Ideal bike for the Camino de Santiago

Bike Camino de Santiago

Doing the Camino de Santiago by bike is an experience that every cycling lover should experience.  Today, the Jacobean Route has adapted very well to this environment, offering all kinds of facilities and services for cyclists. If you are already an expert on two wheels, you will surely have no doubts when it comes to choosing the ideal bicycle to do the Camino de Santiago. But if you are just starting out or you are an amateur, we are sure that this article will help you to choose the best travel companion.

What you should know before buying a bike to do the Way of Saint James

If you are thinking of buying the bes bike to do the Camino de Santiago, we advise you to think about it and evaluate different options before launching yourself. Many times we acquire things for a specific event, without really knowing the use we are going to give them afterwards. A bicycle is a very important investment of money so that it ends up parked in a corner of the garage.

If you don’t have a bike and you are new to cycling, there are an infinite number of companies that rent bikes specifically for the Camino.  It is a very convenient option, they will advise you and recommend the bike that best suits your needs, they will take care of the transport to the starting point of your route as well as providing you with all the necessary equipment so that you do not have to worry about anything.

On the other hand, if you already have a bike, whatever it is, you will have to assess whether it is suitable for the journey. We never recommend you to use a new bike, as your experience as a bicycle rider can be very difficult. You should practice in the same conditions as you are going to ride the Camino. For example, if you are carrying saddlebags, bear in mind that you will be carrying extra weight. You will also have to get used to reacting differently, braking before descending, being careful on bends, squeezing on climbs and manoeuvring more skilfully in difficult moments.

Road bike, mountain bike or e-bike?

Mountain bike

Let’s start at the beginning. If you want to get the most out of the experience, we recommend that you always follow the original route. It is true that there are some sections that are impossible to cycle, forcing you to take detours on the road. But most of the time you are riding on forest tracks and dirt roads, which are perfect for a mountain bike.

Trail bikes, also known as all mountain bikes, are not designed for a specific type of terrain, but are used to do a little bit of everything, forest tracks, dirt roads, rocky sections, mountain trails, etc. It is precisely because of this versatility that they are used to do so much. It is precisely because of this versatility that they are perfect for the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago.

This type of bike normally has a double suspension with a travel of 100 to 130 mm or even 150 mm, depending on the manufacturer. The climbs with this bike can be a bit long, but you can still climb without problems and make long journeys. In addition, they are not as limited as enduro bikes and allow for faster and more efficient descents.

Road bikes

However, if you already have a road bike and want to do the Camino with it, don’t worry, as all the routes have alternatives for riding a road bike. Not all sections are signposted but many of them have signs or arrows painted on the asphalt.

Electric bikes

The e-bikes or electric bikes deserve a special mention, as they will assist you when you are pedalling. There are electric road models, mtb trekking. If you are thinking of taking one of these bikes to the Camino de Santiago, the best thing to do is to get a specific mountain bike. The main advantage is that they will allow you to do very long stages with little effort, and they are even very useful for equalizing levels of physical fitness between people in the same group. The limitation of this type of bike is the duration of the batteries, so if we want to do excessively long stages we must take this into account

Choosing a bicycle to do the Way of Saint James 

Below we tell you the basic aspects that you should take into account when choosing your bike to do the Camino de Santiago.

Frame

It totally renounces steel frames, as they are too heavy.  Better one of aluminium or carbon fibre. Fibre frames are generally more expensive, but they also weigh less (which is very useful on stretches where you have to carry your bike on your back). But the final weight of the bike will be determined by the components you ride, and aluminium has improved dramatically in recent years.

Front suspension 

Although the quintessential double-suspension bike is not very expensive. They are usually quite expensive. Moreover, a general trend in the world of the pilgrim cyclist is not to abuse your best bike on the Camino. The truth is that having only front suspension and dispensing with the rear one will allow you to carry more weight on the rear rack.

Transmission and gearbox

The transmission is going to be what differentiates a good road from an excellent road. As a rule, this piece is what allows you to take the leap in quality that we have just mentioned. However, we must update ourselves to the demands of today’s mountain biking world. For example, we must discard the so famous roller changes. These changes, there is no denying it, were tremendously popular in their day.

Today it is not so bad for initiating children, but not for an adult (in our opinion). Finger changes are faster and more precise. The faster they are, the safer they are, as we can be more aware of possible obstacles on the road.

Pedals

Both automatic and conventional systems will work for you. The only thing you have to worry about is that they have a good grip.

The wheels 

As far as wheels are concerned, it is obviously more important on these types of routes to be well supplied with spare parts and repair kits than the wheels themselves. Remember that if the route is long, you will get a puncture. This way you will make less of the goat and, secondly, you will not be so angry about having to change them.

For this reason, and so that the repair does not take forever, always opt for the quick release. Remember, moreover, to protect your wheels as much as possible by driving safely.

The brakes 

With respect to the eternal debate on brakes, the best thing, without a doubt, is to first know the route we are going to take and, above all, the season of the year we are going to choose. As a rule, we will only notice the advantages of disc brakes on stretches where there is mud or water, so these brakes are ideal for the rainy season and for winter. In summer it is better to choose the shoe brakes.

We hope we have helped you to find your ideal bicycle to do the Camino de Santiago. Remember that if you have any doubt we read you in the comments! 

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