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Are you looking for a bike that will be able to take you deep into the wilderness? Perhaps you’re planning an expedition across a remote African desert or maybe it’s a rough touring route through the Peruvian Andes. Whatever your plans, today I’ll be introducing you to as many adventure touring bikes as possible.

Let’s explore!

Criteria For Selecting These Adventure Touring Bikes

Clearance for >2.20″ Tyres
I’ve settled on this width because it allows for standard mountain bike tyres to be fitted.

Front and Rear Rack Compatible
While many of you probably have the intention to use bikepacking bags – having rack compatibility simply gives you more options, and that ain’t a bad thing.

Ample Bidon and Cargo Cage Mounts
Most bikes in this list have 3+ bidon mounts, including a couple of cargo cage mounts.

Fender Compatibility Preferable
Some of you may scoff at the idea of taking fenders on a bike adventure, but the number of times I have issues with mud or debris is limited to a couple of times per year. Fenders keep you and your bike nice and dry, so don’t write ’em off just yet.

A Bit More On Adventure Touring Bikes

I’ve split this list into categories based on wheel diameter, tyre width and handlebar style. I think these are some of the most important characteristics of an adventure touring bike, as these components largely determine the type of terrain your bike will handle. I generally recommend flat bars for adventure touring, you can read why HERE.

All tyres widths and diameters can be fast and capable as long as they’re appropriately matched to the terrain. Check out my resource on the most durable bikepacking tyres to get a good idea of what might suit you best.

Most of the bikes in this list are constructed with steel tubing, but there’s a handful of titanium, carbon and aluminium bikes in there too. Given adventure touring bikes use large tyre volumes, you can expect the level of comfort to be pretty similar across the board. I’ve got an in-depth resource on bike frame materials and durability found HERE.

*This resource was originally published in 2015 but has been updated in December 2018

26+ 27.5+ 29+ Adventure Touring & Bikepacking Bikes

Bombtrack Beyond+ 1 – €1899

Brother Big Bro – £1799

Chumba Ursa – US $3495

Co-Op Cycles ADV 4.2 – US $1899

Genesis Longitude – £1199

Jones Plus SWB – US $1799

Kona Unit X – US $1299

Marin Pine Mountain – US $989

Ribble Adventure 725 – £1199

Sonder Frontier – £999

Surly ECR – US $1899

Tout Terrain Outback Pinion – from €3890

Trek 1120 – US $2649

Tumbleweed Prospector – US $3950

Velotraum Finder VK1 – €2350

Crust Evasion Frameset – US $979

Crust Scapegoat Frameset – US $825

Hunt Bikepacking Frameset – US $1299

Velo Orange Piolet Frameset – US $725

29″ Adventure Touring & Bikepacking Bikes – Drop Bar

Bombtrack Beyond 1 – €1,999

Cinelli Hobootleg Geo – €1899

Co-Motion Divide – from US $3495

Genesis Vagabond – £1099

Kona Sutra LTD – US $1999

Salsa Cutthroat Apex – US $2899

Salsa Fargo Tiagra – from US $1999

Salsa Marrakesh – US $1499

Specialized AWOL – US $1200

Trek 920 – US $2099

29″ Adventure Touring & Bikepacking Bikes – Flat Bar

Avaghon X29 Ti – from €3640

Cube Travel –  €699

Giant Toughroad SLR1 – US $1365

IdWorx All Rohler – from €4899

Intec M05 Rohloff

Koga WorldTraveller – €2199

Santos TravelMaster 3 – from €4815

Shand Tam Rohloff – £3695

Surly Ogre – US $1450

Van Nicholas Pioneer – from €4199

Gunnar Rock Tour Frame – US $1250

27.5″ Adventure Touring & Bikepacking Bikes – Drop Bar

All City Gorilla Monsoon – US $1999

Co-Motion Siskiyou – from US $3495

Crust Romanceur Frameset – US $1275

Masi Giramondo 27.5 – US $1349

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It’s a great time to be a bike tourer or bikepacker because travelling on a bike has never been more popular. With this wave of popularity comes more brands, more products, more competition and more money for designing cool things. I’m lucky enough to get all the new products shoved in my face, so I thought I’d round up my favourite bikepacking gear innovations from this year. Let’s go!

