Touring Bike vs Road Bike – Comparison in 2023

When you are looking to find a perfect bike, two obvious broad categories you know available before you would be Touring bikes and Road bikes, and you’ve probably heard of both of it a couple of times too.

If you have been wondering what is the difference between these two or would like to know more about them, this article would be helpful to you.

Touring Bike vs Road Bike

We talk about each of these types and introduce each of them to you before moving on to comparing both of them.

Further, we also recommend the products that we find doing well with customers.

Touring bikes vs Road bikes Comparison 2023

Before we head on to making detailed comparisons, let’s have a look at what defines a touring bike and a road bike.

Touring bikes

Touring bikes 2020

Touring bikes are designed to focus more on strength and durability than speed and performance.

For this very reason, they come in steel made to ensure greater durability, strength, and endurance.

These bikes can carry heavier loads in comparison to road bikes and can easily ride through rough terrains.

It may look somewhat bulkier though.

Targeted at facilitating longer rides, they come with a baggage rack.

Space allows users to easily and comfortably ride without any backpack burden on their shoulders.

Depending on the model you choose, you can have a broader and longer rack too.

Road bike

Road bike 2020

Also referred to as a racing bike sometimes, road bikes can be considered the fastest option if you like having a ride to work.

Basically, bikes of this kind are designed mostly for efficiency and speed on the tarmac.

These models are quite lightweight and aerodynamic.

For this purpose, carbon fiber is much preferred to make material for road bikes.

If you want your commute to be fast and the roads in your area are in great condition, a road bike is the most suitable option for you.

However, they might not be the most comfortable ones, especially when in comparison to many other alternatives available out there.

The design, designed for the best of aerodynamics, lower weight, and pace, the model could be uncomfortable on rough or non-metalled roads.

But when you are looking for a speedy ride around the urban areas or even some race or professional bike riding practices, road bikes should be your go-to.

Do you want to buy bike Saddles? Read the comparison of Brooks C17 vs C15

Difference between Touring bikes and Road bikes

Now that you probably got a rough idea as to what touring and road bikes are, let’s now take a closer look at how various factors differ in touring bikes and road bikes.

Road suitability:

If you are looking to ride along the developed roads most of the time and would like some good speed, or participate in races, road bikes are for you.

But, as mentioned earlier, they can be unforgiving and quite uncomfortable if you’ll be off-roading or even riding through uneven, undeveloped, or non-concrete roads.

In the latter scenario, touring bikes might be the better choice.

Make and material:

Road bikes, especially those aimed at racing purposes, come mostly with carbon fiber or an aluminum alloy for weight reduction and improved aerodynamics.

The design would usually be such as to keep it lightweight. Touring bikes, on the other hand, come in steel make to ensure greater durability, strength, and endurance.

These bikes, designed to carry heavy loads and ride through rough terrains, may look somewhat bulkier and heavier.

They even would have mud-guards and other gear helpful in making your touring experienced least messy.

Baggage space:

Given that road bikes have the purpose of speeding you through urban roads, they doesn’t comes with a baggage space.

This factor helps the bike be more compact and lightweight.

On the other hand, the touring bikes- which are mostly targeted at facilitating longer rides, come with a baggage rack.

The baggage pace, as suggested earlier, lets users easily and comfortably ride without any backpack weighing down.


As you may probably guess, road bikes come with narrower tires- focused on weight reduction again.

On the other hand, touring bikes would have broader, and even heavier tires.

The tires of touring bikes are most likely to last much longer on rough roads or terrains than road bikes or racing bikes.

Also, they would be more enduring to the weight of the luggage too.

Speed & Performance:

As mentioned earlier, speed is the nature of road bikes.

They are meant to deliver maximum speed and efficiency on the road.

Their design is meant to offer maximum aerodynamics, which in turn ensures great speed and performance.

Touring bikes, especially in comparison to road bikes, are slower.

Their design focuses more on strength and durability than speed and performance.

Due to the same, as you saw, it comes made of bulkier material, broader gears, and tires.

So, that is pretty much it for the comparison between the two types.

