Just researching some bikes online and, being from the UK, I cannot find any bikes on US websites called 'touring bikes', as we'd commonly call them in the UK. By this, I mean bikes which come with front/rear racks for panniers and (usually) drop handlebars, along with a steel frame for extra durability but a bit more weight.

I have seen gravel bikes come up a fair bit but am not sure that they are the same thing as many don't appear to have front/rear racks.

I have done Google Image and Pinterest searches but I'm still confused.

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Steve

  • Are you sure it's not Google doing localization? I'm in Finland and the first hits for "touring bike" are to bicycling.com (US-based publication) and surlybikes.com (US-based brand). The bicycling.com article lists several bikes exactly as you describe from US-based brands.
    – ojs
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:33
  • I had that initially but then found some US bike shops. Maybe I'm just being dumb... Will have another look. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:39
  • I'd say (primarily paved) "bicycle touring" is moving towards mixed terrain "bike packing" where frame and saddle bags are replacing the traditional rack-n-pannier set up.
    – Paul H
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:24
  • 1
    Most touring-suited bikes do not come with front rack already installed, but instead have braze-ons to accommodate a post-purchase installation. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 17:05
  • 1
    Some 'gravel' bikes come with pannier attachment points, also try 'adventure' Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 17:35

2 Answers 2


It seems that the manufacturers themselves may be a bit confused as to what to call them.

Starting from a known set of bikes that I (and you) would consider touring bikes, I found:

(Cannondale makes a bike they claim is a touring bike (the "Touring Apex 1") but it's an aluminium frame, so I discount it. But they also don't have a proper category for it, and it only shows up in the total listing of all road bikes.)

  • Good to know it's not just me being slow! Thanks for this response, much appreciated. Cheers Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 15:49
  • The thing is there's touring and touring. An Al frame with a light rear rack and relaxed geometry would do if you're staying in hotels with frequent resupply stops. Add decent tyre clearance to a comfortable steel frame and you might want to market it for gravel/adventure road even if it can take front racks. The LHT is what you might call a heavy tourer, like my Genesis which rides nicely with 35kg of luggage on board. Categories overlap and picking the right ones can make a big difference to sales
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 20:59
  • @ChrisH The 4 I mentioned are all comparable US-brand bikes that fit the description of a "touring bike" proposed by the OP. That was the primary reason for selecting them over the Cannondale, since the OP specifically said "steel frame."
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 21:14
  • @DavidW yes, my comment was directed to the OP as much as to you, and the important bits were the first and last sentences - definitions vary, overlap, and don't line up exactly with specs.
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 21:30

Yes, touring bikes are available in the US. However, bicycle touring (and commuting) is not as common here as in the UK and Europe for the most part, so they are a little bit less common.

REI has a section specifically dedicated to touring bikes: REI Website

I owned one in high school - unfortunately it was stolen the first day of college.

What defines a touring bike is like you said - but I would add that rather than including the pannier racks, it should have the holes for mounting (as many of the REI bikes do).

  • Hmm. REI has a good rep. in general, but I question how well they know bikes. This is listed as a "touring bike" but it's carbon, is lacking in braze-ons (only 1 at the rear axle, which is a pain if you want both rack and fenders; I've tried), and the clearances look tight for most decent aftermarket fenders.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 18:36
  • There are several options that make it compatible for touring - maybe just not the ideal bike: -Warbird geometry places the rider in a position that can be maintained for hours on end over bumpy B-roads and loose surfaces, drastically reducing fatigue -Fenders mounts allow for longer, more pleasant rides in wet weather -Compatible with the Salsa Wanderlust rack (not included) when using the optional Salsa rack-lock seat collar (not included)
    – tuxtuxtux
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 19:03

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