End to End: A guide – part 3. What bike?

In part 2 of my guide to cycling End to End I discussed whether it was best to do the trip unsupported or supported. This week, we’ll be taking a look at the various bikes that can be used for the ride.

What kind of bike is best?

Just about any bike can be used for touring, so don’t feel you have to go out and buy one. The main thing is that your bike has the right equipment, is well maintained and you know how to fix common problems. However, if you’re looking at buying a bike then the choice can be summarised as:

Unsupported, not maintaining a high average speed = Touring Bike

Supported, wanting to go fast = Road Bike

1) Touring Bikes

Touring bikes are designed for travelling long distances with all of your luggage. Traditionally they have steel frames, long chainstays and a more relaxed riding position than a road bike. Thesedays touring bikes are quite hard to find, but here are a few good ones to take a look at. As with any bike, it’s best if you can go to a shop and try it out before you buy.


There are many others, but those are good starting points. Please send me a message if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer!

2) Road Bikes

A road bike is primarily built for speed, with a more aerodynamic riding position, lightweight components and narrow, high pressure tyres. For long distance riding, there are a number of bikes built for sportive rides that may be more comfortable for long days in the saddle, so keep an eye out for those. It’s always a good idea to visit a good Local Bike Shop and see what bikes they have, but here are a few recommendations:

Under £500

£500 – £1000

Over £1000

3) Converting your hybrid or mountain bike for touring

If you have a hybrid or mountain bike, then it can still be used for the tour! The main changes you may want to make will be:

  • Fit a rear rack – you’ll need the frame eyelets and either braze-on attachments on your frame or p-clips to attach the rack (see previous post)
  • If you have a suspension fork, maybe look at buying a rigid fork. This will make a big difference over long distances
  • Purchase a set of road tyres – these are narrower with a different tread pattern and will make the trip easier


That’s it for this week, stay tuned for next week when I’ll have a look at what route you should take

About Matt

I'll admit to being a bit of a kit freak, but cycling is a great sport for that! I've ridden a bike since I can remember, and now mainly cycle on road and on tour. I completed JOGLE in 2010 and plan to tour Europe next year. This blog is my place for product reviews, guides and my opinions on cycling in the UK