A bicycle that is built specifically for road touring will have a strong frame of steel or titanium, and it will have provisions for racks that can be attached to the front and rear to carry panniers, or bags that can hold provisions for long trips. Because this adds significant weight to the bicycle, touring bikes typically have very strong wheels with more spokes than a road-racing bicycle.
At first glance, a touring bicycle will appear very similar to a road-racing bike. There are some important differences however. One of the first noticeable differences is the weight of the bike, which will be heavier than an ultra-light road racer. You will also notice that a touring bike will have many different mounting brackets affixed to the frame and fork of the bike to accommodate storage racks. One of the most significant differences however between a touring bike and a racing bike is the geometry of the frame. The angles on a touring bike are much different, which allows for a more upright position while riding. These angle differences also help to dampen road vibration and make the ride more comfortable.
The drive-train for touring bicycles will usually offer a very wide range of gears with 3 chain-rings in the front and as many as 10 cogs in the rear, which offers a total of 30 gear combinations. This wide range of gears allows the rider to traverse steep grades while carrying heavy loads. This gearing is particularly useful for those riders who choose to use a trailer to haul their belongings.
While touring bikes are designed for the long haul, many cyclists prefer touring bikes for every-day rides around town, and for commuting. Commuters prefer the ability to store items in the panniers, as well as the additional comfort afforded by the geometry of a touring bicycle.