What’s the best bicycle for a long-distance tour? Impossible to say. What I can tell you is which bicycles are the most popular for round the world cycle tours.
Here’s a short list of the most common touring bikes we’ve come across on our world cycle tour. You’ll also find links to reviews of expedition touring bicycles and the low-down on who rides what in the world of long-distance bicycle touring.
Thorn Touring Bikes
If you meet a cycle tourist from the U.K., 90% of the time he or she will be riding a Thorn. These bikes have got a solid track record and Brits swear by them.
Check Bike Radar’s excellent review of the Thorn Raven for complete information on the Thorn’s components and handling.
Below are reviews of Thorn Touring Bicycles written by experienced cycle tourists:
- Helen Lloyd’s review of the Thorn Raven after 16,300 kilometers cycling through Africa.
- The team from A Bike Journey’s review of the Thorn Raven Tour after cycling 18,000 kilometers from the U.K. to Australia.
- Peter Gostelows’s review of the Thorn Raven Tour after pedaling 30,000 kilometers through Africa.
- The team from Pedalling About’s review of the Thorn Nomad after cycling through South America.
Surly Touring Bikes
North American cyclists favor the Surly. One reason is the attractive price tag. For a little over $1,000, you can get outfitted with a basic Surly Long Haul Trucker. A Koga or a Thorn could run you more than twice as much.
You can find several honest reviews of the Long Haul Trucker on the REI website.
On Road Bike Review, the Surly Long Haul Trucker received an average rating of 4.56/5 in 32 reviews.
Notable cyclists who ride Surlys include Harriet and Neil of Pikes on Bikes, Tara and Tyler of Going Slowly, Chris Roach of the Cycling Strongman (who has been riding a Surly Troll for the past 45,000 kilometers as he circumnavigates the planet) and the three Berg Brothers from Bound South who rode most of the way from Alaska to Argentina on Surly Trolls.
Koga Touring Bikes
The Koga World Traveller tends to be favored by Northern Europeans and the Dutch (naturally) since these quality touring bikes are hand built in the Netherlands.
Bike Radar gave the new Signature World Traveller a stellar review with Cycling Plus magazine’s product editor Simon Withers awarding the Koga a 9/10 rating for the frame, handling and equipment and an 8/10 for the wheels.
Nicolai Bangsgaard cycled more than 62,000 kilometers around the world on a Koga, Mark Beaumont rode a Koga on his world record breaking ride around the world and Grace Johnson and Paul Jeurissen of Bicycling Around the World are riding Kogas as they cycle the world in search of inspiring bicycle touring images.
My reliable Koga World Traveller has been with me for more than 110,000 kilometers on five continents.
Santos Touring Bikes
Santos touring bikes have been gaining popularity in recent years. In a review of the Santos Travel Master, Bike Radar described it as, “an extremely capable tourer, with superb attention to detail and a wealth of build options.”
Steve Fabes of Cycling the Six is bucking the trend for British cyclists and riding a Santos Travelmaster2.6 Cromo Rohloff.
Fellow Brit Sarah Outen is also riding a Santos on her London2London via the World bike and boat adventure, Ollie Broom rode a Santos on his 14 month, 25,000 kilometer ride from London to Brisbane and Friedel and Andrew of Travelling Two are now riding on Santos Bikes.