Touring Bike vs. Gravel Bike: What Will Fit You Lifestyle Better?

This article answers your main questions on the differences between a touring bike and a gravel bike and helps you make the perfect choice for your next biking adventure.
John Watson
John Watson
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Jessica Kingston
Jessica Kingston
Expert Consultant
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and read more
Last updated: August 18, 2023
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Touring bike and gravel bike is compared in different ways, which this article focuses on. Touring and gravel bikes are the two kinds of bikes that will probably come into your mind when you’re looking for your perfect set of two wheels to explore and immerse yourself in some beautiful and rejuvenating outdoor activities. These two bikes have their sheer differences, and with their varied features and build qualities, one would agree that they’re built for different purposes. Speaking of these differences and purposes, gravel bikes are very fit for cycling on rough terrain, and they’re also great if you don’t have heavy loads to carry and you’re going on short tours. On the other hand, touring bikes are more suitable for the opposite. If you want to go on long tours and you need to carry some heavy loads, they’re your best two wheels to count on. Cyclists looking for the best off-road experience often look for the most suitable bike that will suit their expedition, and this article gives full insight into what makes a touring bike and the uniqueness of a gravel bike. Enjoy!

Touring bikes

Touring Bike vs. Gravel Bike: What Will Fit You Lifestyle Better?
For instance, a number of touring bikes are built to carry extra gear with their stronger wheel and the 36 spokes on the rims.

If you’re going on adventure cycling, getting a nice touring bike would be a great choice and investment because most touring bikes are very durable and tough because they’re usually made of steel. Depending on the kind you buy or how much you’re willing to splurge on getting a more standard one, you can procure one with front and rear racks, braze-on, and fender mounts. These bikes can weigh about 13kg to 15kg, their tire widths can range from 37 C to 48 C on average, and they usually come with 700c wheels.

Another notable uniqueness about touring bikes is their strong and lofty components, which isn’t so common with their gravel counterpart.


When it comes to tires, touring bikes don’t disappoint with the kind of comfort they provide while one is cycling on rough terrain, and they do offer more convenient cycling on all roads. Thanks to their wider tires, they provide cyclists with more traveling ease, as they’re initially built for longer tours. Their tires are usually around 45 and 60 mm. Aside from the fact that touring bikes tires offer a comfortable ride, they also breathe a stronger ground grip as the bikes can be ridden at low pressures. And, these days, most touring bikes come with tubeless-ready wheels.


A typical touring bike will have slack frame angles and long chainstays, and wheelbase, and this is simply because stability is the principal feature of the geometry of touring bikes. The geometry of a touring bike ensures that there’s no scuffle or rift between your pedal stroke and front mudguard or luggage, and this is why the wheelbase is made to be longer.

Additionally, touring bikes further provide improved comfort and give an upright ride position with their riser stem and their short and easy reach.

Though flat bars are common with a couple of touring bikes, there are some of these bikes that are built to handle a day with persistent headwinds by helping you lower your frontal profile and vary your hand position while riding with the drop bars.


If you’re touring with your bike and you have quite a heavy load on you, the wide gear feature on touring bikes help greatly to make your travel experience smoother. To include, you have an option of obliging to what works best for you. That is, you can go for wide cassettes in the range of 11-36 and have a chainset with 48/38/28 chainrings since there are usually two or three chainrings featured on these bikes.


Speaking of brakes, there are two major kinds, which are rim brakes and disc brakes. However, most cyclists prefer to opt-in for disc brakes because they can work excellently, irrespective of the condition. Since they’re not affected by rim damage plus they’re good for very rough surfaces and wet regions due to their incredible and reliable resistance.

Given that disc brakes appeal to many for their fine functionality, you’ll find this brake on newer models of touring bikes.


Touring bikes help greatly to assist with your travel baggage as they’re purposely built for far distance rides or frequent cycling. Thus, they often come with easy-to-mount bar bags, rack top bags, and saddlebags that help to beef up the capacity for your bike to carry more load. Plus, touring bikes also offer a couple of luggage mounting alternatives.

