Introduction to adventure cycling

[-] Choosing a bike

General points

Technical guide

Converting an MTB

Mid-range tourers

Expedition bikes

[+] Carrying your kit

Camping gear

Spares, repairs & tools

Where to go


Bikes on planes

Enjoying your tour

Safety and security




Adventure Cycling Guide 2nd hand MTB
Going for 30 in garage sale - a possible candidate for an expedition bike.


Buying a second hand mountain bike and modifiying it is the cheapest way of getting a bike suitable for adventure touring. It is possible to get a bike and upgrade it for a budget of around 300-400. This option has some distinct advantages: The main disadvantages are:

What you are looking for

You are after hard-tail, i.e. no suspension, preferably steel, older style mountain or hybrid bike from a reputable brand such as: Trek, Cannondale, Dawes, Specialised, Marin, or Giant, for less than 200. Ideally, you want a bike that has had an easy life, i.e., used for commuting rather than hammering down mountain tracks (NB 90% of MTBs sold never go off road). If you are able to check the bike out before you buy, things to look out for are:

Where to look

The cycling magazine classifieds, Ebay and Police auctions are all good sources of cheap bikes. If you are not going to be able to try the bike before you buy it, e.g. if it is on Ebay, you need to know the frame size you require - there is a guide at bicyclenet.co.uk.


It is important to allow for the cost of upgrading the bike in your budget.
To get your bike expedition ready you will almost certainly need to: Depending on the bike's spec and condition you may need/want to do one or more of the following: To keep costs down, shop around on the internet, use Ebay (good for cut price components, e.g. chainsets derailleurs) and don't buy the latest issue gear. Look out for end of line and clearance stocks.

Copyright © Tim Barnes 2007