This list is in alphabetical order.

The Best Gear Innovations For 2018

1. Apidura Magnetic Top Tube Pack
This new top tube pack uses magnets to hold it in place. Not only does it look super neat, but you can keep your phone/wallet inside and remove it all while you run into a shop. How cool is that?!

2. Apidura Racing Handlebar Pack
The Apidura Racing Handlebar Pack caught my eye for two reasons. Firstly, it mounts directly to aero bars, keeping the bag stable and reducing the strain on your cables. It also has integrated feed bags on either end to quickly stow more bidons or snacks.

3. Jones SG 2.5 Loop Bar
This is a really elegant solution to achieving a bit more height out of your front end. Plus you get all the benefits of a wide touring bar with heaps of space for accessories!

4. kLite Bikepacker ULTRA Dynamo Light
Bikepackers are loving this new dynamo light by kLite. Compared to other lights, it has an exceptionally wide beam, more brightness (1350 lumens!), reduced flicker at lower speeds and a longer stand-light. It’s available in two beam patterns for on-road or off-road riding.

5. KT Dynamo Hub
KT is a new dynamo hub brand offering a model with interchangeable end caps that allow you to fit QR, 12mm or 15mm axles. The hub internals are KTs own design, but it shares the same hub shell with SP Dynamo. Given it has just been released, it’s not proven yet, but it’s looking very promising.

6. PDW Bundle Roll
In the last 12 months, we’ve seen dozens of stabilized bikepacking bags hit the market. The Bundle Roll is just one example, using a handlebar mount to keep everything still. This design will keep the drybag stable, will prevent paint rub, will give your cables room to breath and will make sure the drybag can’t rub on your front tyre.

7. Problem Solvers Bowtie Strap Anchors
This is a really neat solution for mounting bottles of all sizes. These Bowtie Anchors bolt on to your existing bidon mounts and provide the loopholes you need for some Voile straps to secure a water bottle, fuel bottle or drybag!

8. Restrap Accessory Bag
The Restrap handlebar harness now has this neat quick release accessory bag – simply slide it across and down to remove it. Like the Apidura Magnetic Top Tube Bag, this is another great place to stash your valuables.

9. Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter
I’ve been using Sawyer Squeeze filters for almost as long as I’ve been travelling around the world. They’re super cheap and pretty much bombproof. Sawyer released a ‘Micro’ model this year which makes packing a filter even easier than before. The filter spec is 0.1 microns and it’s rated for 100,000 gallons!

10. SRAM NX Eagle Drivetrain
The SRAM NX drivetrain has made bikepacking bikes better thanks to its wide gear range and low cost. While stock bikes previously had 11-42t cassettes, the Eagle climbing gear is now boosted up to 50-tooth. This gives you more range, but more importantly, you can achieve an 18-inch climbing gear on a plus-bike without any trouble.

The Best Travel Bikes For 2018

11. All City Gorilla Monsoon
I really like what All City have done with the Gorilla Monsoon. This is a bike that can accommodate 27.5 x 2.4″ rubber, or alternatively 650B x 47C slicks with full fenders. The size range is great and it’s available as a frameset too. It has a super cool twin-plate fork crown and mounts for Surly-8 and 24-Pack rando-ish racks. The 1x drivetrain may be fine for some, but for lower gears, you could change the front chainring, or alternatively, fit a front derailleur. The wider-than-usual 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell makes fitting MTB front derailleurs and MTB cranksets (eg. 48/36/26t or 42/28t) very easy.

12. Cannondale Topstone Sora
When you factor in price, the 2019 Cannondale Topstone undoubtedly comes out on top in the light touring category. The aluminium frame features a threaded bottom bracket shell (big tick), rear rack mounts, internal cable routing in the downtube, routing for a dropper seatpost, 3x bidon cage mounts, a cargo cage mount and top tube bag mount. The frame is able to accommodate 700 x 42C and probably 650B x 47C too. The fork is FULL carbon (unheard of at this price) and thanks to the sub-compact crankset and wide range cassette, the climbing gear ratio is 24 gear inches. Achieving even lower gears is a very easy mod – simply swap the rear derailleur and cassette. Oh, did I mention a Topstone Sora is just a thousand bucks??

