2019’s Best Touring Bikes For Men and Women – Adventure Awaits!

Touring bicycles have a very long history. The earliest examples of people roaming Europe on their two-wheelers (then called "dandy horses") reach all the way back into the past to the first decades of the XIX century. As you would expect, these rudimental vehicles were very clunky and, by all intents and purposes, considered a novelty aimed at the privileged.

Fast forward 200 years into the future and you will find a completely different situation.

Bike touring has established itself as the go-to eco-friendly way of exploring the world, and touring bikes have evolved into streamlined vehicles pushing the boundaries of the self-propelled drive.

Of course, being a touring bike is not by itself a guarantee of quality. Let’s which vehicle is worthy of your attention the most.

In a hurry? The test winner after 25 hours of research:

editors pick
salsa marrakesh

Salsa Marrakesh

Why is it better?

  • Durable frame
  • Excellent geometry
  • Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes
  • Versatile drive train
  • Reliable Shimano shifters

94/100
our score


researched sources

9

Researched sources

reviews considered

154

REviews considered

hours researched

25

hours researching

products compared

16

products compared

Last Updated: November 1, 2019

By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding folding  bikes available for those who are interested in lightweight and portable bikes. The best 8 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best folding bicycles currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  
Salsa Marrakesh

Salsa Marrakesh

Rating: 94/100 View Latest Deal →
Trek 520 Review

Trek 520

Rating: 93/100 View Latest Deal →
salsa cutthroat review

Salsa Cutthroat

Rating: 92/100 View Latest Deal →
trek powerfly 5 review


Trek Powerfly 5

Rating: 90/100 View Latest Deal →
Get Schwinn Discover Men's Hybrid Bike


Schwinn Discover

Rating: 89/100 View Latest Deal →
2019’s Best Touring Bikes For Men and Women – Adventure Awaits! 1



Brompton M6R

Rating: 89/100 View Latest Deal →
2019’s Best Touring Bikes For Men and Women – Adventure Awaits! 2
Raleigh Tamland
Rating: 88/100 View Latest Deal →

Best Touring bike for men

editors pick
Trek 520

TRek 520

The 520 is a steel touring bike made for the open road. It's the longest-running model in Trek's lineup, and it's built to carry you and your gear.

93/100
our score


TREK 520 

On the first glance, Trek 520 probably looks as by the numbers as it gets.

But, don't let this traditional design deceive you - this bike packs much more than meets the eye. Besides, this stretched out geometry hasn't become a touring staple for no reason – the way the bike handles the transfer of weight is truly excellent and the frame allows you to easily get into an optimal aerodynamic stance for optimal weight.

This whole situation is largely helped by the fact that you get to choose between five different frame sizes (48, 51, 54, 57 and 60 cm) so you can improve your riding experience even further.

But, as good as it is, the frame is not the main star of the show. The manufacturer has decided to grace the bike with a couple of very interesting features that do a great job justifying its admittedly hefty price.

Let us start with the pretty inventive gearing. This time you are allowed to go much lower than with the standard-issue touring bikes, which comes pretty handy if the road takes you to some sharper inclines and you are buried in baggage.

The whole setup is made even better by Shimano Dura-Ace bar-end shifters which are both very easy to maintain and easy to use for touring on the go.

The wheelset you get on 520 feels very durable, without coming off too stiff. Although primarily made for long treks, the tires are wide enough to provide a pleasant cushioning effect and neutralize a couple of bumps you may encounter on the road. The rims are pretty sturdy and were made to accommodate the wider tires so this whole combination performs rather well.

Overall, we can say that the build of the bike is very strong without creating an excessive weight that would put too much pressure on the rider on the harder track sections.

Once we move to more specific mechanical elements, we can find a thru-skew secure skewer system featuring dropout looping system that makes sure the wheel won’t fall out before the skewer is removed. The 48/36/26t Alivio mountain bike chainset works as expected and loses very little torque along the way.

All these building blocks produce one incredibly satisfying riding experience that’s honestly very hard to emulate. Trek 520 may be scarce when it comes to exciting gimmicks (all the deviations from the traditional formula the manufacturer is making are smart and serve some purpose), but it truly delivers in the field that’s the most important for long-distance riders – the performance.

