The 21 Best Touring Bike Specialists In The UK

Last updated on January 10, 2023 with updated information about Temple Cycles.

There are a lot of bike shops selling touring bikes and bikepacking gear. There are far fewer who are specialised in these niches.

This is hardly surprising. Old-school cycle touring remains a tiny niche. Bikepacking has become a trendy buzzword, and there’s plenty of money being made right now selling mountain bikes with weird-shaped bags attached to them, but for most UK bike shops, sticking an old touring bike in a corner somewhere is about as far as things go.

But a few brave shop owners have made a name for themselves as true touring bike specialists.

A touring bike fitting session in the back workshop at Oxford Bike Works, Abingdon, UK.

The owners of these workshops and showrooms all tend to have one thing in common: they are (or were) cycle tourers and themselves. As a result, they know exactly what a cycle tourer needs – better than any big-name shop assistant ever will.

They are also some of the rare places you’ll be able to test-ride a range of touring bikes to see which one fits your riding style.

They are, in short, an indispensable friend to the touring cyclist, especially when you’re just getting started.

Here, then, is a list of bike shops the full length the UK who partly or wholly specialise in off-the-peg touring bikes, custom-built touring or expedition bikes, and associated equipment and accessories. They’re listed in alphabetical order, with full contact details.

As for which shop is ‘best’, the truest answer I can give you is whichever one is closest to you. I’ve said it many times before: there’s no substitute for test-riding a bike before you buy it.

On with the list!

A Different Gear

New, not-for-profit bike project based in Heeley, Sheffield, specialising in new and reconditioned city, hybrid and gravel bikes and stocking bikepacking gear for rent or purchase.

Ash Tree Yard
62–68 Thirlwell Road
S8 9TF

0114 250 7717

Alpkit Hathersage

Peak District-based flagship store for the popular direct retailer of Sonder touring and bikepacking bikes, Alpkit luggage, plus pretty much everything else you’d need for a two-wheeled adventure.

Main Road
S32 1BB

01433 730930

Bicycles By Design

Custom-fitted bicycle specialists and stockists for Tout Terrain and Co-Motion among others, also providing wheelbuilding and bespoke framebuilding services.

The John Rose Building
High Street

01952 459900


Distributor for Tout Terrain in the UK, as well as several recumbent and trailer brands, with an emphasis on personalisation and individual service.

48 Lamb’s Conduit St

020 7405 1218

Brixton Cycles

Co-operative London bike shop with an emphasis on a minimal selection of ultra-reliable bicycles. Test-rides and care & attention compulsory.

296–298 Brixton Road

020 7733 6055

Condor Cycles

Bespoke bicycle specialists in London with a selection of touring frames, including their classic Heritage steel frameset.

49–53 Gray’s Inn Road

020 7269 6820

Cycle Heaven

True touring experts, stocking Surly and Salsa bikes and framesets (among others) and providing custom assembly services.

2 Bishopthorpe Road
YO23 1JJ

01904 636578

Cycle Sense

One of the few UK dealers for Koga and Van Nicholas touring bikes, as well as other touring brands, and stocking a great selection of tandems and trailers.

20/22 High Street
LS24 9AT

01937 530303

Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative

Retailers of several brands of touring bike, including Ridgeback and Genesis. They also used to make their own line of tourers and consequently have first-hand knowledge of this niche.

8 Alvanley Terrace
Edinburgh EH9 1DU
United Kingdom

(5 other stores across northern England & Scotland)

0131 228 3565

Green Machine

Supplying a range of bikes including tourers from Dawes and Ridgeback. John also provides custom bike building and wheelbuilding services.

146a Lee Lane

01204 696831

Ghyllside Cycles

Run by highly experienced cycle tourers, supplying stock bikes, custom assembly services and their own line of touring bikes and frames, as well as a huge range of luggage and accessories.

Ghyllside Cycles
The Slack
LA22 9DQ

01539 433592

Hewitt Cycles

Hidden behind the general range of popular bikes lies the well-respected Hewitt Cheviot touring frameset and complete bike range. Also look out for their Surly framesets and bike building services.

17–19 Preston Road
PR25 4NT

01772 424773

Keep Pedalling

Relatively new shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter run by experienced cyclists with a big emphasis on utility and touring.