13. Salsa Warbird v4
The 2019 Salsa Warbird has once again paved the way for other carbon bikepacking bikes. It’s lighter and smaller than previously (good for 142cm/4ft8 riders). It fits 700c x 45c or 27.5″ x 2.1″ tyres. There’s provision for 2-3 bidon cages in the front triangle, one under the downtube and one on either side of the fork. There’s a top tube bag mount for those who like the idea of reducing strap wear. And it fits front/rear racks! The weight of the bike is between 8.4-10kg and the prices start from US $2399.

14. Surly Bridge Club
The Surly Bridge Club is my favourite flat bar tourer for 2018. It’s US $1200, it has a 17 gear inch climbing gear and it can fit 27.5 x 2.8″, 26 x 3.0″ or 700 x 47C tyres. It has also got all the braze-ons you need for touring, including mounts for the Surly-8 and 24-Pack rando-ish racks. Fit some fat slicks (Schwalbe Super Moto X) and fenders and you can take this bike on a long road tour too.

What Have Been Your Favourite Bike Travel Innovations For 2018?

The post My 14 Favourite Touring and Bikepacking Gear Innovations For 2018 appeared first on CyclingAbout.com.

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Mountain bike tires are often optimised for grip by employing soft rubber compounds in their construction. This is great for trails, but not necessarily your highest priority if you’re on an epic bike journey. Luckily for the adventurers out there, there are a handful of bikepacking tires that are optimised for durability, intentionally or not – which I’ll be covering in this resource.

I asked the highest-mileage riders I know (ultra racers and round-the-world adventurers) which bikepacking tyres they reliably use for months at a time. The same few tires were recommended over and over, suggesting that there is somewhat of a consensus here. The tires I will be recommending have been known to last upwards of 8000km/5000mi, and as much as 25000km/15000mi.

Maxxis undoubtedly has the best reputation for making the most-durable, high mileage tires, in particular, their models with the EXO casing. The tires by Continental that feature their ‘ProTection’ label are also exceptional. Schwalbe off-road tires commonly prioritise grip rather than durability, but a few of their touring models work out well for dirt roads. Vittoria makes a super fast-rolling model that folks are getting great mileage out of, and it comes in the 29 x 2.60″ size too.

But first, let’s start with some general tire info.

Sarah Hammond is the 3x Race to the Rock winner and has NEVER had a puncture on her Maxxis Ikon tires mounted to Curve carbon rims. Not even when out training for her ultra races!

Rolling Resistance And Bikepacking Tires

If speed is your aim, stop thinking about how to shave a kilogram off your kit and start looking at fast tires. Rolling resistance plays a big role in your cycling speed because no matter what speed you ride, it’s a consistent force that you need to overcome (unlike air resistance which increases with speed). The speed difference between slow and fast rolling tires is very significant – a slow rolling set of tires will tax you 90 watts, while a fast set will take as little 46 watts. If you’re putting 150 watts into the pedals, 40-something watts is a large percentage of your effort to have disappearing into your tire contact patch.

There is a ‘but’, however.

This assumes a relatively smooth riding surface. The rougher a trail gets, the wider your tires need to be to optimise your speed. Tires in a 3.00″ width can absolutely be the fastest rolling tire option under the right conditions. I think it makes the most sense to optimise rolling resistance for the surfaces that you will be riding most.

I have provided the rolling resistance data where I can (thanks to BicycleRollingResistance.com), but I’ve also estimated the resistance for other tires too. This information isn’t 100% accurate, but I have factored in many data points (width, casing, similar tires etc) to arrive at these approximate numbers.

Head HERE for an in-depth look at the rolling resistance lab testing for touring tires.

This tire size comparison chart by Jamis Bikes is the best I’ve seen.

Bikepacking Tire Sizes And Widths

29 Inch
The fastest option is a 29-inch mountain bike wheelset for most off-road terrain. With a broad range of widths (2.00 to 2.60″), you should be able to find a tire that’s both quick on dirt roads and also very capable the trails. Narrower tires tend to have the advantage on smoother surfaces while wider tires will offer additional grip and comfort (nice on a rigid bike).

