Which bicycle components are best for Touring?

Over the years I have developed some opinions about components, through experience and listening to bicycle sellers, both in the United States and abroad. Although they are not necessarily aware of the specific conditions they may encounter on their tours. The requirements of different types of the best bicycle for touring.

Before adopting an existing bicycle, you should think carefully about the type of route you are going to take and the region in which you will do it. Of course, your first bike ride can be relatively flat and even on roads, and if that route works well, you can move on to more difficult terrain. So maybe you can start with a bike ready to use and then adapt it. Or if you are going to take a more difficult route, you should probably adapt your bike before leaving.

Gears: the ideal gear for a cyclist is, in fact, very dependent on his physical capacity, the total weight that his bicycle loads, its efficiency, its aerodynamic qualities loaded, the quality of the roads and, above all, on the slope of the land to be covered. In general, however, average users will not want to run in the races or on a road bike to travel and will require a set of triple cranks.

Wheels, tires, and tubes: It seems that most hybrids and touring bikes are delivered these days with tires 32mm wide or more. In the past, I have traveled on my 700 x 28c tires with a minimum flat tread which I think is the best balance between flat resistance and smooth roadway efficiency.

Wheel size: The larger the wheels, the smoother the gear. For trips outside of Europe, I’ve read that tires and 26-inch tires are easier to come by. Some bicycle manufacturers argue that the use of 26-inch wheels in smaller frame sizes improves the fit for smaller riders. However, most touring bikes, hybrids, and road bikes still have 700c wheels. They would be my first choice for medium and large bike frames.

Shifters: one reads and hears that bar end sliders are better for ride bikes because they have fewer things that can go wrong and are easier to repair. That is surely true for traveling in the less developed regions of the world. Personally, however, for the type of tours I do in Europe, I prefer to have the levers located where they are immediately available. I do not want to take my hands off the handlebars if I need to change at a lower speed while stepping or driving in traffic or when I stop.

Light and bell: consider also if you want a headlight, a backlight and a bell. In some countries a campaign is mandatory. In other cases, the use of a bell is very unusual and will scare people, but sometimes it is convenient. In Austria, a headlight and a taillight are required; In Germany, a headlight and a taillight are required to drive after dark. You could wait to buy these items locally when you need them.

Pedals: Almost all serious riders use “clipless”, ie, pressure adjustment pedals, which, once you master them, are, in my opinion, safer than flat pedals or cages, and more efficient.

Shoes: Shoes that you can easily walk on are less efficient than non-flexible shoes, but do you really want to spend all day in Europe in the saddle? I like to walk comfortably through cities and monuments. If you are doing a “very light” road bike ride without support, you may not want to wear a pair of extra shoes, and the flexible shoes may be sufficient for your evening clothes.

Seat: Regarding bicycle seats, a bike shop can arrange for you to try different options and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Tom Matlack
Tom Matlack
hey :) My name is Tom Matlack.

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