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If you enjoy living the Vanlife, one of the adventures you must go for is a bike riding adventure. Part of Vanlife is exploring parts of the world people don’t usually go to. When living on the road, you will find locations with excellent biking trails. With the right travel bike, you can explore each one of these locations and make memories as you travel the world.
The best travel bikes will ensure you go as far as your legs can peddle. You will also be able to carry everything you need for your day or multi-day trip on your bike. If you are in the market for the best travel bike, you may have noticed that the market is flooded with different brands and models. This can make it hard for you to make a choice.
Travel bikes are mostly made of steel for durability and comfort. The geometry offered by steel makes riding your bike relaxed and is tailored to carry your luggage with ease. These bikes come fitted with mudguards, wider tires, and pannier racks. The best bike for your needs depends on the terrain you want to cover and also how much kit you intend to take on your trip.
This article features the best travel bikes in the market from the best manufacturers. These bikes were tested in different terrains to ensure they can withstand the harshest terrains to ensure you make the most of your trip. Also, these bikes fit in any camper van without taking up too much space. This way, you can take your travel bike anywhere you go.
Essential components to look for in the best travel bikes in 2020
There is an endless debate on which frame is the best for travel bikes between aluminum and steel. Aluminum is more expensive and lighter than steel. If you prefer enjoying your vanlife in remote areas, it is best to go for a steel frame for your vanlife bike. Finding a welder who can repair an aluminum frame in remote areas can be difficult, which can deter your cycling adventure.
The best material for your saddle is leather. It is essential to avoid bikes with foam and plastic seats. This is an important factor if you plan on riding for a long time. While foam and plastic saddles may be comfortable when new, the quality deteriorates very fast, which becomes uncomfortable for you. It will take a few days for the leather saddle to adjust to your shape, but once this happens, it becomes the most valuable part of your bike.
The drive chains
Today, the Rolhoff Hub is common amongst cyclists. This is because it is almost maintenance-free and is a sealed gearing system. This makes it ideal for cycling in dusty and dirty roads. The only downside is that it is expensive and not available everywhere. If your bike uses the traditional Derailleur, it is best to stick with it unless you plan on cycling in developed countries where replacements for other chain brands are available.
The bike suspension
If you plan on cycling off-road, suspension can be an added advantage to your bike. Even so, when your suspension develops issues, it isn’t very easy to find someone to repair it. This is especially important to consider if you plan on cycling in developing countries.
The bike tires
The most important factors to look at when considering the tires of your bike are the treat and size. The best tires are the 26’’ category if you plan on cycling your bike outside the USA, Europe, Canada, or Australia. This is the wheel size available in every part of the world. The tread of your bike is determined by the terrain you will be cycling on. If you will off-road, you will need a higher tire tread.
Cyclists spend a lot of time on their travel bikes. For this reason, it is always ideal to have different hand placement options while cycling. Straight bars, butterfly bars, and drop-down bars are all excellent handlebar options. The choice is mostly based on personal preference. It is advisable to try a few types to find the ones that best suit your riding style.
Stick to v-brakes if you plan on enjoying your vanlife and cycling in developed countries. This is because the spares are easy to find. If you plan on driving your camper van to developing countries, it is best to fit your travel bike with hydraulic or disc brakes. Ensure you always have spares with you.
The quality of a rack is very important, especially for cyclists who spend days and weeks on the road. If you suffer a rack malfunction, you will have a hard time fitting your gear and stuff on your bike, worse still if you packed your camper van miles away. Therefore, do not hesitate to invest in a high-quality rack. Go for steel racks as they are stronger and can easily be welded if they crack. For front racks, go for higher ones to be placed over your front wheel. The panniers also need to be higher from the ground to keep them clean and also have an easier time moving on unpaved roads.
Water bottle holders
Cycling is an activity that takes hours or even days. If you plan on cycling away from your camper van, it is best to go for a bike that can carry more than two water bottles. You can add extra cages for water bottles to ensure you are well hydrated throughout your cycling experience.
Here are the best travel bikes for vanlife in 2020.
