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Touring bikes: 15 best travel bicycle of 2021 that will take you far

Buying a touring bicycle is always challenging, especially because we usually travel once or twice a year and it's not easy to face a purchase - besides, expensive - for an item that will mostly live in our basement. Luckily during these last years, the concept itself of bicycle tour has been changing, and along with it, the bikes evolved as well, becoming everyday things.

This allows us to make a more thoughtful choice, and maybe pledge a higher budget for this mixed-use means of transportation. This year too I decided to do a short (and surely not exhaustive) research, trying to understand which are the most popular travel bikes (touring bikes) and which are used with more satisfaction by bike travellers. See below the 15 best touring bikes of 2021.

Updated on January 2021

Best touring bikes? Yes, but why?

Let me just make a short foreword: as often happens, your bicycle choice is subjective and depends on the use you are buying it for. It would be wrong and misleading trying to say which is the best touring bicycle. In this list, I included - in my opinion - the most polyfunctional and multidisciplinary touring bikes. Thanks to bikepacking, which is becoming more and more popular and all the information you can find on the Internet, you can organize autonomously tours on adventurous routes, away from the traffic and the same old destinations. In order to purchase the best travel bike, you will have to consider this evolution in the way people travel.Travel bikes 2021 Below you will find some touring bikes suitable for long asphalt paths. With some changes, though, the same bicycles don't scorn dirt tracks. These are bikes suitable for long distances, so they favour comfort and reliability over performance: for this reason, my list mostly includes steel touring bikes.
If you are looking for a polyhedric but still fast and quick bike, suitable for pedalling many kilometres on one day, you might be more interested in a gravel bike. If so, take a look at this list of the 10 best gravel bicycles of 2021, always in my modest opinion.
This article is not a guide about the features of a touring bike. We will discuss it in another article.

Bombtrack Arise Tour 2021

In 2020 we were focused on the Beyond 1, while in 2021 we'll write a special article about adventure touring bikes. Bombtrack Arise Tour 2021 is a really versatile and at the same time elegant touring steel bike. It presents a double-butted frameset, mechanic disc brakes (160mm), Microshifters 2x10, 700c wheels (650b on smaller sizes XS and S) with thru-axle in both front and rear hubs, Bombtrack drop handlebar and includes dynamo hub. The fork has a front rack, mudguards and rack/cage eyelets. It comes together with a rear rack. It weighs approximately 14,7 kg. The cost of this travel bicycle, that you can find on Bikejamming website is 1999 €.

Touring bike Arise Tour 2021

Genesis Tour de Fer 20 2021 

After stalling for a while, in 2018 Vero finally decided to buy a less "aggressive" bicycle than the Bombtrack. So Genesis Tour de Fer 20 has been chosen. This English brand presents a broad range of touring bikes, but we were not just looking for a steel frame. Tour de Fer 20 steel touring bike offers robust components and doesn't care much about the weight, as we usually do on our bike trips. The trustworthy Shimano Deore, a dynamo hub, the steel frameset, its 700c wheels, the Tubus steel racks, its three bottle mounts and the possibility to add a front rack: these are just a few of the features that helped us with this purchase. The turning point for Vero's choice of this bicycle over the Tour de Fer 30 model is the flat handlebar, which she prefers over the drop-bar handlebar.
This bike looks made to last... and up to the moment when she changed it, Vero had covered more than 20,000 km and the only fault that it has found is the rather narrow fork and frame clearance that can accept wheels only up to 42mm (Vero has mounted 47 wheels but it is really at the limit). The price, in this case, is around 1849 € while the 30 version is around 2249 €.

Koga World Traveller 2021

Another growing company among the most demanding and dynamic bicycle tourists is Koga, which is expanding thanks to its touring bike World Traveller, ideal for long distances lovers. Its flat handlebar with integrated Ergon grips bar-ends is perfect for different hand positions. The bicycle is sold equipped with two kickstands (front and rear), front and rear carrier, dynamo hub, lights and ring lock. The Shimano shift is way better than the previous bikes, but what turns my nose up are on one side the Magura disk hydraulic rim brakes (we had our bad moments with the mineral oil brake fluid during our trips, but I have to admit I have never tried these specific brakes), and on the other the aluminium frameset (with internal cable routing), lighter and more versatile but more difficult to get fixed if you'd have problems in some not actually bike-friendly countries.
Components and accessories are not lacking (aluminium water bottles are a nice treat). The price is around € 2300 but the reliability of the Dutch brand is proven and if you are planning a long raid, this touring bike could be the one for you. If you want to save a little but have something less in quality, you could think of Koga Grandtourer while for the less trained there is also an electric version of the World Traveler.
Best touring bicycle 2021 worldtraveller

