Road bike or Touring bike?

Hi, I am a newbie. I am looking for a touring bike. I want to know what the differences are between a touring bike vs road bike. Which one should buy? Thanks

That depends what you are going to be doing with it.

Touring bikes are really designed for longer riders (days) so might have a more upright relaxed geometry and also come with more support for mudguards and panniers etc . Probably not the sort of thing if it’s just for zwift.

So if it’s just for zwift and a bit of outdoor riding road bike would be what you want.

have a read here Road bike vs touring bike: understanding the differences | Cyclingnews

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What kind of riding are you planning on doing?

Road bikes and touring bikes will both be able to do many of the things most people want a bike to do.

Zwift: Both
Casual riding with friends: Both
Off-road riding: Really neither is well suited, with a slight nod to Touring as it will likely accept wider tires and mudguards for very mild unpaved/gravel roads.
Touring (loading up with bags for full-day or multi-day rides): Touring
Commuting: You can commute on a road bike, but the Touring bike will be better. You can attach more bags, fenders for bad weather, and most commuting isn’t done at fast paces.
Racing: Road
Hard Training: Road (you can train on any bike, but hard workouts will be a better experience on a road bike)
Base Mileage Training (just getting out for a lot of riding at moderate paces): Both

I’d recommend considering what you’re planning on doing with the bike now, but also keep in mind what you might be planning on doing with it later. If you just want to get out and start riding, for example, either will do. But if you have vague plans of touring in the future, or racing in the future, that might help you decide which way to go.

Alternatively, there are more bikes these days that are technically in the ‘gravel bike’ sphere, but are both A) light and fast and B) have a bunch of mounting points for bags and fenders and such. A bike like the Salsa Journeyer is a really fun bike to ride, not too expensive, has a bunch of mounting points for bags and fenders, and you could get some road tires for it if you wanted to go faster on pavement. Touring bikes are typically bigger and heavier and meant for paved roads, but ‘bikepacking’ bikes are often lighter bikes, with wider tires, but can be used for many of the same purposes as touring bikes. Something like the Journeyer is a good bike that might not be ‘do it all’, but is ‘do most of it’. :slight_smile:


You might want to visit one of the cycling sub-Reddits such as: bicycling

For what it’s worth, there are a LOT of different types of “road” bikes. “Endurance road” bikes are plenty fast but have a slightly more relaxed geometry which is more comfortable over long distances. They also tend to accommodate fatter tires which allows for use on a variety of terrain. Examples of this category are the Trek Domane line, and Giant Contend AR. I’ve owned both.

“Touring” has some overlap with endurance road, may have clearance for fatter tires, but may also bet a bit burlier build - heavier, higher spoke count, maybe a steel frame, more mounting points, designed to take a bit more punishment.

I’d also recommend going to a good local bike shop (LBS) too :slight_smile: One big part of their job is helping you figure out which bike you should buy. Granted that unfortunately not everyone has a good LBS. But if you have one, you’ve got continued support for whatever you buy too.

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A road bike is designed for speed and efficiency on paved roads. They typically have lightweight frames, drop handlebars, and narrow tires, making them ideal for longer, faster rides.

On the other hand, touring bikes are designed for extended trips, carrying gear and supplies, and handling a variety of road conditions, including pavement, gravel, and dirt. They typically have a sturdier frame, more relaxed geometry for comfort, and more clearance for wider tires and fenders.

When deciding between a touring bike and a road bike, it’s important to consider what type of riding you plan to do. If you’re looking for a bike to take on long rides and multi-day trips, with the ability to carry gear, then a touring bike would be the better option. However, if you’re mostly interested in faster, more efficient riding on paved roads, a road bike might be a better choice.

I personally like road bikes, normal ones - they are comfortable enough on the kind of roads I ride, the modern ones also take much wider tyres than in the old days.

Sometimes the seat post helps massively:

It doesn’t look comfortable, but is supremely good for very long rides and bad roads. Getting the fit really dialed in helps a lot. The bike above is also 6030g so it’s also nice when you have stuffed legs and steeper hills, you can go into a granny gear and just spin your way up the hill. That’s a standard climbing bike, not aero but it is somewhat aero in the bar design (H36 Canyon).

For Zwift I have a Kickr Bike which is more convenient than taking a bit on and off the trainer and trying to dial in the drivetrain for minimum noise.

Against the Giant TCR Advanced SL1 I rode before it (with Integrated Seat Post) this was like a Rolls Royce for comfort. Less bouncy. As of now that Canyon is 30,000km old.

It is nice to get bikes now that do all duties quite well.