Cost of Building A Touring Bike?

Bike Building Compilation
Well at least what it cost us…
At first, the idea to build our own touring bikes was both exciting and daunting. We researched for days (ok, weeks) to find out what would work for us. We found lists compiled on other tourers’ sites to be a valuable resource along with their reviews of various parts. We gathered all the information we could to pick and choose the components that have worked well for others while building a bike that suited our demands of our touring transportation.


So now we have our own list to add, detailing all the parts we used, specific specs. and the price we paid (including tax and shipping where applicable). We hope that the information and cost breakdown provided below can provide some insight for other aspiring tourists.


There are also a few points to keep in mind to help explain why we chose what we chose:


  • - The goal of our bikes is to have the ability to not only function as a fully loaded touring bike, but also as one that was still fly down a wicked single track when the opportunity presents itself and as low maintenance as possible;
  • - We chose to build our own bikes because we are both bike geeks, wanted the challenge, and wanted to learn how to piece a bike together;
  • - No we are not rich, but felt it was worth spending a little more upfront on really good parts that in theory should last us longer;
  • - We are fortunate to have a good friend of ours who is a skilled bike mechanic to help us;
  • - We were able to get many of our parts at cost rather than at retail to make this process more affordable; and
  • - Yes, you can build your own, high quality touring bike for a lot less (see GoingSlowly’s Gear Page), just have to keep in mind what you personally want out of your bike.

Keeping the above points in mind, some key investments we have chosen include the following:


  • - Rohloff Speedhub:this internal hub allows one to shift on the fly (yes, even when stopped, ideal for when you forget to downshift at a light in traffic), also very low maintenance and eliminates the need front and rear derailleur and cassette.

  • - Fox Vanilla Front Suspension Fork:to absorb the bumps of the road and trails rather than being relayed to our bodies and wrists. This model is a higher end coil fork versus an air shock which requires less maintenance and has lock-out capabilities.

  • - Chris King Headset:are hands down one of the best headsets available on the market and the company believes this as well by offering a 10-Year Warranty.

  • - Brooks Saddles: I honestly can not find a bad review of these saddles from anyone who has given them an honest chance, since we are on these bikes all day, a good saddle is essential. Interested in a giggle, check out this review.

Rohloff Speedhub~

Brooks Saddle


If we were to pick a touring bike on the market right now that is similar to the ones we built it would have to be the Thorn Sterling (actually if we lived in the UK, we’d likely have purchased this bike). The Sterling retails for £2,999 which converts to $4,635 CAD  (and doesn’t include shipping across the pond). We built each bike for roughly $4,151 each which includes a few extra parts, and hand built wheels. Our total is around $4,880/bike which includes tools, racks, panniers and a few spare parts.


Category Item Brand Part Description Total (CAD)
Frame Kona Explosif 18” $525
Steering Fork Fox 32 Vanilla RLC $665
Headset Chris King 1 1/8” Threadless $193
Stem Race Face Evolve XC $21
Handlebar Truvativ Stylo World Cup Riser Bar $36
Grips Ergon GC3 * $79
Bike Labour - Installation of headset $54
Pedals Evo Alloy MTB (SPD Clipless) $10
Drive Train Chain Ring Race Face 40 tooth DH Chainring $25
Speedhub Rohloff 500/14 SpeedHub Threaded Spindle $1,601
Cranks Shimano SLX 104/64 mm $158
Chain SRAM PC 890 Speed Chain with Power Link $23
Bike Labour - Installation of Rohloff $0
Seat Post Race Face Evolve $23
Seat/Saddle Saddle Brooks B17 Standard $143
Proof Ride Wax $20
Brakes Avid Disk Brake BB7 $110
Brakes Brake Levers Speed Dial SL Brake Levers $42
Brake Pads Avid BB7 Brake Pads $13
Brake Rotors Rohloff 160mm 4 Bolt (Avid/Hayeys Compatible) $98
Wheel Part DT Swiss Centre Lock Adapter $25
Wheels Rims X455 $38
Front Hub Shimano SLX $27
Tires Schwable Marathon Plus Smartguard Tire $74
Bike Labour - Wheel Build (incl. spokes, rim tape…) $146
Tube Kenda Presta 26×1.5/1.70 $2
Sub-total for just the bike $4,151
Tools Tools Rohloff Tool – Cog Removal $58
Tool to Indicate Sprocket Wear $40
Multi-Tool Topeak ALiEN II (26 tools) $0
Pump Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HGV $29
Front Front Roller Plus $167
Handlebar Bag Ultimate5 Plus (M) $133
Map Case Map Case (M) $24
Camera Insert Camera Insert (M) $33
Racks Old Man Mountain Rear – Red Rock $110
Front – Sherpa $135
Total $4,880


* Note regarding Ergon: We found out that only the large size of these grips are distributed in North America (no thanks to the horrible customer service we received from their North American Marketing and Sales rep.) so we ordered them from an on-line bike store based out of Europe (Chain Reaction Cycle) to get the smaller size.


We decided shortly before leaving to add a trailer to Mike’s bike to distribute the weight more efficiently and for the longevity of the bikes and racks. We decided to go with the ‘World’s Lightest Bike Trailer’ the ExtraWheel. After 4,000 km’s and three months on the road we think this trailer is one of the best purchases we have made for this trip, it follows seamlessly, Mike hardly ever realizes that it is there, unless it’s packed off balance. The inital installation is a bit tedious but was set up at home and taking it on and off on the road literally takes seconds.


Costs associated with the purchase and running of the trailer are below:


Trailer Costs
Trailer ExtraWheel ExtraWheel incl, shipping and mudguard $387
Pannier Ortlieb Back Roller Plus incl. in price of trailer
Wheel DT Swiss 340 trail Disc Wheel w/110-20 mm Hub $202
Total $584


More photos can be viewed here.

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