Sunday, January 23, 2022
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The Many Manners of Touring

 by Connor

    It looks as if yearly on this trade, somebody comes out with one other sub-category of biking to distinguish their product or their expertise from the others. Be it the arrival of the “down-country” mountain bike (Brief journey, slack geo), to the “all-road” bike (only a gravel bike?), everybody needs to call their slice of the pie. 

    Velo Orange has been making touring bikes since its inception. Granted we have provided totally different specs and types over time, however the moniker by no means actually modified all that a lot – life’s less complicated that method. Our Cross Hunter could also be our one exception to this, being what would extensively be outlined as an “all-road” bike, however it could possibly nonetheless take entrance racks, fenders, baggage, and 650Bx42mm tires. 

Kevin’s Cross Hunter, sans Rando Rack

    Nevertheless, in immediately’s biking world, even touring (maybe essentially the most normal and least-finicky taste of biking) is not secure from subdivision. There’s Credit score Card Touring, Sport Touring, Conventional Touring, Bike Packing, Nomadic Touring, and Randonneuring, simply to call just a few. So what provides? You are placing your stuff in your bike and staying someplace – is it not all the identical? No. At least that is what Scott tells me, so let’s dive in.

    Whereas mountain bike categorization is usually primarily based off of quantity of suspension journey, geometry, and body kinematics, the variations in touring bikes appear to be primarily based extra on how a lot stuff you carry, and fewer on the place you are going. From what I can glean, right here they’re listed from lightest to heaviest load:

Credit score Card Touring

Gentle, quick highway touring bike. You possibly have a small handlebar bag with a change of garments, you are staying at accommodations/BnBs, and also you’re paying for the whole lot (meals, shelter, utilities) on a bank card, therefore the title. In principle, you might step exterior your door together with your bike and bank card and go for a tour.

Sport Touring

Barely extra gear, maybe it is a longer journey, just a few extra modifications of garments, and you will be staying at a number of locations. Nonetheless a lighter responsibility bike, designed much less for load carrying, and extra geared in the direction of pace.


That is in all probability the “quickest” type of touring since you’re coping with a time restrict. Just like Sport Touring, however with extra paperwork. See Scott’s weblog publish right here.

Conventional Touring

Extra tire clearance, possibly you are hitting barely rougher roads, carrying your full load together with your meals and shelter. Suppose racks and two to 4 panniers.


You are totally loaded, occurring and off highway, working wider, knobby tires. You doubtless aren’t working racks, hanging baggage fore and aft, and also you’re tenting in distant areas not essentially put aside for tenting. About as distant because it will get.


Maybe a little bit of a backlash from bikepacking baggage and its typically instances over-complex system of straps, pads, monumental saddle baggage, extra straps, lashes, plastic holders, and straps, basketpacking is a contented medium between the practicality of conventional touring baggage and the out-of-the-way-of-obstacles afforded by bikepacking baggage. By means of, you do want a entrance rack and basket, so there are some exhausting mounting factors to bear in mind for these looking for rougher terrain.

Nomadic Touring

You may have bought all your possessions and now indefinitely are touring, using the place you please, making house the place you roam.

    So possibly it does have a bit of bit to do with the place you are going. I really feel like most “Bikepacking” bikes I see have extra in widespread with trendy lengthy wheelbase hardtails than they do conventional touring bikes, they usually’re typically pictured in distant, wild areas with no hint of civilization in sight. Regardless of this, they’re nonetheless far eliminated in essence from mountain bikes. 

Scott and Melissa’s setup throughout their Iceland tour

    I’d problem anybody to persuade me that what we name the “trendy touring bike” is not only a gravel bike with fine details bolted onto it. Endurance geometry suitable with flat or drop bars, vast tire clearance and a bit of room for fenders and/or baggage? Certain appears like a gravel bike to me. Recalling that gravel bikes had been as soon as your low season cyclocross bikes with huge tires squeezed in, and that the early ‘cross bikes had been cantilever tourers with knobby tires glued on. You see how issues start to look a bit of muddled?

       Photograph Credit score: 
Alan Hills using his Peugeot UO-8 in an early-1970’s cyclocross race. If you have not learn his 50-year saga within the ‘cross scene, it is positively a must-read for fanatics, and may be discovered right here.

    I believe that the trendy tendency to categorize the whole lot has its advantages – it permits individuals, ideas, and designs to face aside and differentiate themselves from the group. Regarding bikes, nonetheless, does it not additionally create a whirlwind impact the place there are too many classes to select from? I recall my time as a motorcycle mechanic and salesperson again when the gravel growth exploded. The typical buyer did not know what to make of this new class. Was it a highway bike, a ‘cross bike, or a hybrid (or a mixture of all three)?  The client is typically misplaced in a sea of subdivisions and thus finally postpone by the method of shopping for a motorcycle.  

    This begs the query; does touring (and biking as a complete) profit from this type of categorization? Or is it simply one other barrier to entry for folk fascinated by biking and/or extra particularly, touring? I might love to listen to your ideas.



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