Touring Bike vs Gravel Bike – Which one is better?

The most common cycling bikes are the touring bike and the gravel bike. You may get confused about which bike to get. Hence, read this article on "touring bike vs gravel bike-which one is better." It will make your bike choosing task super easy. Let's dive into the main parts for a comparative study on both bikes.

What is a Touring Bike?

A touring bike is designed to be used for touring adventures. Its special features make it unique from other bikes. In addition, it has flexible frame materials, a long wheelbase, and sturdy wheels. Moreover, it includes multiple mounting points, fenders, racks, and bottle cages.

Advantages of Touring Bike:

Wide selection options:

Touring bikes are of different types. You can choose from recumbent touring, mixed terrain touring, road touring, expedition touring, sport-touring, and folding touring bike types.

Heavy loading capacity:

A touring bike provides a heavy loading capacity to carry your touring luggage. It is built to offer maximum comfort while carrying heavy loads of your touring kits.

Comfortability:

The sturdy and flexible structure of a touring bike makes it comfortable for its users. Its upright sitting position lets you ride comfortably on every road condition.

Dynamo power:

Most modern touring bike models come with a frontal dynamo hub. That keeps the light charged to ensure a consistent power source.

Mudguards:

Mudguards or different mounting options keep you and your luggage dry and clean from mud in wet conditions.

Stable:

A touring bike provides maximum support while offering stability for its riders. The sturdy geometry makes a touring bike more stable than other bikes.

Reliable braking:

The reliable disc brake system ensures a perfect and instant break for you. Its separate brake offers longevity for the bike rim.

Disadvantages of touring bikes:

  • Not suitable for backpacking due to its lack of higher climbing gears support.
  • If you are a beginner, then a touring bike can be challenging due to its maneuverability.
  • A touring bike costs higher than other bike options because of its expensive structural materials.

What is a Gravel Bike?

A Gravel bike is designed to perform cycling activities on gravel roads. It is suitable for terrain areas while providing maximum comfort for its users. Moreover, its lightweight feature with sturdy construction makes it suitable for novice riders.

 Advantages of gravel bikes

Two-in-one bike:

A Gravel bike comes with different sizes of wheel replacement features. You can use a larger tire for fat bike performance and also a regular one. Change your bike's physical appearance as per your requirements.

Go anywhere:

Gravel bikes are lightweight and designed to go almost everywhere in your adventure. It offers strong grips for rigid routes.

Simple:

A Gravel bike comes with a simpler construction. Its cost-effective, durable structure ensures a comfortable ride in all-terrain areas.

 Disadvantages of gravel bikes:

Slower:

A Gravel bike is comparatively slower than other bike types due to its heavy-duty construction.

Difference between touring bike vs gravel bike:

Wheels

Touring Bike: A regular touring bike comes with 700c wheels. Yet an MTB 700c wheel can be 29″ & 650b as well. Nevertheless, the tubeless-ready wheels make your touring bike ready for a low-pressure ride. You don't need to think about getting a pinch puncture in your adventure.

Gravel Bike: The gravel bikes come with smaller wheels than the touring bikes. Yet their wheels combined with wide tires. Hence 700c and 650b wheels are prevalent. As a result, they build a larger surface of contact.

Tire

Touring Bike: The tire of a touring bike can come with widths ranging from 37mm to 45mm, and 60mm. It will provide maximum stability during your adventures.

Gravel Bike: When opposed to touring bikes, gravel bikes have wider tires. Gravel bikes now have 37mm, 46mm, and in some cases 60mm wide tires.

Materials

Touring Bike: Generally, a typical touring bike is made from steel. As a result, a touring bike is heavier than other bikes. A touring bike constructed with steel material is tough to ensure durability. So, a touring bike is the best option for your cycling adventure. A touring bike might be made of carbon, alloy, or titanium. And it is less prevalent than with gravel bikes.

Gravel Bike: Gravel bikes can be made of steel or carbon. It can come in various materials, including aluminum, steel, or titanium. As a result, a gravel bike is lighter than a touring bike.

Bar-end shifter

Touring Bike: A touring bike may provide bar-end shifters. That allows you to do simple maintenance when necessary. Hence, choose your touring bike that comes with a drop bar or flat bar.

Gravel Bike: You will find a gravel bike that mostly comes with flared drop bars. Surprisingly, the flared drop bars provide a 6°-20°+ flare. That offers you maximum comfort in a rough landscape.

