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If you want to explore the roads less travelled, whether paved or dirt, the best touring bikes under $1,000 are going to be your perfect option for any bike tour, no matter where you plan to go. For those on a budget or clipping their toes into the pedals for the first time with bicycle touring, there are plenty of options for high quality touring bikes under $1,000. The bikes on this list will keep your wallet happy and give you a chance to experience what you do or don’t like about a bike before spending a little more cash!

For more of our top biking gear recommendations, check out the Best Touring Bikes Overall

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Quick Answer - The Best Touring Bikes Under 1,000

  1. Cannondale Trail 5
  2. Diamondback Haanjo 2
  3. Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure
  4. Ghost Square Cross 4.8
  5. Tommaso Sterrata

 

Comparison Table - Best Touring Bikes Under 1,000

PictureNameWeightFrameHandlebar ShapeBrake TypePriceRating
Cannondale Trail 530 lbsAluminumFlatHydraulic Disc Brakes$$$4.0
Diamondback Haanjo 224 lbsAluminumDropHydraulic Disc Brakes$$4.8
Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure31 lbsSteelDropCable Disc Brakes$$$4.7
Ghost Square Cross 4.829 lbsAluminumFlatHydraulic Disc Brakes$$4.6
Tommaso Sterrata25.4 lbsAluminum with Carbon ForkDropCable Disc Brakes$$4
PictureNameWeightFrameHandlebar ShapeBrake TypePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Touring Bikes on a 1,000 Budget

Cannondale Trail 5

Specs
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Wheel Size: 27.5” (S) 29” (M, L, XL)
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Handlebar Shape: Flat
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Number of Gears: 10
Features
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes (for better stopping power)
  • 1 X 10 Speed Gearing (1 cog at the front, 10 at the back. Easy to learn how to use them, not as many different gears to choose from)
  • Front Suspension (helps smooth out bumpy roads)
  • Flat Handlebars

BEST FOR: ROUGH TERRAIN

The Cannondale Trail 5 with its front suspension and disc brakes will keep even the most timid riders feeling secure. The added stopping power of the disc brakes will mean no matter the conditions or terrain, you will be in full control, even if you are loaded down with your touring gear.

The front suspension makes the bike slightly heavier, but adds comfort by smoothing out your ride. The chunkier tires will give you plenty of grip and an added bit of cushion as you tackle gravel or more rugged terrain.

Don’t be confused by its mountain bike aesthetic as this bike is great for touring, especially for those who like to get a little wild!

Diamondback Haanjo 2

Specs
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Wheel Size: 700c
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Handlebar Shape: Drop
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Number of Gears: 18
Features
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes (for better stopping power)
  • 2 X 9 Speed Gearing (2 cogs at the front, 9 at the rear, lots of gears to choose from)
  • Drop Handlebars

BEST FOR: MULTI DAY TOURS

The Diamondback Haanjo 2 has endurance geometry, meaning it is designed to be comfortable while spending hours riding. It has confidence-inspiring disc brakes and a full complement of gear selection, so there isn’t much this bike can’t handle. Whether you want a single day adventure or a multi-day tour, this bike has a full selection of mounting points, allowing you to add racks and bags to carry all your touring gear.

The Diamondback Haanjo is available in a variety of models – including a lower spec version with flat handlebars for those wanting to sit in a more upright position than on drop handlebars.

Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure

Specs
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Wheel Size: 700c
  • Frame: Steel
  • Handlebar Shape: Drop
  • Brake Type: Cable Disc Brakes
  • Number of Gears: 16
Features
  • Various Mounting Points (so you can attach bags to carry your gear)
  • Cable Disc Brakes (good stopping power)
  • 2 X 8 Speed Gearing (2 cogs at the front, 8 at the rear. Lots of gears to choose from)
  • Drop Handlebars

BEST FOR:  SMOOTH TERRAIN

From beginner to experienced touring cyclists, the Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure bike will have you covered. Offering a full selection of mounting points on the frame, you’ll be able to attach a multitude of racks and bags to ensure you can carry all the touring gear you will need for your next multi-day adventure.

A sturdy steel frame built specifically to be ridden on the gravel combined with wide grippy tires means this bike is capable in mixed terrain environments, and will have you feeling confident riding it. A full complement of adventure specific gearing (2 cogs at the front and 8 at the rear) gives a wide range of gear options to have you rolling over undulating terrain with comfort and ease. Add on the benefit of disc brakes that will give you confidence stopping and you’ll be in for a smooth ride no matter the conditions.

Ghost Square Cross 4.8

Specs
  • Weight: 29 lbs
  • Wheel Size: 700c
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Handlebar Shape: Flat
  • Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Number of Gears: 30
Features
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes (great stopping power)
  • 3 x 10 Speed Gearing (3 cogs at the front, 10 at the rear, lots of gear selection for hills)
  • Front Suspension (helps smooth out bumpy roads)
  • Flat Handle-Bars

BEST FOR: BEGINNERS

The Ghost Square Cross 4.8 is the perfect beginners touring bike. It has disc brakes for superior stopping capabilities and grippy tires to help you keep traction on easy to intermediate terrain.

Offering a hybrid style set up with front suspension and flat handlebars, riders will feel comfortable and confident riding on mixed terrain. The huge gear selection will help you pedal over hills and undulating terrain, while the front suspension will help smooth out any bumps, keeping even the most novice rider feeling stable.

This bike will inspire confidence and allow you to enjoy a long day in the saddle!