If you live in a camper van, you may not always be able to drive your van everywhere, this is why you need a second mode of commuting like biking. If you bike every day, it can get a little tiring. The cyclamatic power plus cx1 mountain bike can solve this problem. This is a bike that ensures you peddle less which saves your energy and time. It comes in a durable 19inch steel frame and can support up to 220 pounds. It has a highly adjustable seat and uses disc brakes.
The cyclamatic cx1 is an affordable electric mountain bike that can turn your everyday commute into an adventure. It uses the Shimano 21 gear combination. This allows you to comfortably cycle on different terrains. You will not find any climb a problem thanks to its 21 gears.
This bike also comes with a front suspension fork, which makes it an all-terrain, general purpose bike. The front fork is created with the ability to adequately absorb impact on rough terrains. This is why you need this bike if you plan on biking on very bad terrains.
The three pedals assist mode get engaged as soon as you start peddling. The pedal assists come in low, medium and high levels to ensure you comfortably reach speeds of up to 15mph. These assists go off whenever you stop peddling which saves on battery charge and only engages the motor. It is possible to switch off the peds assists if you prefer peddling this bike like a regular bike.
The cx1 comes with a 36V LI-ion battery. When fully charged, the bike can cover up to 31 miles of normal terrain at a speed of 15mph. this is plenty of distance for everyday commuting making it one of the best travel bikes for vanlife. You can even use the assist mode on intervals while cycling. This can further extend the battery life and take you even further. It will take between 4 to 6 hours to get the battery fully charged. What’s more, the battery comes fully sealed which makes this bike one of the safest in the market, suitable for any weather.
while most cyclists have fallen in love with the aluminum and carbon fiber materials that have replaced steel in bike frames, steel remains to be the best material for travel bikes frames. Most touring bike manufacturing companies still prefer using steel because of its durability and reliability. The MuGang 26 inches 7 speed foldable city mountain bikes is one of the best steel bikes in the market.
Real world performance, ride feel, and satisfaction are the qualities the MuGnang is known for. It comes fitted with 7 speeds, brooks saddle, Deda cockpit, solid alloy rims as well as knobby tires with the ability to comfortably dig into dirt, grass or sand to get you where you need to be with ease. The specs are completed with the SKS mudguards and rubbery flaps.
Since this is a foldable bike, it ensures that you can take it anywhere you go in your camper van or even on foot. You can improve the appearance to suit the space in your camper van and to turn it into the most practical travel bike for your vanlife needs.
The tire volumes and disc wheelset offer a combination of speed and grip to provide the most comfortable rides for you. This bike is more speed-focused than other travel bikes in the market. It is the perfect pick for anyone interested in speed than built-in accessories and luggage compartments.
It is made with a triple-butted steel frame from customized Columbus Spirit tubing that keeps weight low where it is needed, and also helps to maintain strength and stiffness at junctions. It comes with an adjustable handle bar and a high seat for maximum comfort when you need to rode in an upright position. This sets the MuBang apart from bikes with front ends that are lighter. This is a lightweight bike that can easily be folded in under 15 seconds. It fits in the trunk of a car or on your camper van without taking up too much space.
A 26inch medium-sized frame and lightweight makes the MuBang the perfect bike for small campervans. It is perfect for getting around the city or your neighborhood. You can use it to commute to work, ride in parks or the outdoors.
A first glance at this bike will reveal that the paint job is perfectly done. The decals and finish are properly done too giving a twist of modern to this classic machine. The frame is strong with sturdy racks and neat welds.
This bike has the ability to handle weights with ease. You can enjoy long day rides without worrying about straining the bike too much with your gear. The 853-steel frame makes it lightweight and strong enough to withstand rough terrains and heavy loads. It comes with an easy to adjust stem that allows you to adjust the height of the bars to suit your riding style. If you fancy a bit of speed, you can adjust the bars lower to increase your riding speed. This makes the ride faster and more fun.
The galaxy range comprises of different models that come in different frames. It also includes a women’s line that comes with a tuned geometry and a step-through frame. The galaxy plus is made with a Reynolds 520 Chromoly frame, which makes it heavier than most high-end travel bikes.
