Many people ask about the travel bike in recent weeks. What equipment did we choose to leave? Which bike to invest in? And so on… Until now, I was wondering if I was really able to answer them because I am also just starting out in this field. Nevertheless, since I have also been asking myself the question for hours, even days, so I think my thoughts may help you.
First of all, know that there is no single answer to this question. Every cyclo-traveller has a good dose of advice on this subject. You will therefore have to take your time to find your appropriate solution. The project you have in mind is going to play a lot on that. But above all, in my opinion, the travel bike that suits you will ultimately be the one on which you will be most comfortable.
Aluminium frame or steel frame
Should I use an aluminium or steel frame? This is the eternal debate on the web. I saw him on many blogs and he gave me a headache. There are the strong supporters of the steel frame and there are those who say that frankly it doesn’t make a big difference.
It’s true that you’ll need a rugged travel bike. This is important, especially if you are going on a bicycle trip around the world. But if you are going for such an epic, in any case, it is better to put the budget. In any case, you will be a winner over any other means of transport!
But if you go on smaller bike trips to developed countries, I don’t really see the point of putting so much money into it (unless you have several trips planned).
Steel is considered to be more robust. The main argument in favour of this choice is that, if you break your frame, the steel is more easily repairable. However, I took a bike with an aluminium frame for our European bike tour. For three reasons: they are often cheaper, you still have to go there to break your frame and finally, I read feedback from people who have managed to get their aluminium frames repaired. Return checked in Bulgaria with a cyclo-traveller we met who had his frame repaired in this way.
One last important point, in favour of the steel frame: Be aware that the latter absorbs shocks better. Normally, a steel bike will be more comfortable in the long term. But heavier!
If you are going on a trip to Europe or to “developed” countries
And that in addition, you will follow a bike path or more or less normal roads, a good aluminium bike is already enough. Quite simply! No need to break your piggy bank with the most fancy travel bike in the shop… We still saw people leaving with scary bikes and reaching Constanta with them!
If you are going on a slightly longer bike trip
And that you go out of order and into rough areas, plan a good budget and take a good steel frame. In any case, I think it’s better to focus on what frequent travellers advise. They have the experience and wisdom of connoisseurs.