Now, if you have been thinking about buying a bike, the below reviews of the top urban commuters or bikes can surely help you shortlist.

Road Bike or Touring Bike?

Here are a details guide to road bikes and touring bikes. This guideline will help you to pick the right bicycle for you.

road bike vs touring bike comparison 2020

It’s not easy to pick the perfect bicycle without research. It will take some time to understand or you need to read a guideline to understand.

So don’t delay just read this realistic guide to understand which bicycle would be fit for touring and road.

Road Bike

If you think a road bike is more suitable for you than touring bike, you will find this part helpful.

In this section, we have listed and reviewed the road bikes that we found to be performing best and at the same time offer a relatively comfortable ride.

Following are the bikes reviewed here:

  • 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike
  • SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike, Warwinds3.0 700C Carbon Fiber Racing Bicycle with SORA 18 Speed Derailleur System and Double V Brake
  • RALEIGH Bikes Willard 4 Adventure Road Bike 
  • Eurobike Road Bike EURXC550 21 Speed 54 cm Frame 700C 3-Spoke Wheels Road Bicycle Dual Disc Brake Bicycle
  • Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles for Men and Women, Featuring 41cm/Small or 56cm/Large Aluminum Frames with 16-Speed or 14-Speed Drivetrain, Carbon Fiber Fork, and 700c Wheels

#1 Eurobike Road Bike EURXC550 21

Eurobike Road Bike EURXC550 can be put up as a good option when it comes to the requirement for a speedy, well-performing bike- most essentially, an aggressive road bike.

The product is available in different frame size options- 49cm one, which would ideally fit 5’4″ – 5’7″ height riders, and the 54 cm one that would suit those of about 5’8″ –  6’1″ height.

Eurobike Road Bike EURXC550 21

The 21-speed drivetrain is the exact thing a professional road racer or a regular, advanced rider would want.

And then, there is an amazing disc brake to help out with a smooth slow down or stop.

Further, one great thing about the seller is good client support.

So, fast, stylish, and smooth- sounds like a recipe for some liking.

Main Features

  • Compact and comes with size alternatives- 49cm one, a good fit for 5’4″ – 5’7″ heightened riders and the 54 cm one that would suit 5’8″ – 6’1″
  • Good speed level set at 21, ideal for speed racers, professionals, and regular riders, with the smooth gear shifting mechanism
  • A stylish look that most riders appreciate
  • Disc brakes for smooth braking experience

#2 Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles

Available in Black and white color options, this Drop Bar Road Bike from Schwinn Phocus is a unisex bike backed by Shimano Claris 16-speed derailleur.

This product in the Schwinn range is a compact lightweight option carefully crafted with aluminum and carbon fiber.

Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycles

Main Features

  • Lightweight, being made of carbon fiber and Aluminium, for optimal performance and fast riding experiences.
  • Sturdy, durable design
  • Inbuilt Shimano Claris 14-speed (for Phocus 1400) and 16-speed (for Phocus 1600)derailleur
  • Super stylish, catchy looks with the drop bar

#3 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike

If you have been researching bicycles for any length of time, you might probably have stumbled upon this brand name a few times. 6KU is, of course, a reliable and highly-rated name.

6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike

The brand is established and renowned particularly for quality and you can expect the same when you buy 6KU Aluminum Fixed Gear Single-Speed Fixie Urban Track Bike.

This sure is something you can rely on.

Main Features

  • Front/ rear brakes that are easily removable
  • Best quality bike at an affordable price range
  • Ideal for daily commutes, recreational road rides
  • Sturdy alloy, aluminum frame

#4 RALEIGH Bikes Willard 4 Adventure Road Bike

This road bike is a more flexible option in the sense that the design allows versatility.

RALEIGH Bikes Willard 4 Adventure Road Bike 52cm Frame allows users to go smooth over paved roads, but it also lets some.

Made of aluminum and carbon fiber, it is lightweight and comes with 11 speed SRAM Apex1 drivetrain.