Unlike most ranges in its category, the galaxy plus comes with mechanical disc brakes that ensure you have a smoother stop even in wet weather conditions and slippery terrains. The 32c Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires ensure comfort, longevity, and stability while on the road. It also features an alloy standard fitted rack and full mudguards.
It is also made with Shimano Sora shifters. The 48-36-26T tripe chainset and 11-32 cassette offer plenty of cycling options, especially when traveling in hilly terrains. This bike weighs 14.5kgs in total. This is the average weight for most travel bikes. This lightweight machine can fit in any camper van without adding too much weight to the cabin.
You can customize this bike to suit your performance needs.
The Ammaco. Professional Metropolitan 700c Bike is the perfect bike for anyone looking for practicality and high ride quality. This bike is made with a blend of modern and classic road adventure. It comes in a riveted metal plate on the seat tube. The design team blended a high-quality 16inch steel frame with a fork made of carbon and many other amazing features.
It features round and oval premium Cr-Mo steel tubes that range from burly chainstays to slim seat stays as well as a tapered head tube. The welds are small enough to be unnoticeable and are neatly done. It comes with three cage mounts, a rack, and mudguards. The cables and brake hose are externally routed.
There is a large full carbon fork that blends into the head tube. This bike can carry luggage on each leg. It also features a water bottle holder for the rider. It is also fitted with a pick-and-mix 105 mechs groupset, hydraulics levers and brake calipers, Sunrace cassette and FSA double chainset. These features coexist together to create the perfect travel bike for vanlife.
The alloy stem is of high quality, and so is the Seatpost. This bike also comes with a hovering bar with elevated tops and flared drops. It also comes with saddle covers that match the bar while at the same time create a slip-limiting surface.
The 700c wheelset comes with wide box section rims and hubs that are barrel-like. It also comes with the ability to grip loose stuff and also features a central band for straight-line speed.
This bike comes 90% assembled which means it requires a bit of work to be fully functional. Running the tires at 50psi will give you good road speed that is easy to maintain. Extra hoisted gear weight does not affect the performance of this bike. You can hang it in your camper van with ease.
the Bunao 26-inch Wheel Electric Bike is a well-equipped travel bike that delivers smooth rides to any vanlife enthusiasts looking for a travel bike. It is the perfect choice if you are in the market for a comfortable touring all-rounder on a budget.
This is a Foldable bike with a 36V, 8AH battery. This provides the motor all the power it needs, and gives riders at least 25 miles of pedal support. You can charge the battery on/off the ebike to suit your your convenience. The Shifting Lever and the rear derailleur are very user-friendly, and can be shifted even in the worst road conditions.
The Bunao Electric bike is light, strong and designed to last. This makes it easy to maneuver. The durable structure makes it the perfect choice for almost all people regardless of their height and weight. This bike comes with Aluminium alloy bead spoke wheels and anti-slip resistant thick tire. This makes this Commuter Bike suitable for rainy or snowy mountain and road terrains. It also features a high- strength front suspension fork to take your riding comfort to the next level.
The bike also comes with 250W high speed brushless gear motors. This foldable E-bike wields front and rear disc brakes design and 21-speed professional transmission system. The Meter has a 3-speed smart button. This gives it Perfect climbing ability while at the same time making it very safe for the rider. The Mileage is 22-28km and a Maximum speed of 22-30km/h.
This can be used as an E-bike & Assisted bicycle as well as a Normal bike. You can choose the electric assist power according to your needs. You can also add a burst of speed with the throttle, which is ideal when you need to speed through traffic lights. Combining all three modes would be a best choice.
This bike arrives 85% assembled. However, it is fairly easy to complete the assembly before you can use it.
This is the right bike for anyone in need of a bike for every day commuting, shopping, weekends getaways, and leisure riding.
The Cyrusher XC700 Mans Road Bike is a bike made with a steel frame. This frame is designed with double disc brakes and comes fitted with mudguards and rack mounts. It features Bontrager rims with hard case tires. The affinity rims are tubeless-ready in case you need to reduce the chances of getting flats.
