7 Best Touring Bikes Under $1000 in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Everybody is always trying to get a good deal when making a purchase, to spend as little as possible while getting as much as they can in return.

The same applies to touring bikes. They’re some of the most advanced road bikes, and they come laden with a variety of features that bump up the price, making them unaffordable to most bike enthusiasts who may be wishing to own one. 

However, once in a while, some bike companies are gracious enough to create high-end touring bikes with mid-range prices.

To help you narrow down your search, we’re going to look at some of the most recommended touring bikes that cost less than $1000. We’ll explore their selling points, their flaws, and give you a quick buying guide that will help you widen your search outside of this list.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Touring Bikes Under $1000

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the touring bikes under $1000 that most people buy).

  • Surly Long-Haul Trucker Top Pick
  • Marin Four Corners Touring Bike Runner-up
  • Fuji Touring Road Bike Runner-up

Top 7 Best Touring Bikes Under $1000 – Our Reviews:

1. Surly Long-Haul Trucker

When you look at how the Surly Trucker is built, you’d be forgiven to assume it’s a racing bike, but far from it, the low handlebars and the thin tires are built for long-distance treks. It’s a great touring bike built for the rough terrain.

The cargo bike is equipped with 12 mm thru-axles, a solid geometry that both combine to give the rider a comfortable experience no matter how heavy they may weigh. The frame is made out of steel, and the reason for this is to give the bike the strength it needs to support huge bags that can be hung from the rear rack.

The handlebar and the saddle, both adjustable, usually come set on the same level for a comfortable riding position. You can always make changes later on to suit yourself.

To compensate for the heavy steel frame, the bike comes with two sets of brakes: the normal disc brakes on the wheels, which are further supported by a pair of rim brakes.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Cargo bike
  • Can handle heavy riders

Cons

  • Heavy
  • The brakes are hard to replace

2. Marin Four Corners Touring Bike

The Marin bike brand isn’t a newbie. It has been active in the bike circles for over 30 years now, enough time for the company to establish itself as a major player with a long line of impressive offerings, with the Marin Four Corners being one of the best touring bikes in their catalog.

It comes laden with a powerful Shimano Sora crankset, an 11 speed SRAM drivetrain, Schwalbe Silento tires, a reliable rear derailleur, Promax Render 160 mm hydraulic disc brakes, and a host of other impressive additions like front and rear fenders, rack mounts, and water bottles—ideal for long bicycle tours.

The Shimano Sora crankset ensures that the shifting of gears is smooth and seamless to guarantee a comfortable ride. The bike also has a tall head tube which the rider can use in the upright position to take the strain off their shoulders and backs.

Lastly, the frame of the bike is made of double-butted Chromoly material for the extra strength needed to support hefty loads and heavy riders.

Pros

  • 3 Water bottle mounts
  • Solid construction
  • Heavy capacity
  • Lightweight bike
  • Handles loose gravel roads well
  • Shimano Sora crankset
  • Decent rear derailleur

Cons

  • Can get sluggish when you overload it

3. Fuji Touring Road Bike

The Fuji touring bike is an entry-level bike that packs the expected features needed to make any new beginner quickly adjust to how touring bikes work.

It has a solid frame made out of Reynolds 520 steel, and although heavy, this is the kind of frame that’s able to grant a bicycle tour the support needed to move around with heavy bags on rough terrain without affecting the other parts of the bicycle.

It has the same Shimano Deore triple chainrings that can be found in very few other bikes like the Ridgeback tour. These chainrings work along a Shimano drivetrain to provide the power to drive the touring bicycle over tricky roads and steep climbs without the need to jettison any extra weight you may be carrying with you.

The bike also makes use of TRP Spyre brakes that are cable-actuated; this makes them highly responsive, and a slight touch of the brake levers will bring the bicycle to a complete stop within seconds.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • Shimano Deore chainring
  • Solid steel frame
  • Decent carrying capacity
  • High-quality Shimano parts

Cons

  • The tires feel a little stiff at times
  • Not many people like the bar-end shifters

4. Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Bike

The Pure Cycles bike is a road touring bicycle that has the looks and the build of a proper tour machine. It’s able to combine good speeds with a high carrying capacity, plus an all-weather road capability.

You could use this bicycle to travel across state lines on a weekend and come back in time to use it as a commuter bike on paved roads to the office on Monday—it’s that versatile.

The gravel bike uses a Chromoly steel framework with an impressive number of clearance and rack-mounting points spread all over it for added convenience. It also sports an 18-speed Shimano Claris STI drivetrain and front derailleur that’s built specifically for dealing with steep gravel climbs, something that a majority of other bikes on this list will struggle pulling off. 

The tubeless-ready wheels are the 700C WTB STP 32-hole rims that are backed up by stainless steel spokes and alloy hubs. This means that this huge wheel size can support huge weights during bicycle touring, either from a heavy rider and extra luggage, without affecting the speed.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Quality components
  • Huge wheel size for all-terrain
  • Quality construction
  • Shimano parts
  • Reliable front derailleur

Cons

  • The brakes in use need improvement
  • Calibrating these gravel bikes to suit personal needs is hard

5. Salsa Journeyman Touring Bike

The aptly named touring bike model is the ideal bicycle to go for if you’re the type that loves company on long rides. With this in tow, you won’t be left behind as it has the power to keep up with some of the fastest bikes on the market, even when you carry heavy bags with you. 

It has decent handling on any type of road with great maneuverability, all thanks to highly responsive brakes and a well-balanced handlebar. It also features an SRAM drivetrain that works hand-in-hand with 42-tooth cassettes to ensure that the shifting of gears is as smooth as possible, switching gears from one to another without breaking pace.

Lastly, it has an aluminum frame that’s backed up by a suspension carbon fork.