Verdict

Combining the traditional and classy-looking frame of the touring bikes and a couple of slight nods in the off-road direction, Trek 520 spices the whole blend with quality mechanical parts and delivers one of the strongest performances we have seen in this niche in the last couple of years. However, this quality comes with an adequate price.

Read more about our experiences with this rugged tourer in our in-depth review of the Trek 520.

Best touring bike for women

2019’s Best Touring Bikes For Men and Women – Adventure Awaits! 3

Raleigh Tamland

The Raleigh Tamland is a great adventure bike that offers comfort and stability on the gravel trail. It has a charming overall construction that suits female bike enthusiasts.

88/100
our score


RALEIGH TAMLAND

Vehicles that are designed to perform well on gravel are still a pretty novel corner of the bike world. And yet with major roads becoming so jammed with traffic to the point of endangering the riders’ security and more and more people deciding to take their adventures off road, we have to ask why the manufactures waited before exploiting this simple fact.

Raleigh Tamland is an excellent piece of hardware that, with its strong build and added stability makes strong efforts in finally making the gravel bikes a thing.

So, let us start with the frame – Raleigh Tamland comes in two varieties - Tamland 1 and the Tamland 2. Both of the options feature the same basic frame that comes in a number of different sizes ranging from 52 to 60 cm which makes the bike an excellent choice for riders of different builds.

Either way, the choice of the materials is simply great – the frame is built from custom butted Chromoly steel which strikes a near-perfect balance between light weight and durability. The forks are just the same –this monocoque carbon featuring a tapered alloy steerer.

This solid construction produces an optimal off-road comfort and provides an excellent frame to hang smaller features on. And hang them the manufacturer did.

For instance, both of the break varieties (Tamland 2 uses an SRAM Rival drivetrain and Tamland 1 Shimano 105) do a good job bringing the vehicle to a halt even on unstable terrains. The main difference is that the hydraulic discs we can find on Timland offer lesser stopping power. They still perform well, though.

Another thing we would like to point out (at least in the case of Tamland 1) is the Shimano shifting system which is arguably one of the best you can currently find on the market.

Finally, if you want to get a good performance on terrains like gravel you need to have a good pair of tires. In both of the cases, Tamland addresses this issue with a lot of grace.

At first glance, 40mm-wide Donelly tires may look like an odd choice to put on this kind of vehicle because they simply appear too thin. But, once they stick to the ground (and we literally mean “stick” to the ground) you will see why the manufacturer went this route. The traction you get is truly extraordinary.

Overall, even though Tamland 1 puts on a slightly better performance, both of the bike varieties use their ergonomic frames and smart components to create the formula that provides truly great and crowd-pleasing performance on the terrain that is very hard to ride on – a hard formula to crack but we feel the manufacturer made a strong push in the right direction.

Verdict

With its pleasant, classic frame Raleigh Tamland may look like a bike made from traditionalists, but, in reality, it is all but. The best way to describe it is an excellent blend of ergonomic materials and smart features that produce a go-to choice for all riders (regardless of gender and weight) who like to take their adventures in a new direction.

Read more about why we recommend this touring bike for women in our in-depth review of the Raleigh Tamland.

Best adventure off-road touring bike

editors pick
salsa cutthroat review

Salsa Cutthroat

The Raleigh Tamland is a great adventure bike that offers comfort and stability on the gravel trail. It has a charming overall construction that suits female bike enthusiasts.

92/100
our score


1. Salsa Cutthroat

When we talked about Raleigh Tamland we scratched the surface of what you may find once you take the turn off the main roads. But, gravel tracks are still pretty accessible. Now, it’s time to take the things in a completely new direction and go completely off road.

Salsa Cutthroat is a bike that fits this energizing narrative like a well-tailored glove. Just take a look at its name, it’s so edgy.

Joking aside, this is one truly well-crafted pieces of hardware that understands what it takes to provide speed and stability on rough terrain.

All this praise we are singing is laid upon a solid frame that comes in the form of a full-carbon frame which is incredibly light (passing the bike over unavoidable obstacles is truly a breeze), without ever compromising its quality. During the testing, we had more than one rough landing and the bike came out of it virtually unscratched.

Also, we like to point out that the seat is incredibly comfy to sit on, even if you encounter occasional bumps. Obviously, the manufacturer did its best to make the off-road tracks as pleasant as possible.

