Categories
Bikes

A Massive List Of Expedition Touring Bikes For Round-The-World Rides

After an irritatingly large amount of research, I am pleased (and frankly relieved) to present to you a tabulated list of expedition touring bikes, featuring bicycles from no less than 52 manufacturers to date.

The table is intended as an evolving and handy guide to researching and tracking down the many and varied suppliers of expedition grade touring bikes available around the world.

By ‘expedition grade’ touring bike, I mean a category of touring bikes that have been designed from the ground up not for cycling holidays or light road touring or off-road bikepacking, but for journeys which involve months or years of riding, several continents, heavy luggage, seriously remote routes, and every kind of road surface there is – in short, for very long, highly demanding journeys by bicycle.

There’s no clearly agreed-upon name for this category, so ‘expedition touring bike’ is the one I’ve settled on for now.

The chart below is designed for reference and comparison on paper – one assumes that in such a niche market, the very existence of companies building bikes like these is testament enough to their bikes doing the job they’re intended to do, so there’s no judgement attached on any of the bikes in the list, other than that they fit the criteria for inclusion. You’ll have to look elsewhere for reviews (except for those I’ve reviewed myself, which I’ve linked to).

Why bother listing them all in one place? Simply because they can be tough to find, and I want to help you get out riding with minimal fuss. These bikes rarely show up in bike shops and often have to be ordered in specially.

With that in mind, the table is sorted by country of origin, because the ability to test ride the bike should be the biggest criteria in any sensible buying process at these prices and for this purpose.

As rider preferences do differ, you’ll also find columns comparing each bike on the main differences – wheel size, frame material, drivetrain type, braking system, handlebar style – meaning that you can easily shortlist the bikes that fit your requirements without trawling specification charts.

The lowest price for the basic model in each range is listed (many manufacturers sell several models or options), as well as the web address for each manufacturer.