Surly Disc Trucker 2021

Let's not leave the robustness club: Surly Disc Trucker 2021 is another great and loved bicycle. Steel frameset, simple but comfortable geometry, rear derailleur Shimano XT and TRP Spyre brakes. This star and stripes company has built a great reputation among bike travellers and not rarely I have seen its bikes during many trips. The frameset is often customized with different components, following the demanding traveller's desires. The travel bike is an icon of the world of cyclists, even though lately many companies have seen the potential of bicycle touring and have thrown themselves into creating travel bikes, inserting precautions that Surly did not or did not want to introduce on its flagship products.
Among the Surly travel bikes, the Ogre model has geometries that are more suitable for those who prefer to travel in dirt-track, riding bikepacking trails and paths.
Travel bikes Surly 2021 

Kona Sutra 2021

A successful model in bicycle touring is for sure Kona Sutra, by the American brand. This bicycle these last years has been modernized without being overturned. Steel frameset, Shimano shifters and Tektro disk brakes are a good compromise between innovation and robustness, considered the competitive price (1500 € circa). Two years ago year Kona introduced thru-axle on Sutra too, in addition to its model LTD: this can be either positive or negative, depending on the trip you are going to face. In 2021 the differences with the model of the last years are the presence of 3 eyelets on the fork instead of two and the WTB wheels of 23mm. The model in question has no dynamo hub, mechanical disc brakes and 700x40c wheels.
Brooks saddle and Marathon Mondial tyres are a guarantee, however, the bar-end shifters are a peculiarity to be considered before purchasing. The company offers Sutra LTD for 2300 €, more offroad touring and adventure-oriented (loved by bikepackers and which we can call bikepacking bike) and one new gravel bicycle that you'll discover in the other article linked on the top.
2021 Kona Sutra Touring Bike Best travel bikes

Fuji Touring Disc 2021

Fuji Bikes, another prominent brand from the Far East (even if it's based in the USA too) has successfully been developing a remarkable travel bicycle: Fuji Touring Disc 2021. In my list of the best travel bicycles, I prefer to include the mechanic disk brakes model (like Sutra), although there is a V-brakes version of it. In comparison to the touring bikes presented until now, this Fuji Touring is a bargain travel bicycle: its price is consequently more competitive (1200€ circa). It has a steel frameset (Raynolds 520), with three bottle mounts inside the front triangle, 28" wheels with Vittoria Randonneur tyres, it is sold with a rear rack and it can fit cargo cages or a front pannier rack. If you are looking for good quality at a small price, Fuji Touring is a great choice.
Best travel bikes 2021 fuji touring 2021

Thorn Nomad MKIII 2021

Thorn touring bikes are a reference in Great Britain, but in some countries, they were almost impossible to find… problem solved thanks to the Internet! Firstly Thorn Sherpa (1300 £), then Thorn Mercury 700c, then Thorn Raven and Thorn Nomad (2413 £). The travel bicycle I chose to introduce to you, even if all the range is dedicated to trips and Thorn’s strong point is robustness, is exactly this last one. Rohloff system (lack of front derailleur, internally geared rear hub… someday I’ll talk about it) protects the shift, the most delicate component, especially during the trips.
The possibility to mount 26” or 650b wheels guarantees the possibility of finding and replacing them almost all around the world (although it’s more and more complicated to find 26" in the most developed countries) and its steel frameset rhymes with solidity. Someday I’d really like to try one of these bikes! Pay attention: your order might take more than a month to be shipped in.
Touring bike thorn nomad 2021

Trek 520 2021

The touring bike Trek 520 had to be included in this list: it's one of the most long-lived and best touring bicycles (the most long-lived of the American brand, for sure). After the succulent news of two years ago (the aluminium fork mounted on its steel frameset. Second news: the security system of Thru-Skew, blocking the front wheel unless the thru-axle isn’t completely removed), this year for the Trek 520 there are more confirmations, even the red colour. Mechanic disk brakes, 27-speed Shimano Sora chainset, Bontrager Tubeless Ready wheels with puncture-resistant tyres and drop handlebar. It is sold with an included front and rear rack. In conclusion: being older than 30 years, Trek 520 is living a new youth. The retail price is 1549 € circa.

Travel bikes trek 520 2021

Salsa Marrakesh 2021

Salsa bikes made themselves famous among adventure travellers and its models Fargo, Vaya and Marrakesh are the most loved all over the world. Personally, I don’t like them because of their drop-bar handlebar, but it’s the market trend. For this specific list of travel bikes, I have chosen Salsa Marrakesh, the most versatile of these three, suitable for long journeys or outdoor day trips, either on or off-road. Marrakesh too is being sold only in the drop-bar handlebar version, rather than with a flat handlebar. Steel frameset and fork, 700x42c wheels, mechanic disk brakes, rear and front Salsa rack included and Shimano Alivio group with bar-end shifters. The most curious feature of this bicycle is the Alternator dropout, that delivers incredible drivetrain versatility, allowing you to run single-speed or geared, freehub or Rohloff. The retail price on the official site is 1799$.

Giant Toughroad SLR 1 2021

The stars and stripes big company did not miss the opportunity to enter an expanding market niche such as that of bicycle touring and for some years has been producing Toughroad. The SLR 1 2021 is the new model and like the previous ones has an aluminium frame with internal cable routing and a fork made of composite material. This is why I do not see this bike as a trusted travel companion for large expeditions but on the other hand, I consider it an excellent investment for those wishing to travel for a few weeks and do it on a bike that is both comfortable and fast at the same time. Front and rear rack is present, together with the Shimano Deore gearbox and the hydraulic brakes. The price is very interesting and stands at € 1200.

VSF Fahrradmanufaktur TX-800 2021

One of my favourite companies, even though I've never had the pleasure of trying their bikes, is the VSF Fahrradmanufaktur which, as the name implies, is German. Their TX-1200 pinion is a travelling tank but for this list, I preferred to list the younger sister TX-800 which does not present the belt but a classic Shimano Deore XT gearbox. 180 mm disc brakes, the CroMo frame, already equipped with Tubus racks, straps for bags, bottle cage, Busch&Müller lighting system and Schwalbe Marathon tires. Well, a touring bike ready to take you to the end of the world and with a style that I personally find intriguing.

Cinelli Hobootleg

I kept this travel bicycle in my heart and in this list for many years now, because I have direct experience with this one. In reality, the bike we rode on the journey in South Africa and Lesotho was Cinelli Hobootleg Geo, the old version from 2015. "My" Geo in 2019 underwent some adjustments following the needs of the market: the colour changed to light blue, the brakes are now hydraulic rather than mechanical, from the double front you switch to the mono 11-speed and the flat handlebar is replaced with a dropbar with a very open grip (it could even be "usable" from Vero). It is possible to mount 29" or 27.5" with up to 3" tires. We're not talking about the Geo or her faster sister Interrail, introduced in 2019, neither about the new arrival of 2020, the Easy Travel less oriented to expeditions and more to the journeys of any cyclist. Shortly: double-butted Columbus steel frame and fork, drop handlebar, 9-speed Shimano Sora, TEKTRO brakes, bar-end shifters, 700x36c tires, green monkey colour with colourful cables, front and rear Tubus rack. The price of the Hobootleg is € 1460, the only one already "ready to go".

For more info visit Cinelli website

Travel bikes 2021 Cinelli Hobootleg

Bressan Terranova 2021

Let's stay in Italy with another beloved brand by many bicycle travellers - even extreme ones - like Bressan. His steel travel bike Terranova 2021 can be fully customized with a rigid or suspended fork, your beloved handlebar, Brooks C17 or B17 saddle, Shimano Deore 3x9, V-brake brakes, rear and front rack, Schwalbe Marathon tires... a travel tank. Its price depends on the build, but you'll definitely be falling in love with your new customized Bressan travel bike.
 
