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

Last updated in August 2020, recommending the Salsa Marrakesh over the Vaya.

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.

Where there are a range of options and upgrades, the off-the-peg specification and RRP for the standard recommended model is listed.


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
USASalsaMarrakesh DeoreSteel29” / 700CDerailleurDiscDrop1,600 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!

86 replies on “A Massive List Of Expedition Touring Bikes For Round-The-World Rides”

Did the Sury Troll not qualify? It is increasingly being used for rougher routes spanning the Americas & Central Asia. They have room for up to 2.75″ tires (3″ unofficially) without using non-standard parts. Runs v‑brakes or disc (Surly states it can only run 160 mm disc rotors on the rear, but I am happily running 200 mm to slow my 95 kg of body & 30–50 kg of kit), derailleur or rohloff, can handle heavy loads & has more attachment points than you can swing a dead cat at 😉

The main drawback is that the stock wheelset is not very strong or tentioned correctly. So as an off the shelf build it may not qualify for this list, but as a frame you build up yourself, it is my first choice.

I forgot to mention the Surly Long Haul Trucker uses the same wheelset as the Troll. Replacing my wife’s LHT wheelset later this year before we embark on a 12 month cycle tour in South America.

HI Tom , great list , I’m from Oz and had a beautiful touring bike from SEVEN titanium , ss coupler system , rolhoff , cut in the chain stays for gates drive. Sadly had to sell but a beautiful ride.

I would also suggest you add the touring bikes offered by the Canadian company Brodie, specifically the Elan and Elan Vital. I have a V‑brake version Brodie Elan from a few years back and have taken it well of the beaten path on touring expeditions.

Hi Tom,

Matt and I used a pair of Van Nicholas Pioneer titanium framed, belt driven, Rohloff hubbed bank account breakers. But they were practically maintenance free and ideal for the lazy cycle tourist.

I wonder why you have featured the Intec T07 — it’s perhaps not a bad bike, but for expedition style touring I would rather use the M‑series M01 — derailleur setup, M02 — Rohloff-specific frame. Look under MTB/ATB

I’m shocked at no mention of the Surly Pugsley. The bike can run either 26 or 29 inch wheelset. Depending on the rim size you can run tires from 2.25 to 4.0. No other bike on the list can run with two drivetrains, so if the rear hub or derailleur craters you can swap front to rear and keep going. It has a full complement of brazeons and has the stopping power of disc brakes. The Pug has been proven time and again in the toughest conditions found on earth.

It’s certainly a brilliant bike, but it is nevertheless primarly a fatbike, and they’re really not best suited for the type of journey this article is about – long-term worldwide expeditions incorporating at least as much asphalt as dirt roads. All the bikes in this list are very much long-haul touring generalists for that reason. Fear not – I’ll feature it in another article more specifically about the kind of trip the Pugsley would really excel at…

hi
just to prove you dont need to spend mega bucks
back in 1988 I bought a british eagle mountain bike for £249 it had renaulds tubing frame no suspension and shimano LX group set
over the next 10 years I rode it 20 miles a day to work and back did around 12 polaris challenges toures the south west of England the midlands and lots of the north ok so I bought s few bits as they broke eventualy my son rode it for around another 6 years till it was stolen
I know I did at least 50k miles on it
so whatever you buy trust it and love it
oh and I still remove the brookes saddle from every bike I get rid of
the old adage is true
a brookes worn in fits yer bum
you cant alter your bum to fit a plastic saddle

ride on and think circles when it gets hilly

If not a Pugs, then I’d definitely petition for an ECR. Rolls ok on asphalt, and excels on dirt. It would be on my shortlist for tackling, say, the length of the Americas.

Sorry, now I see the lonely Cinelli Hobo as a rapresentative for the country.
How about Bianchi, Bottecchia, Atala, and countless more?

If there really are countless more Italian expedition touring bikes in production, please do contribute by listing them here! Bear in mind, though, that I won’t include any bike in this list that doesn’t truly qualify as an expedition tourer, as it would dilute the usefulness of the article.

I’m simply fascinated by people who ride bikes a long way (44.3 miles is my furthest so far!!!) and am equally fascinated by your list! I feel chuffed to see a mention of Spa Cycles as I recently ordered a Tubus front carrier and Ortlieb panniers from them and they were the cheapest.

Thanks for the comprehensive list. Just to say its been really useful for me to look through all the different builds as I’m having to replace my drivetrain (bike came with Sram, which has failed mid tour), lots of interesting combinations here.