The other incredibly important feature the bikes of this type need to address flawlessly are the breaks. This time this important duty is handled by a pair of hydraulic disk brakes that virtually freeze your vehicle in place, even if you are racing downhill.

Unfortunately, the force leavers could be a bit better placed, but as long as we stay focused on the performance, this setup still works rather well.

As you would expect, the tires have seen the massive increase in size over the previous two bikes we reviewed. Still, even though 29” 2.2” tubeless ready tires offer pretty strong traction, the generous frame clearance allows you to install the tires that go all the way up to 29” 3” which is a more than welcome option.

Much like the frame, the rims we can find on the wheels are pretty sturdy and look like they can take an incredible amount of punishment.

Finally, we have to talk about gearing. The 38t crankset paired with an NX 10-42 cassette you get out of the package is by no means bad. As a matter of fact, it puts on a pretty solid performance, but only as long as you are carrying lighter weight.

If you want to put more baggage on the bike, we definitely recommend shifting toward something more in the vein of 11-42 cassettes.

All in all, this is one very balanced and well-crafted vehicle that features very effortless maintenance and great overall stability on difficult terrain. Throw cool design and light weight into the mix, and you may have an ultimate off-road bike here.

Verdict

Salsa Cutthroat is a handsome, light and incredibly fast bike that makes an easy job of all the different obstacles you can find once you go off roads. There is also a great potential for future tuning which makes a slight compensation for a couple of flaws this vehicle definitely has. Still, at this price point, we would like to see something a bit more polished.

Another winner from Salsa, we dissect in our detailed Salsa Cutthroat Review.

2. Tommaso Sentiero

TOMMASO SENTIERO
  • DURABLE AND RELIABLE: Now with wider 700x40c tires for increased versatility and stability! Aluminum Compact Frame combined with an SST Steel...
  • POWERFUL PEFORMANCE & SPEED: 3x8 Shimano Claris Groupset, featuring a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T Claris cassette. Perfect for varying...
  • RUGGED, ALL-TERRAIN CAPABILITIES: Tommaso TC-20D rims and offer the rugged durability of a 28 spoke rim that can handle all types of terrain and...

Unlike the previous bike we covered, Tommaso Sentiero is, for all intents and purposes, an entry-level bike. So, we’ll do our best to treat it as such and avoid direct comparison with other, more expensive units. Still, we all need to be aware of some constraints that come packed with an affordable price tag. 

Plus, it's avaiable on Amazon, which makes it a quicker and easier purchasing option.

But, let us start with the positives. The first thing we want to point out that the bike features a pretty excellent geometry. The power and comfort are clashing in one beautiful package that has no problem maintaining stability on hilly terrains and taking some beating if you are landing from the minor heights.

Overall, the frame may not be amongst the top offerings of the market (more on that later), but it is still balanced enough to provide solid performance.

We are also extremely pleased with its Shimano Claris Tripe crankset coupled with a 12x25 cassette. This setup gives you all the variety you may need when climbing even the steepest terrains you can find once you get off the main roads.

The other thing that heavily leans on this topic are the shifters which are not only incredibly smooth but also pinpoint accurate. You will be able to easily adjust the brakes without the need to move your hands or take your eyes off the road.

The bike also features more than a couple of nice touches that are there to improve the overall comfort of the vehicle. Take for instance the optimized handlebars that are both ergonomic and efficient.

So, from a design standpoint, the bike summons a lot of goodwill. There is a visible effort on behalf of the engineers to squeeze every ounce of value from this affordable package.

But, much like with all other units of this type, it is clear that some compromises needed to be made. In this case, that would be the choice of aluminum as the material that will make the core of the bike’s frame.

On the more positive side, the frame is very tough and can withstand a lot of abuse. Unfortunately, it also makes the bike too heavy for harder terrains and riders who are not at the peak of their form.

Although a minor mention in the long list of praise we have written about the bike, it does have a strong influence on the overall impression and may even be a deal breaker for riders who are intent of talking tours in nature.

Verdict

Tommaso Sentiero is a bike that is both well-intentioned as it is well-designed. With so many things doing right, it is hard not to recommend this vehicle to casual and money-conscious riders who like to consume their adventures in shorter burs. However, if you are leaning more on the pro side and want to cover greater uninterrupted distances, the bike’s weight may prove to be the unavoidable obstacle.

