Updated at May 30, 2024

In today’s article, we take a look at some of the best women’s touring bikes and adventure bikes. The main piece of criteria I considered when creating this post was that the bike must be a good touring bike in general and have smaller-sized frame builds. Ideally, it suits someone who is around 155cm or around 5.1″

As gravel cycling and bikepacking take center stage in the adventure cycling world. Touring bikes are left to side humbly in the corner with not much to say or anyone to talk to. But I personally have a love for these bikes and will continue to. These are the type of bikes that I started exploring the world on. And bike manufacturers are still refining their lineups to bring newer and improved touring bikes.

These bikes are great for loading up and riding for months on end to cover states and even countries at a time. While others are more suited to bikepacking and off-road adventure cycling. I don’t like to categorize bikes too much and put them in a box, as some have the ability to do pretty much it all!

(Please note that geometry measurements; such as trail, wheelbase, and chainstay length are all in small frame sizes. Some bikes have XS sizes) But I have used just size Small to make comparing each bike easier.

BikesPriceWeightFrame/ForkDrivetrain/GroupsetGearing RangeBrakesWheels/TiresTire ClearanceChainstay LengthWheelbase LengthFront TrailStack/Reach Ratio
Salsa Fargo Apex 1$2,39924.5 lbs / 11.1 kgSteel/Carbon1×11 Apex 1, Truvativ Stylo
⭐️⭐️
21.96″ to 84.06″Mechanical29 x 2.2″ Teravail Sparwood29 x 3.0″4451,067741.69
Salsa Marrakesh Alivio$1,79930 lbs 14 oz / 14 kgSteel/Steel3 × 9 Alivio, Acera ⭐️⭐️20.01″ to 121.19″Mechanical700c x 42
mm
Teravail Rampart
700c x 40mm or 29 x 2.0″4551,040591.51
Bombtrack Beyond$2,299.9928.4 lbs / 12.9 kgSteel/Steel2 x 10
GX, microSHIFT
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
21.05″ to 98.25″MechanicalXS – S 27.5″ x 2.0″ / M – XL 29″ x 2.0″ WTB RANGERXS – S 27.5” x 2.1” / M – XL 29” x 2.1”4251,021701.56
Bombtrack Arise Tour$2,249.9932.4 lbs / 14.7 kgSteel/Steel2 x 10
MICROSHIFT
⭐️⭐️⭐️
18.45″ to 108.61″MechanicalXS – S 650B VEE TIRE SPEEDSTER 38
M – XL 700C VEE TIRE SPEEDSTER 40
XS – S 650B x 42C / M – XL 700C x 42C4201,016601.45
Masi Giramondo 700c$1,29932.0 lbs / 14.5 kgSteel/Steel3 x 10
Deore, GRX 800
⭐️⭐️⭐️
18.78″ to 112.13″Mechanical700x45c
Kenda Quick Drumlin
29 x 2.0″4551,064641.48
Niner AIR 9$1,80024.9 lbs / 11.3 kgAluminum/Suspension Fork1 x 12
SX Eagle, X1
⭐️⭐️⭐️
17.79″ to 80.88″Hydraulic27.5″ x 2.4″ SCHWALBE NOBBY NIC EVO SUPER TRAIL2.4″4301,1021.54
Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp$3,50025.35 lbs / 11.5 kgCarbon/Suspension Fork1 x 12
SLX
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hydraulic29 x 2.3″
Fast Trak, GRIPTON
4301,0921011.50
Salsa Vaya GRX 600$2,49925.0 lbs / 11.3 kgSteel/Carbon2 x 11
GRX 800, 105
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Mechanical700c x 38 mm
Teravail Cannonball
700c x 45 mm4501,019721.53
Crust Step-Thru Evasion

What makes a “good” women’s touring bike?

First, it needs to accommodate smaller body sizes, as generally, women are smaller than men. This means smaller overall frame sizes, short reach, lower standover height, and shorter stack height. That is why we have chosen bikes that only offer size Small or XS size frames ideal for anyone at a height of 5.1″ If you want to learn more about the differences between women’s and men’s bikes give this a read. But mostly it is marketing hype and you can find men’s or unisex bikes that fit better than some women’s specific bikes.

Normally material has been important for me. But you will notice that there is a variety of carbon, aluminium to steel. I prefer steel personally, but alloy and carbon are still good options for lighter touring.

Also, gear ratio and the range of gears need to be wide. A comfortable climbing gear not so much the highest gear for downhill. But when the bike is loaded you need low climbing gear or granny gear. Ideally under 20″ to 25″ for a touring bike. For lighter touring 25″ is acceptable but if you wish to ride fully loaded the smaller the climbing gear the better.

Weight is important to some people, typically when touring you carry gear, and a few kgs here and there don’t matter so much. But if you want to go light touring and bikepacking. Opting for a carbon-touring bike might be worth it. But it is recommended to use suck bikes for lighter touring.

It is debatable when it comes to brakes, either; hydraulic or mechanical. Some say mechanical brakes as it is easier to repair in foreign countries. But I am a fan of hydraulic disc brakes and how powerful they work.

