Which bike fits best?

No bike means no bikepacking. That’s stating the obvious. You can set off with just any bicycle, certainly in more populated areas, like western Europe. If you are planning a longer and more challenging cycling vacation, the type of bike you use becomes more important. That’s why we briefly go through the different possibilities in this article. It is important to know that there are many intermediate types. You can always adjust the handlebars or type of tires as you see fit. You can also use an ordinary city bike if you are planning a small and short trip. Don’t let your current bike hold you back for a first small bike touring trip.

The good old touring bike

The touring bike has been traditionally used to undertake longer cycling vacations. It is very similar to a regular city bike, but has a greater focus on comfort to make and keep the longer trips comfortable. The touring bike can carry a lot of weight while maintaining the necessary comfort for the cyclist. It has often lighter suspensions, thicker tires with a more profile, a softer and wider saddle, and a frame that allows for a straighter sitting position. It is suitable for almost any surface, but if you like a more challenging route, either in speed or in terrain, then you should choose one of the bikes below.

The touring bike brings you far in a comfortable way - source - cc

The racing bike excels at speed

The racing bike focuses on more aerodynamics, speed and lightness. This can be less comfortable during longer stages and trips, especially on poorly maintained roads. But if you are used to this, the speed advantages is of course interesting. The bike doesn’t absorb shocks that well. Also, the standard profile of the tires is not always useful on more muddy roads. Bags can be mounted perfectly, but of course they immediately makes this lightweight heavier. Be careful with the dropdown bars of your racing bike! They strongly limit the space for a front handlebar bag. Be sure to read our article on bikepacking bags.

The mountain bike for more challenging routes

A mountain bike is mainly used in mountainous areas with rough surfaces:forest paths, dirt roads, muddy sections, rocks, etc. Its tires have an ideal thickness and profile to guide you safely and comfortably through these obstacles. The built-in suspension provides additional comfort on bumpy terrain. Moreover, they are often equipped with smaller gears so that steep climbs are easier to overcome. Bags are not so easy to attach to a mountain bike. The frame of the bike often has a smaller triangle, which makes it more difficult to use frame panniers, for example. Also, the suspension on the front fork can compromise the space between the front tire and the handlebars. The article on bikepacking bags discusses this problem in more detail.

The gravel bike combines speed and aerodynamics of a race bike, but can go off-road - source - cc

The new trend: gravel bike

The gravel bike is very similar to a road bike, but they are not the same. This one has slightly thicker tires with more profile, so you can handle both road, dirt and gravel trails. It is an intermediate solution between the road or racing bike and the mountain bike, although it tends more towards the road bike. This bike is sometimes described as a real all-rounder. Since a gravel bike also has dropdown bars, the same remark can be made about the bikepacking bags.

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