How Fast Is a Touring Bike? (Numbers and Comparisons)

Have you ever wondered how fast does a touring bike goes?

If you have, in this article I’ll cover every aspect of touring bike speeds as well as compare them to other types of bicycles. 

So let’s hop into it.

The first thing you need to know is that your speed will be determined by many different factors. Like weather, terrain, your bicycle, how fast are you paddling, etc…

Type Of BicycleAverage Speed
Electric Bike20 mph (32 kph)
Road Bike17 mph (27 kph)
Gravel Bike15 mph (24 kph)
Touring Bike13,5 mph (21 kph)
Mountain Bike10mph (16 kph)
Touring bike speed compared to other types of bicycles

And keep in mind that these are just the average numbers on flat terrain.

What Is a Good Average Speed of a Touring Cyclist?

The good average speed of a touring biker is between 11 mph (18kph) and 15 mph (24kph) during the entire ride.

Some people even go beyond 16 mph but that’s really that case.

In bicycle touring endurance is the most important when it comes to speed. Literally, everyone can average 17+mph for a few minutes. But the real challenge is to average that for a couple of hours.

If you are just getting started, don’t obsess about the speed because touring bikes are not designed solely for that purpose.

They are designed for comfort, stability, different terrains, and for carrying stuff first and foremost.

Even if you try to increase your average speed by force you won’t last so long.

That’s why I recommend starting slow and gradually increasing your speed over time.

I have a whole separate article on 7 tips to improve your cycling long distance, it can really help you if you are new to all this stuff.

Are touring bikes faster than road bikes?

The short answer is no, touring bikes are not faster than road bikes.

But let’s see why this is the case!

The first and probably the biggest difference between these two types is their riding position.

Touring bikes have a more upright position mostly because of comfort on a road, while road bikes are more narrow and more towards aerodynamic and speed.

Next is the difference in tires. Touring bikes have smaller but also wider tires mostly because of the bumpy roads that you may face.

On the other side, road bikes have extremely thin and big tires which allows them to move faster on the flat road.

Less contact with the ground means the faster you will go.

Also, there is a big difference in weight.

The average weight of a touring bicycle is 30 pounds, while a road bike averages around 18 pounds.

You will definitely notice the difference in speed especially when you start to ride uphill.

Are touring bikes faster than mountain bikes?

If measured on the road yes, touring bikes are usually faster than mountain bikes by 3%-5%.

These two types can’t really compare because you will never go mountain biking with a touring bike and vice versa.

But if we are speaking about who is faster on the road touring bike would definitely take the crown.

Mountain bike tires are not as suitable for the road as touring bike tires. That’s the biggest reason why touring bike wins.

When it comes to the weight they pretty much weigh the same, around 30 pounds.

Touring bikes also have much broader gearing, everything from extremely low to extremely big gears.

While mounting bikes are designed only for a lower gear range because you really don’t need big gears when climbing are riding off-road.

Are touring bikes faster than gravel bikes?

Touring bikes and gravel bikes have many things in common like tires, frame, geometry, etc… and they even look similar.

When it comes to speed gravel bikes are usually a bit faster than touring bikes.

The main difference between touring bikes and gravel bikes is their weight and carrying potential.

Touring bikes are 3kg to 4kg heavier than gravel bikes which allows them to carry more stuff on them but also that weight makes it a little bit slower.

How to make a touring bicycle faster?

Now, let’s hop into some of the easy things you can do to increase your average speed on a touring bicycle.

Use Cycling Shoes

If I had to give just one piece of advice on how to increase your average speed on a touring bike it would be to use cycling shoes together with clip pedals.

Cycling shoes are a great way to increase your average speed because you can transfer the energy from your legs to the pedals more efficiently.

And not to mention that they are much more comfortable and your foot will no longer slip every few minutes.

Minimize the weight you are carrying

The more weight you are carrying on your bike the slower you are.

So try to minimize your weight as much as you can.

Ask your self do I really need five liters of water or do I really need all of these spare clothes.

Try to use lightweight gear and equipment like a tent, sleeping bag, mattress, pump, etc…

It will really make a big speed difference if you can keep the weight to a minimum.

Using Saddlebag Instead of panniers

Panniers are a good way to carry all your stuff on the bicycle but they have one big downside, they are not good for aerodynamics.

Saddle bag is much more aerodynamic and lightweight, it’s a great option especially if you don’t have too much stuff to carry (link to the saddle bag I’ve been using for more than 2 years)

If you are interested in bicycle touring without panniers I have a whole separate article on that topic.

I hope this article was helpful!

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