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What are the Different Types of Trekking Bicycles?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2016
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Trekking bicycles are built to endure the weight of both a bicycle rider as well as his or her living essentials, such as food, water, sleeping bag, tent, and so on. Such trekking bicycles can be constructed from a variety of materials, including aluminum, steel, titanium, and even carbon fiber. The sizes of the bikes, too, will vary according to the rider's size as well as the type of trekking being done. Some trekking bicycles are made specifically for riding on paved roads, while others are designed exclusively for off-road riding; some models try to accommodate both on-road and off-road riding.

Just about all trekking bicycles will feature accommodations for pannier racks, which are metal racks that mount to the bicycle frame. Pannier bags can be attached to these racks for storage of essentials. Such racks can mount to both the front and rear of the bicycle, optimizing the amount of gear the bicycle can handle. To accommodate such weight, the frames of trekking bicycles tend to be made from thicker gauges of metal that can handle the added weight. Metals like aluminum can be used for thicker gauge frames without adding too much weight, though the ride quality may suffer.

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Trekking bicycles made for off-road use feature wheels that are measured to an international industry standard of 26 inches; some more recent models feature 29 inch wheels. Bicycles meant for on-road riding usually feature industry standard 700c wheels, which are larger but often narrower than off-road wheels and tires. These narrower wheels offer less rolling resistance than mountain bike wheels, though they are generally slightly wider and stronger than road racing wheels. Mountain bike wheels are smaller and wider, and they allow wider tires with more tread to be mounted to them for traction in off-road conditions.

Most trekking bicycles do not feature suspension forks or rear suspension, since the added weight of the gear mounted to the bike would render the suspension much less useful. Some models do feature moderate suspension, such as suspension seatposts, that can make the ride more comfortable, especially over rough terrain.

One option for bicycle trekking that does not involve attaching panniers or other gear to the bicycle itself involves the use of a heavy duty trailer that attaches to the rear axle of the bike. Gear, food, and water can be stowed in the trailer, which is towed behind the bicycle, rather than on the bicycle itself. This method is a good choice for anyone concerned with the way the bike will handle with too much extra weight on it; the trailer keeps the weight off the bike, thereby improving the bike's handling capabilities.

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