Updated on August 18, 2022
Are you short on funds? Any bike, as long as it is around the proper size, can be used for touring. You will (at some point) get from point A to point B on the rusty junk that has been sitting in the garage for the last decade.
This is not hyperbole: learn how I assembled a whole touring bike (including with gear and luggage) for £25.17.
Have some extra cash but are still on a shoestring budget? New touring bikes of reasonable quality can be purchased for far under £1,000 (USD$1,200 or CAD$1,500). Bikes priced at this range are considered entry-level. They have the same design language as their more expensive siblings, but feature less expensive components and fewer travelling accessories, achieving the design goal of economy.
Do you have a budget for a new serious touring bike? The conventional thinking is to obtain the greatest possible accommodations without jeopardising your overall vacation budget. This is the domain of the luxury touring bike or expedition bike, which places a premium on durability through the use of higher-quality components and specialised design ideas.
If all you have is a €20 bike from a local scrapyard for an unplanned riding adventure, go for it – you will not be the first!
Now, enough with the fundamentals. Let’s take a look at the most well-known and tested touring bikes across a range of price points.
In 2022, the Best Entry-Level Touring Bikes If you’re just getting started, there is a nice selection of affordable but high-quality touring bikes that are luggage-equipped and ready to go for less than £1,000 (about USD$1,200). Significantly less in some instances.
These bikes often include aluminium frames, lighter, cheaper, and simpler drivetrain components (ie: gearing schemes), rim brakes, and possibly a modest pannier rack to get you started. They are still designed and manufactured primarily for touring, frequently sharing a frame with more expensive models.
Entry-level bikes are frequently excellent candidates for future upgrades for longer, more strenuous excursions — possibly after doing a short cycle tour closer to home.
The following are some of the most highly recommended cheap touring bikes that have stood the test of time and distance:
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Best Budget Touring Bike
Nota bene: The Flat White was recently removed from the Adventure website. I’ve emailed them to inquire whether this is a temporary or permanent situation. The information below will remain available for reference as long as shops maintain inventory.
The Adventure Flat White from SportLine is currently the cheapest off-the-peg touring bike I’m aware of. It features a lugged steel frame with a full complement of traveling frame features (three bottle cage mounts plus rack mounts front and rear), a basic but reliable 14-speed road-oriented drivetrain, mudguards, and a rear rack to get you started on undemanding, lightly-loaded local tours.
Launched in 2015, it is still a relative newcomer to this extremely conservative industry but is garnering a steady stream of favorable press coverage. Add your preferred saddle and a pair of rear panniers and you’re ready to ride.
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Cube’s touring bike collection is led by the very economical and simply titled Touring.
If you’re used to touring on British or American-designed bikes, you’ll notice some significant differences here, including flat handlebars and an adjustable stem, an upright riding position, and a front suspension fork, as well as other details like a kickstand, a hub dynamo, and standard LED lights.
All of these features are pretty typical of leisure/touring bikes from continental Europe, and if you’re not used to road cycling, this level of increased comfort and convenience may feel like a gentler introduction to cycle touring.
To appeal to a diverse customer base, the Touring is available in a variety of frame configurations and sizes, including the classic diamond frame (5 sizes), a women’s-specific frame with a sloping top tube (3 sizes), and a step-through frame for riders with decreased mobility (3 sizes), all available in a choice of two colour schemes for 2022.
The’semi-integrated’ rear rack, which is held in place by the mudguard/fender, is admittedly strange, and when combined with the lack of rack mounts on the front fork, buyers looking for a bike capable of heavyweight expeditions will require a rear rack with extra seat stay clamps, such as the ever-popular Logo, in the absence of standard braze-on.
The remainder of the specifications is quite ordinary for a vehicle in this price range. Shimano’s V-brakes and entry-level drivetrain elements are functional but unremarkable. Almost probably, the saddle will be eliminated, and the pedals – well, you can’t sell a bike without them.
With that stated, the bike’s best selling point may be its affordability, since the sudden loss of several popular entry-level touring cycles (e.g. the Dawes Galaxy) has created a need at this end of the market that Cube appears more than glad to fill.
Cube touring bikes are readily available at bike stores around the United Kingdom and Europe.
Cube Touring bikes can be purchased online in the United Kingdom via Tredz, Chain Reaction Cycles, or Wiggle.
Chain Reaction Cycles sells the Cube Touring range online in the United States and Canada.
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The Tour — the entry-level touring bike from UK company Ridgeback – has many features with its higher-end sibling, the Panorama (see below), but with a more affordable aluminium frame, rim brakes, and a basic Shimano Claris/Acera 38sp mountain bike drivetrain.
Ridgeback has enhanced the Tour’s specification over the previous few years, elevating it to the upper echelon of the entry-level category.
The 2021 model was identical to the 2019/2020 versions in terms of specification but came with a £50 price rise and a new paint job.
Ridgeback touring bicycles are commonly available in bike stores around the United Kingdom.
Tredz sells the Ridgeback Tour online in the United Kingdom.
Hey, all I am Joe Marino I love to ride bikes and teach others how to ride them. Most of my articles are about which bike is best for others. I am passionate about cycling and it shows, whether I am writing about a $25 bicycle from any random website or a $5000 Santa Cruz.
I have always been the guy who gets calls from friends while at work asking which bike they should buy. I have written about the best city bike for commuting, the best folding bike for use on public transit, and even what to keep in mind when shopping for kids’ bikes.
You can follow my blog and read all of my other articles on my website.