When it comes to wheels and other components the stronger the better, for a touring bike they often come with 36 spokes or 36 holes for spokes. Most bikes here have no less than 32. Also ideally already comes with racks, either front or rear or both.

Touring bike geometry is one of the most important aspects when choosing a bike.

  • Having an upright riding position is pivotable for all-day comfort while riding. Having a stack/reach ratio around 1.5 or up is best!
  • Long wheelbase around 1040 mm or so depending on size.
  • A chainstay around 445 mm or more is ideal for clearance to run the rear rack and panniers. This means a rather chill or stable feel in the rear for carrying panniers.
  • The front center around 600 mm is also not bad, this means more clearance to run front panniers if you wish.
  • Trail around 60 mm to 70 mm will mean the bike feels predictable and stable in the front.

It is important to note that all bikes are different and will fluctuate. But I only included bikes that fit this rough criteria. Most of these are the best ladies touring bikes for short women too. I also included some of the best women’s bikepacking bikes which are more geared for off-road adventures by bike.

Salsa Fargo Apex 1

The Salsa Fargo is an icon in the adventure cycling and bicycle touring world, ideal for Off-Road Touring and Bikepacking. A mate of mine rides his all over the world. This is a pic of his from when we traveled all around Japan.

For one this is one of my favorite bikes if you are looking to go bike touring! Super upright and comfy riding position with a 1.69 stack/reach ratio, strong steel frame, and carbon fork combo offering that extra supple riding feel. Huge clearance to fit 3″ tires.

But on top of all that, they make them in a Small and XS frame size which means it is a great women’s touring bike option. The XS frame size is ideal for riders between 150 to 160 cm.

It is also not the heaviest touring bike out there, coming in at around 11kg. You get huge carry capabilities, with the multitude of eyelets on the front fork not to mention rear rack mounts. The bike is strong and well-balanced enough that you can tour off-road and mountain terrains with heaps of gear if you want!

When it comes to ride feel from looking at the geometry specs. The bike’s rear dimensions equate to a bike that feels rather chill and almost stable in the mid to long range for similar bikes. While the front trail is in the high range making it ride stable but not sluggish.

Salsa Marrakesh Alivio

The ultimate women’s bike for world touring! Offered in a size 50cm frame size which is best suited for riders 147 to 158 cm. Offering decent value for money with salsa’s front and rear rack, ready for a tour around the world.

A full steel bike build results in a heavier bike at around 14kg. You get a generous gearing range from 20.01″ to 121.19″ which is perfect for climbing up long road hills with gears but still gives you plenty for those steep downhills if you want to send it.

The 3 × 9 Alivio, Acera groupset drivetrain is rated 2 out of 5 stars in quality which stacks up the same as the Fargo’s Apex setup. But obviously, they are different bikes for slightly different purposes. The Marrakesh has even stuck with bike touring roots with the low-maintenance bar-end shifters.

When it comes to the bike’s geometry it is relatively upright with the 1.51 stack/reach ratio. With a wheelbase of around 1,040 mm depending on the size. The trail length puts the bike into the mid-range for similar bikes, with a predictable handling which is what you want if running gear. The easier the bike is to control underweight the better. The rear of the bike is stable, which means it is not as quick as some more nimble bikes. But it is made to ride under a heavy load of bike touring gear.

Bombtrack Beyond

Bombtrack’s most affordable adventure-touring bike, the Beyond is available in an XS and Small frame size, the XS and S bikes come with 27.5’’ wheels to ensure proper fit without any compromises in geometry.

A bike with all the extras! The Beyond features too many mounting options to count. The double-butted crmo frame has rack and fender mounts. The fork also has a fender, rack, and triple cage mounts. Toptube bag direct mounts, triple cage mounts on the downtube for optimized bottle position, and bottle cage mounts underneath the downtube.

The SRAM GX and Microshift drivetrain setup is considered higher quality at 4 out of 5 stars. And as this bike is cheaper than the Fargo that means some good value. The bike rolls on MTB tires with the Ranger Light / Fast Rolling 2.0″ tires. Also some extra on-bike comfort thanks to the Bombtrack Beyond travel bar with 30° flare.

The gearing range of this bike is rather capable with 21.05″ climbing gear and 98.25″ for ‘bombing’ down those “tracks’, see what I did there? When it comes to geometry the chainstay is on the shorter to mid side when compared to bikes here. With around 425 mm this means a quick ride feel in the rear. While the trail length equates to a stable ride feel at around 70mm.

Bombtrack Arise Tour

Another Bombtrack bike makes the list! This rig is best for those looking to most a road tour. Again all bikes here are suited women’s touring bikes as they offer small frame sizes. The Arise Tour offers frame sizes XS and S and they come with 650B wheels to ensure proper fit without any compromises in geometry.

A traditionally styled touring bike with modern technology and design. You get the widest possible 2x gear range which Bombtrack claims as 585% thanks to the 46/30T Bombtrack Ames crank and 11-42T MicroShift cassette. Resulting in a fully loaded uphill granny gear of 18.45″ and 108.61″ for downhills.