29+
For rough trails, this is the option that will roll over objects with the smallest ‘angle of attack’. 29+ works out to be fastest over rocks, and with the increased tire footprint and volume, you’ll find them to be supremely grippy too.

27.5 Inch
Not too many MTB bikepacking bikes are built around this wheel size, however, a growing number of drop bar gravel bikes can accommodate tires in the 27.5 x 2.00-2.40″ range. Bikes that fit these tires can often also be interchangeably used with 700 x 35-45C wheelsets too. The All City Gorilla Monsoon or Bombtrack Hook EXT-C are two bikes that come to mind.

27.5+
This is the most popular plus-sized option as the wheel+tire diameter works out to be the equivalent of a 29″ wheel. As a result, you can have one bike that will fit two different wheelsets, allowing you to perfectly optimise your tires for your intended terrain.

26 Inch
A decade ago, the standard size for bike travel was 26 inch. There are still a few 26″ touring bikes getting about, but they’re becoming less common by the year (the 2019 Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide has very few). But 26 ain’t dead – 26″ is still the most common rim diameter for fat bikes and can still be found on many XS and small bikepacking bikes.

The bike pictured is Jesse Carlsson’s Curve GMX. Most ultra racers prefer the 29 x 2.20″ size because it’s fast but capable.

Tire Fit

Ideally, all tires would fit all rims with the same amount of ease. But this isn’t always the case; in the worst case scenarios, a tire can literally be an impossible fit. Equally, you don’t want a tire to be too loose, as this results in the tire bead being able to pop off the rim while riding.

Make sure you can get your tire off the rim with the tire levers you bring on your adventures. This is particularly important if you’re racing, as your hands will often be fatigued. You can pre-stretch your tires on another rim if they seem to be too tight, or alternatively, you can fit and remove your tires a few times to stretch a couple of extra millimetres out.

As for tubes or tubeless, the answer is undoubtedly… TUBELESS! Yes, it’s worth the hassle. A little extra sealant than recommended is worth its weight in gold too – you never know how many thorns you’ll meet on a long outing.

Bad Tire Batches

The recommended tires below don’t all have a perfect manufacturing track record, but they are pretty damn good – I think you can be confident with them. That said, it’s worth putting some mileage on a tire before taking it into the wilderness. Sometimes you’ll find the rubber layers can deform, or the bead can separate from the sidewall.

The good news is that these problems normally show themselves very early on, and any bad batch tires will be replaced under the manufacturer warranty.

The Otso Voyek is a 27.5+ or 29+ trail bike that can also accommodate up to 26 x 4.6” tires!

DURABLE 29″ BIKEPACKING TIRES

*If you want to buy any of these tires, doing it via the Amazon links give CyclingAbout a small commission which goes into creating more great resources for the bike travel community.

Continental RaceKing Protection

The RaceKing ProTection is one of the most well-known bikepacking tire options. Sets of these have been known to conquer the Tour Divide bikepacking race not once, but twice (8800km+). Amazingly, some dirt tourers have even exceeded 12,000km with zero punctures (although a couple of plugs were required). You’re also looking at the fastest rolling tire on the list.

Maxxis Ikon 3C/EXO/TR MaxxSpeed
  • 2.00, 2.20, 2.35 inches
  • 605, 640, 740 grams
  • 31.5 watts
  • Buy for $58

The Maxxis Ikon is currently a very popular option for bikepacking racing. These are known to be super-durable and easy to fit. The rolling resistance numbers may be a little bit disappointing, but given how many love the way these tires hook up on trails, they’re still a winner.

Vittoria Mezcal TNT G+
  • 2.10, 2.25, 2.35, 2.60 inches
  • 680, 725, 745, 870 grams
  • 24.6 watts
  • Buy for $57

Another super popular bikepacking tire for events like the Tour Divide is the Vittoria Mezcal. These super fast-rolling tires use a graphene compound which seems to allow them to roll particularly quick, but at the same time, last the distance. These are also one of the only durable tire options in the new 29 x 2.60″ width.

