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Touring Bike Buying Guide

Touring Bike Buying Guide

Hi, my name is Michael. Spring is just around the corner and many of you are maybe thinking about buying your first touring bike Stick around till the end of this video and you get a lot of interesting tips before you make your purchase If you’re new to the channel If you’re into bike touring, bike packing or just outdoor adventures in general, please consider subscribing The channel is updated at least once every week with a new content such as bike touring videos how-to videos or product reviews So without much further ado, let’s take a look at my touring bike This is my touring bike. This is the Kona Sutra But all the things I go through in this video is pretty general to all touring bikes Let’s start by having a look at the frame The frame of our touring bike has a lot more relaxed geometry than your typical road bike As you can see the saddle and handlebars is almost equal so you get a relaxed seating position The top tube here is somewhat going up to the handlebar up here. It isn’t horizontal as you can see in a lot of road bikes To be able to have a more relaxed seating position I’ve added a spacer up in the front to raise my handlebar about a centimeter to Touring bikes come in a lot of different sizes and shapes. If you’re uncertain about what size is correct for you just head on out to the manufacturer’s web page They usually have a lot of size charts there so you can just put in your dimensions and You’ll probably end up with the correct bike for you another difference between a touring bike and a road bike is that most touring bikes are made of steel instead of carbon or aluminum There are however a few that are made of aluminum, but I would say that probably 95% of all touring bikes are made up of steel The two main benefits of having a steel bike is that it’s more stable than an aluminum bike plus it’s much more easy to repair if you’re in a situation where you might have to do that With a steel bike you can just go to a mechanic and have them weld the frame of the bike A drawback of having a steel bike is that it’s a bit heavier than an aluminum or carbon bike But since you’re probably carrying a lot of weight in your panniers the weight of the bike isn’t really that important Another feature of a touring bike is that you have a longer chain stay down here Which means that the back of your heel doesn’t touch the pannier when you’re pedaling On a road bike this gap between the pedal and the pannier would be a lot closer than it is on this touring bike here On this bike I have three mounts for bottle cages Plus I also have eyelets for two additional mounts over here But at the moment I use these eyelets for my front racks where I put my front panniers As you can see my bike has mechanical disc brakes these ones are getting more and more common on touring bikes However, there are still a lot of bikes that have rim brakes and those usually work just as okay as disc breaks do The benefit of having disc brakes is that they work really good even in rain The drawback of having disc brakes is that if you’re touring in an undeveloped country it can be a bit trickier to get spare parts for your disc brakes There are a couple of different handlebars for touring bikes I have a drop bar here Some people also use regular straight bars, and I’ve also seen people using butterfly bars The benefit of having drop parts or butterfly bars is that you can switch the position of your hands during the ride, and that’s quite important because if you’re going out bike touring for a week or two If you just used in the same grip all of the time You’re probably gonna get a lot of numbness in your joints and hands My suggestion would be to pick up a drop bar or a butterfly bar The handlebar of a touring bike is usually a bit more wide than your average road bike So you can fit your handlebar bag really nice in the front here This one uses these bar-end shifters But there are also touring bikes with STI shifters where you have a combined brake and shifter up here These bar-end shifters takes a while to get used to Just give it a few weeks and then it’s just as easy as shifting the normal way The benefit of having these bar-end shifters is that they are really easy to repair My group set on this bike is a Shimano Deore group set which is actually a mountain bike group set But mountain bike group sets are quite common on touring bikes as well This Shimano Deore group set is kind of an mid-range group set I think you should opt for at least a mid-range group set Maybe not go for the cheapest one if you plan to have this bike for 10 or so years My touring bike comes with a triple chainring in the front here, which is really nice When you go with a fully loaded touring bike up a steep hill you want to have a lot of gears to choose from The wheel of our touring bike is also really important to have a really strong and stable wheel This one is comprised of 36 spokes The tire I use is a Schwalbe Marathon The Schwalbe Marathons are really great for bike touring since they have a really high puncture resistance So you can probably tour on these for a couple of years before you experience your first flat tire Another nice feature is this reflective band on the sides of the tires which makes you more visible in traffic The Schwalbe Marathons that I use here have a width of 42 millimeters My recommendation for a touring bike would be to have at least 35 or 37 millimeters of tire width to be able to withstand the weight of yourself and all the gear you’re bringing along You want to invest in a good stable rear rack The one I have back here has two levels like you can see here I use the bottom one to hold my rear pannier And the top one is left over so I can put my tripod another small bag up here if I want to If you’re used to going out riding on your road bike, you’re probably not using fenders But then you can choose sunny day to go out riding But if you’re out on a tour for a week or two you’re probably gonna encounter a rainy day or two during those takes So unless you want to get all your gear and clothes really dirty My suggestion would be to pick up a nice pair of fenders for your touring bike Usually when you buy a touring bike, they don’t come with pedals. So you have to add them yourself I myself use a combination pedal where one side is a SPD pedal and the other side is a flat pedal Another important part of a touring bike is the saddle I have a Brooks B-17 saddle on my bike. This is pretty expensive saddle There are a lot of more inexpensive saddles out there I would recommend taking some time to try out some different saddles You can just visit your local bike shop and they will probably help you find the correct saddle for you Well that pretty much sums up my overview of a touring bike If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll try to answer them as quickly as I can Like I said in the beginning of the video, please consider subscribing to my channel Until next time have a good one

