Surly Long Haul Trucker
The bike I use for touring is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I was very fortunate to had been able to purchase a secondhand one, which was a perfect fit and saved me a few $$$. The bike is using 700c mavic 719 (36h) rims, which I have found to be very strong and reliable. Overall I'm very happy with the bike, being steel it gives a comfortable ride. The bike itself may weigh a couple of extra kgs than some others, but this only means I might take a little longer to get to my destination!
I found using drop bars whilst touring were not always the most comfortable, so before I began my Tasmanian tour I switched to butterfly bars. This change has made riding a lot more comfortable and gave me a selection of positions to sit in. So at the end of the day, even after a hard days riding, I no longer feel sore.
The saddle is a classic Brooks B17. I've always used various Brooks saddles on my other bikes. I find that, after the breaking in period, the saddles get more and more comfortable the longer you use them. Just make sure to treat the saddle with the Brooks Proofide to keep it looking fresh. I also carry the saddle cover for use when I am camping, as this stops any moisture/rain damaging the saddle whilst I'm camping.
To keep the mud, dirt and water off me whilst touring I installed a set of front and rear mudguards. Currently I'm using the SKS Chromoplastics P45's. They do the job at keeping me dry, but were certainly a bit of a pain to install, as the instructions provided were not the best. Also I have recently installed wider tyres for off-road riding, so may need to get wider mudguards, so might have a look and see what else maybe available .
Bike Friday - Pocket Llama
In 2015 I decided I'd want to do some touring overseas. I wasn't keen on taking the Surly with me, due to the possibility of excess charges and just the potential hassle of dragging a bike box around different airports.
My partner and I had a trip planned to the USA. Approximately six months before hand I reached out to Bike Friday. I discussed my requirements and decided on the Pocket Llama. As I wanted to be able to be able to ride with wider tyres, so I was not limited to just paved roads.
Bike Friday were excellent in helping me get the setup I wanted. I took the measurements from the Surly to ensure the bike was a good fit.
When we were in the USA we arranged a time to drive by (Eugene, Oregon). Which was not much of a detour as we we heading up the coast from San Fransisco. It was great going to the place where the bike was made. They gave me a tour of the factory and it was clear they took great care putting their bikes together. I had a test ride and the bike fitted like a glove.
During our trip in the USA I was able to take the bike for a few nice day rides (San Francisco, Zion National Park and Portland). The bike handled really well and at the end of the day folded up quickly so I was able to put it in our van. When I came back to Australia the bike fitted nicely in a suitcase size box.
Two years later I took the bike on her first big tour to Hokkaido, Japan. This time the bike was carrying panniers front and back and had to travel approx 2500kms. Once again the bike was excellent. I was able to fold quickly to take on the train a few times. And when I flew I would break the bike down further so that it would fit in a large suitcase. This would take about 30 minutes, but made it so much easier to move around the airport and get a taxi.