Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon and SE Asia
Bikes: Waterford ST-22, Jamis Quest Elite, Jamis Dragon Pro
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In general, touring bike frames have more relaxed geometry, ie. slacker headtube and seat tube angles,and longer wheelbase, to produce a more comfortable ride and slower handling that takes less attention, and is more stable with a load. The chainstays, being longer, tend to provide more heel clearance for panniers, and the frames will usually have braze-ons for up to 3 or 4 water bottles, and racks front and rear. The bars may be higher for more comfort on the road, while usually retaining the drop bar configuration to allow for multiple hand positions.
Many older steel bikes came this way to begin with, nowadays with the standard road bike being more specialized and racy, one has to seek out these characteristics in a frame. While one can tour on almost any bike, you can see that the most appropriate frame will have been designed for touring.