Off-road touring bikes are gracing the rough trails of the world more than ever before, as people discover just how great it feels to get lost in the wilderness. We’re seeing more and more off-road specific touring bikes (and fat bikes) with wide tyre carcusses as standard, as well as their fair share of off-road specific alt handlebars.
Here’s a list of 80 off-road touring bikes to sink your teeth into.
Cycle Monkey, the USA distributor for touring components like the Rohloff hub, Gates Carbon Drive and SP Dynamo hubs have been building all kinds of beasts that are ready to conquer all. The bike featured here, a Jones Plus, is a true highlight of their work in recent times. Other than putting together the build, they’ve customised the frame to suit the incredibly robust carbon belt and Rohloff 14 speed drivetrain.
The brains behind the frame and fork, Jeff Jones – does things different to most. His two unconventional and iconic designs, the 3D Spaceframe and truss fork are both beautiful and confusing. How can something so different exist, and why do the people who ride his bikes constantly rave about them? Is there something in the ultra-slack angles, lengthy fork rake and long chainstays? I’ll reserve my judgement for when I get to give his bikes a proper ride.
‘Plus’ bikes, rims and tyres are relatively new to the world of cycling and come in both 27.5 and 29er sizes. Plus refers to the extra-wide nature of both the rim and rubber. While mountain bike tyres have typically sized up to about 2.0″ in width, Plus jumps to 3.0″ in order create a tyre contact patch which is larger and more grippy than anything of regular width. More grip and a larger footprint means you can ride more technical terrain in comfort, without resorting to the slowness of a fat bike (4 to 5-inch tyres).
Let’s take a closer look at this diamond frame Jones Plus with 29×3.0 tyres.
The Jones uses a Surly Nice steel rack which sits tall and has ample tyre clearance. These racks weigh a tonne (ok, maybe not a tonne – but they’re still over twice the weight of the Tubus equivalent) but are about as solid as it gets.
The bike employs some of the most powerful brakes available – four piston Magura MT7 hydros. Due to the number of brake pistons, the large pads have a huge contact area on the rotor. You’ll typically find these brakes on downhill or enduro mountain bikes, but with 180mm rotors they’ll stop this fully loaded touring bike on a dime.
The gearing system is all hidden away in the Rohloff hub shell. A series of planetary gears inside an oil sealed chamber provide a similar gear range to many derailleur setups. I’ve been using Rohloff hubs for years and love the maintenance-free nature of them. Cycle Monkey added a pickup point on the inside of the left seatstay for the Rohloff OEM2 axle plate to grab on to, as well as adding Rohloff cable bosses along the length of the frame. The bike was then powdercoated to hide the modifications.
On the drive side of the bike you’ll find a Gates Carbon Drivetrain. The Jones Plus isn’t designed around this long-lasting and silent drive option, so Cycle Monkey took a section out of the chainstay to add in a simple splitter which permits the one-piece belt into the rear triangle of the bike. The owner of this bike can expect over 30,000km out of a single belt – if they play their cards right!
This all-black Jones build is finished off with the iconic truss fork. This fork design absorbs bumps and hits better than a standard rigid fork without compromising on rigidity. Jones Loop Alt handlebars provide an upright bike position with ample places to locate your hands.
The estimated cost of this build is around US $6500. You don’t need to spend this kind of money to get a 29+ touring bike though! Surly make the ECR @ $2099 and Salsa have a complete Deadwood @ $2599. Or if you like the Jones specifically, complete versions of the Plus start at $3785.
Thanks to Cycle Monkey for providing the images and customising this unique bike!
Frame: Jones Plus
Fork: Jones Plus 142mm Truss Fork
Headset: Hope Threadless
Stem: Thomson X4
Handlebar: Jones Loop H-Bar
Shifter: Rohloff Twist shifter
Grips: Jones ESI Chunky Grips
Seat post: Thomson Elite
Saddle: Selle Anatomica
Front Hub: Hope Pro Fatsno
Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
Spokes: Sapim Force
Nipples: Sapim Brass
Rims: Sun Ringle MuleFUT 29+
Tyres: Maxxis Chronicle 29 X 3.0″
Cranks: Race Face Turbine Cinch
Pedals: Shimano XT
Bottom Bracket: Hope
Chain ring: Gates Carbon Drive
Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive
Chain: Gates Carbon Drive belt
Brakes: Magura MT7 and 4-Piston
Rotors: Magura 180mm
Rack: Surly Nice Rack