Touring bikes are built for comfortable long distance cycling. Second hand touring bikes incorporate some of the best elements of a traditional road bike - because, after all, most people that use touring bikes will do so predominantly on roads. However, touring bikes offer a bit more flexibility and are built for stability and comfort over lighter off-road terrains too.
What you are looking for with a good quality touring bike is a model that is strong, but light too and one that offers all the versatility you will need. They should be able to support you when you need to climb up steep hills and be comfortable enough to allow you to actually relax and enjoy the view - whether you are just spending one long day in the saddle, or you intend to spend several days in the saddle on a touring holiday.
Practicality also has to come into play with second hand touring bikes too. They need to be capable of safely, comfortably and securely carrying various items, on panniers or cargo racks. Brands such as Cannondale, Dawes, Genesis, Jamis, Ridgeback and Trek are renowned for their touring models, but you will find that many manufacturers offer something for the touring cyclist.
Overall, you will see that second hand touring bikes are quite similar to road bikes but are have a more relaxed geometry which makes them more comfortable to ride over long distances because of the way the seat, frame and handlebars are positioned. Many models come in steel, but you will also see that more lightweight models are also available in aluminium. Steel is popular because it is strong and resilient and relatively easy to repair if needs be.
You will notice that, when compared to conventional road bikes, a touring bike appears to have a large gap between the seat tube and the rear wheel. This is in keeping with the long chainstays that are featured on touring bikes. This serves to allow panniers to be mounted further back whilst still maintained balance and stability.
With second hand touring bikes you can expect standard features. The rest and the extras that you choose should be determined by the things you need and the use you intend to get from your bike.
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