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  1. #1
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    Touring vs. Trekking

    Is there a difference between touring and trekking, or are they pretty much the same? Perhaps trekking is just out logging miles whereas touring is more loaded riding? Anyone? Thanks.

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    Touring bikes tend to look like something leftover from 1980, and are frequently designed around frames designed with some consideration to loaded bicycling over long periods of time each day. Thus the characteristic long chainstays and long head tubes, and drop bar. They can have 26" or 700c wheels.

    Trekking bikes tend to be simply re-badged MTB frames with cheap 36h wheels no one else will buy, "trekking" butterfly style bar, and the suspension fork may be deleted for a cheaper rigid fork. They almost always have 26" wheels since it's based on a 1990s-era hardtail mtb frame. Some are nice, Koga comes to mind as a good example, some not so much.

    If you intend to do loaded touring, you need long chainstays so your heels don't hit the rear bags as you pedal, and substantial frame and fork mounts for racks to support 20-80 lbs of gear.

    Or you can simply use any bike and a good cargo trailer.

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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Hmm... When I think of bicycle trekking somehow an image of "Extreme Touring" comes to mind. That is, going to remote destinations domestically but most likely international. Long sections will be done off-road under uncertain conditions (road, weather, etc.) You will have to walk your bike in certain sections where the road becomes singletrack, rocky, etc. You might be isolated for a few days, so you absolutely need to be prepared with gear and provisions. Places in the world where "bicycle trekking" comes to mind: Alaska, Southern Utah, Bolivia, Patagonia, Nepal, Tibet, "Stan" countries. Bike trekkers prefer Mountain Bike geometry and butterfly handlebars to maintain control of their bikes over this extreme terrain.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 08-13-12 at 07:06 PM.
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    Trekking is ride on gravel, sleep in woods, wash in stream, dry in sun, be eaten by bugs at breakfast.

    Touring is ride on pavement, sleep in 4 star B&Bs, soak in jacuzzi, and be served baked eggs Florentine for breakfast. I can get my wife to go touring with me.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Odd, the term "trekking" usually means "walking with a backpack, showers optional."

  6. #6
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Ha. Just now there is a tread on another forum arguing about the difference between touring and bikepacking.

    Riding on pave, dirt and gravel. Touring or trekking? Or bikepacking? Hmmmmmm.


    IMAG3788 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    .

    If you intend to do loaded touring, you need long chainstays so your heels don't hit the rear bags as you pedal, and substantial frame and fork mounts for racks to support 20-80 lbs of gear.

    Or you can simply use any bike and a good cargo trailer.
    Or use a set of bags and ride nearly any bike you want.


    IMG_9474 by mbeganyi, on Flickr

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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    Touring bikes tend to look like something leftover from 1980, and are frequently designed around frames designed with some consideration to loaded bicycling over long periods of time each day. Thus the characteristic long chainstays and long head tubes, and drop bar. .
    Ya' lost me on the long head tubes. Chainstays, yes. That allows clearance for the feet to not hit the panniers, as well as increasing the wheelbase to allow a more stable ride with a load.

    But headtube length ?. Kind of dependent on frame size. You can have a frame designed for a small rider, with subsequent short head tube and still have a handlebar at or above seat height, which is a factor of stem and fork length included with head tube. Thus I can't say I've ever heard a description of a touring bike having a tall head tube.

    As to touring vs. trekking ?. I agree with others that touring in my mind is typically on paved roads, but can include carrying all the gear for self-supported overnight stays, while trekking is more expedition type, typically off road (but not always), totally self supported. Very much a European term.

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    Thanks for the clarifications and examples everyone - I understand now.

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    bfloyd6969, To me they're pretty much the same. A tour is a journey with numerous stops, a trek is more of an arduous journey. A simple overnight tour can become a trek if there's eight flats.

    Probably a colloquial spin on the two terms, around here and in the bicycle sense a trek is more likely to be off road or mostly off road.

    Brad

  11. #11
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    Trekking,touring, get the hell out of Dodge.....all the same in my book.

    If your on your bike and your not sleeping at your home tonight,call it what you want,you earned it.
    Last edited by Booger1; 08-13-12 at 08:17 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    After reading these posts, I'm in the treking, touring are the same camp. Expedition brings to mind long hauls thru third world countries, or at least country with conditions implied by the term, where 700 cc tires are scarce to non existant and Mom can't rescue you. I trek.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  13. #13
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfloyd6969 View Post
    Thanks for the clarifications and examples everyone - I understand now.
    Well, no you don't because this is all coming from an American perspective.

    In Europe, trekking is the same as touring. The bikes are set up usually with flat bars, but they may be equipped with 700C wheels or 26". However, in reality, when touring or trekking, the Europeans such as Germans and Dutch will use their normal step-through bikes, their MTBs or (rarely) drop-bar bikes. For us at the moment, we are somewhat out of the norm with drop-bar touring-specific bikes.

    The trekking notion outside Europe is based more on the concept of "trekking" by foot through the Himalayas, and when the bicycle tourists followed there, it seemed natural to describe themselves as bicycle trekkers. Hence, someone doing a bike trip through remote areas now is considered more a trekking cyclist (such as our own azesty is with his China to Europe ride) than a touring cyclist (like us who are riding the Rhine Route, but still would be called trekking cyclists by Europeans because of the scope of our trip).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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