Best folding bike for touring

editors pick
brompton m6r

BrompTom M6R

The touring legend, the brompton folding ebike is a great companion on a road trip, you can easily take it with you in a rental car or even on a plane trip!

88/100
our score


1.Brompton M6R

Folding bikes are a curious beast. On the one hand, they are the ultimate portable vehicles for travelers who use the bikes only to close the short distance gap and then change the means of transport. On the other, there is only so much performance you can squeeze from the vehicle you can carry on your back.

So, comparing the folding bikes to full-blown touring units wouldn’t be quite fair.

For that very reason, we are very glad to say that, in spite of its inherent limitations, Brompton M6R manages to find a pretty sweet spot between riding experience and portability.

For a start, the frame and some of the additional features lean more on the side of leisure than sports performance, which is all we can expect from a casual commuting unit. The high tensile steel the whole thing is made of is durable but not too heavy and the classic M-type handlebar allows for a pleasant riding experience without forcing you to lean too heavily forward.

brompton m6r review, folded up

Throw into the equation a pair of small but very cushiony wheels upgraded with good looking mudguards and you will get a pretty good picture what this bike’s main mission is – getting you from point A to point B and making sure you feel comfortable in the process.

Keeping that in mind, it is hard to deny that, for what it is, Brompton M6R represents one pretty snappy and versatile piece of hardware.

For instance, you get to choose between six different gears which is pretty awesome for a folding unit. It also allows you to easily make an easy job from some sharper inclines, which would, with this wheel size, be a very tall order.

The downside of this whole concept is that the duty of changing the gears is divided between two leavers which makes one very convoluted experience. The same can be said about trying to determine in which gear you are currently riding.

As for the other essential features, the braking system has finally seen the improvement over the previous iterations of the vehicle. This time we have improved brake pads coming from Fibrax that produce all the braking power the vehicle of this type might require.

The standard-issue Brompton tires are soft but somewhat slippery on wet surfaces. Overall, they perform well but they are nothing to write home about.

So, there you have it – a neat and streamlined vehicle that’s great both for casual city commuting and for closing the short touring distances. Just don’t ever confuse it for a professional touring bike.

Verdict

Brompton M6R is a very cute and capable city rider that easily overcomes all the obstacles that can be associated with this type of vehicle. Even if we take into account its inherent limitations, we still get a very solid and versatile performance that provides a lot of value for the money.

2. Schwinn Adapt

SCHWINN ADAPT
  • The Schwinn Adapt 1 folding bike is designed to fit a wide range of bikers. Ditch headache-inducing traffic and bike to work with this convenient...
  • With a lightweight alloy frame, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a convenient folding system, the Schwinn Adapt 1 is easy to carry, easy to fold, and...
  • Make biking anywhere a breeze with the bike's seven gears, Shimano twist shifters, and Shimano Tourney rear derailleur.

When we talked about the previous bike we’ve seen that Brompton has set a pretty much a textbook example of how to make a portable touring bike that won't take too big of a bite of the vehicle's performance. Schwinn Adapt sets out to do the same thing – on a dime.

As you would guess, the list of compromises the engineers had to make this time is much longer. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that we are talking about a very neat and capable small roadster that serves its basic purpose more than well.

For example, the aluminum frame is sufficiently sturdy and not overly heavy – it amounts to manageable 15 kilograms you can easily carry in the storage bag you get in the package. The number of gears is pumped up to nine, which is quite amazing and SRAM X5 shifters do a pretty good job at allowing you to play with different settings.

The tires and brakes are serviceable, but far from extraordinary. So, we can all agree that the core performance is pretty much intact, which is great news for money-conscious buyers.

But, the devil is in the details, and when it comes to details, this neat little bike feels awfully shortchanged.

Seriously, is asking for kickstand that would allow you to park your vehicle would be too much? Another thing that feels very underwhelming is that the handlebar and seating post are not adjustable. That isn't too big of a problem if you are of a smaller build. But because of this, taller people can easily skip this unit. At least if they don't want to develop serious back pain.

Moving on to the riding experience.

Well, much like any other thing regarding this bike it feels a bit compromised. The unit handless rather well and puts on a rock-solid performance on flat surfaces and in good weather conditions.

