Mountain Bike VS Road Bike

Mountain Bikes Vs Road Bikes: All You Need to Know!

15 miles on the road bike = feel light as feather next morning

15 miles on the mountain bike = feel 100kg next morning

Bike junkies understand this quite well, especially when the rider is a newbie.

Mountain bikers take pride while debating for hours about how tough is their hobby, while road junkies try to win the conversation by highlighting the merits of their machine. 

That said, have you ever tried to scratch the surface to find out who is the winner of ‘mountain bike vs road bike’ debate?

If not, then keep rolling.

Mountain Bikes Vs Road Bikes

The difference between these two types is that mountain bikes are designed to roll on off-road single tracks, dirt/gravel paths, rough terrains, and extreme streets. MTBs have wider and fatter tires that reduces the effect of hurdles on the path while eliminating the majority of the bumpiness. However, these bikes are not good for long distances and you might need to take multiple breaks if you want to clock up miles on it.

Whereas, road bikes are designed to roll on paved roads and streets and on smooth paths. These bikes have a low rolling resistance and are good for long distances.  Moreover, the tires of a road bike are thin and have a wider rim. The material of tires sticks well to the asphalt providing greater traction for cornering.

Is Mountain Biking Harder Than Road Cycling?

Yes, mountain biking is harder than road cycling.

While mountain biking, it’s harder to carry on at your own pace and stay in your rest position because all of the motion is being dictated by the rough terrain. So, unlike road cycling, it’s not just about pedaling. It’s about being focused and staying active to see what’s the next rock you have to dodge. In other words, you can’t settle down on the mountain as much as you can on the road – the terrain dictates a lot of effort when you’re out riding!

Interestingly, handling a road bike is easier than handling mountain bikes.

How Much Heavier Is a Mountain Bike Than a Road Bike?

A full-suspension mountain bike weigh at least 11 pounds more than a road bike!

The average weight of a road bike is about 18 pounds, whereas that of mountain bike is about 29 pounds.

But, as the road bikes are less in weight, they are at least 1 mph faster than the MTB.

The mountain bikes are heavy because of their tires and frame. As these bikes have to run on the terrain that is much rougher than pavement, therefore, their frame and tires are made stronger and thicker.  Plus, addition of the suspension system adds up more weight to it.

Is Mountain Biking or Road Biking a Better Workout?

Mountain biking is a better workout than road biking. A road bike will only stress your legs whereas a mountain bike is going to take a toll on all over your body leaving you with knackered legs, back, arms depending on the condition off the track.

If you have tended towards mountain biking to shed some weight, the sturdier frame of your mountain bike has a sturdier frame that will require you to work hard and engage most of your muscles giving you a vigorous workout.

While using a mountain bike to burn your calories, another feature that will help you is to sit in the upright posture. This makes your body feel comfortable allowing you to engage and strengthen your core muscles. Don’t push yourself to bending forward as it can cause back pain.

And last but not the least, as compared to road bikes, mountain bikes require more effort. The more energy that the bike requires you to properly it means that you will burn more calories and fat. The more the bumpy road is, the more muscle you build muscles and strengthen your core.

Does Mountain Biking Burn More Calories Than Road Biking?

Yes, mountain biking burns more calories than road biking. The former engages more muscles in your lower and upper body and needs more focus and energy to get going. Whereas, road biking mostly puts exertion on the lower body, that won’t burn as many calories as mountain biking does.

The rougher the path, the greater the workout. Figuratively speaking, a full-on mountain biking can burn 100 calories more than your standard road ride. If you are not sure, use a calorie burner tracker to find out.

Can I Use My Mountain Bike as a Road Bike?

Yes, you can. But we recommend you make some changes before hitting the road.

  1. Use a lockout or increase the air pressure in your suspension so that it won’t make your pedaling difficult and reduce any bobbing.
  2. Pumping up mountain bike tires up to 40–50 PSI so that the tires roll quicker.
  3. Use the rear ‘gears’ to improve the gearing on your bike
  4. Drop the handlebars slightly lower to feel comfortable

Is Mountain Biking Safer Than Road Biking?

Yes and no. It depends on your experience level and the condition of the path you are on.  For professional bikers, both of these are safe. But for beginners, mountain biking can be dangerous as compared to road cycling.

In particular, the downward freewheeling or the downhill mountain biking is the most dangerous.

Can Road Bikes Go On Mountains?

No, you can’t ride a road bike on mountain because of the lack suspension and other features that tackle with the bumpiness. However, if the path is paved is not much rutted, road bikes can work well. But most riders find it uncomfortable and unstable. In addition to this, though road bikes are pretty durable and strong, they will be battered to pieces if used on a rough trail.  Even a tiniest rock or piece of debris poses a greater risk to your bike while braking hard or when cornering. The thin tires are not good for wet roads as well, unless you are a pro.

Why Are Road Bikes Faster Than Mountain Bikes?

Road bikes are faster than the mountain bikes because, mechanically, the mountain bikes are heavier, have lower gearing, lower tire pressure, and an increased rolling resistance of the wheels.

Comparing their speeds, generally the average speed of a mountain bike is 10mph whereas that of a road bike, the average speed is 15 mph. This means a road bike is 5mph faster than a mountain bike at the same power input on pedals on a smooth and paved surface.

This huge difference of the speeds is because of the flexible riding posture, decreased rolling resistance, frame geometry, and lightweight of the road bikes that let them run faster even at low pedaling speeds

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Mountain Bike vs Road Bike?

Pros of Mountain BikesPros of Road Bikes
· Beefy frames & other components are designed to get you uphill
· The geometry of the frame improves traction on steep, loose terrain    
· 26″ small, stable, and high grip wheels take the hit on rocks, puddles, or potholes easily
· Because the tires stay in contact with the ground, bike suspension provides more control and stability
· Plush comfort of the bike is suited for enduring the hits while supporting body      
Light in weight and easy to pedal, these bikes are designed for speed and agility
· Most of the power is transferred over the handlebars to improve your speed  
· Relaxed riding position allows you to transfer more leg power while easily cuts through air
· The components have tight tolerances and are highly polished
· Light, tall wheels, wide rims, and thin tires reduce friction giving you a seamless travel experience  

Now that you have jotted down the notes on pros of road biking vs mountain biking, it’s time to have a look at the cons.

Cons of Mountain BikesCons of Road Bikes
· These bikes are heavier than road bikes and can be tougher for newbie bikers.
· 26″ wheels have a higher “rolling” resistance which means you’d have to pedal extra hard
· Aggressive knobs and tread blocks of the mountain bikes have “snow tire” effect on road
· Suspension of these bikes requires the rider to stroke the pedal harder
· It’s slower on the road because of its heavy frame.  
· Can’t sustain the stresses of rough terrains just  like mountain bikes
· Due to the high gear range, riding at slow speeds is difficult
· Riding position, though flexible for some, can be uncomfortable on spine, neck, and wrists
· Difficult to control on mountain rides

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike: Which Is Best for You?

Mountain bikes are an ideal option for those who seek adventure and love to see rural scenery.

But, if the purpose of having a bike is to commute, then definitely go for a road bike.

Here we’d like to remind you that if you plan to use a mountain bike on the road, it can make things difficult for you.

Other than what you like, another factor is your budget. Interestingly, road bikes are cheaper than the mountain bikes because of the material and wide frame size.

That said, we encourage you to use bikes for traveling and enjoying your life.  Not only using the bikes will save money and burn your extra calories, but it will also help you take part in reducing carbon emissions.