Going on an adventure with your bicycle is one of the best things you can do and it’s becoming more and more popular amongst cyclists around the globe.
However, one key question that many people ask is whether they can use their road bikes for tours or if they need to get a special bike for it.
That’s why in this article I will cover all the things you must know when it comes to touring with a road bike.
So let’s hop into it.
Table of Contents
Are Road Bikes Good for Touring?
The first question that comes up is can you go on a long tour with a road bike.
The short answer is yes, you can absolutely go touring with a road bike. No matter if it’s made of carbon fiber or if it doesn’t have rear racks to attach the panniers if set up well it can go on a long adventure without any problems.
Of course, it cannot compare with a touring bike because after all, touring bikes are made for these purposes.
If you plan to devote yourself entirely to bicycle touring, I recommend that you look into some touring bikes.
But if you just want to go on quick tours during the weekends then a road bike will be completely fine.
Pros and Cons of Touring With a Road Bicycle?
Now let’s dive into some pros and cons you might face when touring with a road bike.
- Road tires– this means you will be able to cycle much faster and more efficiently on a flat road.
- Aerodynamic geometry– road bike geometry puts you in a racing position, which will also mean greater speed.
- Lightweight– more speed and much easier uphill riding
- Very versatile-you can easily add and remove things along the way.
- Lack of gears– it doesn’t have as wide a range of speeds as a touring bike
- Limited carry potential– road bike has a certain limit it can carry so you need to be smart when it comes to setup.
- Not so durable– you can’t cycle through the mud, rocks, sand, etc.
- Less comfortable geometry in the long run
How to Set Up Your Road Bike for Touring?
Change your tires
The first thing you can do before your adventure is to change your tires.
If you know that you will be cycling on more offroad terrain you may want to consider putting those 28 or 32 mil tires. Therefore, punctures are much less likely to occur.
If, however, you are planning to ride only on flat roads, then you don’t need to make any adjustments.
Due to the weight, you are carrying on your bike, you might also want to lower your tire pressure. This will make your bike much more comfortable and easier to handle.
Set up your storage
How can you carry all the things on your bicycle without racks or panniers you may ask.
With these three types of bags, you will be able to store up to 30 liters or around 16 kg in weight.
You can carry a lot of stuff in there like food, spare clothes, a tent, sleeping bag, tools, toiletries, personal stuff, etc.
Of course, you don’t have to fill them up or use all of them you can adjust them to your preferences.
If you want to learn more about the non-panniers bike setup I have a whole separate article where I break down all the things you need to know about this setup.
Using disk brakes
I would highly recommend getting disk brakes if you don’t already have them.
With all the extra weight you are carrying you will be able to brake much quicker and you will have more braking power which is especially important in the rain.
And your overall adventure on the bike will be much more enjoyable.
It’s very important to always have lights with you when you are going on a bike adventure both front and back lights.
Even though you only cycle during the day, you never know what might happen that will delay your journey and force you to cycle during the night.
Also, you will come across many tunnels as you ride and it’s extremely important to have strong lights inside so that other people will be able to see you.
Bring a multi-tool
Taking a multi-tool with you is one of the essentials when it comes to bicycle touring.
If something goes wrong with your bike you can repair it immediately instead of taking a detour to the nearest bike shop.
Here is a list of other things that I like to bring on my tour.
- Spare tire
- Spare inner tubes
- Puncture repair kit
- Chain lube
- Spare chain links
Navigation is a must-have for any bike adventure you go on. You want to stay on track once you are out in the wild.
There are two types of navigation. Physical and digital navigation.
I think nowadays nobody is using a physical map so I will only be focusing on the online part.
You can either use phone navigation or a cycling computer (link to the computer I’ve been using for more than 2 years now).
Almost everyone has a phone so that’s an easy way to navigate yourself just download an offline map and you are fine.
But if you want to make a long-term investment and buy a cycling computer that’s even better. It has a stronger battery, it’s simpler, more durable and it gives you lots of cycling-specific features.
Generally speaking, they are both good just mount them on your handlebar and you are good to go.
Don’t let anything stop you from going on a new adventure with your bicycle.
I hope this article was helpful!