Bici da viaggio 2021 Bressan

Locomotive Scotsman 2021

Our colleague Jovanotti chose it as a starting point for his Hippogriff and his trip to the Americas. Our friend Dino Lanzaretti is now a proud ambassador. Locomotive is getting more and more space among bicycle travellers, in the adventure bike segment, especially because Salsa bikes are becoming more and more difficult to find and purchase these days... The Locomotive Scotsman 2021 can be adapted to the cyclist's needs, like the rear Siderod dropout and the eccentric central movement. The tires can be adapted consequently, from 700c to 29"+. It comes with flat handlebar but a good Jones H-Bar is welcome. You can mount a semirigid fork, the frame is made of inox steel, and you can customize it in the mounting features. The frame itself costs 1799 €, to add mounting components and labour.
 
Bici da cicloturismo 2021 Scotsman

Ridgeback Panorama 2021

New entry for this last model in the list of the best travel bikes of 2021. Ridgeback Panorama 2021, designed in the UK, is the more performance-oriented sister of the Tour model and is mounted like this: 725 Reynolds frame, light but robust Schwalbe Marathon 700X35c, Shimano 3X9 transmission and powerful and trustworthy mechanical disk brakes Tektro Spyre. Rear rack, mudguards and 3 bottle cage mounts make this travel bike very yummy. Like Bombtrack and genesis, you can find it on the Bikejamming website for 1679€.
 
Bici da viaggio 2021 Ridgeback
These are, in my opinion, the best travel bikes of 2021, but this list could easily get longer! By the way, there are lots of great craftsmen, also in Italy, producing top quality custom-made bicycles.
 
What about you? Which one are you dreaming about or which bicycle would you love to ride during your 2021 trips? Let us know in the comment section below!

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob · 7 days ago
    I wouldn't even go out of my neighborhood on that Brendan wirh a junk fork like that POS. The Locomotive looks very tasty however.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Francesco - Life in Travel · 7 days ago
      Man, did you mean Bressan Bike? There are loads of forks available, and since it is fully customizable, every customer can choose their preference. Locomotive is very tasty, in my opinion NOT with the Lauf fork (as you can see on their website)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    BOB · 10 months ago
    Hey, I think this is by far the best article on touring bicycles and makes it easier for the reader to decide on what to take or not. I think this is something, which every reader would like to read before taking that decision. Here I am also going to show some top travel bicycles for 2020. Check it here: https://bit.ly/2xKg2bK
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mikael · 1 years ago
    [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

    Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Leo · 1 years ago
      [i]
      [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?

      Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
      HI, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2WHDiMqHus but as i said it's for the 2015 model, no more available on the market
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Leo · 1 years ago
      [i]
      [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?

      Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
      HI, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2WHDiMqHus but as i said it's for the 2015 model, no more available on the market
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mikael · 1 years ago
    [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

    Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Leo · 1 years ago
      [i]
      [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?

      Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]

      Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
      HI, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2WHDiMqHus but as i said it's for the 2015 model, no more available on the market
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Leo · 1 years ago
      [i]
      [i] Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]<br /><br />Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?
      <br /> Unfortunately, even my complete review of Cinelli HoboGeo, available on video in the dedicated page, is becoming outdated.[/i]<br /><br />Hi! Where can I find that Hobootleg Geo review?<br />HI, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2WHDiMqHus but as i said it's for the 2015 model, no more available on the market
Francesco - Life in Travel

ITA - Ho 32 anni e sono piemontese, anche se da qualche anno vivo e lavoro in Lombardia. Dopo un inizio da totale inesperto in questo campo, mi sono avvicinato al mondo dei cicloviaggi e della bicicletta sempre più. Oggi posso definirmi "cicloviaggiatore", e assieme all'altra mia passione - il videomaking - non mi fermerei mai! Cyclo ergo sum, pedalo quindi sono, per cercare di capire perché andare in bici sia così bello, terapeutico, ricco... E ogni volta che provo a capirlo, non ce la faccio, e sono costretto a ripartire sui pedali!

ENG - I'm from Piedmont and I'm 32 years old, I have been living and working in Lombardy for a few years. After a start without any competence in this field, I then approached the bicycle world more and more. Today I can call myself a bicycle traveller and videomaker who would never ever stop. Cyclo ergo sum, I cycle therefore I am. I ride my bike trying to understand why it is so beautiful, rich, therapeutic. And every time I try, I do not understand it. So I must leave again...

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