1.) Sturdy frame.
[image of my bottom bracket to be added soon!]
Bodhbh's Raleigh "Stowaway" on the train.
1.) Short chainstays.
The chainstays are shorter than a comparable full-sized tourer, so you may have problems with heel-strike with some rear panniers. The easiest way around this problem is to take advantage of the small wheel and place the rear load on top of the rear rack rather than on two side panniers. Another good option to consider is using two smaller front panniers attached to a front rack with the front forks.
2.) The rear brakes.
The stock rear brakes are very long reach callipers for the 406mm rims. 451mm rims would work better, especially if you get some high-quality brake pads. A myriad of other options exist, such as Sheldon Brown style "drop-bolts." In fact, if you're going to go to a frank builder anyway, fit canti/Vee-brake studs.
3.) Lack of brazed-on mounting points.
There are dozens of ways to get around this, including P-clamps and other forms of bolt-on mountings which can all be used quite successfully. I fitted new plastic mudguards and had to use zip-ties to attach the stay to the fork stem for several months before I was able to obtain a new fork with cast dropouts and bolt points for the stays!
Here are some examples of Twenties which have been rigged for touring. Of course, a touring bicycle's setup is a very personal thing. Handlebars, racks, panniers, bar-bags, etc are all set up according to personal preference. There is no one right way to do it, and I recall an old military saying: "If it's stupid but it works, then it isn't stupid!"
Sixty-Fiver's Phillips Twenty "Forrest" (link to gallery page)
An extreme example of modification. In fact, it has a complete new rear triangle giving the longer chainstays. Derailleur gears, using Suntour retro-friction bar-end shifters, Vee-brakes, bottle cages, etc. Possibly the most modified Raleigh Twenty that has ever existed. This is the conclusion of several years of modifications, making it one of the best Touring Twenties out there.
Another more recent album can be found by clicking on this gallery link.
Believe it or not, I used to tour extensively on a virtually stock Raleigh Twenty. I used to hang a small back-pack over the front handlebars in addition to my Carradice Camper long-flap bag. I did a four-day trip around Canberra on those two small bags, which included carrying a 3-piece tweed suit! Not sure how I managed it, and I doubt that I could repeat such an act. My saddlebag must have been part Tardis! The capacity of the two bags was comparable to having a set of regular panniers. Sadly, my Brown non-folding Twenty was stolen from my college dorm wing in 2011, including my beloved Brooks B67 saddle! I bought another one, but it has been languishing in my garage for about 3 years now. My blue folder is slowly coming together as a new tourer/commuter.
3-speed touring wasn't always ideal. The limited range of gears means that you will walk up most big hills, but the limited carrying capacity means that you didn't carry tonnes of stuff either. I rode on the stock wheels, although I did swap the 15t rear cog for a 16t to lower the gearing slightly. I used the original 28-spoke steel rims. A set of high-quality brake pads gave me surprisingly good braking. I bought some Vee-rubber 20" x 1-3/8" tyres to replace the 30-year old Dunlop tyres and found that the little machine was really quite sprightly. I used to blow off posers on racing bicycles all the time on this little machine.
Bodhbh's Raleigh Stowaway, opened up and loaded for touring.
The small wheels also give the advantage of lowering your panniers. The net result is a nice, low centre of gravity for the bicycle in addition to have a reasonably low bottom bracket height (especially if you opt for the smaller 406mm diameter rims.) This photo also clearly shows how the smaller wheels give you more loading space. There is heaps of room available on top of the rear and front racks to add bags or to tie down a load of some sort. This particular handlebar set-up is rather unusual for a tourer, but don't be afraid to experiment. You may be surprised to learn what works for you!
Whilst this website was originally founded on the interest in the Raleigh Twenty, there are lots of other good small-wheelers out there. Here are some other small-wheelers rigged up for touring duty.
A fully-modernised Dawes Kingpin with lots of fabrication and brazing. 2x10 Shimano Ultegra/105/Tiagra STI drivetrain components. Alienation Ankle Biter rims on FRM carbon hubs. Bontrager post, stem and bars. Special attention should be brought to the extension seat-post with extra bracing struts down to the brake bridge. A novel idea that has been done to a few small-wheeler modernisations. According to the owner, this stiffens up the frame considerably to a performance on par with regular diamond-frame bicycles. The frame, fork and rack are the only parts remaining from the original bike.
The owner describes this as a "Day-Tourer" so not the sort of fully-loaded, kitchen-sink touring bicycles, but nonetheless a machine for going on long day rides through the countryside.