of touring you want to do, you’re halfway there.

What Kind of Touring Bike Am I Looking at?

It can be challenging to know what to look for when looking at touring bikes. The best way to understand what you are getting in a touring bike is to break it down into parts and then discuss their properties, so you know what benefits they will offer you. We will look at;

  • Frame and Forks
  • Groupset
  • Wheels and Tires
  • Brakes
  • Special Features

When you look at all these properties of a bike, it’s easy to make your mind up on what the right bike is for you. Let’s break it down.


Touring Bike Frame
Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash


When it comes to the frame on a touring bike, you first need to think about the material. You typically get two different types of materials when it comes to touring bikes. Steel is the first one, and aluminum is the second. Steel is the cheapest material to produce, and it is very strong. It has a certain amount of flexibility and can easily be repaired. It’s probably the heaviest frame material, but it has amazing quality in that it soaks up the road vibration and just feels incredible to ride.

Then we have aluminum, which is still fairly cheap to produce, but unlike steel, it is much stiffer and if it does break, is challenging to repair. It is much lighter though, and gives the bike a much more responsive feel to it than steel. Either material is perfect for touring, and you can trust not to let you down. People do speak about carbon fiber frames and touring, carbon fiber frames are not designed to carry heavy loads of weight, but you could get away with bikepacking on carbon.


Then we have the forks, and you will find touring forks come in either steel, aluminum, or carbon. Steel for comfort and strength, aluminum for stiffness and strength, and carbon for weight saving. I personally am a huge fan of steel forks on touring bikes, as they just work so well. You will also see some touring bikes with suspension forks, typically on an off road touring bike.


Then you have frame geometry, and this is the design of the bike and the position the bike puts you in. Typically a touring bike will be made for comfort, so you will often see them with high handlebars to keep you more upright.


Touring Bike Groupset
Photo by Maxime on Unsplash

Touring bike gearing can come in many forms. It can be a 1x with a single front chainring, a 2x with a double front chainring, or a 3x with a triple front chainring. Then on the rear, typically, you will have a large cassette. The fewer chainrings you have, the bigger the cassette you will have on the rear. The only thing you need to ensure is that you have a good range of low gears. When touring, you carry much more weight, and it does make getting uphill more challenging, so you need as many low gears as you can get.

Wheels and Tires

Touring Bike Wheels and Tires
Image by Lars Nissen from Pixabay

When it comes to wheels on modern touring bikes, they generally all come in alloy (Aluminum). This is because alloy is light and it is strong. You will typically want a high spoke count. For example, a 32-spoke wheel is ideal for carrying loads. You will get two sizes in on modern touring bikes, 650b(27.5″) and 700c(29″). The 650b wheels will be smaller and will be equipped with larger tires. Smaller 650b wheels are better for off road and slightly more agile compared to larger wheelsets, so you will see them on off road touring bikes. Then you have 700c. These are probably the most common wheel size on a touring bike that is more suited to the road. They will have thinner, faster tires, and also they are more efficient at higher speeds compared to smaller wheelsets.


Tires on a touring bike can be as small as road bike tires or as large as mountain bike tires. Typically you will see touring bikes with tires around 37c, but they will be smooth. So imagine an oversized road bike tire. These are perfect for touring as they can carry a lot of weight, and also they give the rider a lot of comfort. You will also find touring tires to be heavier than a typical tires. This is because they are made to be more hard-wearing and last longer for bigger miles.


Touring Bike Brake
Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

Brakes are a vital part of a bike and are often overlooked by bike manufacturers. Some companies try to go cheap to cut costs by putting more basic brakes on. Carrying more weight requires much better stopping power, and coming down big mountains with a lot of weight, you need to be able to trust your brakes. You really want disc brakes on a touring bike. The only exception is if you are on staying on the road and don’t require to go down mountains, then rim brakes will be ok.

Disc brakes come in two different types, hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic uses fluid to compress the pads onto the disc and provides the best stopping power, but if anything goes wrong can be challenging to fix on the road. Mechanical use cables and doesn’t give as much stopping power as hydraulic but is very easy to work on. Another very good benefit to disc brakes is that they work very well in poor weather conditions.

Special Features

Special features are important to speak about on touring bikes as they can make such a huge difference. When a bike comes with fenders and racks, they can come in very handy and save you a lot of money if you were planning to buy them later. Some touring bikes even come with dynamo wheels to charge goods and even suspension stems and seat posts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do touring bikes weigh?

They are actually quite heavy because they have to be made to be very strong. Expect anywhere from 10kg to 16kg without luggage.

Can any bike be a touring bike?

With all the modern bikepacking equipment and rack solutions hitting the market, you see fewer touring bikes because it is becoming easier to convert a road, gravel, or mountain bike to be able to tour.

What’s the best touring bike?

It’s tough to say the best, but some of the most popular are the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Genesis Tour De Fer, Dawes Galaxy, and the Specialized Awol.


It can be very challenging when it comes to touring bikes because you will need different bikes for different types of tours. Doing your research will go a long way, and the golden rule is to go for the right bike for the job and the most comfortable bike.

Expert Tip

An excellent bit of advice is before you go on a tour, try going on some short rides with all your equipment. The weight makes a huge difference to the way a bike feels, and it’s good to ensure you don’t have any issues prior to leaving.

Did you know?

If you want to see one of the most interesting touring bikes, check out the Trek 1120. It’s one of the most innovative long distance bikes ever and is capable of some serious luggage hauling and off road riding.

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Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri is a cyclist living in Norfolk in the UK. From breaking World Records to competing in some of the hardest Bikepacking races in the world he is not shy of riding the miles. He has been lucky enough to work at some amazing shops and with some big cycling brands. Alongside this he even had input in designing bikes and has also been a tester for unreleased products. He absolutely loves cycling and believes everyone should have a bike.