Pros and Cons

Touring bikes have their upsides and downsides that you should be aware of.

What makes them special What could be improved upon
They’re very durable They are heavier than other bikes
Made of high quality and resistant They can be somewhat pricier
Good for steep terrain  
Offer an incredible load capacity  
They provide an upright riding position  


Gravel bikes

Touring Bike vs. Gravel Bike: What Will Fit You Lifestyle Better?
Gravel bikes also have their stunning perks, and touring bikes alone do not take all the attention when it comes to finding the most suitable bike for you.

Whether you’re a guy or a lady looking for a suitable gravel bike, gravel bikes can offer better convenience for your outings. One of the beautiful things about them is that they come in varied materials ranging from aluminum and titanium to carbon and steel. Another notable thing about gravel bikes is that they are fit for traveling on bumpy terrain as they provide extra comfort with their flared drop bars.

More so, gravel bikes feature wider tires, they can handle rough roads, gravel roads, and wet roads, and they weigh less compared to touring bikes.

If you’re looking for one of the best gravel bikes to purchase, the Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike would be a nice fit for you because it’s well equipped for any obstacle, it’s made of high quality, and it’s sturdy.


All thanks to the tires that come with these bikes, you can steep climbs and maneuver corners easily. With their wide tires, which can be up to 60mm wide and at times 46mm and 37mm, they help to make riding more pleasant, and they do have smaller wheels.


Longer chainstays, a head tube, a slacker seat, and a lower bottom bracket are the geometrical features of these bikes. You’ll have a great time riding them on gravel because they put durability and comfort into cognizance for their construction, and they’re built for long-distance cycling too.


A 50/34 chainset alongside an 11/32 cassette is common with gravel bikes, and these bikes do come with a larger gearing range.


Most gravel bikes feature a disc brake mechanism.


Due to their open and simple frames, gravel bikes allow easy lifting and attachment of pannier or frame bags.

Pros and Cons

Gravel bikes can be worth the purchase, but you should also get to know their yeas and nays.

What makes them special What could be better
They provide comfort on more bumpy terrain Suitable for light touring
Have wider tires that offer extra suppleness and a smoother ride They’re not as strong as touring bikes
They are lighter  
Come with racks, mudguard, and pannier  


Which should you go for?

Choosing between a touring bike and a gravel bike can be tricky. However, you may want to go for a gravel bike if you seek comfort and endurance for your short touring, plus gravel bikes aren’t usually too pricey. You may consider getting a touring bike if you seek endurance and stability for your long tours. Mountain bikes are another fine alternative you may want to opt-in for, and experts recommend the Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike because of its stability and impressive quality.

Final Thoughts

According to Medical News Today Trusted Source What are the health benefits of cycling? Orthopedic surgeons may recommend cycling on level surfaces or indoors after surgeries such as total hip and knee arthroplasty. The low impact nature of the exercise can accommodate a variety of injuries and disabilities while still allowing a person to be active. , cycling fetches lots of health benefits. From improving cardiovascular health and reducing body fat and body mass to enhancing better cardiorespiratory health, getting your legs on the two wheels can be beneficial. However, these days, the plenty of options of bikes to choose from tend to get one confused, and gravel bikes and touring bikes tend to top the list of the best options of bikes you can go for. Nevertheless, knowing the difference between touring bike vs gravel bike is essential in making the right decision. Though these two bikes are super cool options and tend to even have a similar appearance, you’ll find touring bikes to be your best option if you desire to go on frequent long tours. You need to carry luggage, and a gravel bike can be so right for you if you only intend to go on short touring and enjoy optimum comfort while riding.


What are the health benefits of cycling?
Orthopedic surgeons may recommend cycling on level surfaces or indoors after surgeries such as total hip and knee arthroplasty. The low impact nature of the exercise can accommodate a variety of injuries and disabilities while still allowing a person to be active.

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