Tommaso Sterrata

Specs
  • Weight: 25.4 lbs
  • Wheel Size: 700c
  • Frame: Aluminum with Carbon Fork
  • Handlebar Shape: Drop
  • Brake Type: Cable Disc Brakes
  • Number of Gears: 24

BEST FOR: HILLY TERRAIN

Lightweight and capable, with a carbon fork  and oversized tires, the Tommaso Sterrata is made for multi-day tours on mixed-surface terrain. This bike has everything you would expect in a full spec adventure bike, including a full selection of mounting points to add racks and bags for all your touring gear.  

The adventure specific gearing will have you climbing up steep hills and rolling over undulating terrain with ease, while the disc brakes will give you confidence in your stopping ability. The Tommaso Sterrata will have you wanting for nothing, but to rack up your bags and hit the road!

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A TOURING BIKE

There are a variety of styles of touring bikes depending on the terrain you plan on riding and your experience with bicycle touring, so it may be worthwhile for you to look into how to choose the right touring bike for your needs before making your final decision.

TERRAIN

Bicycle touring can cover a wide range of surfaces from paved roads right through to dirt and gravel tracks. You want to consider the type of terrain you will most likely be riding when choosing your touring bike.

For example, if you plan on riding rugged roads you may want to consider a bike with front suspension and wider tires for extra comfort and grip. However if you plan on riding mostly paved roads, you can look for a bike with skinnier tires. Skinnier tires will generally allow you to ride faster due to the smoother rubber and they are perfectly safe for paved roads.

 

WEIGHT VS COMFORT

You will need to consider important factors, such as the terrain, length of your trip, and your confidence and fitness on a bike to know whether weight or comfort is most important to you.

For example, if you are riding rough terrain, you may need a bike with front suspension and wider tires. These bikes are typically slightly heavier, yet will make the trip much more enjoyable because front suspension increases your comfort while riding over uneven terrain. If you are riding smoother roads, a lightweight bike with no front suspension and skinnier tires might be the best choice for you.

 

BRAKE TYPE

There are two types of brakes on touring bicycles: rim brakes and disc brakes. Rim brakes effectively slow down the bike, but tend to be slower to come to a complete halt than disc brakes. When touring with a fully loaded bicycle, it is often safer to have disc brakes as the weight of the bike, yourself, and your gear combined requires greater stopping capability.

 

TIRE SIZE

Touring bikes can be equipped with very narrow tires through to quite wide and chunky looking tires. The style of terrain you plan on riding will often determine which is best. Rough terrain requires a tire that is wider and has more grip (think mountain bike size), whereas paved roads can be ridden comfortably on a tire that is skinny and smooth (as would be found on a road bike).

 

TOURING GEAR

Touring bikes are equipped with numerous mounting points to carry panniers and bags. These mounting points are usually located at the front and rear of the bike, however every bike varies as to how many mounting points they have and where they are located on the frame. You’ll want to make sure you choose a bike that has enough mounting points for the amount of gear you plan to carry. Not sure what to carry or how to choose the right pannier for you? Check out a pannier buying guide here.

 

GEARING

Riding on rough roads or rocky trails and carrying bags means the ride is going to be a little harder than riding paved roads with no bags. For this reason, it’s important to consider the bike’s gearing before buying.

You want to ensure that the bike you choose has a wide selection of gears available. For example, a bike with 1 x 10 gearing will only have 10 gears to choose from, while a bike with 3 x 8 gearing will have 24 gears (8 x 3 = 24) to choose from.

There’s a lot to know when it comes to gearing, so make sure to do your research before deciding which bike to buy for your next big bicycle touring adventure.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

PANNIERS

Also called side bags or saddlebags these are the bags that hold all your stuff while you are touring. They are often mounted on each side of your bike, either front, rear or both. You will want to pack these with even weight to help your center of gravity stay even.

DISC BRAKES VS. RIM BRAKES

With disc brakes, the brake pads squeeze against a metal rotor, which will stop you quicker and easier than rim brakes. Rim brakes, which are commonly used on road bikes, squeeze the brake pads against the rim of the wheel to stop the bike.

FRONT SUSPENSION

A system that is used to insulate the rider from feeling every part of the rough terrain. The front suspension contains springs that take the load of bumps. It can assist in minimizing rider fatigue as the rider will feel less impact from every small bump.

DROP HANDLE-BARS

These curly bars can look a little unusual, but they provide a wide variety of places to position your hands while riding. Staying in one position for your whole ride can cause fatigue in your arms and lower back, due to a lack of movement. Drop handlebars allow you to change your position on the bike, meaning you use different muscle groups and reduce fatigue on long rides.

FLAT BARS

These handlebars are flat all the way across and offer a wider and more upright holding position. Flat bars can make you feel more confident while riding because your arms are held wide and high, keeping you stable and secure on any terrain. Unlike drop handle bars where you can change your hand position, with flat handlebars your hands will always be held in one position.

WHEEL SIZE

A wheel described in inches is typically a mountain bike (27.5” or 29”), and one described with either a B or C is typically a road/gravel bike (650B or 700c). 27.5” and 650B are the same size, 700c and 29” are the same size.

The main difference is that a mountain bike style wheel (27.5” and 29”) has the ability to fit a wider tire, while the 650B or 700c road bike style can usually only fit a skinnier tire. This will determine whether you will be able to ride on rough terrain (mountain bike) or need to stay on smoother roads (road bike).

READ MORE

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About The Author

Fiona Morris is a writer, marketing consultant, cyclist and coffee addict, based in Bright, Victoria. Living in the cycling mecca of Australia, she is a keen mountain biker, road rider and loves hitting the gravel roads too. Fiona regularly travels the world competing in cyclocross, exploring new places and trying her best to #livethedream.

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