There’s always plenty of touring bikes at Eurobike, solid machines properly built for the long haul. We had a nose round and we’ve picked out a few highlights. First though, let’s look at a few trends.
Steel is still – and will probably always be – the go-to material for touring bikes. It’s strong and easy to fix, and if you’re adding 40kg of tents and underpants there’s scant point in making a superlight frame. it doesn’t have a monopoly: other metals are available, as we’ll see. No carbon though.
The Speedhub is still a popular choice for long-distance bikes, increasingly coupled with a Gates Carbon Drive belt. The beauty of the Speedhub is that everything’s sealed inside and sitting in an oil bath, so there’s very little wear and service intervals are huge. The belt drive is also well regarded for its longevity. Obviously getting spares for your hub, or a new belt, isn’t so simple when you’re somewhere in rural Kyrgyzstan, but they rarely go wrong.
The other available all-internal gearing option is the Pinion gearbox, which is bottom-bracket mounted. It’s a lot more expensive than the Rohloff but promises similar levels of durability. It’s gaining some traction in the touring sphere.
Disc brakes make a lot of sense on a loaded tourer and lots of the bikes on show had them, mostly hydraulic units. They were possibly in the majority this year, although you still have a good deal of choice. Again, they’re not as easy to fix if you break them than a V-brake, but assuming they don’t break the extra power is a real bonus. The Dutch and Germans will persist with fitting Magura’s HS series hydraulic rim brake for as long as Magura make them, we reckon. They just like them.
We were expecting to see more bikes built up in a Transcontinental Race style, fast endurance machines with lightweight bikepacking gear. We did see a couple, but really only ones that had actually been in a race and were now on show. Having said that, the Eurobike trends evening featured one of them – Mike Hall’s Pivot that he raced the Tour Divide on – so the great and good of the cycling industry clearly think it’s an up-and-coming thing, and some mainstream manufacturers had bikepacking gear on display. It’s not commonplace yet though.
Anyway, let’s look at some bikes.
Tout Terrain’s Steel, Rohloff-equipped, disc-braked Tanami is sort of ground zero in terms of touring bikes at the show. These are the trends, people. Also it has an integrated rear rack – built as part of the frame – that is a trend that’s gaining in popularity. If you have a bike like this, why would you be taking the rack off?
The Tanami uses a Dedacciai steel and it has a custom-butted down tube designed specifically to cope with loaded riding. The bike has a maximum load capacity of 160kg including the rider, with a 40kg limit on the rear rack.
The Tanami Explore is also available with a Pinion gearbox which is now available in 9-,12- and 18-speed incarnations. You’ll want the 18-speed one here.
At the other end of the spectrum is Fuji’s €699 Touring. There’s a lot to be said for keeping your touring bike simple, and Fuji have certainly done that.
It’s a Cromoly frame and fork with a Deore-level mountain bike triple transmission, which will give you plenty of range for the hills. Bar end shifters take care of gear changes and they’re simple and reliable. You get a rear rack thrown in, and low-rider mounts for a front one.
Schauff’s all-alloy Sumo is a giant of a bike. As you can probably guess from the name it’s designed to cope with serious loads. Schauff sell them for heavy duty touring but also to very large riders looking to lose some weight; recently they had a 240kg chap buy one, and he’s lost 100kg since he started riding.
The Schauff uses a straight-through 1.5” head tube for maximum strength and stiffness, and everything else on the bike is built up to the same level. You even get downhill-sized 203mm rotors on your disc brakes.
This is a prototype bike from Cambridge-based The Light Blue, but given the admiring looks it was getting we’d be surprised if they didn’t put it into production.
It’s a Reynolds 725 frameset, and the dropouts are switchable so you can run derailleur gears or a hub gear. The prototype was wearing cable disc brakes, flared bars and a SRAM 2x10 transmission.
The Traveller is available as a full custom build from Koga. It’s a triple-butted 7005 aluminium frameset, and the show bike was built up with a Rohloff hub, belt drive and – of course – Magura HS33 rim brakes.
The Traveller has a 140kg weight limit for rider and gear, so you can load it right up for a big tour
The Amar is a new model for MTB Cycletech. They describe it as the “big brother of the Papalagi”, and that bike was already a pretty solid world tourer. It looks tough and ready for the big wide world, with a rough matt finish. The details, such as MTB Cyletech’s rather lovely seatpost collar, are well-considered.
It’s constructed from Reynolds 853 tubing and is available as a derailleur setup, as pictured, or with a Pinion geabox.
If your tour is to somewhere that doesn’t do roads, you’ll need something that’s capable of taking some big hits. Something like the Konzept, which has a big-clearance cromoly frame with room for mountain bike tyres.
The show bike was built with a mountain bike transmission and V-brakes, with travel adjusters to make them work with the STI lever/drop bar cockpit.
Still not rugged enough? Then what you need is the Velotraum Pilger, a Rohloff-equipped touring fatbike. You could go anywhere on this beast.
Rohloff now make a fat-bike-friendly wide version of the Speedhub for occasions just such as these. You get that, and a solid-looking rack to hang your gear from.
Even the world of dynohubs is embracing fat bikes these days.
Here's something cunning on the ever popular Van Nicholas Yukon - Rohloff Speedhub shifters mounted inboard on drop bars. How did they do that? Simple Van Nicholas designed and made a divisible bar specifically so you could get a Rohloff shifter on to a drop bar.
Van Nicholas are offering it as an aftermarket item too as a bar/stem combo - so even if you don't have a Van Nicholas you can have a Rohloff shifter on your drop bars without having to hang it off the end.
Want classy? This titanium pioneer, with full Brooks entourage, is classy alright. So much so that we heard that Brooks were in discussion with Van Nicholas to have a borrow of the bike and put it in their shop for people to paw.
It’s a lovely-looking thing, and the details, such as this aluminium and leather grip, are joyous.
Also classy, but decidedly less rugged, is this Lungo from Creme. It sort of looks like a touring bike, but we don’t reckon you’d get a full camping load on those spindly-but-pretty racks.
The sort-or-racing-green finish, gumwall tyres, chromed bits and hammered mudguards really do add up to a splendid-looking bike. We’re thinking Isle of Wight rather than Karakoram Higway though.
Shame about those levers though.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.