CountryBrandModelFrameWheelsDriveBrakesBarsPriceURL
AustraliaVelosmithJotaSteel26”RohloffCantileverFlat6,360 AUDvelosmith.com.au
AustraliaViventeAnatoliaSteel700CDerailleurDiscVarious2,000 AUDviventebikes.com
AustriaKTMLife LontanoSteel700CDerailleur / PinionHydraulic discFlat1,900 EURktm-bikes.at
FranceAlex SingerCyclo CampingSteel700C? (frame)cycles-alex-singer.fr
FranceGilles BerthoudSteel26”? (frame)gillesberthoud.fr
FranceRando CyclesGlobe-TrotterSteel26”DerailleurV‑brakesFlat2,000 EURrando-cycles.com
GermanyBoettcherExpeditionSteel26”DerailleurHydraulic rimFlat1,430 EURboettcher-fahrraeder.de
GermanyIdworxOff Rohler EvoAluminium26”RohloffHydraulic rimFlat3,550 EURidworx-bikes.de
GermanyIntecM01Steel26″DerailleurV‑brakesFlat1,400 EURintec-bikes.de
GermanyNorwidSpitzbergenSteel26”1,050 EUR (frame)norwid.de
GermanyPatriaTerraSteel26”RohloffHydraulic rimFlat1,610 EURpatria.net
GermanyPoisonMorphin RandonneurSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesFlat1,300 EURpoison-bikes.de
GermanyRad-SpannereiHardo WagnerSteel26” / 700CDerailleur / RohloffV‑brakesVarious850 EUR (frameset)rad-spannerei.de
GermanyRose BikesActiva ProAluminium26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakes / DiscFlat1,600 EURrosebikes.de
GermanyRotorReiseradSteel26”RohloffV‑brakes / DiscVarious1,850 EURrotorbikes.com/
GermanyTout TerrainSilkroadSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffDiscVarious2,000 EURen.tout-terrain.de
GermanyUtopia VeloHerring GullSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakes / hydraulic rimFlat1,740 EURutopia-velo.de
GermanyVelo de VillePremium R 650Steel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesFlat1,600 EURvelo-de-ville.de
GermanyVelotraumCross CrMoSteel26”DerailleurV‑brakes / hydraulic rimFlat1,940 EURvelotraum.de
GermanyVSFTX-800Steel26”Derailleur / RohloffHydraulic rimFlat1,900 EURfahrradmanufaktur.de
ItalyCinelliHobootlegSteel700CDerailleurCantileverDrop1,400 GBPcinelli.it
NetherlandsAvaghonSeries 26Steel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesFlat1,700 EURavaghon.nl
NetherlandsKogaRandonneurSteel26” / 700CDerailleurV‑brakesVarious1,800 GBPkoga.com
NetherlandsKogaSignature World TravellerAluminium26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesVarious2,250 EURkoga-signature.com
NetherlandsSantosTravelmaster 2.6Aluminium26”Derailleur / Rohloff / belt driveV‑brakesFlat1,600 EURsantosbikes.com
NetherlandsSNELSavanneSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesFlat1,600 EURsneltweewielers.nl
NetherlandsVittorioGlobetrotter 26Steel26”RohloffHydraulic rimFlat3,500 EURvittorio.nl
SwitzerlandAariosExperienceSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesFlat3,140 EURaarios.ch
SwitzerlandMTB CycletechPapalagiSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakes / DiscVarious2,120 EURmtbcycletech.com
SwitzerlandSimpelFrischluftSteel26”RohloffDiscFlat3,300 CHFsimpel.ch
UKBob JacksonWorld TourSteel700C645 GBP (frame)bobjacksoncycles.co.uk
UKCondorHeritageSteel26” / 700C600 GBP (frame)condorcycles.com
UKDawesGran TourSteel26”DerailleurDiscDrop1,800 GBPdawescycles.com
UKGenesisTour de FerSteel700CDerailleurDiscDrop900 GBPgenesisbikes.co.uk
UKGhyllside CyclesGhyllside ExpeditionSteel26”DerailleurV‑brakesFlat1,300 GBPghyllside.co.uk
UKHewitt CyclesCheviotSteel700CDerailleur / RohloffCantileverDrop1,300 GBPhewittcycles.co.uk
UKMercian CyclesKing Of MerciaSteel700CDerailleurCantileverDrop2,300 GBPmerciancycles.co.uk
UKOrbit CyclesHarrier Expedition 26Steel26”DerailleurV‑brakesFlat1,000 GBPorbit-cycles.co.uk
UKOxford Bike WorksModel 1 / 2 / ExpeditionSteel26”DerailleurV‑brakesVarious2,050 GBPoxfordbikeworks.co.uk
UKRidgebackExpeditionSteel26”DerailleurCantileverDrop850 GBPridgeback.co.uk
UKRobertsRoughstuffSteel26”1,350 GBP (frame)robertscycles.com
UKSpa CyclesSteel TourerSteel700CDerailleurV‑brakesDrop945 GBPspacycles.co.uk
UKStanforthKiboSteel26”DerailleurCantileverFlat1,500 GBPstanforthbikes.co.uk
UKThornSherpa / RavenSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakes / DiscVarious1,300 GBPthorncycles.co.uk
USABilenkyMidlandsSteel26”DerailleurCantileverDrop3,700 USDbilenky.com
USABruce GordonRock ‘n’ RoadSteel26”DerailleurV‑brakesDrop3,700 USDbrucegordoncycles.
bigcartel.com
USACo-op Cycles (REI)ADV 1.1Steel700CDerailleurV‑brakesDrop1,400 USDrei.com*
USACo-MotionPangaeaSteel26”DerailleurDiscDrop4,000 USDco-motion.com
USAKonaSutraSteel700CDerailleurDiscDrop1,250 GBPkonaworld.com
USARivendell Bicycle WorksAtlantisSteel26”DerailleurCantileverDrop3,600 USDrivbike.com
USARodriguezUTBSteel26”Derailleur / RohloffV‑brakesVarious2,700 USDrodbikes.com
USASomaSagaSteel26” / 700CDerailleurCantileverDrop1,350 USDsomafab.com
USASalsaVayaSteel700CDerailleurDiscDrop1,500 USDsalsacycles.com
USASurlyLong Haul Trucker / Disc TruckerSteel26” / 700CDerailleurCantileverDrop1,400 GBP / 1,600 GBPsurlybikes.com
USASurlyTroll / ECRSteel26”Derailleur / RolhoffV‑brakes / Discn/a750 GBP (frameset)surlybikes.com
USATrek520Steel700CDerailleurDiscDrop1,430 USDtrekbikes.com*

If these price tags make you physically heave, by the way, and you’re not afraid of putting in a bit of effort, you can probably get a touring bike that’ll get you started for close to nothing. Check out how I managed it.

