2019 Masi Giramondo

8 of the Best Touring Bikes: Tour Them Straight Out of the Bicycle Shop

It was not long ago when the best touring bikes were left for a custom-build. Touring bike manufacturers weren’t quite making anything that was stiff enough, with low climbing gears, wide tyre clearance, lots of handlebar options and Rohloff hub compatibility. I would never have considered buying a complete touring bike a decade ago…

But fast forward to 2019 and there are now so many excellent modern touring options to choose between.

The Trek 520 touring bike has been in production since 1983, using a good touring geometry and solid parts since the early-2000s. In 2004, Surly started making one of the finest, mass-produced frame options around – the Long Haul Trucker. The LHT frame was stiff, had 3x bidon mounts, had a spoke holder and used long 460mm chainstays. Slowly but surely, other manufacturers have been matching and exceeding the great features of the Long Haul Trucker; but it has taken some time.

I’ve selected the following bikes as the best examples of a modern touring bike. They are all steel which I like for the deflect tolerance, low cost and ease of modification. They all feature wide gear ranges, including low enough gears to get you up most mountains. Almost all feature cable disc brakes which have proven reliable, even in the most remote of locations. The majority fit barend shifters for no-fuss gear changes, but STI shifters are becoming more common as they tend to be reliable these days.

This is my list of the best modern touring bikes, taking into account design, geometry, price and specification. You can also check out the best touring bicycles with flat handlebars HERE.

Masi Giramondo

2019 Masi Giramondo
The 2019 Masi Giramondo touring bike.

Masi recently put together their first touring-specific steel bike, and it’s killer! It has all the low gears (18-109″), barend shifters, TRP dual-piston disc brakes and clearance for 29×2.0″ tyres. One of the best things about the bike is the price – it’s only US $1399 with Tubus front and rear steel racks (valued at US $260, these are the best in the business). When you factor in the brilliant racks it makes the Masi Giramondo touring bike the best value on the list.

Read more about the Masi HERE.

Salsa Marrakesh

2019 Salsa Marrakesh
The 2019 Salsa Marrakesh touring bike.

The Salsa Marrakesh is a well-designed bike that comes with a smart and reliable specification. The triple-butted steel tubing helps to create a stiff chassis, there are eyelets for everything from fenders to cargo cages, the dropouts are Rohloff hub compatible and the bike comes in six progressively larger sizes. The Marrakesh offers an ultra-wide gear range (21-122″), clearance for 29×2.0″ tyres, cable disc brakes and barend shifters. The price for a complete Salsa Marrakesh is US $1599 and you can get the frameset for US $799.

Read more about the Salsa HERE.

Kona Sutra

2020 Kona Sutra
The 2020 Kona Sutra Touring Bike.

The Kona Sutra touring bike has come a long way since it was introduced over a decade ago; the latest iteration getting closer to touring perfection. Kona has recently optimised the frame geometry to increase the fork rake, increase the chainstay length and lower the bottom bracket, resulting in a more stable ride. It has a smart build of cable disc brakes, 29×2.2″ tyre clearance, relatively low climbing gears (20-119″) and barend shifters. The bike comes with a touring favourite, the Brooks B17 saddle, plus fenders and a rear rack and is available for US $1499.

Read more about the Kona HERE.

Fuji Touring Disc

2018 fuji touring disc
The 2019 Fuji Touring Disc touring bike.

The Fuji Touring is finally available with cable disc brakes! The all-new steel frameset is available in seven sizes and still offers a solid spec including an ultra-wide gear range (20-119″), barend shifters, a rear rack and strong 36-spoke wheels. Get your hands on a Fuji Touring Disc for US $1199.

Read more about the Fuji HERE.

Surly Disc Trucker

2018 Surly Disc Trucker
The 2019 Surly Disc Trucker touring bike.

For a long time, Surly was the touring standard. The bike’s geometry is great and it’s the only bike that’s available with 26″ or 700C wheels. The bike comes with ample braze-ons for water and gear, an ultra-wide gear range (20-119″) and a rock-solid spec. The 700C bike will fit a 700x45C tyre and the 26″ bike a 26×2.10″. Although it’s remained relatively unchanged for quite a while now, it still ranks as one of the best and that’s why you’ll see them everywhere. You can get a Disc Trucker for US $1550.