Wonderful job! Chapeau! It’d have spared me hours of web searches had I found it before. All my previous findings are there and there are a lot more.
Thanks Tom!
Too bad there are very few entry level models in the market for this kind of bikes.

As I’m currently looking for a touring bike I came across your site and I love it! Just found it interesting that I’ve narrowed it down to two bikes and neither of them were on your list.

I’m looking at either a Salsa Vaya, which I understand is probably not an expedition bike — or a bike from ROTOR bikes. http://www.rotorbikes.com

Anyways your list has given me a lot more reading material and completely screwed up my plan. Thanks!

This isn’t a list of touring bikes, though – it’s very specifically a list of high-end expedition touring bikes. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other touring bikes which will all do a fine job too (including the two you mentioned). No two tours have the same needs…

That is a very impressive list there Tom, must have taken you a while to put it together. I’m looking to spend around £1500 for a bike that will get me across europe and back so this is just what I needed.

Thanks, Patrick. I’ve chosen what seems to be the best all-rounder from each manufacturer as a long-haul expedition bike, with the idea that people can dig deeper from there…

I have just rejuvenated a Dawes Sardar for my son for his 18th. Totally resprayed and rebuilt with modern components and hub dyno. The frame is around 12 years old, 631 tubing and with the option of disk or canti brakes. A good expedition bike can last a lifetime and well worth the money. This has been past over to him to now enjoy trips across Europe.

I’m curious how the recumbent went for you? Have noticed you mention it on this blog for a while. Do you think a recumbent is a good idea for an expedition bike? I know you said it was supremely comfortable but how about safety/visibility in 3rd world city/traffic conditions? Ease of repair or replacements of parts? I’ve never tried one but often daydreamed about tackling the Australian desert on one, just cruising along watching the clouds go by and chewing up the miles with a drink in one hand 🙂

If I was to head off on another long road tour without too many epic mountain ranges I’d certainly consider a recumbent. Lots of people use them and there are plenty of tour-specific ones available. Flags help a lot with visibility; it’s not as much of an issue as you might imagine in my experience.

I don’t recommend recumbent touring bikes because they require that you stay seated for all conditions. Upright bikes allow you to pedal out of the saddle or when you need torque, such as when climbing. Because touring bikes are usually heavily laden, this can be frequently than one might expect. To a long distance rider, there are no such thing as a flatland ride, and downhills are a just a cruel trick to reduce your recuperation time before having to grind your way up that next big hill. Recumbents have to rely on ultra-low gearing to reduce the energy burnoff rate within your legs. Upright bicycles can also use the same low gearing, but then allow you to ride out-of-the-saddle to use different muscle groups and spread the wear. Further, recumbents use a limited set of muscles in your legs, whereas upright bicycles spread the effort between more individual muscles and muscle groups, hence do not exhaust the glucose within each muscle as quickly. Many within the recumbent world may dispute these comments, but after riding my TourEasy for several years, I’ve gone back to an upright bike. Thankfully, saddle technology has quite improved in the last several years, and saddles are available that reduce the internal fatigue on one’s body from riding long distances over many days and weeks. Recumbent touring bikes seem like a brilliant answer to many of cycling’s problems, but expedition bicyclists encounter a wider range of conditions than most recumbents are adept at, such as dirt roads, hills, poor shoulders and mud. Lastly, recumbents offer a smaller visual presence than do upright bikes, hence do not get noticed as much by cars. They also make looking behind you difficult and require good sized mirrors. My best advice? Take this list seriously and get yourself a very-very comfortable saddle. Happy trails…

Hi Tom, you left out the german bike company Cube. Check out their travel series. Their producing very nice touring bikes. I am geting the cube travel rf in the coming weeks. Cant wait!

Gareth that’s the exact model I am looking at. But for some reason it seems to be always left out in blogs & articles discussing touring/expedition bikes. It’s impossible to find any reviews of it. I am not by any means an expert in touring & expedition bikes but still to me the cube travel looks like an excellent option for the price (799€ for the entry model).
Did you end up buying one yourself? what are your thoughts?

Great list Tom!

Would you consider the Trek 920 an expedition touring bike?

I test rode both the Specialized AWOL Elite and the Trek 920 today and loved both of them. I liked the Trek 920 a wee bit more as it felt more rugged, smooth and relatively lighter.

Thanks!

