Trying to ride our road bikes with weights and racks quickly proved the wisdom of touring bikes. There are enough accounts of broken spokes and snapped forks for us to call it. We want bonafide touring bikes.
We considered an array of affordable touring bikes from the classic Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, the super economy Fuji or Windsor Touring bikes, the Salas Vaya, the Kona Sutra… but the one we kept coming back to was the 2017 Specialized AWOL – the most “off road capable” of the line.
Here’s a review we found helpful: