This is a gear review of the best touring bicycles in 2023.
If you are looking for the best touring bicycle then you are in the right place. I’ve spent several years bike touring and know the difference between the best touring bikes and average ones. I spent hundreds of hours researching and testing the best bicycles for bike touring.
For many cyclists, the dream of a multi-day or multi-year bike trip is something to aspire to. That is where a quality touring bicycle comes in. They are usually able to carry more gear than a Bikepacking Bike, Gravel Bike, or FatBike and make a great option for heading off on that adventure. And for couples, there is the option of a Tandem Touring Bicycle.
Whether it is a weekend trip, around the world, or anything in-between, I’ve got you covered. In the list, there will be a bike to suit everyone, so you’ll easily be able to find your perfect touring bike in our article.
Best Touring Bikes 2023
The Best Touring Bikes 2023 are:
- Thorn Nomad Mk3
- Surly Long Haul Trucker
- Surly Disc Trucker
- Kona Sutra
- Koga World Traveler
- Santos Travelmaster
- Trek 520
Best Touring Bike – Overall
> Fully customizable to your size and body specs
> This bike has many uses, it can be used as an everyday bike, but it can be used for touring around the world
> On or off-road, this bike can take you where you want to go with ease
> The frame does not suit front suspension
> Very Expensive
Thorn is based in Somerset in England, UK. They are known around the world for their bespoke touring bikes. The Nomad Mk3 is one of the newer touring bikes in their vast collection.
I have been using the earlier model, the Thorn Nomad Mk2 for more than ten year. It is solid and built for tough terrain. This traditional touring bike is no different.
You can customize this bike to suit your needs and desires. There are lots of options to choose from, thus this bike is suited to fit you perfectly. When you order the bike you will send them all your measurements and they will ensure the bike is a custom for just for you. You could include mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes, rim brakes, flat bars, front and rear racks, Schwalbe Marathon tires and so much more.
To buy a Thorn Nomad Mk3, you will have to contact Thorn and set up an appointment.
The frame is quite tough, as it is made from steel. Not only that it is able to carry an incredibly heavy load if you so choose.
All the parts that make this bike are high quality. You can decide what kind of brakes you want, and the choice of wheels is up to you as well.
It is available in 4 different colors and 12 sizes. These sizes include 5 options that have short top tubes for drop bears or a more relaxed position.
There are another 5 options that instead have long top tubes more suited for straight bars. This is a very reliable and versatile bike. It can be used for general day-to-day errands around town, or it can be used for an around-the-world tour.
Overall, I have tested this bike for around 20000 miles on roads, trails, and everything in between. It is tough and one of the best choices for long-distance cycle touring.
Best Budget Touring Bike
> The frame is made from Chromoly steel, which is strong and very durable.
> The Disc Trucker can be used for commuting to and from work or riding around the world.
> This bike can carry heavy loads, and thanks to its various mounting options, you have lots of possibilities to add racks and cages.
> This bike performs best on road but not as well off road with heavy loads.
The Disc Trucker by Surly has a very similar reputation as the Surly Long Haul Trucker, we have mentioned above. This is another bike that you could either use for everyday purposes or as a bike to travel the world with.
As the Long Haul Trucker is no longer in production, the Disc Trucker has filled its bike-shaped hole. This is another bike that can handle heavy loads with ease.
It will still give you a confident and stable riding experience. You can rely upon the Chromoly steel frame, to help you to get where you want to go. We noticed that this bike does well on paved surfaces and some slightly uneven surfaces.
However, when the terrain drastically changes, this is when the Disc Trucker starts to suffer. It is much more suited to smooth surfaces.
Alongside this, the Disc Trucker has various mounting options. Therefore, you can attach your own racks or water bottle cages, and more.
There are plenty of options for you to be able to attach your gear to the bike’s frame.
> Comes with a Brooks B17 Saddle
> This bike looks attractive.
> The Kona Sutra, is very comfortable to ride and can navigate through all kinds of terrain easily.
