BUYER'S GUIDE: Touring bikes – Bike Magazine Australia

Back when I was leading bike tours across the US, I spent years putting together my perfect touring bike, from the steel cyclocross frame and apocalypse-proof wheelset to top-shelf rack and fenders.

Had the Kona Sutra been around then, I could have saved some time. The Sutra is a dangerous bike – not because of any structural issues, but because it’ll make you want to ride out of your office on a Tuesday and keep pedalling until you’ve reached the opposite coast (my boss hates when I do that). Here’s how it’s packed with all of my favorite touring features. – Caitlin Giddings

1 Steel frame

The chromoly butted frame is stable and ready to climb twisty back roads with what feels like the weight of two toddlers on board. The geometry put me in a more upright, comfortable position.

2 Triple crankset

Have you ever toured the Alps or Appalachians? I’d be pedalling on replacement knees if I had huffed up those jagged peaks on a loaded bike with anything less than a triple. The Shimano Alivio 11-34T 9-speed cassette and 28/36/48t chainrings helped me crank up even steeper gravel climbs.

3 Flared bar

The slightly flared drop bar offered great leverage under load.

4 Full fenders with mud flaps

Fenders not only keep my feet and back dry, but also say, “Sure, you can ride behind me – I value your face enough not to exfoliate it with
road debris.”

5 Bar-end shifters

They’re easy to access when you’re rocking a handlebar bag.

6 Big tyres

Sturdy 700x40c tyres helped the bike roll smoothly on and off-road.

7 Rack-ready

I tour with front and rear racks holding four lightly packed Ortlieb panniers; food and stove up front, clothes and everything else in the back. The Sutra comes equipped with a rear rack and has copious mounts on the fork for a front setup.

8 Disc brakes

They provide reliable stopping power in miserable weather.

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