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which touring bike for a woman ?

tara1234tara1234 Posts: 4
edited May 2009 in Tour & expedition
Hi sorry for what is no doubt a massively repeated question but cant seem to find an answer relevant for me
So I am a thin, not very muscular (although getting stronger ) 5.8 women looking for touring bike. Will be doing mostly Europe around 4 weeks a time approx 50- 60miles a day not having to carry camping gear at the moment but possibly in future so don’t want to rule it out completely. Basically will be carrying absolute minimum in the way of touring stuff. Water , couple changes of clothes map etc.
So looking for bike suggestions- read loads about this and everyone seems to suggest buying this bike or that one and changing components .. However without wanting to be too censored this is totally outside of my range of experience ! I just want to get on a bike and ride it with out stressing too much about cranks derailleur’s chains etc hopefully one day I will be able to understand how to change all this stuff but at moment just want bike with wide range gears to get me up hills ( super fit / strong cycling partner to keep up with) light as possible , trouble free so nothing breaking snapping etc in middle of country. Under a £1000. Saw a trek 520 and cannondale T800 but cant find them on sale anymore so thinking they are not produced anymore but that’s the kind of thing I like the look of. also the specialized tricross comp but hearing that the gearing is not low enough so would have to add a triple crank (?)
Any help really really appreciated !


  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    best to find a local bike shop that specialises in touring or city bikes. They can measure you up. Cockpit length (saddle to H-bars) is really key for a touring bike as you want to be comfortable all day in the saddle.

    I'd recommend steel for a touring bike. They're not as light as aluminium but usually much comfier for long days.

    I just got a steel frame for Mrs B for touring. Went to my local shop and they have a contact with a frame maker (dunno who) who was able to make a frame to order with a shorter than standard top tube, as she's a bit lacking in length topside and wants drop h-bars. Total cost for LX build and rack/mudguards hub dyno and lights etc etc about 1k GBP. Plus, as it was built to order, she got to choose what colour it would be, which seemed to be the most important thing about the whole process, iirc.

    If you want to look at brands have a look at the surly longhaul trucker, which is cheap and will happily circle the globe. At 5'8"they should have one for you but you really really really need to get fitted properly at a bike shop or the length will be wrong and you'll suffer after an hour in the saddle.
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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    I agree with what bomberesque says, but I wouldn't stress about it too much - you can tour on pretty much any bike. The important thing is to make sure it's comfortable. Some bike manufacturers make 'women's-specific' bikes, but might (it's a big 'might' but worth eliminating as a possibility)be able ride a men's bike providing the distance between bars and the saddle isn't too long for you.

    Unfortunately if that doesn't work you might want to look at going to a specialist framebuilder like They do women's frames at about £750 - which would be mean going over your budget.

    There's an article here about the issues women face in buying a bike - although it may make your head spin.

    The same site has another useful article:

    a test by Chris Juden (the CTC's technical guru) on women's-specific bikes.

    As for the rest of it the main things are:

    - make sure it has fittings to attach panniers (although even this isn't critical as there are ways round the problem);
    - it needs to be reasonably robust - a delicate ultralight racing bike probably isn't a good idea;
    - make sure the gearing isn't too high. The most touring bikes have a three front chainrings (largest one either 44 or 48 teeth) with a rear cassette going up to 32 or 34 teeth. You could get away with less though - especially if you are going to the flatter bits of Europe.

    (Excuse me if I'm stating the obvious).

    I'd also recommend a steel frame but there are reasonably-priced aluminium framed bikes around.

    PS - you'd be amazed at how much 'a couple of changes of clothes' weigh.[url][/url]
  • RonLRonL Posts: 90
    Unsure where you are located but do the Revolution County range for around £550, my mate has one(four years old and still going great with little maintenance) they are extremely comfortable with good kit for the money, all upgradeable too and complete with mudguards and rack. These models always score well in C + reviews. Dawes also do the Horizon for around 600, unsure of spec.
    If you can find one, a second hand Thorn or Hewitt would be ideal especially but within your budget, but you may struggle.

    Have a great trip whatever you find. javascript:emoticon(':D')
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  • stevercpstevercp Posts: 113
    i would recommend st john st cycles
    not cheap but well worth it
    nomad rohlhoff ideal for cycle camping and touring generally
    if you book an appointment first you can literally take all day to discuss options
    ie size what type of cycling you plan to do :D
  • We've got the Tricross Sport - comes with a triple as standard. I'm 5'8" and I've got the 54cm, Mrs G is 5' and has the 49cm versions - as they're fairly upright bikes you shouldn't need to worry about women-specific issues, especially at your height - I think its more of an issue if your very short.
    They've done fine on a camping tour around France.
    I think the tyres do more for comfort than whether the frame is steel or aluminium, and as for which will last longer, I think that's only an issue if you're going to the back of beyond.
    And we didn't feel old enough for a traditional tourer!
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