Weight

Touring Bike: A standard touring bike comes with different weight options. Most touring bikes weigh from 13 kg to 15kg. Moreover, you can find exceptions as well if required.

Gravel Bike: A standard gravel bike can weigh from 9 kg to 13 kg. That makes it the lighter bike option in contrast to a touring bike. Moreover, the lightweight feature of a gravel bike makes it suitable for exploring more spots. That is quite satisfying if compared to a touring bike's coverage areas.

Gear range

Touring Bike: In contrast to a gravel bike, a touring bike comes with larger gears. You can pick the gear ranges from low end to high. Thus, it provides more traction on muddy or paved roads. However, the average gear range is 18′′ granny gear on a touring bike. Yet, it can range up to 120′′ high gear.

Touring bikes have two or three chainrings. That allows you to choose a chain set with 48/38/28 chainrings. Moreover, the wide cassettes are in the 11-36 range to fit your requirements. It lets you reduce the inner chainring row to 22 teeth and the big ring teeth to 44.

Gravel Bike: In contrast to a touring bike, a gravel bike comes with less gear range. Moreover, a gravel bike comes with an average gear range of 20′′. Yet, you can get the highest range up to 120′′ high gear. For example, a gravel bike is found chiefly with 1x /2x drivetrains.

Gravel bikes have 1.5 mid-length chainrings. That allows you to choose a chain set with 50/34 chainrings. Moreover, the wide cassettes are in the 11-32 range to fit your adventure.

Built-in racks

Touring Bike: A touring bike can feature front or rear racks. It will provide easy portability for your extra items.

Gravel Bike: Gravel bikes come with built-in fender mounts and a rack. Some also may feature top tube mounts to carry integrated bags.

Brakes

Touring Bike: Recently, most new touring bike models have come with disc brakes. That makes it suitable for paved or off-road cycling adventures. However, touring bikes came with cantilever brakes for old models.

Gravel Bike: The gravel bike's disc brakes increase traction and grip on different road surfaces. That makes this bike more maneuverable on gravel roads, in the rain, and other difficult surfaces.

Spokes

Touring Bike: A touring bike can have 36 spokes in its rims. That makes its wheels robust enough to carry your extra kit.

Gravel Bike: Gravel bikes have fewer spokes than touring bikes. On average, a gravel bike's rims can have 32 spokes. They are not suitable for heavily loaded adventures.

Accessories

Touring Bike: A touring bike is suitable for long-distance trips. Its built-in front or rear racks let you carry heavy luggage. Although, the older touring bike models had panniers as the primary luggage carriage. But new models feature rack top bags, saddlebags, and bar bags mounting features. That increases the carrying capacity of your touring bike. The bottle holder allows you to carry drinkable water on your trip.

Gravel Bike: Gravel bikes offer two advantages for their users. You can stay dry while carrying extra luggage for you. Moreover, they can also accommodate two water bottles. Gravel bike frames are open and uncomplicated. That allows you to comfortably fit and connect panniers or frame bags of any shape or size.

Which bike is better for touring long-distance: touring vs gravel bike? 

Read on to learn which bike is better for touring and long-distance.

Touring bikes are designed for long-distance trips with extra luggage carrying capacity. Their geometries provide maximum stability while carrying a large amount of luggage. However, gravel bikes are designed for longer touring trips with maximum comfort. But some gravel bikes aren't suitable for long-distance adventure.

A touring bike is made from steel to provide maximum durability and stability. Though it is heavier than a gravel bike, it's sturdy enough for off-road trips. And again, gravel bikes are made from steel, carbon, aluminum, or titanium. That makes them lighter than a touring bike.

Touring bikes come in sturdy construction with included racks. That lets you carry a heavy load to your destination. On the contrary, gravel bikes are lighter and not ideal for carrying extra luggage. And most gravel bikes are not ideal for long-distance and touring.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that a touring bike is better suited for touring and long-distance trips. In comparison, gravel bikes are ideal for lighter touring adventures. Touring bikes can reach the space that gravel bikes may not get.

Touring bikes are suitable for both paved roads and rough landscapes. In contrast to a touring bike, a gravel bike is ideal for slower space. Pick your best-suited adventure bike with the help of this article on touring bike vs gravel bike.

Robert Blackshire
 

This is Robert S. Blackshire, I am a cyclist and blogger. I start cycling when I was at the age of 18. I love to write about my cycling, bike review and parts review. Regularly writing about cycling for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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