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial DD V-Guard

While more of a touring tire, the wear-life of the Mondial is simply out-of-this-world – I clocked 25,000km on a set between Europe and Australia. There are two main downsides to the tire though. The grip is very poor on trails, and the tire is only available in a 2.00″ width. Still a great option for dirt road riding, and one of the only models that are decent with tubes.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
  • 2.10, 2.25 inches
  • 1275, 1350 grams
  • ~35 watts
  • Buy for $57

These boat anchors are the most puncture resistant bikepacking tires money can buy thanks to their thick protective layer. A continuous tread along the centre of the tire allows them to roll relatively quick on harder surfaces. I’d be confident in suggesting you can travel 15,000km on a set of these with zero punctures (even with tubes).

DURABLE 29+ BIKEPACKING TIRES

Maxxis Chronicle EXO TR

The 29+ bikepacking tire of choice for most long-haul travellers is the Chronicle. It’s built super sturdy with Maxxis’ EXO protection and rolls ok thanks to its low profile knobs. It’s not the lightest, but who cares when you can beat them up for 10,000km.

Maxxis Ikon Plus 3C/EXO/TR MaxxSpeed
  • 3.00 inches
  • 770 grams
  • ~35-40 watts

A touch narrower and a decent amount lighter than the Chronicle, the Ikon has recently been produced in a larger volume. While I don’t know anyone who has put high mileage on them, they’re expected to perform very well considering the outstanding track record of the regular width Ikons.

Surly Knard
  • 3.00 inches
  • 770 grams
  • ~35-40 watts

The Knard was introduced along with the Surly ECR in 2014, making it the oldest 29+ tire (I think). Quite a few ECR owners have managed to clock over 8000km with these tires, making them a great option for long-distance bikepacking trips.

DURABLE 27.5″ BIKEPACKING TIRES

Maxxis Ikon 3C/EXO/TR MaxxSpeed
  • 2.20, 2.35 inches
  • 600, 705 grams
  • ~31.5 watts
  • Buy for $58

The Maxxis Ikon is currently a very popular option for bikepacking racing. These are known to be super-durable and easy to fit. The rolling resistance numbers may be a little bit disappointing, but given how many love the way these tires hook up on trails, they’re still a winner.

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial DD V-Guard
  • 2.00 inches
  • 780 grams
  • ~25-30 watts

While more of a touring tire, the wear-life of the Mondial is simply out-of-this-world – I clocked 25,000km on a set between Europe and Australia. There are two main downsides to the tire though. The grip is very poor on trails, and the tire is only available in a 2.00″ width. Still a great option for dirt road riding, and one of the only models that are decent with tubes.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

These boat anchors are the most puncture resistant bikepacking tires money can buy thanks to their thick protective layer. A continuous tread along the centre of the tire allows them to roll relatively quick on harder surfaces. I’d be confident in suggesting you can travel 15,000km on a set of these with zero punctures (even with tubes).

Schwalbe Super Moto X

This wide slick was originally designed for eBike use but they’ve also been used on many 10,000km+ trips now. You’ll find this fast-rolling rubber to be very puncture resistant thanks to the DD and GreenGuard protection layers. Unfortunately, the wire bead makes them a little heavier than most tire options, but the low rolling resistance more than makes up for it.

Vittoria Mezcal TNT G+
  • 2.10, 2.25, 2.35, 2.60 inches
  • 660, 670, 680, 830 grams
  • ~25 watts
  • Buy for $67

Another super popular bikepacking tire for events like the Tour Divide is the Vittoria Mezcal. These super fast-rolling tires use a graphene compound which seems to allow them to roll particularly quick, but at the same time, last the distance. These are also one of the only durable tire options in the new 2.60″ width.

DURABLE 27.5+ BIKEPACKING TIRES

Maxxis Chronicle EXO TR

The 27+ bikepacking tire of choice for most long-haul travellers is the Chronicle. It’s built super sturdy with Maxxis’ EXO protection and rolls ok thanks to its low profile knobs. It’s not the lightest, but who cares when you can beat them up for 10,000km.

Maxxis Ikon Plus 3C/EXO/TR MaxxSpeed

A touch narrower and a decent amount lighter than the Chronicle, the Ikon has recently been produced in a larger volume. While I don’t know anyone who has put high mileage on them, they’re expected to perform very well considering the outstanding track record of the regular width Ikons.