41 comments on “Touring Bike Buying Guide

  1. Hey Mike, nice bike, hope you didn't get in trouble bringing it in the house. It is very clean though. I love a Brooks saddle, once they soften up and mould to your bum they are so comfy, and something that is still made in England.
    Tack Ed

  2. It's spring and a lot of you may be in thoughts about buying a new (or perhaps your first) touring bike. In this short video I go through the features of my (and general features of a) touring bike. What to look for when choosing your next bike, which additional pieces of equipment you might need, etc. Please feel free to ask any questions that you might have in the comment section.

  3. Plenty of info there Mikael , I have a cannonade CAADX which I am gonna try on a few camping trips . I didn't want to buy a new bike when this one is quite new . I have rear panniers and a front handlebar bag but unable to fit front panniers as no fittings on the front forks. Hoping to try a few shorts trips locally just to test the water .
    Those brooks saddles are the biz mind , do they need broke in first ? atb Dave.

  4. I am not a novice cycle tourer and am very happy with my touring bike but I found your video very informative and would be very helpful to some one starting out. You present very well. Also your advice is not judgemental in the slightest which is very refreshing. Maybe you want to consider doing a basic how to sit on a bicycle properly how to get an approximate correct frame size, seat height etc? Your Kona touring bike looks very nice. Love the colour. Watch out for the ladyboys in Thailand.

  5. Thanks Mikael….out on my first tour for the season…in Florida west coast area…hope all is well, thanks for the video.

  6. Great video Michael! Good information.
    On another note what is the bag you use for airline travel?
    Thanks and keep posting!

  7. Great video Mikael. I've been subscribed since your first one. I would love to plan a week or two touring trip in Europe this year or next year and was wondering how you choose the routes you do?

  8. Sexy bike 😁😁 Awesome man! Can't wait for my bike to be delivered next week. KONA SUTRA 2018 the last bike on Cambria bikes online 😂😂😂

  9. A very practical video. Your bars seem to be rotated a bit too far down, but it could just be the camera angle or the way you like it. Steel is a very comfortable ride, and when it flexes, it returns the energy.

  10. Awesome Thanks for sharing. What is the name and brand of the rear rack. Also the front rack Thanks and have a great day 📸👍👍👍👍📸🙏

  11. Very useful guide – I just got back from a cycle tour in Portugal with my Surly disc trucker. You and Darren post some inspirational vlogs – look forward to any detail on Thailand as I've only ever toured in Europe. Cheers!

  12. I have a 2016 Sutra and love it.
    Steel frames also soak up vibration more than aluminium as well. Making fatigue less of a problem

  13. Good advice. The further you go the more you need a proper touring bike. You can find on YouTube a guy who just put a rack on an old aluminium road bike. At the end of the tour it had broken off the frame fixing points on both sides. I've had bad experience with aluminium myself. I put a side stand on my touring bike and it fell to bits after 6 months. The rack that came with my steel bike was made of aluminium, but it had a bad weld at the top and broke away at the end of the tour.
    UPDATE: My aluminium mudguard snapped in the middle! I've fixed it with steel strips bolted inside and I am testing it before my trip to Spain. I'm more down on aluminium. It breaks with vibration and it is harder to weld than steel.

  14. Same old tired thinking. How to do something that has been being done since the 1st bikes where invented. But doing "it" in the most minimal and least expensive way isn't the best way to spend a great deal of time on the saddle. Speaking of which… Brooks "was" a great choice a couple decades ago and is no longer a viable choice except for looks (as the unused example in this video shows). Long ago tour bikes were built to be dependable with the least possible ways to fail. This meant no suspension, no disc brakes, add-on racks, steel frames for possible repairs anywhere in the world, 26" wheels for ease of availability, 700c tires to reduce rolling resistance, and carrying a minimum amount of gear. Times have changed which real riders know because they don't just watch videos of others doing something before they consider themselves an "expert" and advise others to waste money as they themselves have. ALL these points are old thinking… some good, some extremely outdated. 26" wheels aren't just used for their worldwide availability but are also much more agile and are still a favorite choice because of that. Disc brakes are THE standard on any newly built bike regardless of what old-time riders think. The things new potential riders that want to tour should be looking at are a dynamo hub for continuous power generation while riding. Using a Rohloff hub rather than a cluster (#&[email protected]). Hydraulic disc brakes, nothing else should be considered when riding with a great deal of mass. a bike designed to carry weight not just designed to bold on an aftermarket rack. A fully suspended front rack for control, comfort, and to save wear and tear on Everything including the rider. If YOU are planning to tour ride don't listen to anyone that still thinks all these old mindset ideas are still valid. –