RALEIGH Bikes Willard 4 Adventure Road Bike

What’s more- customers usually admire and appreciate the ‘cool’ and stylish look of the bike, particularly the slight curves, aggressive head, and attractive color combinations.

Main Features

  • Lightweight with carbon fiber- aluminum construction, for optimal performance
  • Tubeless compatible, durable HED Tomcat wheels
  • Comfortable for basic unpaved road rides too
  • Good for beginner gear users with the 11-speed drive train

#5 SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike, Warwinds3.0 7

Our last choice for this list is still one of the best out there. If you are a pro-rider and you can afford to invest in a bit expensive get this one.

We wouldn’t have to explain much- just know that the bike is packed with features you- like a pro- would like (love).

SAVADECK Carbon Road Bike, Warwinds3.0 7

Main Features

  • Shimano SORA 2×9 Speeds with Shifter lever, Front and Rear derailleur
  • Smooth gear shifts, competitively lightweight and aerodynamic
  • Low stooping with an appealing look
  • Available in size options

Touring Bikes

In this section, we review some bikes that are ideal for touring and off-roading purposes

  • Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed Commuter Bike
  • Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bikes for Men and Women
  • Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle
  • Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike
  • Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike

#1 Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike

The Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear urban commuter is somewhat similar to the other Retrospec commuter bike discussed earlier.

It comes from steel make and as you probably know, steel goes a long way toward the sturdiness and durability of the frame.

Further, the bike is quite lightweight even though it carries a steel frame.

Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike

You might want to be a bit more careful with this though, its shock absorption isn’t much. Simply attach a cargo rack, and you are good to go!

Main Features

  • The Retrospec Harper Single-Speed Fixed Gear urban commuter comes with a steel frame and as you read earlier, steel contributes to the sturdiness and durability of the frame of the bike.
  • Strong yet lightweight
  • Simple, sleek design
  • Single-speed make it easy to use and maintain and suitable for those who wouldn’t want the complexity of gears.

#2 Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bikes

This hybrid model from Schwinn can be a good choice for those who’d like to have a bike that can be used as a good speed road bike as well as a touring bike.

It comes with an aluminum city frame and packs a cargo rack, linear brakes, adjustable stem, back-sweep handlebars, and fenders in addition to a 21-speed drivetrain.

Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bikes for Men and Women

The make, the sturdiness along with the comfortable ride design make Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bikes for Men and Women one great option for those who’d like a multipurpose bike.

Main Features

  • A comfortable sports seat along with the adjustable stem and back-sweep handlebar ensures maximum comfort to the rider on road rides as well as during off-roading.
  • The design offers flexibility. Users can choose to sit upright or somewhat inclined by adjusting the step.
  • No luggage rack installation needs to be given that the bike comes with a built-in rack.
  • The 21-speed drivetrain would ensure great performance on-road and a fast and easier riding uphill.
  • The bike features dual-density construction of the aluminum city frame, making it sturdy and tough.

#3 Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed Commuter Bike

For those who’d like to have a simple, modern-looking yet comfortable bike, we’d suggest taking a look at the Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie style commuter bike with Foot Brakes.

The product is made of steel which makes it as durable as they come, backed by a design that absorbs and reduces the bumps on the road or trail.

Retrospec Harper Coaster Fixie Style Single-Speed Commuter Bike

While it is built of high-intensity steel, the manufacturer has managed to keep it sleek and less bulky.

Further, it features a Coaster foot brake mechanism that offers a smooth and simple slowing down or stopping- all you need to do is backpedal.

It has a traditional touch with the single-speed thing though.

Main Features

Users love the sleek, reliable, no-nonsense yet eye-catching design with no handle brakes or wires

  • Users love the sleek, reliable, no-nonsense yet eye-catching design with no handle brakes or wires.
  • The coaster braking mechanism allows for a smoother slow-down or braking experience.
  • The high-tensile strength steel frame is designed to absorb and reduce the shock and impact that a rough patch may present you with.

#4 Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike

This is not exactly a touring bike but can serve you well for exploring the outdoors as well as for normal road commutes.

What makes the bike attractive is its distinct style backed by its affordability.