The drivetrain features a blend of Sora shifters and Shimano parts. It features a 48-36-26 tooth chainrings and a triple chainset. It also comes with an 11-36 cassette to ensure you have enough gear when going uphill. You get the double mechanical brake discs for easy and instant stops.
This bike is available in five sizes, 48, 51,57, and 60 cm variations. This makes it lighter than most traditional travel bikes in the market. This also means that it is ideal for any size camper van. The parts are easy to replace and affordable, too, when compared to other travel bikes in its range.
The 70mm wide wheels on this travel bike are highly durable and can easily support heavy loads even when on rough terrains without compromising on speed.
The Cyrusher XC700 Mans Road Bike offers a perfect blend of comfort, flexibility, and durability, which is required for any long-distance bike. It features a stretched geometry which is perfect for ensuring you remain comfortable while on the bike while ensuring you get the perfect aerodynamic stance for the best speed. Whether you need to cycle long distances or need a bike for your daily commute as a switch up from driving your camper van every day, the Cyrusher XC700 Mans Road Bike can be a perfect choice.
Boss Stealth G18.5 Mens’ Bike is a travel bike created with the long-distance tourer in mind. It comes in a frame and ideal tire range if you plan on hitting rough terrains.
This bike comes in a mountain bike crankset and an 11-36 tooth rear cassette. This enables it to achieve very low gear ratios with an 18-109inch gear range. The low gear ratio makes it possible for you to ride your bike at a very slow pace when going up hills, while high gear ratios allow you to go on a speed of up to 50km/h.
The 26inch hi tensile frame comes with three bidon mounts while the fork has two bidon mounts. This enables you to harness your bottle and cargo cages comfortably. With this bike, you also get a Tubus Tara front rack and a Tubus Cargo rear rack. These are made of steel, making them the best in the market. They are lightweight with large weight capacities. With these racks, you can expect many years of service and stability.
The Boss Stealth is fitted with 21 speed Shimano gears with microshift rational shifters. Even though this type of gear shifter rarely fails, you can also replace them with a Shimano Sora R3000 3X9 brifters. These make gear shifting easier and quicker.
It uses Front and rear mechanical disc brake with wavy style disc rotors, black alloy rims and sure grip mountain bike tyres. While they work just fine, they will occasionally require pad adjustment after every couple of rides. You can choose to upgrade the brakes for better stopping power.
Compared to other bikes in its range, this bike measures 27 pounds, which is common with bikes in its category. This is a bike you can ride on pavements or rougher terrains while on the road. The mechanism it is created with makes it feel very lightweight when riding even when you are taking your travel gear with you.
THE Front and rear mudguards protect you from the elements wherever your ride takes you. This bike is suitable for inside leg range: 26-33 inches or 66-84cm
When this bike came out, it was the very first travel bike with a short frame drop bars geometry and a flat bard long geometry. From a design perspective, this was a great idea since the shape of the handlebar is crucial to the bike handling and how well the rider sits on it. The Schwinn geometry helps achieve a comfortable fit, offering control and stability for all riders
The Frame features Side stand bracket mount, Rear mudguard & rack mounts and Down tube bottle cage mounts.
This is one of the best travel bikes in the market today. It comes in a flawless frame geometry featuring long chainstays, slow steering speeds, and is available 17″ 6061 Aluminium frame – 26″ Alloy Double Wall Rims.
These frames can get progressively larger based on the reach and stack measurements. The steel frame tubing is butted externally and internally, which creates a stiff front end. This frame makes use of sliding rear dropouts that work well with drivetrains that are internally geared. It also comes with the Schwinn FS26 Suspension forks offer support and comfort upfront.
The frameset of the Schwinn Surge 26” comes with a wide range of eyelets that allow you to add bike accessories like full-length fenders, up to five bidon cages, two cargo cages, as well as front and rear racks. This way, you do not need to worry about fitting all your cycling gear on your bike. This makes the Schwinn Surge 26” ideal for vanlife enthusiasts looking to park their camper van and cycle through terrains while on the road.