Thanks for putting such an intersting list together.
I have 3 tourers, a Spa 725 touring, a Dawes galaxy 531, and a Trek 520 from 1994 which I think is true temper. The components are the same on each, brooks b17, deore lx, bar end shifters, rigida sputniks, marathon tyres. For some reason even though they are all well fitted to me the Trek 520 is by far my favourite ride for loaded touring.

Hi tom,

What do you make of Sven cycles tourer? Its got the spec and in same price range as Oxford bike works bikes. I need a reason not to get one, tossing up between Sven and Oxford Bike Works, or possibly thorn. Sven’s tourer won tour bike of the year 2014, is it not expedition grade?http://www.svencycles.com/ what be great to hear ya thoughts.

I can’t see any mention of a tourer on the Sven website, but it seems like comparing apples to oranges to bananas. Sven is a bespoke framebuilder, OBW is a one-man custom assembler & fitter, and Thorn is a relatively large mix-and-match mail order company. If I were you I’d call all three and see who you want to work with.

One of the most comprehensive lists of tourers I have seen — well done.

What’s your opinion on the future of 26″ wheels for tourers? One of the main reasons tourists started using them was because, when the MTB craze first hit the world in the 80s, the 26″ wheel size became nearly universal. Thus easy to obtain a wide tyre in virtually any country.

Now MTBs are nearly all either 700c or 650b wheel size, 26″ tyres and rims are starting to become not so common. Here in Australia you’re now more likely to obtain a 40–622 than a 45–559 tyre.

What’s your opinion?

Cheers in advance.

I have a 1980’s Specialized Expedition I would like to sell. Would you know where would be the best place to advertise, or know anyone who would be interested. It is in great shape.

You might add: Franklin Frame out of Newark, Ohio, building touring frames since 1976. I’ve been riding their custom Franklin Frame Mountain Expedition Touring bike for 27 years without a hitch. I bought it in 1990, and it’s got 100,000 miles on it. Phil Wood hubs and bottom bracket. Forty spoke rear rim. I’m riding it 4,000 miles this summer, coast to coast. Frosty Wooldridge, six continent world bicycle world traveler

Hi Tom,
Great list and aid to investigation. Thanks for doing the leg work to get it together. Curious that the Thorn Nomad did not appear on the list as it’s been around a few years?

Mercian will build a Rohloff King of Mercia if you ask them to, that is beauty of buying a custom frame, you can have it built exactly how you want it.

I would update that list to include the Vivente ‘The Gibb’. It would be my own choice over and above the ‘Anatolia’ even if it does cost twice as much. Let me know if you have a list for dirt road expedition bikes anywhere. I’d be keen to look at the options. Thanks.

I have a Vivente “The Gibb”. It is an outstanding bike and tremendous value for money. Apart from the Rohloff, which is a wonder in itself, Vivente touring bikes come fully equipped and ready for touring. The box could even be delivered to your tour’s start point — eg. an airport. All the tools for assembling it and hitting the road are included in the box!
You’d likely want a set of panniers. That’s basically all you’d have to buy unless you were taking front panniers as well. Then you’d need to fit a front rack. I’d be surprised if you could find better value, anywhere in the world.

Hi! I’m considering the Gibb, but wondering what the main difference between it and the Stirling are and why you went for the former?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Tom,
Could I ask a favor? Could you please consider adding the Chinese/Taiwanese to your list? I’m riding an LKLM 318, and it’s every bit as good as any other touring bicycle I’ve ever ridden, including the Surley LHT. In the past, people have questioned how good a Chinese touring bike could be. Considering that most midrange touring bike frames come from China or Taiwan, it seems a bit incongruous to exclude them. They build world class equipment, and should be recognized for it.

Dear Tom, Ihave been following for a while, I just want to say (and is not for mere nationalism) that some Italian makers are absent from you list ‑Bianchi, Olmo, Wilier — and others are now (late, but better late…) making Tourism and Gravel bikes. Just for you to know. Ciao

update:

another great dutch builder (only in steel):
m‑gineering.nl

check out his work.
imo better then most listed but I am biased 😉

I believe the prices they ask for such excellent builds, based on a steel frame with replaceable hanger is just top-notch! Real winner for me.

I think the list you’ve put together is quite good, but I wish that you had included titanium builds. I know the cost of those bikes might really make some heads spin, but for me they’re the only way to go.

Hi Will, you’re right – it seems the current spec of the Marrakesh is better suited to world touring than the Vaya, which seems to have mutated into a light touring / gravel bike. I’ve updated the article to reflect this. Thank you!

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