But, once you move to the rugged surfaces, you will experience bumping that will not only take a huge swing at your enjoyment but also compromise your control over the vehicles. As long as you hold on to the paved roads, you shouldn’t experience too much trouble, though.

Still, all these gripes are something you can look away from if you just remember what this product is all about – casual city rides wrapped up in the package that's not too heavy on your pocket.

Keeping things in this perspective, Schwinn Adapt is an enjoyable little vehicle which does its job sufficiently well.

Verdict

Schwinn Adapt doesn't make any false claims about its value or its goals, and the manufacturer has done a good job at meeting and even passing these rather low standards. It is a nice, snappy vehicle aimed primarily at casual riders. Even so, we would like to see some of the basic features (like a kickstand) addressed in the next iteration. The potential for greatness is definitely there.

Best Cheap Touring Bike

SCHWINN DISCOVER
  • The Schwinn Adapt 1 folding bike is designed to fit a wide range of bikers. Ditch headache-inducing traffic and bike to work with this convenient...
  • With a lightweight alloy frame, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a convenient folding system, the Schwinn Adapt 1 is easy to carry, easy to fold, and...
  • Make biking anywhere a breeze with the bike's seven gears, Shimano twist shifters, and Shimano Tourney rear derailleur.

1. Schwinn Discover

In the previous review, we have seen the effort Schwinn put in the entry-level folding bike market. The end result was very capable in a somewhat undercooked piece of hardware. Now, we are moving to a full-scale league.

Well, even though this bike manages to retain a pretty lucrative price, we are pleased to say that this time, the results are much better.

Here we have one very well-balanced vehicle that is aimed at all the casual riders who don’t value cutting edge specs as much as enjoyable performance and effortless gear shift.

That doesn’t mean Schwinn Discover is without its teeth. All of the components are hung upon a rock-solid and rust-free aluminum alloy frame with a lifetime warranty. Not the lightest material on the market, but remember – this bike isn't pursuing prizes in any particular field.

The rest of the components follow in similar footsteps. The Promax alloy linear brakes are capable to stop the vehicle almost instantaneously which makes the bike very safe to ride. The 21-speed SRAM gear shifter offers enough variety even for the most demanding riders and keeps shifting as effortless as possible.

The overall feel is that all these parts are carefully chosen to balance the vehicle's price without compromising its quality.

And then, there are the other small details like very pleasant padded saddle and adjustable handlebar that make the overall riding experience even more enjoyable.

To sum it all up, although this vehicle was obviously built for occasional joyrides rather than strenuous adventures on long distance roads it still manages to offer enough power and versatility to leave you pleasantly surprised even if you push it out of its comfort zone.

So, what’s up with the price? Some compromises needed to be made, right?

Well yes, but fortunately they are mostly superficial. For instance, assembling the vehicle is a true pain in the neck and the lack of comprehensive instructions isn’t making this job any easier. Furthermore, the bike comes equipped with cheap plastic fenders – a couple of harder crashes and they’re gone.

But, we would much rather live with cheap fenders and difficult assembly (which is anyway a one-time effort) than compromised core performance. And the good people from Schwinn were careful not to make any wrong steps in this field.

In the end, this bike could be best described as utilitarian. It lacks all the bells and whistles you can find on the more expensive touring models but lacks virtually nothing necessary for a pleasant countryside ride.

Verdict

Schwinn is a manufacturer with a lot of experience in entry-level segments meaning they have pretty much cracked the formula of what needs to be left behind while offering genuine quality at an affordable price. This bike is probably the pinnacle of their previous efforts in this lineup – not overly flashy but serviceable and reliable to a fault.

For more info, we took a closer look at the Schwinn Discover, make sure to read this review before making a buying decision.

2. SixthreeZero Ride in the Park

Sale
SIXTHREEZERO Ride In The Park
  • Classic 7-speed Men's city cruiser bike with low-profile, lightweight aluminum frame for easy on and off
  • Shimano 7-speed external derailleur allows wide range of rides, from leisure to long distance; front and rear handbrakes for easy stopping
  • Rear rack for optional baskets and matching full fenders; seat and handlebar geometry puts rider in an upright, heads-up position

The name of this bike gives you everything you need to know about this bike – it is a joyride mounted on two wheels and wrapped up in an incredibly appealing, retro-looking package. Will it earn some rewards? Probably not. Win any races? Definitely not. Allow you for some incredibly satisfying weekend country rides?  Certainly!