Schwalbe Super Moto X

This wide slick was originally designed for eBike use but they’ve also been used on many 10,000km+ trips now. You’ll find this fast-rolling rubber to be very puncture resistant thanks to the DD and GreenGuard protection layers. Unfortunately, the wire bead makes them a little heavier than most tire options, but the low rolling resistance more than makes up for it.

Can You Recommend Any Other Long-Wearing Bikepacking Tires (8000km/5000mi+)?

The post Bikepacking Tires: Which Brands And Models Are The Most Durable? appeared first on CyclingAbout.com.

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One of the coolest things about putting together the Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide each year is that I get to monitor huge amounts of touring bike data from 130+ different models. This allows me to understand trends and analyze how touring, adventure and bikepacking bikes are evolving over time. I normally keep this information to myself, but this year I’ll be sharing some of the biggest trends in touring bikes from my massive data set.

The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide is updated yearly with all the latest bikes and information. If you haven’t got yourself a copy of the 2019 edition yet, you can find it HERE.

1. The Wide Adoption of Stack/Reach Sizing

The 2019 Giant Toughroad SLR is one of the only touring bikes that doesn’t use the stack/reach sizing system.

If you haven’t heard of ‘stack’ and ‘reach’, they’re the best measurements we have for comparing bike sizes. These two measurements alone provide ample information about how high, and far forward the handlebars will sit on a bike (provided you maintain the same stem length and seat distance behind the bottom bracket).

Touring bike framesets that use the stack/reach sizing system get proportionately longer and taller as you go up through the sizes. It’s immediately apparent when framesets have been designed around effective top tube lengths as the ‘reach’ often jumps between being longer and shorter through the size range.

In the 2019 Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide, you can compare the stack and reach information for every touring bike. This is super handy when comparing, say, a size medium bike in one brand to a size 54cm bike in another. You’ll also quickly realise that a 54cm from one brand is often closer to a 56cm bike (or 52cm bike) in another.

Another great way to use stack and reach is by test riding a bike with certain measurements and accurately comparing that bike’s sizing to something you can’t find in-store. Knowing this information gives you great confidence, in fact, I only knew to size down my Koga WorldTraveller-S from my usual size (63cm to 60cm) by understanding what stack and reach dimensions best suited my preferred riding position.

You can read a bit more about stack/reach and how the Giant Toughroad isn’t sized this way HERE.

2. 20% Less Traditional Touring Bikes

This year we’ve seen a big reduction in the number of traditional touring bikes. Pictured is the 2019 Masi Giramondo.

The traditional touring bike is a dying breed. I’ve been documenting touring bikes since 2012 and have never seen so many disappear from the market in a single year. Why could this be? One would assume they’re not selling as well as previously…

This is likely because touring bikes have become more specialized in the last couple of years. Off-road and light touring bikes (aka gravel, adventure, allroad, bikepacking) made up the minority of options not long ago, but in the last two years, these two categories have become overwhelmingly the majority.

3. 40% More Off-Road Touring Bikes

The 2019 All City Gorilla Monsoon is just one example of the latest influx of off-road touring bikes.

A few years ago there was only a handful of off-road touring bikes available, but thanks to the interest in off-road adventures (bikepacking in particular), we now have ample bikes to choose between.

The key characteristics of an off-road tourer include clearance for wider tyres, wider handlebars and lower gear ratios. These characteristics work out great for general purpose touring too – fit some fenders and some fat slicks and you’ve got a bike that’s more capable, yet just as fast rolling as a traditional tourer. Modern touring slicks like the Schwalbe Marathon Almotion roll incredibly well, even in the 2.15″ size.

4. 60% More Light Touring Bikes

The most expensive off-the-shelf light touring bike is the 2019 Specialized S-Works Diverge. US $10,000!

As gravel, bikepacking and adventure riding becomes more popular, there has been a huge boom in light touring bikes – I’ve had to add 60% more to the 2019 Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide! This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as there are now over 100 bikepacking bag manufacturers, endless gravel-focussed events and dozens of unsupported ultra-endurance bike races.