The Schwinn Surge also comes with a 7-speed rotational shifter for easy gear changes. This is ideal for smooth navigation of steep slopes at 6km/h. it is made with Shimano bar-end shifters, which make shifting gears easy. The cable disc brakes ensure that the bike can brake with ease in different terrains. These cables are easy to replace while on the road. A comfortable saddle completes the build of this bike. Simple final assembly required.
Muddyfox Livewire Sports Leisure Synthetic Material Mountain Bikes Black has long been known as a progressive bike brand in terms of specification and brand. The brand ensures its brand remains ahead of innovation by continually improving the steering, speed, adding frames, and developing a progressive size range. This is what makes the Muddyfox Livewire Sports Leisure Synthetic Material Mountain travel bike one of the best touring bikes in the market.
The most significant win for this bike is the new frameset. This features a 12mm front and rear thru-axles. It also includes a flat-mount disc bidon and brakes mounts on both sides of the fork. This size of thru-axles is common on road bikes that use modern disc brake in most developed countries. The major benefit of the thru-axle is the fact that the wheels of the bike will always sit perfectly in the dropouts. Also, the axles will rarely loosen.
The Muddyfox Livewire Sports Leisure is fitted with a 21 Speed Shimano revo gearing. This gives it a 21-119’’ gear range, which is good enough for effective navigation of steep hills and the flat. If you need smaller gear ratios, you can easily switch to 44/32/22t chainrings to turn the Muddyfox Livewire Sports Leisure into a climbing machine. This makes this bike perfect for vanlife enthusiasts who also like exploring mountainous terrains while on the road. It also features a full-length cable outer. This helps to keep the inner shifting cables in perfect working condition even when exposed to grime and water.
The Steel Frame can accommodate26 Inch alloy wheels. This is because its bottom bracket is wider on this new model. It also uses the flat mount disc brakes and dual suspension, which is a common disc for travel bikes. It comes with upgraded calipers to the TRP Sypres. These are some of the best in the market.
The Retrospec Chatham Men’s Beach Cruiser bike comes equipped with a premium brake model. It is made with a steel frame and steel fork. This new model is not just about the brakes, it also comes with high-end parts ideal for a touring bike. This Retrospect is rated as one of the best travel bikes in the market today.
The all steel frame is available in seven sizes, making it ideal for all body sizes and heights. It comes in a revised geometry that incorporates a longer wheelbase, a big fork rake, and a slack head angle making this bike the perfect choice for anyone looking to spend long days on the saddle. This frame also features three bidon mounts located around and in the front triangle. The fork of this bike can easily fit cargo cages or even a front pannier rack. The bike can also accommodate fenders.
The Fuji Touring Disc bike uses a Shimano 10-speed drivetrain matched to bar-end shifters set. This Shimano Deore crankset features big rings for flat terrains and small 26t rings for the hills. Up the bike’s back, you will find the T-8000 touring-specific Shimano XT derailleur as well as a large size 11-36t rear cassette. This means that the lowest gear on the bike is under 20’’. This gives the Fuji one of the smallest climbing gears.
This bike is made with Vittoria Randonneur tires. This model has high puncture resistance even though they have a slower rolling speed when compared to other models in the market. If you prefer a bit of speed and a higher climbing gear ratio, you can consider switching the gear and the tires for other brands.
The Fuji touring disc bike features TRP braking cables. These are easy to maintain while on the road. Disc brakes are the best if you prefer cycling in the hills. The TRP Spyre Calipers are very powerful. It uses two pistons to give the bike a hydraulic brake feel. Disc brakes mean that the bike will weigh more than its predecessors. This bike weighs 29.6 pounds which is 380g more than the weight of the base model. Even so, it is in the same range as other travel bikes in its category.
This is a travel bike with one of the best bike geometries. Available with a 26’’ or 700c wheels, it comes with enough braze-ons for gear and water. It has a gear range of 20-119’’ and other solids specs. This 26’’ bike can comfortably fit a 26×2.10’’ tire while the 700c bike can fit a 700x45c tire.
You can choose to purchase the Surly Disc Trucker as a frameset and custom build it to meet your specifications. This is especially ideal for vanlife lovers who prefer to customize the bike to meet the needs of their campervans. You can experiment with different handlebars, wheels, brakes, and gears to create the perfect bike for your needs.