So, this bike definitely looks like a product of a bygone era, which admittedly gives it a certain vintage charm. This look also creates the impression of the vehicle that is not all that capable, which could not be further from the truth.

Mounted on the strong (and somewhat clunky) aluminum body are all the features you may wish from the bike in this price range.

For a start, the low looping frame allows you to ride the bike in an upright position which makes your country rides all the more pleasant. The same can be said about the seat post covered in brown synthetic leather. Everything we can find here is definitely leisure-oriented.

The mechanical parts are not that shabby either. The 700 x 35 C wheels are pretty big and allow you to easily cover the great distances. Even more important, they are very well made (for this price range) and look like they can withstand a lot of abuse.

The tires fall more into the mixed bag category. They are serviceable and provide sufficient traction, but keep them off the wet ground.

Finally, we have to give a special shout-out to Shimano 7-speed External Derailleur. Although we've seen the products that offer far more versatility (even in this corner of the market), the variety you get is more than sufficient. You will be able to cruise, climb, and coast which is more than enough for this type of vehicles.

The rest of the parts could be best described as solid. They are serviceable but not worth going into too much detail.

As for the drawbacks, they are surprisingly not that numerous. As we already mentioned, the bike is quite heavy and clunky so good luck if you have to climb it upstairs to your apartment. Also, although the vehicle comes 85% assembled, doing the rest of the footwork is a real chore. There had to be a way to make putting the thing together simpler.

So, there you have it – a story about SixthreeZero Ride in the Park – a bike that has truly nothing to brag about, but puts on one incredibly satisfying performance. Sometimes, that’s just what you need to have a pleasant afternoon on the countryside road.

Verdict

SixthreeZero Ride in the Park is a vehicle that falls awfully close to the average category. However, its unique look does a tremendous job at helping it find an initial customer base. The overall performance and incredibly pleasant riding experience move it yet one step closer to customers who prefer comfort over speed.

Best Road Touring Bike

editors pick
salsa marrakesh

Salsa Marrakesh

The Salsa Marrakesh is our no.1 touring bike for a reason. It was designed to take on long miles while carrying heavy loads. It offers uses riding confidence on steep climbs and scary descents.

94/100
our score


SALSA MARRAKESH

People look at touring from a number of different perspectives. However, it is hard to deny that no matter how you take it, your goal is to cover as much distance as possible. This is the bike that was built with this specific purpose in mind.

But, what are the requirements that make that essential long distance touring that Salsa Marrakesh manages to address so successfully to climb at the very top of the market?

Well, let’s start with the frame which makes the “skeleton” of the entire vehicle. This time we have a beautiful Marrakesh Cobra Kai 4130 Cromoly frame which was specially designed to carry heavy loads without appearing too heavy itself. Don’t get us wrong, the weight is substantial, but not overbearing. And it produces an excellent momentum once you develop speed.

Overall, a perfect blend for long distance treks.

This whole situation is largely helped by the fact that the frame features near-perfect geometry, even when the vehicle is stacked with a heavy load.

The braking system is handled by Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes, which is, by all means, an excellent choice. In combination with slow steering speed and pretty long chainstays, the brakes give you a great control over the vehicle even when you're racing down the steep slopes.

When it comes to the wheels, the impression continues to be rock-solid. Both of them are supported with very strong WTB rims and wrapped up in the very grippy Schwalbe Marathon tires. The downside of this setup would be that the tires may appear too thin for some riders, but remember – this vehicle was designed for long paved roads.

We would like to point that, in spite of some drawbacks, the tires perform nothing short of excellent on wet ground, which is one of the best things you can hope for once you set off to a long distance trip.

Finally, we have to talk about gears. The 3*9 drivetrain you get in the package is incredibly versatile and handles uphill roads with surprising grace. No matter how steep the inclines you are climbing may be you will be able to develop decent speed and push the vehicle forward without excessive effort.

Gear shifts are handled by tried and tested Shimano bar-end shifters which don’t require any further explanation. The brand is famous for its high-quality products.

