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A Quick Guide for Touring on a Mountain Bike [Tips & Tricks]

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Is your daily routine wearing you down? Then, touring on a mountain bike is the best fun to do. Mountain bikes are all-rounders bikes, so these are best suitable for traveling, but here a question arises. Is there anything missing in a mountain bike for touring? Yes, you have to make some changes to your mountain bike for touring and carrying some other stuff.

I have elaborated on all the components you must attach to your mountain bike for touring. You can modify changes according to your requirements and as well suits you. I have made this guideline after my experiences so you will not face any issues while using a mountain bike for touring.

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  • Low Travel Rear Shocks
  • 29er Less Knobby Tire
  • Install Mud Guards
  • Attach Backpack (Pannier)
  • Carry a Bike Lock
  • Get an Air Pump
  • Carry Repairing Kits
  • Full Inflated Tire
  • Wear Seamless Pants (Avoid Saddle Pain)
  • Switch to Butterfly Handlebars
  1. Select a Suitable Bike

The bike selection is the critical part since you cannot trust the brand or each product suitable for just one purpose.

One thing for sure is that you are going to travel on a variety of terrains, so you have to find such a bike that is an all-in-one package. Not only that, you must also look for a particular company that best suits your requirements. (Via quickstuffs.com)

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  1. Low Travel Rear Shocks 

Mountain Bikes are usually full suspension, but there is no need for rear shocks if you go on long tours on smoother roads. Fortunately, high-end mountain bikes have adjustable shocks so that you can adjust rear shock travel to the minimum.

You can also adjust the damping, compression level of rear shocks on air suspension mountain bikes. Too much travel and sensitive suspension can drain your pedaling power so, change your rear shocks hard (high compression) on smoother terrains (roads)

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  1. 29er Less Knobby Tire

Mountain bikes usually have 27.5er tires. Some XC bikes have 29er tires because they efficiently require speed, so you also switch your tire to a 29er less knobby tire. 

More knob means high tread, which causes more resistance to the road and slows you down. So, always use less knobby tires for smoother and extended tours. Moreover, a 29er tire will help you to cover the distance in a short time.

  1. Install Mud Guards

Mountain bikes don’t have mudguards to make them lightweight. But on long touring, you will need to install mudguards to protect yourself and your bike from dirt & mud. Install long mudguards on the front and rear wheels.

  1. Attach Bag Pack(Pannier)

Touring on a mountain bike, you need to get a bag pack; you have many choices, just like trailers, panniers, ultra-light bag-packs, and so on. Panniers are the best option if you are using a mountain bike for touring. 

Attach the panniers to the rear wheel so you will not feel the weight. Also, attach the bag on both sides of the wheel; equal weight on both sides of the bike will balance your bike.

  1. Carry A Bike Lock

Bike Lock while touring on a mountain bike is the most neglected item. You will need a lock if you want to sleep, relax or enjoy the scenery. Otherwise, you will always be in tension about your thousands-dollar mountain bike. 

  1. Get an Air Pump

You don’t need an air pump because mountain bikes have Presta valves and don’t lose pressure quickly. But you may need to inflate some air out on rocky terrain on your way. Then your pump will help you pass through such landscapes because you will be secure that you can re-inflate tire after passing through rough terrains. 

  1. Carry Repair Kits

Another neglected item after the bike lock is the mountain bike repairing kit which riders usually forget to carry. When you are on long tours, you should be aware of all the risks and accidents that could happen. There are no expert technicians in the forest.

If you are going with a group, then only one of you can carry a repairing kit. The other will rely on him. 

  1. Full Inflated Tire

Mountain bikes usually have a low PSI level because they need more grip on rough terrains. While riding on long smooth terrain, you don’t require high grip, which causes more resistance and slows down speed. 

Inflate the tire to the whole level limit as guided by manufacturers. For example, usual mountain bikes have a PSI of 25 – 35, so you can fill the tire to a maximum of 35 PSI for low resistance and high speed on smooth terrains (roads). 

  1. Wear Seamless Pants (Avoid Saddle Pain)

Sitting on a saddle (Bike Seat) for a long time can cause pain in your hips. You have to get used to the saddle for long touring on a mountain bike. Wearing frictionless plain pants can help you to deal with this pain by reducing roughness with seat.

  1. Switch to Butterfly Handlebars

Mountain bikes have straight handlebars, which are best for handling and stability, but we need speed efficiency, and comfort on long tours, so butterfly handlebars are best for long rides. This handlebar has many positions to hold it so you will not have fatigue or frustration while touring on the mountain bike.

There are other options like aero handlebars and Try handlebars. These also have many handling positions and drop handlebars. But don’t go with straight handlebars because your wrist will start hurting after few hours of constant riding, and you will regret your decision. 


What does travel do on a mountain bike?

Travel on a mountain bike is the maximum amount of shock that can compress. Such as if we say that rear shock has a travel of 120mm, this means that rear shock has a maximum compression range of 120mm.

Why do people not use panniers for bike packing?

Panniers are essential components of touring, but some people don’t rely on panniers because of their heavy heights. You will need to install the rack on the mountain bike before attaching panniers. But in reward, they can carry much more weight than any other package system, and these are waterproof. 

Can you put panniers on a mountain bike?

Yes, you can put panniers on mountain bikes but not directly. First, you have to install a rack and then put panniers on the stand. To know if you can install the rack on your mountain bike or not, you have to check its eyelets. There are other options to install the rack; you don’t need to be worried about installing panniers on a mountain bike.


Touring on a mountain bike can be real fun, but you have to make some changes and carry some equipment to enjoy your tour without any problem. First, you need to change your bike’s tire and handlebars and install them for long rides. Get a bike lock and repairing kit. You can also carry one repairing kit if you are with your friends.

Last but not least, install mudguards, panniers and wear seamless pants to remain comfortable on long tours. You can also carry a tent if you are planning to stay. The last tip is that you bring as little as possible; traveling with less luggage is a great experience. You have less worries and weight, so you explore more on traveling. Don’t put panniers on both front and rear wheels.

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