Advice and options turning mtb's into touring ones


New Member
Sep 30, 2018
Good Afternoon,

I am looking for some advice on kitting out 2 mountain bikes for touring across South East Asia. The bikes are Whyte 604 Compact and 605 (2016 models), with no alterations from their original spec. We are looking to bike through Mongolia, China and through the rest of SE Asia to Singapore and will be carrying our luggage on the bikes. Our main concern is that the bikes are fitted with the most suitable tyres which provide the right balance for efficiency on roads vs ruggedness for tracks in places like Mongolia with many being dirt/gravel. We would also like to know if there are any suitable panniers or other accessories you would recommend for such an extended journey, we will also be looking to take spares, inner tubes etc...

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Kind regards



Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
Unfortunately while these are fine for short distance hotel touring they are not very good for loaded touring. Anything you do to them will be a compromise. On the bright side - for the cost of shipping them to Southeast Asia you could go there and buy more appropriate mounts and their bike shops can give you excellent advice.


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
NE Indiana
I agree with Cycling Tom, those two bikes are not suited for touring anywhere with not alone overseas. The first major issue you have is the low end suspension fork, these are known to be problematic and don't work the way you would think they do. The next issue is the aluminum frame, being on the lower end of the scale I would doubt seriously they would survive a long tour, in fact they probably wouldn't be able to even handle the extra weight of the touring gear. Stay away from disk brakes because a lot of countries have no clue what a disk brake is and thus the ability to get it fix will be nil.

If you want a decent low price touring bike then you probably should be looking at something like a really nice lightly used touring bike that is made of steel because any backwoods dope with a welder can fix the frame or fork should it break. Also the price you're looking at doesn't get you a lot in long term rugged day in and day out reliability, and if going into those countries you listed you will need reliability, so I would raise your price of a new bike up to at least $200 more. If used bothers you then look at the Fuji Touring Road Bike, this bike is the cheapest I would dare go for a touring bike. Another good choice though more expensive is the Ridgeback Expedition with the cromo frame. If decide to get the best one for the money then get the Kona Sutra without the disk brake option, this bike will take you places and back; that bike is so good that to get something better you would have to spend at least twice as much and then only see about a 10% improvement!

Used bikes like the Schwinn Voyager series are rather plentiful and can be found cheap just make sure it's in good condition, and there's others too if you decide to go that route we can discuss it further.