What we are left in the end is the vehicle that makes some conscious divisive choices that may turn off a certain number of people, but still produce one unparalleled long-distance road experience. And that is ok. The touring market is diverse enough to support the products aimed at people with different riding preferences.

Verdict

Salsa Marrakesh is a vehicle that is, for all intents and purposes, built for the people who expect to cover long distances in a single run, without having to worry about the weight of the load or weather conditions. Sure, its weight may be a bit excessive for some, but the excellent gear set makes sure that this slight drawback doesn’t come in the way of an otherwise excellent performance.

Not just the best touring bike in this review, but straight-up one of the best bikes we've EVER reviewed, take a look at why this bike rocks in our Marrakesh in-depth review.

Best Electric bike for long-distance touring

editors pick
montague allston

Trek Powerfly 5+

The Powerfly 5 is a powerful electric mountain bike that has been designed for both male and female bike enthusiasts looking for a little help on challenging trails.

90/100
our score


TREK POWERFLY 5

Finally, we have to scratch one very unique corner of the touring bike market – the electric vehicles. Although they are far from being novel, electric bikes are still struggling with a couple of blemishes that are preventing the technology to be more widely used.

The first one is the price which still presents a huge obstacle for the average consumer. The second comes in the form of added weight that comes with the electronic components and the battery.

We are happy to say that Trek Powerfly 5 somehow manages to leverage these obstacles and turn them into assets.

Sure, the price is there, and the weight is as weighty as ever. But, for the money you are asked to pay, you at least get an incredibly steady Bosch Performance CX motor powered by a 500Wh battery.

This combination allows you to cover the distances up to 130 kilometers in eco mode, develop the speeds up to 33km/h (of course at the expense of the range) and easily climb some incredibly steep inclines.

All these things do an excellent job justifying the bike's price. Essentially, you are buying a vehicle that has no problem carrying heavy long and transforming into a pretty snappy electric motorcycle.

Of course, if you don’t want to really too heavily on the battery to carry your vehicle, you can always switch back to pedaling.

Here, things remain steady and reliable. The vehicle's frame is made of alpha platinum aluminum and does a great job of keeping everything together and infusing the bike with a healthy dose of stability. The battery slot is unobtrusive and doesn’t come at the expense of the overall geometry.

The low-lying design coupled with a well-placed handlebar makes sure that you’re able to maintain a straight posture while riding. So, everything works well in the design department.

When it comes to the brakes, this time the stakes are admittedly higher since you are going to produce a stronger momentum when running the bike with the motor turned on. Fortunately, Shimano MT200 disc brakes do a good job bringing the vehicle to an immediate halt even if you’re racing at the top speed.

Finally, let us talk about the wheels, which are arguably one of the vehicle’s rare detriments. Don’t get us wrong – they are very well built and the Bontrager XR3 tires offer great traction. They are, however, a bit too narrow, which comes at the expense of the overall stability and control.

As for the gear set, it’s serviceable but not exceptional. It serves its purpose rather well and allows you to traverse different terrains once the battery runs dry. The focus of this vehicle lies somewhere else anyway.

Verdict

Trek Powerfly 5 is a vehicle that does an excellent job at overcoming some of the inherent drawbacks of electric bikes and turning them into assets.

Coming equipped with a powerful motor, one of the most enduring batteries you can find on the market and a sturdy build that enforces the bike’s stability and endurance, this might just be the perfect companion for your long-distance touring adventures.

The bike is quite expensive, and we understand why you may want to dig a little deeper before making a buying decision, which is why we wrote an in-depth review on the Trek Powerfly 5+.

Some Helpful Tips when touring

Now that we’ve checked out some of the best touring bikes that are currently floating the market, let’s take some time to talk about the touring itself and see how you can leverage the strengths and drawbacks of your vehicle.

For a start, it would be a good idea to rely on the good old rule of thirds. Namely, you should divide your daily trek in three or more equal distances, and make sufficient brakes between them. This way, you will be able to save enough energy for the latter stages.

The second thing you should pay attention to is the wind. If you can catch a tailwind – great! If you, on the other hand, are clashing directly with the strong front wind, you should probably take a break until the wind calms down.

Finally, do your best to keep yourself energized. Long riding tours tend to be quite exhausting. Do your best then to supply yourself with enough water and nutritious snacks to keep your engine running.

