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There are few things more elegant, or more useful, than a real touring bike. If you measure your rides in weeks and months instead of hours, True North has a frame for you. Touring is a style of cycling that is almost completely ignored by larger manufacturers, but True North makes custom touring bikes to handle anything from light duty tours to around-the-world expeditions. A few of our customers have reached the 100,000 km mark on their True North touring bikes.

With saddle times of upwards of 8 hours a day for months or years, there is no better argument for going custom – proper fit on touring bikes is absolutely crucial. Weight distribution must also be considered given the amount of weight that is hauled around on some of these bikes. We pay close attention to both fit and load distribution when building custom True North touring bikes.

We build frames around 700C, 650B or 26″ wheels depending on the size and preference of the rider. The aesthetics of a True North touring bikes vary with intended use. A light duty bike might resemble a road frame, whereas an expedition bike might resemble a mountain bike. Frame style is also dictated by tire size. The tubing used to build True North touring bikes is aimed at ensuring a strong, stiff, durable frame, but also places a high value on comfort-this is a tall order and one that mass producers just don’t like to touch. Touring bikes tend to see a lot of tough situations, including airline mishandling. Touring bikes must be especially stiff in torsion to resist the heavy load placed at either end of the bike.

Some possible considerations for your touring bike would include:

  • S&S Machine Works couplings so you can take your bike apart and fly with it
  • 700C, 650B or 26″ wheels
  • Tubus cromoly racks
  • A Schmidt dynamo hub for highly efficient lighting
  • Equiping your frame to run a Rohloff internally geared hub
  • Flat or drop bars
  • Disc brakes

 Touring Bike Photos



Sites of Interest


Hugh and Colleagues,

Just a quick note to say thanks for encouraging me to go the S and S coupled approach for my new bike. I just got back from a week of cycling in Riccione, Italy. After a little bit of practice at home (and a preliminary lesson from Sean), I quickly developed my ability to assemble and disassemble my bike. I don’t have huge mechanical skills. Putting the bike together, and taking it apart, isn’t a big deal. The bigger deal is packing it in the case. Again, some handy pictures from Sean were really helpful.

Because we did some other traveling in Europe, the bike in its case ended up on six separate flights. In no situation did the baggage check in person look at my bike bag as other than standard luggage – no special handling fees, no oversize bag drop off areas.

Would I recommend the coupled bike to others? Without hesitation. I’m already planning my next bike trip.

Thanks guys,


P.S. biking to Italy is almost like hockey to Canada. Not quite, but close. In a land where there are snazzy bikes all over the place I was amazed how many people were interested in my steel framed bike. It wasn’t the frame that attracted them. Rather, anyone who has lugged a full sized bike case around an airport – and beyond – couldn’t help but be impressed by a bike which fits in an almost normal sized case.