21 UK Touring & Bikepacking Bike Shops To Visit In 2024

Filed under .

These days, there are a lot of bike shops in the UK selling touring bikes and bikepacking gear. 

There are far fewer, however, who are specialised in these fields.

This is not surprising. Cycle touring remains a tiny and underserved niche. Bikepacking is trending, and suddenly there’s money to be made 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 it goes.

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

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 high-street sales 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 adventure cyclist, especially when you’re just getting started.

Here, then, is a list of bike shops the length the UK who partly or wholly specialise in off-the-peg touring bikes, custom-built touring or expedition bikes, bikepacking bikes and luggage, 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 (Sheffield)

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

Ash Tree Yard
62–68 Thirlwell Road
S8 9TF

0114 250 7717

Alpkit Hathersage (Peak District+)

The 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

Other branches in Ambleside, Betws-Y-Coed, Bristol, Edinburgh, Ilkley, Inverness, Keswick, Kingston and Metrocentre (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) – see map above.

Bicycles By Design (Shropshire)

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

Bikefix (London)

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

44 Emerald Street

020 7405 1218

Brixton Cycles (London)

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 (London)

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 (York)

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 (Tadcaster)

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 Coop (Edinburgh+)

Flagship store selling several brands of touring bike, including Ridgeback and Genesis.

8 Alvanley Terrace
Edinburgh EH9 1DU
United Kingdom

0131 228 3565

Other branches in Aberdeen, Canonmills (Edinburgh), Newcastle and Leeds – see map above.

Green Machine (Horwich)

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 (Cumbria)

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 (Lancashire)

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 (Manchester)

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 (Hereford)

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

39 Bridge Street

01432 274047

Mercian Cycles (Derby)

Long-running bespoke framebuilder in Derby with a touring-specific model (the King of Mercia), also offering complete bike builds to individual specifications.

Pontefract Street
Ascot Drive
DE24 8JD

01332 752468

Oxford Bike Works (Oxfordshire)

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

SJS Cycles (Somerset)

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 (Yorkshire)

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

48A Camwal Road
North Yorkshire

01423 887003

Stanforth Bikes (Brighton & Hove)

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 (Staffordshire)

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

67 ‑73 Victoria Road
Stoke on Trent

08448 112299

Temple Cycles (Bristol+)

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 branch 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.

Comments (skip to respond)

23 responses to “21 UK Touring & Bikepacking Bike Shops To Visit In 2024”

  1. Not forgetting UK based manufacturers either, like Mercian Cycles of Derby

    1. Of course! The King of Mercia has always been on my list of long-haul touring bikes, but I will add Mercian to this list too 🙂

  2. Pilgrim Cycles, Westhumble no longer trading, sadly. Tragic, they put out some great own-brand tourers..

    1. Sad to hear – but thanks for letting me know.

  3. 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!)

    1. Thanks Rob, that’s super useful!

  4. EBC no longer make Revolution bikes. They do sell a lot of other off-the-peg touring bikes though.

    1. Sad but true. Their Country Traveller and Country Explorer bikes were two of the best budget touring bikes in the UK.

  5. Spa cycles harrogate nerest to me

  6. 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!

    1. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Andy Dennis avatar
    Andy Dennis

    Spa in Harrogate is a great resource but the owner is odd / rude and appears not to like humans.

    1. 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.

  8. Steve Jones avatar
    Steve Jones

    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.

  9. Steve Jones avatar
    Steve Jones

    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!

    1. 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?

    2. 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 🙂

  10. Shand Cycles produce handmade bikes in Scotland, ive currently got a Shand Cycles Stoater on order. Well worth a look

    1. Absolutely, had my Stoater for over 6 years. Absolutely brilliant design, build and support.

  11. How about Paul Hewitt in Leyland, Lancs?

    1. Good call – thank you!

      1. no worries! It’s my lbs, helpful and accomodating, and give advice freely.

  12. 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).

Something to add?