There is a huge range of color combinations with the brand for you to choose from- there is a pretty good chance of you finding your most preferred color with Golden Cycles.

Golden Cycles Single Speed Fixed Gear Bike

Further, the reviews and experience of those who have been using this model and brand for a while are happy with it.

You’ll be too if you aren’t looking for a racing bike or a full-on bulky mountain bike.

Everything about the cycle makes it worth whatever money you put into the bike.

All in all, you can consider this one if you want a stylish no-nonsense bike.

Main Features

  • While the price of various colors and styles vary, Golden Cycles are more or less available in the pocket-friendly range.
  • The single-speed bike is favorable for those who’d like to avoid gear complexities and have a low-maintenance bike.
  • Easier to change gears with a thoughtful double-side treaded 32-hole sealed bearing hub.
  • Front and rear brakes.

#5 Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle

A mountain bike, Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle is one good choice you can have when you are out for some real adrenaline-rushing ride tour and adventure.

Good for professional riders for a speedy and powerful touring experience with 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur.

The adjustable seat offers maximum comfort for the rider on different terrains.

Mongoose R3577 Girl's Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle

Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle allows users to go smooth over paved roads, but it also lets some. Made of aluminum, it is quite tough and sturdy. 

What’s more- customers usually admire and appreciate the ‘cool’ and stylish look of the bike.

Main Features

  • Sturdy and durable construction that offers convenience and reliability
  • Shimano grip shifters backing 21 speed Shimano derailleur with front and rear linear-pull brakes
  • Adjustable seat post allows adjustments to height and comfort.
  • 21-speed drivetrain makes the bike suitable for pros preferring some speed in off-roading.

Can you use a road bike for touring?

The answer is yes, of course, you can. There are some factors you will need to consider before you can decide that, however. Road bikes are made for traveling fast and are hence also known as racing bikes.

They are built with a very aerodynamic and light design for the purpose of fast commuting.

Even though these bikes can go long distances with no problem, that depends on a couple of factors:

  • The condition of the road
  • How much weight do you carry

Road bikes have been designed to ride on smooth grounds, especially on tarmac. If you can ensure that you will be riding on such roads throughout your tour, then road bikes will work just fine.

Rough roads can lead to a lot of discomfort on these bikes, so you need to be sure of the type of paths you will be treading.

As for the weight, you certainly cannot take heavy stuff with you on road bikes! They usually contain only one mounting point for a water bottle and no attachment points on the racks. So if you are planning on camping around, road bikes are not the answer for you.

If, however, you are planning on staying in hotels and bread and breakfasts, then they will suit you just fine.

Are touring bikes fast?

Speed certainly depends on individual preferences. The purpose of touring bikes is to enjoy the scenery while riding. It’s basically about the journey rather than the destination. On top of that, these bikes are made of strong frames in order to be able to carry heavy loads.

The weight of your loads, as well as the type of road you are riding on and the strength of the wind, will all affect the speed of your bike. Keeping all that in mind, the average speed of touring bikes can range anywhere between 12-30 km/h.

You can certainly go faster than that, but it will depend on the conditions and sustainability on your part. If you would like to make your touring bike faster, there are certain ways of doing that:

  • Replace the flat handlebars with butterfly bars
  • Change the tires to narrower ones
  • Carry less weight
  • Use clipless pedals
  • Wear well-fitting clothing
  • Lubricate the chain frequently
  • Keep the bike clean
  • Ensure the right saddle height for yourself
  • If possible, lower the front end

Touring bikes are fast enough for their purpose and also for daily commuting. So speed should not be an issue.

How do I choose a touring bike?

There are plenty of factors to consider before you invest your hard-earned money on a bike. The most important thing to know first is the type of touring bike you should be using:

Long-Distance Touring Bikes

As the name suggests, these are best suited for long travels. They are made of hardy materials, yet are very comfortable for the body. Additionally, they can carry very heavy loads.

Trekking Bikes

These are very lightweight bikes that are very fast. They have been designed with light roads in mind, and only contain a rear rack, so they are not designed to carry too heavy loads.

