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I've bought myself a road bike, but the problem is I've never toured before and I don't know much about the practicalities. What do I really need to take?

The Planet X Kaffenback is a competent all rounder

I'm looking to buy a frame to carry out the multiple roles of year-round commuting, winter training and a very occasional lightweight tour

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Bar bags are a cyclist's handbag. Okay, so they're not quite as fashionable but they do keep your valuables close - use them to stash a camera, passport, sun cream, snacks for the day or a guidebook.

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Q: Cannondale Bad Boy Nexus and Thorn Raven Tour; What are the pros and cons of these two models?

Vaude Discover Back

£70.00

4.5

While most watertight panniers use ultra high-frequency welding, Vaude's new Ultra Seam Tech allows different fabrics to be used, rounded shapes to be created and weight savings too. The proof of the pudding is the minimal Discover back, a rear pannier set weighing just 1,640g for £70.

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£1,669.00

4.5

Touring bikes can be as varied as the terrain they cover, here we look at a light and fast bike for racking up decent distances in speed and comfort.

Simple  well made  classic courier bag

£80.00

4

Veterans of the messenger bag scene, the 'Classic' follows Timbuk2's time-worn formula: simplicity of style with quality materials. Available in a range of colours and models.

Salsa Casseroll

£875.00

4.5

A versatile touring machine with roadie influences is the brand new Salsa Casseroll, featuring long drop brake mounts and sliding dropouts. It's only available as a frameset (£375), so given the wide range of sizing on offer, we asked for it to be specced for women; it finally rolled in at about £875.

Kona Jake

£650.00

4

Touring bikes can be as varied as the terrain they cover. We look at light and fast bikes for racking up decent distances in speed and comfort.

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£950.00

3.5

Touring bikes can be as varied as the terrain they cover, here we look at a light and fast bike for racking up decent distances in speed and comfort.

Scott Rider Shirt

£44.99

3.5

A step up from basic T-shirt styling, with mesh panelling to lighten things up and help air flow under the 'pits. One small side pocket and nothing to interfere with a rucksack. Mtb looks.

Scott Sin Loose Fit

£62.00

3.5

Scott's Sins are geared for mountain biking. The stretchy fabric and roomy leg openings allow unrestricted movement on the saddle. Some baggies get in the way when riding but these are hardly noticeable – a mark of a great pair of shorts we think. Leg length is long, there's plenty of coverage at the lower back and the waistband is internally adjustable. The inners are a bit disappointing with a too short inseam and too wide a pad. However, these outers are best of the bunch for performance and comfort off road.

Longstaff Touring

£995.00

4.5

What makes a good touring bike? Although spare parts can now be jetted out to the furthest locales around the globe, the fully laden touring bike blueprint still errs on the side of caution.

Altura Dryline Panniers

£69.99

4.5

The first thing we noticed about the Drylines is their durable, two-layered construction, which effectively creates a waterproof bucket inside a tough, Cordura outer. What we liked about these panniers is how easy they are to pack - they keep their shape really well, are lightly padded and have great rubber feet that add stability and durability.

Campagnolo Wool Retro Tricot

£79.99

4

There's a real feeling of sumptuous quality and style to this jersey. The half-wool, half-acrylic blend feels soft against the skin and is easy to care for too.

A set of touring hoops can also add versatility to your existing bike  These disc wheels are ideal

After the frame, a quality set of wheels is probably the most important part of your touring bike. Invest in a good set and you can happily embark across Mongolia or blaze a trail through Europe without so much as a broken spoke

VP One Bebop Chromoly Pedals

£69.99

4

Suffering from knee problems? Then try Bebop's ultra-light pedals. For a start, there's a whole 20 degrees of float, so your foot can move freely throughout the pedal stroke rather than constricting your knee joint within a plane.

The Touring Ultra is great fun on the trails

£1,200.00

3.5

While Cannondale may be known for their mountain bike aluminium expertise, their heritage is also in travelling the open road - their very first bike was a tourer back in 1983. Weighing in at £1,200, the Touring Ultra ruffles tradition with the likes of hydraulic brakes and a Headshok front suspension fork.

Shimano FC R700

£159.95

4

It's taken a while for the people at Shimano to hop on the compact wagon, with the FC-R700 representing a long-awaited addition to their Hollowtech 2 stablemates. While this shares similar styling to the Hollowtechs...

Excellent finish for the price

£29.99

4.5

The 1 1/8in Ahead-style S-3 is essentially the same as the more expensive S-8 (£55.99) albeit with steel cartridge bearings and crown race rather than stainless ones.The race itself has a rubber seal so although it's a tight fit - a split race would be easier for those regularly swapping out forks - it helps keep out muck from the bottom bearings.

The Mather is a beautiful bike that amp apos s been built to last a lifetime

£2,515.00

4.5

Bath-based Robin Mather, a young framebuilder and keen tourer with a growing reputation for building unique bikes, is flying the custom flag. This model showcases a personalised frame with hand-picked components, at a cost of £2,515. FrameBeing fully custom, each Mather frame will fit its rider to a tee, with a choice of tubesets to suit.

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