> It is also a great performing bike with and without any gear attached to the frame.
> Even without any gear on your bike it can feel quite heavy
The Kona Sutra touring bike is a very stylish-looking bike that also performs well. This bike is made from strong and durable Chromoly steel. It also comes with a Brooks B17 saddle and hydraulic disc brakes.
There is no denying that this bike looks beautiful, and it is very comfortable to ride. However, we were surprised to find out how heavy this bike was.
Like other bikes on this list, once the bike is loaded up it is very sturdy. However, this bike is still enjoyable to ride without any gear on.
Thus, with or without weight, the Kona Sutra handles well. Also, this bike comes with front and rear racks and mudguards.
The handlebars are taped, which makes them comfortable to hold onto for hours on end. Although, if they get wet, they can be a bit slippery if you aren’t wearing any gloves.
Overall, the Kona Sutra is a great option as a touring bike.
> This bike has a steel frame, which can handle heavy loads.
> The Long Haul Trucker has plenty of options for mounting racks, water bottle holders, and more
> This bike has drop bears, which allows the rider to have more riding positions.
> No Longer In Production – The only way to get your hands on this bike is by buying it second-hand
The Long Haul Trucker touring bike by Surly, is seen as the long-distance cargo bike that is ready to go anywhere.
This is due to this bike being designed to go long distances while being weighed down with lots of gear and equipment. This is the bike that you would want to use when traveling the world.
The Surly Long Haul Trucker bike has the capacity for you to take as much as you want on your journey. The steel frame can comfortably withstand large loads.
There are front and rear rack mounts, water bottle bosses, and fender eyelets. This bike gives you plenty of opportunities to attach as much gear as you can to this bike. Unlike the newer Disc Trucker, the Surly Long Haul Trucker has rim brakes and built form long distance cycling.
Overall, we notice that this bike gave us a stable and confident riding experience. However, it is more suited to paved roads than trails.
> The Koga World Traveler is made with an aluminum frame which is very strong to support any extra weight that is added to the bike.
> This bike performs wells on any surface that it is faced with.
> Front and rear racks are supplied with this bike, which will offer you plenty of space to attach any items that you wish to take with you.
> Not as easy to repair an aluminum frame if you break it or there is a crack
The Koga World Traveler touring bike is made with an aluminum frame, which makes this bike feel strong while riding it.
No matter the weather, you can always rely on this bike’s brakes, as it uses hydraulic disc brakes. With this bike, you also get front and rear racks that allow you to attach your gear to.
The performance of this bike is very enjoyable.
It can navigate different terrains well, and uphill or downhill descents are simple for this bike to complete. The World Traveler comes with durable and long-lasting Ryde Andrea 28-inch wheels, that you can rely upon for many seasons of use.
Alongside this, this bike comes with a Brooks B17 saddle, which is a well-known and high-quality saddle. All these factors make this bike a joy to ride, as the performance is top tier.
> This bike is a great touring bike, yet it can also be used as your everyday bike for errands or for commuting to and from work.
> The Santos Travelmaster comes with 27.5-inch wheels
> There are a couple of options with this bike, to customize it to your preferences.
The Travelmaster by Santos is seen as the type of bike that you can take with you anywhere. It is a great bike to take on a biking adventure, or biking holiday, or an around the world trip.
This is a very versatile bike, strong and stable like other Santos bikes. However, this is the most comfortable bike that they have created yet.
Whether you are riding across smooth terrain or rough terrain, the Travelmaster can handle whatever it is faced with.
This bike comes with 27.5-inch wheels that have a lot of grip, that will roll smoothly on any surface and obstacles it comes across easily.
This is a strong touring bike, even when it is loaded up, on its rear rack. It has seen more around the world bike touring trips than most.
> There is a wide range of sizes of frames to select from for this bike.
> Made with a Chromoly steel frame it is strong enough to carry you and all your belongings
> Stable and Comfortable Riding
> Trek 520 comes with a lifetime warranty
> Some customers complain that the paint on the frame of the Trek 520 chips off really easily.