Must-have accessories

Of course, the task of covering the great distances is made much easier if you are not equipped with appropriate touring accessories. Let’s take a quick look at some of the absolute essentials you shouldn’t leave your home without.

A bag to carry everything 

This may be obvious to those who've been touring, but you need a bag. And it needs to be fairly big. Here is the one we recommend.

Get yourself bag or panier kit
  • Smart quick release/clip-on system - Just simply attach and detach bags within few seconds - no straps required! Easy and time saving!
  • Hard base, reinforced, padded main body - A durable polypropylene base allows the bag to be set down on wet surfaces, protecting the cargo...
  • Night riding safety - 360 Degree Reflective trim/ Taillight hanger design

Tools and spare parts  

This one doesn’t require too much explanation. Barren roads can be a treacherous place. You should equip yourself with all the necessary tools that can help you deal with problems that may arise along the way.

Bike Tool Kit
  • AERODYNAMIC DESIGN - The Slim Cycle Triangle Bag fastens to the back of your bike top tube and under seat so your essentials are always within...
  • QUALITY MATERIAL - SRN42 Nylon is a fine, lightweight Nylon weave with ripstop properties and high abrasion resistance; PU coating for...
  • SECURE STORAGE - Main compartment with single zippered closure for peace of mind on rocky or uneven terrain; Just the right size to stash energy...

Also always carry an extra inner tube or two, check out our bike tube review here

Camping gear

More often than not, long roads may leave you without a place to sleep over. Buy yourself a compact camping gear and put an end to this issue once and for all. Make sure you read our biking camping guide for more info.

Cooking gear

Sometimes, the entire days may pass without a decent restaurant on sight. And you can’t live off the snacks that entire time. So download some simple recipes and put them to good use with your new cooking gear.

Spare clothing

You don’t want the rain to spoil your countryside experience. Bring some spare clothes so you can easily change along the way.

Useful items 

By useful items we consider all the small things that don’t pack too much weight but can prove to be incredibly useful in the case of emergency – things like power banks,  a bike computer with GPS navigation, torches, etc.

The things you should know about bike touring

So, now that we’ve covered some basic things, it is important for you to understand a couple of things about the very nature of bike touring.

Touring is performed for the sake of pleasure, not racing. That entails a couple of things. First, keep your own pace. Pushing yourself too hard will just spoil the enjoyment. 

Second, find yourself a good company. The best adventures are shared with friends. Besides, this way you will be able to help each other when things go awry (and they will).

Another thing you need to know before setting off on long journeys is that bike touring is not for sleepers. If you want to avoid the strong sun and make the most out of your day, you will need to wake up as early as 4:30 AM to make use of your available time.

Last but not least, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for the other. The level of enjoyment you’ll be able to squeeze out once on the road will largely depend on your personal preferences and the type of the road you’re going to roam.

That brings us to the last chapter of today's topic.

How to choose the ideal Travel Companion

Although we’ve presented you with some of the best touring bikes money can currently buy, there is a strong chance neither one of them will suit your specific needs. Here are a couple of useful considerations you can make to find your ideal pick.

  • Consider your budget – Investing too much money in the vehicle will make very little sense if you look at touring only as a pass-time activity.
  • Destination – Different types of destinations will require a different type of vehicle. As a rule of thumb, longer journeys will require bikes with sufficient weight capacity.
  • Paved or off-road – Paved roads require fast and steady vehicles. On the other hand, if the majority of your journey will occur offroad, you will need something with larger tires and a certain degree of shock absorption.
  • Are you going to use public transport – If you plan on using public transport to close the distance gaps during your adventure, a smaller or even foldable bike should be your vehicle of choice.

Conclusion

We hope these few considerations and the picks we gave you will make your life if just a bit easier. Bike touring is probably one of the best things you can do during vacation. You will be able to explore the world from a completely fresh perspective and develop some serious stamina along the way. You should not, however, take the whole issue lightly.

Sloppy preparations and the poor vehicle will only get you into trouble. So do your homework and take some time to do the necessary groundwork.

But, once you’re finally done, you will develop a passion that will last a lifetime.

editors pick
salsa marrakesh

Salsa Marrakesh

Why is it better?

  • Durable frame
  • Excellent geometry
  • Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes
  • Versatile drive train
  • Reliable Shimano shifters

94/100
our score



Last update on 2019-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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