Read more about the Disc Trucker HERE.

Trek 520

2019 Trek 520
The 2019 Trek 520 touring bike.

The Trek 520 has been slowly evolving into a super-capable steel touring bike. These days it offers a bombproof spec including cable disc brakes and the ability to fit 29×2.0″ tyres, plus a great frame geometry and good climbing gear of less than 20-inches. It’s US $1679 for the complete bike or US $709 for the frameset, it’s also available in grey and it comes with the Bontrager front and rear racks shown in the image.

Read more about the Trek HERE.

Marin Four Corners

2018 Marin Four Corners
The 2019 Marin Four Corners touring bike.

The Marin Four Corners has been getting better and cheaper by the year! This steel touring bike has generous tyre clearance (700x50c), cable disc brakes and braze-ons everywhere. It offers a rather high climbing gear of 25 gear inches, but with a crankset change, you can easily achieve lower climbing gears. Find the Marin Four Corners for US $1039.

Read more about the Marin HERE.

Co-Op ADV 4.2

2018 Co-Op Cycles ADV
The 2019 Co-Op Cycles ADV 4.2 touring bike.

The Co-Op may be a bit different to the other bikes in the list, but don’t overlook it. It offers an insanely low 16 gear inch climbing gear, which will effortlessly get you up any climb in the world. While it’s technically more of an off-road touring bike, it can easily be re-purposed for road and gravel use by fitting some Schwalbe Super Moto-X slick tyres. In terms of parts, it offers a Jones Loop handlebar, Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes, Microshift thumb shifters, front and rear racks and a Cane Creek suspension seatpost. It’s US $1999 which isn’t half bad if you consider what it comes with.

Read more about the ADV 4.2 HERE

Want To Compare These Touring Bikes With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

2016 Advocate Lorax
2018 All City Gorilla Monsoon
2016 Basso Ulisse
2016 Bianchi Volpe and Lupo 2016
2016 Bombtrack Beyond
2017 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Beyond
2018 Bombtrack Arise Tour
2019 Bombtrack Beyond
2016 Brodie Elan Vital
2016 Cannondale Touring
2019 Cannondale Topstone
2020 Cannondale Topstone
2016 Cinelli Hobootleg Geo
2018 Co-Op ADV 4.2
2017 Curve Grovel V2
2017 Diamondback Haanjo EXP Carbon
2016 Fuji Touring
2017 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring
2018 Fuji Touring Disc
2016 Genesis Tour de Fer
2016 Giant ToughRoad
2017 Giant ToughRoad
2018 Giant ToughRoad and ToughRoad GX
2016 Jamis Aurora and Aurora Elite
2019 Jones Plus SWB
2020 KOGA WorldTraveller-S
2016 Kona Big Rove
2016 Kona Roadhouse and Sutra LTD
2016 Kona Sutra
2017 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra LTD
2019 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Unit X
2016 Marin Four Corners
2017 Marin Four Corners
2018 Marin Four Corners
2016 Masi Giramondo
2018 Masi Giramondo
2016 Niner RLT9
2016 Rawland Ulv and Ravn
2016 Salsa Deadwood
2017 Salsa Fargo
2018 Salsa Fargo Ti Frameset
2018 Salsa Journeyman
2016 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Marrakesh
2018 Salsa Marrakesh
2020 Salsa Marrakesh
2017 Salsa Vaya
2019 Salsa Warbird
2016 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized Diverge
2018 Specialized Diverge
2019 Specialized Diverge
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Specialized Sequoia
2019 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Surly Bridge Club
2017 Surly Troll
2016 Traitor Wander
2019 Trek 520
2016 Trek 920, 720, 520 & CrossRip
2017 Trek CrossRip
2018 Trek 920
2018 Trek 1120

Related Posts