The Trucker handles different terrains with ease, even when loaded with cargo. It floats over bumps and makes direction changes gently and slowly. This is thanks to the geometry of the bike, which is close to perfect. The steel tubing used to construct the frame is the reason the Trucker excels as a travel bike.
The perfect geometry enables the frame to handle panniers comfortably. It features longer chainstays when compared to other bikes. This increases the stability of the bike and also allows for better heel clearance from the pannier bags. The trucker can comfortably handle even the roughest terrains without breaking.
With this bike, you can choose between a disc or rim brake frame. It features standard bar-end shifters and comes with numerous mounting points for mudguards and racks on the frame or fork. It has nice and strong 36 spoke wheels, and the Shimano cone and cup are easy to rebuild when need be. The frame features up to 3 water bottle spaces and also has a spoke holder for spares.
If you are in the market for an affordable, durable, and high performing travel bike, the Surly Trucker is an excellent choice to consider.
The Four Corners is part of the Marin brand’s Utilitour bike range. It can be placed in the same category as the GT’s Grade, Specialized Diverge, and Cannondale’s Slate lineups. This is a bike for anyone looking to spend a bit more.
This is a steel bike model with high tire clearance, uses cable disc brakes, and is adorned with braze-ons. It has a 25inch gear range with possible lower climbing gear achievement if you change the crankset. The latest Marin bike features geometry updates with longer frames and slower steering speed. These features make this bike very comfortable to ride and easy to handle. This is a bike that will easily take you through your full-day biking expedition.
The new Marin range uses smaller wheels to reduce toe overlap and bike standover. Smaller wheels also make the bike easier to handle for small riders, more so when carrying heavy loads. The brakes of the Four Corners have also seen tremendous improvement. This bike uses the Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes, the best in the market. It also features 42mm WTB tires that have a knobby tread pattern. This makes the tires ideal for dirt road terrains and other off-road terrains.
The bike also has additional braze-ons on the fork and frame. This allows you to carry more gear if you plan to spend days on the road. The fork can fit two cargo cages, fenders, and a front rack. You can also modify the gear for a smaller gear ratio. You can change the crankset to a Shimano Deore mountain bile crankset for lower gears on reserve.
The ANCHEER 2019 Upgraded Electric Mountain Bike uses an electric system. It is Equipped with the 36V 8AH lithium-Ion removable battery and 250W stable motor. This bike gives you the ability to reach a range of up to 15-30 miles at a top speed of 15mph per charge. This is Plenty for a day’s adventure or most trips to travel and back. You can charge the battery on/off the bike at your convenience.
The ANCHEER is made with high-quality material. The Aluminum Alloy frame is light, strong and designed to last, makes it easy to maneuver. It also has Aluminum Alloy double-walled rims are for greater durability as well as faster ride with less drag. The high- strength front suspension fork can take your riding comfort to the next level.
This bike uses the shifter & brake system. It has Front and rear mechanical disc brakes for reliable all-weather stopping power. The 21-Speed gear increases hill-climbing power, further range variation, and greater terrain adaptability. The horn and the bright LED headlamp are equipped for night riding.
You can enjoy 3 WORKING MODES with this vanlife travel bike. These include E-bike mode, Assisted bicycle mode & Normal bike mode. With the LED 3-speed smart meter button, you can choose the electric-assist power to suit your biking needs. You can also add a burst of speed with the throttle, which is ideal for pulling away from traffic lights. It is advisable to combine the three modes for the best riding experience to and from your camper van site.
Traveling on a bicycle gives you a feeling as amazing as the one you get when you first experience vanlife. It is a fantastic way of combining a sport and traveling. For you to have the best bike travel experience, you will need the best travel bike in the market.
With the options for the best travel bikes in 2020, you are guaranteed comfort, reliability, and longevity while on the road. This is the best way to enjoy your cycling adventure while on the road in your van.
We hope you enjoyed our round-up of some of the best bikes the internet has to offer! As always we’ll be sure to update the post with any of your suggestions feel free to drop a comment and we’ll take a look at your suggested items!