Pros

  • Multiple color choices
  • Beautiful design
  • Built for long travels
  • Decent speeds
  • Quality components
  • Stable frame and fork

Cons

  • Disc brakes aren’t that good
  • The tires aren’t tubeless compatible

6. Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike

Schwinn bikes never disappoint on the quality front; you’ll always depend on them to come through with high-grade components that ensure the rider experiences a wholesome journey when treating through the dirt roads in remote places.

The Schwinn Discover Hybrid could as well be their best touring bike that costs less than $1000.

Being a hybrid road bike, this is a versatile piece of machinery that can switch between normal paved roads and challenging mountain trails in seconds; all you need is to quickly switch the gears to suit the terrain you’re dealing with.

It has a Schwinn suspension fork and high handlebars that give you an upright riding position, something that people with back problems will appreciate.

The frame is crafted out of aluminum alloy while the bicycle movements are run by a 21-speed rear derailleur; those are enough gear options to help you deal with all kinds of situations, be it steep climbs or that race on a flat road.

Pros

  • Affordable, features considered
  • Schwinn suspension fork
  • 21-speed SRAM shifter
  • Padded saddle
  • Solid construction
  • Reliable brand name
  • Good disc brakes with high stopping power

Cons

  • Tires puncture easily
  • Assembling it isn’t easy

7. Diamondback Haanjo Gravel Adventure Road Bike

The Diamondback bike brand name is another respectable bicycle maker who has had years in the game manufacturing some of the most in-demand bikes of all styles, including touring bikes.

The Diamondback Haanjo Gravel Adventure Road bike is one of the best touring bikes under $1000 bike touring machine for riders who love challenging themselves into doing the impossible. If the spirit of adventure is strong in you, then this is the touring bike you should be going for right now.

The bicycle 700 by 38C tires that have the right thickness and traction to help the bicycle comfortably move through any type of surface, be it muddy, slippery wet, or loose gravel.

The aluminum alloy frame is both lightweight, strong, and durable, allowing the rider to push the bicycle to the limits without worrying about something breaking apart. The Haanjo is the ultimate beast of burden in this regard.

There are sets of mechanical disc brakes that ensure safety is guaranteed when you go for bicycle touring. This bike tour entry also comes with accessories, like a fender for protecting the rider against dirt and removable bicycle racks that you can use to carry your luggage if you’re doing a long-distance trek.

The drivetrain in use is the reliable 16-speed Shimano Claris.

Pros

  • Durable build
  • Double-wall wheelset
  • Front and back mounts
  • Versatile
  • Shimano drivetrain
  • Powerful mechanical disc brakes

Cons

  • A little heavy after accessorizing
  • Assembly manual needs to be made easy to understand

Factors to Consider When Buying a Touring Bike

If you walk into any bike shop, you’ll come across different models of touring bikes from a varying number of bike brands. Each will display amazing features that can really get you mixed up and stranded on what to choose.

To help you make the right decisions, the following are some tips to adhere to. 

Frame Material

The frame materials determine many things, from the weight of the bike, the carrying capacity, the suspension to the price. A good touring bike is one that has a solid mountain bike frame that’s as lightweight as possible while still packing the strength and durability to support heavy luggage and riders.

Aluminum and steel are the two frame materials you’re most likely to run into.

Read Also: Steel vs Aluminum Bike: Which Should You Buy?

Brakes

Where great weights are involved in touring bicycles, you need powerful and reliable brakes to help you steer the bicycle better and avoid unnecessary accidents on the road.

You can either go for disc brakes or rim brakes. Some models come with both, but the bottom line here is, you want a set of brakes that can bring your bicycle to a complete stop with unbridled stopping power when needed.

A fully loaded mountain bike will need hydraulic disc brakes and good cable routing.

Read Also: Hydraulic vs Mechanical Disc Brakes: Which Should You Go For?

Gears

The gearing system will either break or make your journey. Touring bikes are usually made for carrying luggage; this added weight combined with the weight of the rider and the bicycle will affect some areas of the bike like speed.

To be able to power through steep climbs while strapped with bags, you’ll need a good drivetrain with a sufficient number of gears and balanced gear ratios that have the ability to shift gears seamlessly. The higher the number of gears, the better it’ll be for you.

The most common and preferred drivetrain would be Shimano Tiagra, Claris, and a host of other models.

Tires

The design and size of the tire also lay a huge role in determining how a touring bike performs on the road. If the tires are too heavy, you’ll most likely struggle on climbs and rough roads due to that added weight.

Ideally, the tire should be the right size, wide enough to handle loose gravel, and narrow enough for quick acceleration. It should also be able to shoulder the prescribed weight.

You may need to take the bike for a road test to get the feel of the tires.

Read Also: 7 Best Touring Bike Tires – Reviews & Top Picks

Comfort

Touring bikes are built for long travel on dirt roads.

The people who buy these bikes don’t get them for short trips to the gym and back. It isn’t uncommon to hear about people who clock over 100 miles in a single day of cycling.

When you consider how long you stay on such a bike, comfort becomes a priority. The saddle has to be padded, the riding position has to be upright, and handlebars need a good grip.

Budget

Good touring bikes cost a lot; even with decent discounts, most are still beyond reach for most people who may wish to own a touring road bicycle. When doing your search, it helps narrow down the field if you limit yourself to what you can afford.

The Bottom Line

It’s impossible to find the best touring bikes under $1000 as they’re machines and all machines have their own flaws. However, getting a bicycle touring option that’s as close to what you need isn’t hard at all.

There are many other touring bikes out there that are worth your attention; you may not be able to go through all of them, but with this guide, you can be sure to at least know what to prioritize. So, if you’ve been thinking of going for bike touring, you have all the reasons now to go for it.