Finally, if you know of any expedition touring bikes in production that you feel are missing from this list, do let us all know in the comments.

I do have a draw a line between what is and isn’t a sensible choice for heavy duty expedition touring, all things considered, but I hope the result will be that if you can’t find your perfect expedition bike in this list, it probably doesn’t exist!

Categories
Charlie Guest Posts Other People's Adventures

The Continuing Adventures Of Charlie The Scrapyard Touring Bike, By Kelly Diggle (Rider #4)

Today’s guest post is from Kelly Diggle, who has just come into ownership of Charlie the Scrapyard Touring Bike. Read about how Charlie was born, as well as the stories of his first and second big journeys. Take it away, Kelly…

I’d be lying if I said cycle touring has always been a dream of mine.

In fact, I blame my wanderlust and itchy-feet-syndrome on the books, blogs and adventurers that tell me over and over again that pedalling off into the distance is an absolute must!

This year I decided to listen. Having had my heart stolen during a 10 day trip to Iceland last year, I promised myself I’d return to find out what the island really had to offer – and what better way than exploring by bicycle for one whole month!

Following Tegan’s adventures with Charlie was what really set my motivation into full swing. Here was a girl, very similar to me, who had no experience but the sheer drive and passion to get on that bike and cycle across Spain (alone) to see her sister. Suddenly one of my biggest fears of travelling alone as a young female seemed irrational – if Tegan could do it, why couldn’t I?

After exchanging a few emails and by successfully portraying in earnest my desire – heck – my need to be the next person to take Charlie for a spin (mainly to remove all possible chance of changing my mind), Tegan happily gave me the address to go and collect the bike from Spain.

Too many people questioned my logic in going all that way for a bike and gear that cost no more than £25. As I answered for the 100th time: “because it’s an excuse to visit somewhere I have never been before!”

I started to believe that was the main thing I would get out of it. I was so very wrong. That 2 day trip taught me that strangers are incredibly helpful (they let you use their phone and give you lifts when you are lost), that travelling alone isn’t scary as long as you’re approachable, and that cycle touring is one of the most exciting, liberating means of travel that there is.

The ride between Alicante and Murcia airport was a straightforward route that hugged the coast. Albeit a small taster of what cycle touring is about, it gave me reassurance that I could do it and enjoy it and that Iceland is possible – all I have to do is get on the bike and ride.

This trip is about more than personal ambition. I want to promote solo female travel and support the belief that big adventure needn’t cost big money. With this in mind, I aim to spend no more than £1000 on the entire trip, including return flights. My choice in wild camping and stove-cooking is not only to keep the cost down but to encourage others to do the same. I hope my social media updates will highlight the positives to simple living, even for a short time on the road.

I have also pledged to fundraise for Tree Aid through this adventure, supporting their aim of planting 1 million seedlings. Through their work, people will be able to unlock the potential of trees to pull them out of poverty and help protect the environment — a cause I deem significant in this current time.

With less than 6 weeks to go, the fears are trying to trump my dream. Will I be safe camping alone with no trees for camouflage? What if I run out of water? Will I have a miserable time if it rains constantly? And will I make it round Iceland in time to catch my flight home?

I imagine most of these worries are normal and I will not let them stop me. In reality, what’s the worst that could happen?

Thanks, Kelly! Follow her journey on her blog and via @blue_eyed_view on Twitter, and if you’d like to support her cause, visit her Justgiving page to get involved.

Categories
Philosophy Of Travel Scotland Off-Road 2006

Leaving Your Comfort Zone Is Not Something To Avoid

Adventure cycling demigod Alastair Humphreys has just launched a new short film of his recent bike & bothy adventure in the Scottish Highlands.

(A bothy, for the uninitiated, is a remote mountain shelter which is free for public use.)

