The Many Manners of Touring

 by Connor

    It looks like yearly on this business, somebody comes out with one other sub-category of biking to distinguish their product or their expertise from the others. Be it the appearance of the “down-country” mountain bike (Brief journey, slack geo), to the “all-road” bike (only a gravel bike?), everybody desires 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 through the years, however the moniker by no means actually modified all that a lot – life’s less complicated that method. Our Go Hunter could also be our one exception to this, being what would broadly be outlined as an “all-road” bike, however it may possibly nonetheless take entrance racks, fenders, baggage, and 650Bx42mm tires. 

Kevin’s Go Hunter, sans Rando Rack

    Nonetheless, in right now’s biking world, even touring (maybe probably the most normal and least-finicky taste of biking) is not protected from subdivision. There’s Credit score Card Touring, Sport Touring, Conventional Touring, Bike Packing, Nomadic Touring, and Randonneuring, simply to call a couple of. 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

Mild, 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 every little thing (meals, shelter, utilities) on a bank card, therefore the title. In idea, you would step exterior your door together with your bike and bank card and go for a tour.

Sport Touring

Barely extra gear, maybe this can be a longer journey, a couple of extra adjustments of garments, and you will be staying at a number of locations. Nonetheless a lighter obligation bike, designed much less for load carrying, and extra geared in the direction of pace.


That is most likely the “quickest” type of touring since you’re coping with a time restrict. Much like Sport Touring, however with extra paperwork. See Scott’s weblog put up right here.

Conventional Touring

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


You are totally loaded, happening and off highway, working wider, knobby tires. You seemingly 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 usually occasions over-complex system of straps, pads, huge 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 way of, you do want a entrance rack and basket, so there are some exhausting mounting factors to bear in mind for these in search of rougher terrain.

Nomadic Touring

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

    So possibly it does have slightly 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 usually 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 ins and outs bolted onto it. Endurance geometry appropriate with flat or drop bars, large tire clearance and slightly room for fenders and/or baggage? Positive 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 slightly muddled?

       Picture 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 undoubtedly a must-read for lovers, and could be discovered right here.

    I believe that the trendy tendency to categorize every little thing has its advantages – it permits individuals, ideas, and designs to face aside and differentiate themselves from the gang. 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 increase 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 mix of all three)?  The shopper is usually misplaced in a sea of subdivisions and thus in the end postpone by the method of shopping for a motorcycle.  

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

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