It is an overall classic touring bike design with bar-end shifters and Tubus racks front and rear. Not only that the bike comes with front and rear fenders. But also a through axle hub dynamo with Supernova lights! The ultimate road touring bike! With everything you could possibly need for an around-the-world tour!

Weight shouldn’t really matter for road touring, but it is worth mentioning this bike weighs 32.4 lbs / 14.7 kg which is the heaviest bike we have looked at so far.

Geometry-wise this bike boasts a 1,016 mm wheelbase for small-sized frames. The chainstay is 420 mm which is considered rather short for similar bikes making it feel jumpy and quick and I am not sure about this measurement, to be honest. It is quite a different from the Marrakesh. The trail is in the mid-range feeling responsive and predictable. Also, the stack-to-reach ratio is also a little lower than what is ideal at 1.45. Anything typically over 1.5 is best.

Masi Giramondo 700c

The Masi Giramondo has to be the most budget-friendly best touring bike for women in this list. Coming in at only $1,299! It ranked third overall in our best-value gravel bikes that you can buy for the money!

Thanks to its incredible climbing gear with 18.78″ gear inches, which is comparable to the Arise Tour from Bombtrack. The Giramondo is slightly lighter and almost $1,000 cheaper, plus you get a wider tire clearance. Obviously, you don’t get a dynamo-powered hub and light. However, the bike comes with the Tubus Tara low-rider front rack & Tubus Cargo rear rack. The bike also features rack, fender, and bottle mounts. Also Dynamo wire routing if you want to add one.

It is also a suited women’s touring bike with smaller frame options, with the XS which is best for people from 155 to 165 cm or starting from 5’1″.

It could be considered a touring bike cross gravel bike or adventure gravel bike. It is ready for panniers and an adventure around the world! This modern-day touring bike has a geometry designed for hours of comfortable riding. The size I chose for this bike’s geometry number is XS as this is more accurate as it is limited to people 155cm or tailer. Which may skew the data slightly, but at the cost of being more accurate. The stack-to-reach ratio is 1.48, with a 455 mm chainstay. Similar to the Marrakesh in length the rear of the bike is stable, which means it is not as quick as some more nimble bikes. But it is made to ride under a heavy load of bike touring gear. The trail up front is around 64 mm, meaning it is in the mid-range feeling predictable and almost stable.

Niner AIR 9

One of the better bikes for women who want to go on more bikepacking adventures. Touring adventure cycling and bikepacking are all different words to say pretty much the same thing. That thing is exploring by bicycle! But if you plan to explore off the beaten path and travel on singletracks and MTB-suited terrains. The Niner AIR 9 and the next bike in this list are some great options.

Often with these MTB bikes for bikepacking you get much better climbing gear than the average gravel/adventure bike or even touring bikes. This Niner AIR 9 gives you a 17.79″ granny gear. With a Marzocchi Bomber Z2 suspension fork with 120 mm travel.

This bike and a few others listed below made it into our list of the best bikes for ultra-endurance bikepacking races and events. A truly capable XC race machine or casual bikepacking rig! A more budget-friendly option from $1,800

Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp

Another truly awesome women’s bikepacking rig for those looking to explore where most have not, is the Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp! If you are after one of the best women’s bikepacking bikes you can buy, it might be this. Priced a little bit more than the alloy Niner above.

This 29″ carbon frame hardtail cross-country bike with upper mid-range components features a RockShox Reba 100 mm travel fork and the XC geometry. A 1 x 12 SLX groupset. It was hard to find spec details but it comes with a 32T crank and 10-51T cassette for ample gearing. They do offer a Small frame size and from seeing other female bike adventures enjoy this bike it is a great bikepacking women’s bike.

Salsa Vaya GRX 600

The best women’s gravel bike for touring. Not quite a full-fledged touring bike. But this Salsa Vaya is technically considered a gravel bike. Available in a 49.5 cm frame size. It has the chops to be a touring bike or is more suited to light touring. If you want to try “light touring” in preparation for a fully loaded epic world tour. Then you might want to check out these other gravel bikes which are good for touring on! Or if you want to try gravel grinding these women’s gravel bikes are awesome!

Crust Step-Thru Evasion

The best step-through bike frame for bikepacking and touring. If you want a step-through bike for touring you might want to consider this Crust. And if you don’t mind building up a bike from a frameset. They make some really rad rigs and this Evasion is no different. The Evasion frame is designed around 26+ (26″ x 2.8 can also fit 3″.)  tires on 45mm rims, for when you want to take those roads less traveled. But can also fit 650b tires (27.5″) up to x 2.4. It is best for comfortable for the long haul, but fast and nimble, while still being ready for some pretty technical/rough riding. rack mounts and water bottle bosses with a long head tube for the most comfortable position. The price is $950.00 for the frameset only.

About The Author

codey

codey

Codey Orgill, a seasoned bicycle adventurer, has been exploring the world on two wheels for over 10 years. Since embarking on his initial cycling journey, Codey Orgill has traversed numerous countries, experiencing a series of epic adventures.

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