The 520 touring bike from Trek is a steel bike that is one of the longest-running models in the Trek lineup. This bike has been produced since 1983, yet every year this bike is slightly altered with a new design or color.
This bike has been designed to go on long bike touring journeys, with various mounts that allow you to load enough gear for all-day to multiple-day trips.
Trek’s 520 bike comes with puncture-resistant tires, which allow you to ride through uneven terrain with ease. There is a wide variety of frame sizes to choose from, thus there is a frame size to suit everyone.
Overall, we found this bike will give you a very stable, smooth, and comfortable riding experience, even on rough terrain.
When it comes to buying a touring bike there are a couple of factors you need to consider before buying anything. You need to know in your mind the purpose that you have in mind for this bike.
This short guide we have put together will help you discover what kind of touring bike will be best suited for you.
Typically, riders who are purchasing a touring bike, have a long journey they want to complete. Therefore, a touring bike is the best option as it allows you to take all the gear that you want with you on your bike.
Whilst, also allowing you to go on routes that other bikes may struggle with.
Some riders, on the other hand, do use their touring bikes for everyday uses. However, the intended purpose of a touring bike is long biking journeys. A good touring bike will take you around the world with ease.
As mentioned above, a good touring bike will take you around the world with ease. Therefore, it needs to give you a comfortable and reliable riding experience. The performance of a touring bike can vary depending on the routes you intend to take the bike on.
Most touring bikes will handle most terrains that they are faced with. However, there are some bikes that are more suited for paved and smooth trails and roads.
Therefore, when looking to buy a touring bike, you need to consider what kind of routes you will be taking. As this can affect the performance of your bike if it isn’t suited for uneven or technical terrain.
It may seem obvious, but if you are planning a long trip on your touring bike then you need to make sure that you can fit all your gear onto your bike.
Typically, there will be mounts to add racks to your bike, or racks may already come attached to your bike after purchasing. Sometimes there will be extra eyelets to allow you to add extra gear to your bike.
Either way, you need to make sure that the bike you choose will be able to handle all the gear that you will be attaching. Your gear will add a lot more weight to the bike overall, therefore, your bike still needs to be able to perform well with this added weight.
However, you also want to make sure that you can add enough gear for the length of your trip.
Once everything is still attached, you should still feel stable and confident to ride the bike long distances.
A touring bike is a great option when you want to go on longer trips and need a bike that can handle the extra weight.
Touring bikes have gradually been gaining popularity, so it is no wonder that there are so many bikes to pick from. Therefore, in this article, we have given you the best touring bikes that you can buy right now.
Thus, there is no excuse not to buy one of these bikes and go on that around-the-world biking trip you have been thinking about.
- Thorn Nomad Mk3
- Surly Long Haul Trucker
- Surly Disc Trucker
- Kona Sutra
- Koga World Traveler
- Santos Travelmaster
- Trek 520
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between A Road and Touring Bike?
Simply, a road bike has been built to be lightweight and to gain good speed. It is most suited to be used on smooth surfaces, such as roads.
They are typically not ridden for very long each day.
Whilst, a touring bike has been built to carry much heavier loads. Therefore, they are a lot more stable. The comfort of the riding experience is more thought about on a touring bike.
As the rider will be spending much longer on the bike a day, compared to a road bike.
Can Touring Bikes Be Used Off-Road?
Sometimes, this can vary depending on the make, but typically a lot of touring bikes can be used off-road. Touring bikes are a great excuse to go on adventures on trails that other bikes struggle to ride through.
Some touring bikes are more suited to smoother terrains. Therefore this is something you need to check when purchasing your touring bike.
Are Touring Bikes Slow?
Touring bikes are quite slow compared to other kinds of bikes. This is because they have been designed to carry heavy loads, which can slow them down.
They can still be ridden over all kinds of terrain easily, but their job is stability and comfort instead of speed.
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The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
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The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
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