Light touring bikes are all between 8-13kg (17-28lbs) and are designed to support lighter loads. They make excellent multi-purpose bikes as they’re often fast enough to sit in a road bunch, but also strong enough to cover your commuting and weekend adventures.

5. Carbon Touring Bikes

The Jamis Renegade is a light touring bike made with carbon. The bike weight is under 10kg/22lbs.

The year of the carbon touring bike is upon us! I’m aware of 45 different models that have eyelets for front and rear racks. You might be put off by carbon given its colourful history, but it’s actually quite a mature technology after a couple of decades in bike manufacturing.

I recently wrote all about carbon touring bikes, you can find out all about this space-age material HERE.

6. Clearance For Wider Tyres Across All Touring Categories

The 2019 Cube Travel comes with 29×2.15″ slick tyres as standard.

Great news – almost every new touring bike has more tyre clearance than ever before. This is particularly exciting as wider tyres are more comfortable, more capable and you may even be surprised to find they roll almost as fast (in some cases they’re even faster).

The biggest change in tyre clearance was found in the off-road touring category (flatbar) where 3.0″ clearance is now commonplace. Even light touring bikes which will likely spend their lives on the pavement average 45mm (1.8″) clearance.

7. More ‘Reach’ For Off-Road Touring Bikes

The Bombtrack Beyond+ 1 offers a long reach but also a short stem.

Over the past few years, there has been a move towards slacker head tube angles, longer top tube lengths and shorter stems on mountain bikes. This has made mountain bikes more stable to ride in rougher terrain. We’re now seeing this same trend replicated on off-road touring bikes (flatbar), which is a great thing for those focussing on trails.

8. Slower Steering Speeds For Off-Road Touring Bikes

The 2019 Genesis Longitude frameset has a slow steering speed which is offset using a short stem and wide handlebars.

Off-road touring framesets also have a slower steering speed than previously thanks to their slacker head tube angle and wider tyres. However, the slower steering speeds are actually offset with shorter stem lengths (given the longer ‘reach’ of these bikes) that make a bike steer faster. With the stem factored in, there’s a very minimal steering difference between newer/older off-road tourers, provided you use the same handlebar width.

9. Faster Steering Speeds For Light Touring Bikes

Bikes like the Cannondale Topstone are steering a little quicker than previously.

In the gravel-adventure-bikepacking category, we’re seeing a move towards faster steering speeds. This is the direct result of trying to make bikes that excel in all areas. By increasing the steering speed, a light touring bike feels more nimble but at the same time a little less stable. Given a light front load slows the steering speed a bit, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

10. Reduced Gear Range

The 2019 Salsa Journeyman Apex uses a 1x drivetrain to simplify the drivetrain at the cost of a wide gear range.

The current trend to remove the front derailleur from touring and adventure bikes results in far narrower gear ranges. Most 1x drivetrains use an 11-42t cassette which offers a big gear that’s 3.8x higher than the lowest gear. Compare this to a 3x drivetrain and you’re looking at a big gear that’s 5.7x higher than the lowest gear.

With a 1x drivetrain you’ll have less of an ability to pedal at high speed (not really a deal breaker), but also sometimes less climbing gears (not ideal if you like cycling in the mountains with a moderate load). I typically recommend using a 2x or 3x drivetrain for anything on sealed roads, but find that 1x is generally more than enough for off-road use provided you forgo the high gear ratios. 1x also works out for those who prefer to travel on flatter routes.

Summary

In 2019, you can choose between steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon touring bikes. You can choose a bike designed around a dropbar, flatbar or my favourite – an alt handlebar. You can go for a lightweight build if you’re packing light, or super heavy-duty build for a ’round the world trip. Most framesets fit rather wide tyres which will provide extra confidence on more surfaces with very little difference in cycling speed.

While the traditional touring bike market is drying up, more specialized touring bikes are taking their place. You can grab an off-road touring bike that will open up more locations to travel, or a light touring bike which will assist with faster cycling speeds.

With more choice than ever before, it has never been a better time to buy a touring bike.

Grab a copy of the 2019 Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide to learn everything about touring bikes and compare the 130+ different bike models currently available.

The post 10 Ways Touring and Bikepacking Bikes Have Changed For 2019 appeared first on CyclingAbout.com.

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