  15. Do you think Kona sutra is capable of carrying weight as much as surly LHT does ?and how good is sutra for off road packing such as Baja divide, south America and Pamir highway ….thanks in advance Mike……

  16. He på dig Mikael. I'm running a Salsa Fargo. Just got it and am wondering if you or any of your viewers know of cheaper racks front and back that might fit the 2019 Fargo. Thanks. Good video.

  17. Great video. I remember you said you were happy you got the larger frame option when you were the height between two sizes. I bought a Long Haul Trucker 58cm, the top tube is level so I can only straddle the frame with 1cm spare – I also wonder whether the smaller size would have been better. Great advice on the tyre size

  18. How do you like the position of the hoods. I bit low for my riding position but its a personnel decision.

  19. I really like the bike and I’m currently considering the Kona Sutra 2019, but the only thing I'm afraid of is the Bar end shifters! I read a lot of pros & cons reviews regarding the BES and can't make a decision! Will use the bike in the city to, flat commuting, some hills, between cars, buses and you think it's a good choice? Or maybe an STI bike for quick shifting when in traffic will be a better choice…(but I like the Sutra :)?? Finally, what's your bike size and how tall are you?
    A response will be much appreciated..

  20. Hej! (hoppas att jag antog rätt att du kan svenska.) Schysst kanal! Jag funderar på att köpa Kona Sutra 2019 som min första touringcykel! Tycker du att det spelar stor roll i valet mekaniska eller hydrualiska skivbromsar? Hur breda däck tycker du är lagom att ha om man cyklar långt? Tycker du att det fungerar bra med bockstyre eller kommer det vara väldigt ansträngande för mig som nybörjare?


  21. Well I was sort of hoping your site would have comparison bikes for touring not just one model .
    I toured on a diamond frame bike for many years untill various body parts started complaining ! Sore butt? Sore Hands? Sore neck? How could this be as all those years before I had no problems? Bike fit yup, no change . It took a while but I looked to the dark side and picked up a recumbent. So far I have own 9 of them as they all have different attributes that may or may not be what you want.
    I bought my Bacchetta Giro A 20 after someone stole my previous recumbent. When I got my new recumbent I changed the crank arms 170 mm to 153 mm and I changed the sexy sporty Euromesh seat for a .com seat frame and then made my own fabric cover to fit with all the pockets I wanted. This bent ( slang term for recumbent, but faster to type ) is comfortable and I have no problem seeing other drivers or being seen by other drivers and riding in the city is never a problem. Lots of diamond frame riders out there that have been told that recumbents are too low and that is just a myth. All bikes with two or more wheels are just as easily hit by an inattentive driver as any car would get hit by another .
    It happens , I hope it does not happen to us.

    At the end of any ride I have tired leg muscles but I no longer have any pains anywhere. I only use gloves in the colder times of the year as I have no need of cushioning like you would ,riding a diamond frame bike. Your back is cradled and yes you do feel some bumps but you are also sitting in a chair so you are absorbing those bumps with your seat and back combined. I used to ride diamond frame bikes for about 37 years and I did stand up to rest the aching butt, and I did ride without hands on the bars as my hands and arms would get numb if I just kept them on the bars, and I also switched hand position on my drop bars every 15 minutes or so to prevent those shock pains from high pressure tires.
    Now I ride high pressure tires on my bent without gloves and have two positions on the bars to choose from, but holding one position on a tour for 3 hours did not bother the hands at all. If you decide to try a recumbent do some research and buy used because you will find out what you like or do not like about that particular bent and it will not cost much for your learning, and as you will discover it will not be your last bent. Recumbents come in a far larger assortment than normal bikes and each has it's purpose. Where I live we have two hills at 22% grades and yes it took me a while to try them but I went up in 3rd gear and voila ,twas not as hard as I thought it would be . Loaded touring on a recumbent is so much nicer as when you arrive at your campsite you are still sitting in a comfortable chair and except for tired leg muscles, no pain makes the night so much better.
    These come in aluminium , carbon, steel,and cromoly.
    Bacchetta a cheaper alternative

    Enjoy your touring

  22. Does the rear fender do a good job to protect your bags from mud and water spray? I guess if your bike is fully loaded, the bags on the rear rack would act as a fender, but then the bags would get dirty. Your thoughts on this?

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