23 Hilton Street
M1 1EL

0161 222 6015

Mastercraft Cycles

Dealers for British cycle touring brands Dawes, Ridgeback and Carradice; also custom builders of touring bicycles.

39 Bridge Street

01432 274047

Oxford Bike Works

Independent Oxfordshire-based builder of custom touring bikes, including in-person workshop fitting sessions. (I helped Richard design his flagship expedition model.)

Station Yard,
OX13 6RX

01235 831 992

Pilgrim Cycles

Located inside a Victorian railway station building and with a cafe on site, Pilgrim build their own range of classic British tourers, as well as being dealers for Dawes, Surly and Sabbath bikes.

The Old Booking Hall,
Box Hill & Westhumble Station
Westhumble Street

01306 886958

SJS Cycles

SJS Cycles are the sole UK dealer for Thorn touring and expedition bicycles. They no longer have a physical shopfront, so consultations regarding complete bikes are by appointment only (though you can walk in and they’ll do their best to help).

91–93 St John Street

01278 441505

Spa Cycles

The north’s best-established specialists in cycle touring equipment for over 30 years.

48A Camwal Road
North Yorkshire

01423 887003

Stanforth Bikes

Small-scale touring bike builder established in 2014, selling a range of touring & expedition bikes based on their own frame design, with plentiful custom build options.

Unit 6
18a Arthur Street

07850 881438

Swinnerton Cycles

Long-running family business stocking Trek and Ridgeback touring bikes.

67 ‑73 Victoria Road
Stoke on Trent

08448 112299

Temple Cycles

Central Bristol bike shop selling bikes based on its own range of framesets, including drop-bar road touring bikes, each of which is built to order and fully customisable.

Unit 22

(Second location on Brick Lane, London.)

0117 403 2314

Do you know of any UK touring bike specialists not listed here? Please let us know in the comments – such shops are hard to come by.

19 replies on “The 21 Best Touring Bike Specialists In The UK”

Hi Tom. Cycle Heaven’s HQ in York has moved to a splendid new former warehouse by the Millennium Bridge: super café, library to browse, big screen showing cycling TV, workshop, and two floors of bikes. The tourers are upstairs and include Ridgeback, Genesis and Surly. (The old shop in Bishy Rd is still theirs, but is a pizza place, while their folding-bike offshoot is still in York Station. I don’t have any connection with the business, I’m simply a satisfied customer!)

For anyone shopping in Scotland Dales Cycles in Glasgow are brilliant. I recently got a Surly Troll custom built with them and they really know their stuff. It ended up being a fair bit cheaper than the off the peg bikes I was looking at online too!

Hi Andy,
I know what you’re saying, but I have to say I think you have to get to know him a bit. In the end I found him extremely helpful in putting together my Surly Disc Trucker, the build quality and attention to detail in dynamo cable routing etc was superb.

Ben,did read your comment, that’s good to know, I’d rather be able to drop in anytime and look at the bikes though, and order the ‘bits’ on line. They used to get pretty busy at certain times so I understand why they want customers to make appointments.

Very useful info indeed for anyone looking for a tourer. Regarding your comment about the best shop being the one you can visit…so true, so with that in mind I’m quite sad to hear that SJS no longer have a physical shopfront. I bought two of my touring bikes there and I still fondly remember traveling all the way there from Japan ( where I now live ) and how valuable the experience was to fine tune my bike and test ride it. I Still buy accessories from them online. but for me it’ll never replace an in store shopping experience. I even flew to Oregon to buy another of my travel bikes ( combined with a cycling holiday of course!).
What about the Thorn bike I bought from SJS ? It’s still the best one I own in terms of build and ride quality and I just changed the oil in the Rohloff speedhub this summer so it’s good for lots more adventures!

Hi Steve,
I wonder if you can help, I’m having a massive internal debate at the moment about derailleur vs Rohloff. I’m guessing you run both from the sounds of it. If you were buying new again what would you do please?

Well, that’s true that the business is focused on online side. Saying that, you’re welcome to walk in to the front, where I do my best to help you out.
It is like a taking a measure for your suit, it’s advisable to book an appointment with a master tailor.
Wouldn’t you agree?

Nota bene, Thorn bike with rohloff is my ultimate touring bike, I’m taking one in yellow for test ride 🙂

The website suggests appointments are only required at SJS for the Thorn range of bikes. If you only want to get some bits that they stock on the website you can just drop into the office (I did last week, and they were very helpful).

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