It’s really good.

And if you’ve never come across bothies before, it’s a fantastic introduction to their unique subculture.

Watch it here:

It’s also created the perfect opportunity for me to write a follow-up piece. (Thanks, Al!)

Because ‘biking and bothying across the Scottish Highlands’ is a good description of the first bike trip I ever did, way back in 2006 – way before this blog came into existence and way before I knew that there was even a thing called ‘cycle touring’.

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The plan was simple: to ride off-road from Inverness to Fort William. My two friends and I would carry minimal camping gear and keep things lightweight to make the mountain biking as much fun as possible. We’d sleep in as many bothies as we could find along the way.

We loved mountain biking. We loved the idea of a whole week of it even more. It was as simple as that. The trip couldn’t fail to be awesome.

The plan was also utterly ludicrous; a ferment of inexperience and idealism that guaranteed every kind of misadventure.

Inspired by a 1:25,000 Ordinance Survey map binge, we’d patched together hiking trails, jeep tracks and fire roads through the most rugged of mountains and the densest of forests. We’d bought 1‑man tents and waterproofs from Lidl in defence against the worst of the Scottish rains. And we’d stuffed everything into huge army-surplus backpacks, anticipating no foreseeable effects upon our ability to heroically tackle the terrain.

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What followed was, at the time, easily the most miserable week of my life. There is nothing quite like launching yourself into a world with which you are entirely unfamiliar and from which there is no escape; one in which you’ll have the shit well and truly kicked out of you by the forces of nature, in which you’re forced to learn and to learn bloody fast, and from which you’ll emerge inestimably stronger for having survived it.

I do realise how hopelessly over-the-top it must sound to be speaking of a few days of mountain biking in the UK as if it were the conquering of an unclimbed Himalayan peak. But I was 21. I had never, at any point during my existence upon this Earth, been for a bike ride which hadn’t finished back at home, indoors and in warmth and comfort, at the end of the day.

I had never cycled with luggage. I had never wild-camped in the wilderness.

I had never ridden 40 miles in a day, never cycled up a hill that took more than a few minutes to climb, never been soaked to the skin without any shelter or dry clothes to look forward to, never run out of food a day’s ride from the nearest town, never forded a river, never fallen into a river, never woken up in a puddle in the middle of the night.

I had never suffered so much at the hands of the elements and of my own inexperience.

In short, I’d never been so far out of my comfort zone.

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But slowly, surely and painfully, we figured out what we were doing. We had to. Necessity dictated it.

We ditched the crap tents and got resourceful with ponchos and bivvy bags. We strapped more of our gear to the bikes, inadvertently inventing ‘bikepacking’ in the process. We realised what routes would prove impossible and diverted along more sensible trails. We pooled our resources (some Croatian kroner, a handful of pocket lint and £21.17 in loose change) for a night in a remote hostel and the chance to dry out our belongings.

We embraced the sodden conditions and got the hell on with it.

We even began to enjoy ourselves.

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I tell you: reaching Fort William backpackers’ hostel after that week of mountain biking induced no less surreal a sense of satisfaction than riding back into the village I grew up in after nearly four years away on a bike.

In many ways it was even more so. In that one short week I had been transformed from utter novice to someone who would now feel comfortable tackling such a thing again, and as it happened would indeed do so (with a few minor alterations, of course). Both my sense of what was possible and that of my place in the world had been quite comprehensively reconfigured.

To me, that is what life – at least, the inner life – is all about. I constantly seek experiences, whether physical, intellectual or spiritual, which will bring about some kind of transformation, growth, change of perspective; whatever you want to call it. Life is a fight against laziness, stagnation and complacency, which is not to say travel is the be-all and end-all, for there are other ways to stimulate yourself to push harder, to go further, to grow and to learn. But this bike trip represented perhaps the most intense and memorable of the many such experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have.

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All of this is a roundabout way of hammering home the point that leaving your comfort zone is not something to avoid. Quite the opposite: such opportunities are to be grasped, on the principle that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Ask yourself – what’s (really) the worst that could happen?

And constantly, constantly, remind yourself that (in Al’s words) ‘if I fail, I will not die’.