Bicycle Touring: A Reliable Setup

If you’re considering going on a bicycle tour, don’t leave home without this essential gear.

Despite the fairly low profile of bicycle touring, potential tourers are faced with a considerable range of options when gearing up.

Photo by likeablerodent on flickr

Depending on your budget, you can go cheap or spend your life savings. Described here is a mid-priced touring set up.


Near the middle of the touring bike price range, the Surly Long Haul Trucker is an excellent choice for any serious tourer. Produced by Surly, a legendary bike company who are known for amongst other things, helping set up the Single Speed World Champs and bringing out the Puggsly - the first mass produced fat bike.

You’ll probably want to replace stock tyres with Schwalbe Marathons and the seat with a leather Brooks. The bike comes set up with mountain biking- like cogs for cranking up hill with a loaded bike and giving the full range of gears.

Price Circa £1000.

Other upgrades might be an adjustable stem, bottle cages, and disk brakes if you go for the disk version.

You can get second hand ones off Ebay for cheaper too.


A good rack can go a long way towards ensuring a hassle-free a tour. You want something that’s able to bear the weight of your gear without snapping in half or wearing out through vibrations.

Regardless of the type of touring you’re doing, you need a rear rack. German company Tubus make the logo rack which is very highly regarded and proving to be super durable and strong.

Price: Circa £50

For those heading out on a long-term, self-supported tour, pair this with the Nova front rack.


The big debate when it comes to panniers—touring saddlebags—pits breathability against water resistance. For instance, top-loading panniers made by the ultra-popular Ortlieb are completely waterproof, but they don’t dry out if you get water inside them and with them being top loading its sometimes difficult to get at stuff.

BACK ROLLER PLUS PANNIERS, Weight: 1.5kg / pair, Capacity: 40L / pair, Features: Lighter than the Bike Packer Plus models, Price: £113.03 from Wiggle.

FRONT ROLLER PLUS PANNIERS, Weight: 1.3kg / pair, Capacity: 25L / pair, Price: £95 from Wiggle or $101.93 from REI.

The Carradice Super C is rugged and breathable, 54 litre capacity per pair, Large external pocket on rear, made from Cotton Duck which is a material which when wet swells up a and prevents water from entering up to a point and for the rest you can proof them with waterproofing spray.

Price £120.00

The front one is 28 Litres per pair and used the Carradice C-system pannier fittings for quick and secure fitting.

Price £90.00

There are a lot of options for panniers and it comes down to preference and willingness to splash out.

If you liked this article you might also be interested in my ebook

Prepare, Pack, Pedal: A Practical Guide to Bicycle Touring available on Kindle

Buy here

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