Light Touring Bikes

These are a cross between long-distance touring bikes and road bikes. Light and fast, yet with the ability to carry some weight, these are best suited for use on the road.

Folding Touring Bikes

These are the best to be taken on public transport as they can be folded to fit a small space.

Tandem Touring Bikes

Made for riding together with a friend or partner, these are great for socializing as well as for people who have different speeds.

Dual Suspension Touring Bikes

These have very effective suspension dampening and are great for riding on rough roads.

Recumbent Touring Bikes

These prevent soreness from developing in your shoulders, backs, and bottoms, but they aren’t suited for climbing steep roads such as on hills.

Long-Tail Cargo Touring Bikes

These are the best for carrying heavy loads and also for traveling with children. Apart from these, other categories are also available. Each type of touring bike is slightly different in its functionality and should be picked accordingly. Picking the right bike will also depend on:

  • Your budget
  • Comfort
  • Distance to be traveled
  • Type of road on which you will be riding
  • Whether the bike can be taken to buses, trains or planes
  • The availability of the bike’s components

Should I buy a touring bike?

Whether you should buy a touring bike or not will depend on your particular needs. In general, touring bikes are great for long-distance travel while enjoying the scenery.

They have been designed to carry some weight, and their different types allow for easy use on both rough and smooth roads.

Not only that, but they are also public transport-friendly if you buy the foldable type. Usually made of steel, they are also durable yet comfortable.

Now having said all that, these bikes are not only suitable for long-distance travel by any means! They are great for regular commuting as well.

If you are someone who would like to tour long distances from time to time yet also be able to use the bike for going to work or school, then a touring bike will totally suit you. That also means that any form of long-distance travel will be great on a touring bike.

However, if you are looking for a fast bike for racing or for only commuting short distances, then a touring bike would be unnecessary.

Even if you will be traveling long distances, but on smooth roads, then tour bikes aren’t really a must-have unless you are traveling heavy.

What bike is best for long-distance cycling?

Tour bikes are best for this purpose. They have been made with tough and durable materials such as steel, which is very comfortable to ride on. Riding for long can certainly wreak havoc on your body if your bike isn’t comfy!

Additionally, tour bikes can carry a lot of weight, which is usually a requirement for long-distance travel as you need to pack heavier.

They also usually contain more mounts for bottle holding as well as attachment points for racks, which are very convenient for carrying stuff.

Other than that, as tour bikes have been designed to enjoy the sights of the places being toured, they generally provide a more upright posture. This is great for enjoying long-distance rides.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we discuss and attempt to answer some of the top questions asked about road bikes and touring bikes.

To decide whether you want to buy a touring bike, ask yourself the following questions.

. Whether you plan to keep a year or so solely to tour around and see the word.
. For the long tours or weekend ride around, whether part of your tour would have trails that are rough and rugged, muddy, sandy or dirt tracks.
. Whether you have any plans to frequently go on off-road trips.
. If you don’t see yourself any frequently on weekend races or fast rides to work or school etc.

If you said yes to most of the above questions, there would be hardly any good that road bikes can do to you, and so, you should buy a touring bike.

If not- and if you do plan to participate in road races or if you need the bike to ride efficiently through the developed urban roads, to and from work or school for example- road bike can be a good choice for you.

Users often wonder if there is any harm in using their road bikes for alternative purposes.

Well, in a factual sense, yes, you can take road bikes for trips and off-roading. But what you must remember is that road bikes are called road bikes for a reason.

As stated earlier, Road bikes mostly are designed to be lightweight, aerodynamic, and performance-giving.

These very factors could make it unforgiving for you if you want to take it through non-metalled off-road trips or rides.

While both the categories discussed primarily in this article would be ideal for serving their own purposes, they can have certain shortcomings.
So, if you want to get a multipurpose bike, you can check out hybrid bikes- they could be the most ideal for you. 
Should you choose between Road bike and Touring bikes, then, you can choose based on your primary purpose of buying the bike. It’s not like a touring bike won’t go on city roads.

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