Mountain Bikes Vs Road Bikes: What Is The Difference?

Mountain bikes Vs road bikes debate has always confused people. The bicycle industry is very diverse and full of hundreds of choices. For instance, you will find that different terrains, groups of people, or ages have their preferred bicycle type. This is why most people are often confused about the choices that they have to make.

Every terrain that you can think of has a special bike that is designed to handle it. Whether it’s a pavement or a trail, the surfaces are very different, and that’s why they demand a specialized set of wheels.  Road bikes, also known as racing bikes, have been in existence for years. Mountain bikes were introduced years later, but they have also played a significant role in the development of this industry.

Road Bikes

Just like the name suggests, road bikes are made for surfaced roads. These bicycles are often designed for speed using thin tires and lightweight frames. Furthermore, these two features are beneficial when it comes to achieving maximum speed by employing minimum effort. They also have handlebars that loop down and backward, allowing you to get to an aerodynamic riding position. 

The gears found on this bicycle helps it to gain and maintain maximum speed. On top of that, these bicycles are the best when it comes to commuting. This is because they can cover more ground quicker than its counterpart. But the aerodynamic riding position is not comfortable for everyone. So you can decide to order a customized bike or buy spare parts according to what makes you more comfortable. The wheels of a road bike are very susceptible to damage from potholes and curbs. Also, most of them are not designed to carry luggage. So if you need to carry a big load using a road bike might be a bad idea.

Types of Road Bikes

Endurance bikes​

An endurance bike is also referred to as a sportive bike. This is what most riders are using out there. It features slightly wider tires, a more upright position, and gearing and ranges for more comfort.

Ultralight bikes

These are bicycles made for long climbs, and they are made using very light materials. But they are not suitable for all-round use such as endurance.

Aero bikes

An endurance bike is also referred to as a sportive bike. This is what most riders are using out there. It features slightly wider tires, a more upright position, and gearing and ranges for more comfort.

Gravel bikes

One of the excellent bike in road bike genres is gravel bikes. You can cover long rides easily and comfortably with gravel bikes. This bikes are good for venturing off road and general riding. On the other other hand, not so good for high end road performances.

Features, Pros, and Cons of A Road Bike

Frame size – Very lightweight. Materials used to make them include carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum

Handlebars – They are mostly curled or dropped to allow the rider to set different speeds. However, you can find flat bars too.

Tire size – They feature narrow tires that are suitable for riding on smooth surfaces. But, mountain bikes can be used on some city streets that have uneven or rough surfaces.

Uses – Road bikes are the best when it comes to fitness and open smooth roads. Also, they can be used for racing and commuting.

Terrain – They are best used on smooth paths so that they can reach their maximum speed and acceleration. Road bikes do not have a rear suspension like the MTBs.

Bike types – Roadster, touring, hybrid, recumbent, utility

Pros Cons
  • Quick
  • Less comfortable
  • Efficient
  • Easier to damage
  • Fun
  • Not good for speed
  • General riding
  • Mountain Bikes

    Mountain bikes are designed for bumpy and off-road terrains. Besides, these types of bicycles are made using aggressive and tough body parts than can grip even on the roughest surface.  When it comes to braking, the mountain bike is really sharp. This is because its brake discs are similar to that of a motorcycle.

    You will find that some costly bicycles feature a suspension at both ends. These suspensions are useful in terms of taking control over rough ground. Moreover, they also feature a gear that is very useful when it comes to getting up and down steep terrains. You will always have a big range to choose from for such grounds.

    Let’s say you are not planning to ride on rough terrains. This does not mean that this bicycle will be useless. Besides, you can use it for general leisure on regular terrains.  It also has a great suspension, but it comes with some problems such as extra weights and extra costs. So if you plan on spending a lot of time on the roads, this bike can be highly inefficient.

    You can read more about mountain bike history here.

    Types of Mountain Bikes

    Full Suspension




    This bicycle contains a maximum of 110mm rear suspension for short travel. It works by prioritizing efficiency and low bike weight, especially when you are going uphill.

    Hardtail


    These bikes feature a rigid frame and often have suspension forks. On top of that, they are very affordable. In fact, hardtails are the most affordable types of mountain bikes.

    Trail Full Suspension

    This one features a 120mm -150mm mid traveling suspension. It helps to balance the descending abilities and climbing efficiency. In addition, it features larger braking rotors making them more efficient for different types of terrains. The good thing about some trail full suspension is that you can switch tires for some versions. For instance, you can switch from 27.5-inch wheels to 29 inches and vice versa.

    Enduro

    These types of mountain bikes are also known as gravity full-suspension. They feature potent brakes, aggressive tire threads, and 160 mm rear wheels. On top of that, Enduro bicycles are designed for maximum control, especially when descending on steep slopes

    These types of mountain bikes are also known as gravity full-suspension. They feature potent brakes, aggressive tire threads, and 160 mm rear wheels. On top of that, Enduro bicycles are designed for maximum control, especially when descending on steep slopes.

    Features, Pros, and Cons of A Mountain Bike

    Frame size – The size of a frame may vary depending on the body proportion of your MTB.

    Handlebars – They can come with a riser or a flat.

    Tire size – It is Mostly thick and stronger than those of road bikes.

    Uses – Suitable for unpaved roads and to handle tough obstacles

    Terrain – For off-road terrains often full of logs, branches, boulders, and rocks

    Bike types – Free ride biking, cross country, downhill biking, all-day endurance.

    Pros Cons
  • Versatile
  • Slow on tarmac
  • Great breaks
  • Heavy
  • Tough
  • Upright position
  • The Differences between a Mountain Bike and a Road Bike

    If you are looking for something fast, then you should go for a road bike. These bicycles are very fast, thanks to the lightweight parts used to design them. Furthermore, they are very responsive when it comes to the pavement. They also feature a 700c size that comes with very thin tires.  

    The thin tires help to increase speeds by reducing the rolling resistance. Since the frame needs to be rigid, materials such as titanium and carbon fiber are mostly used.  Road bikes are very fast on pavements and other smooth terrains. But when it comes to rocky and hilly roads, then there is no doubt that mountain bikes will perform better and faster.

    Road Bike vs Mountain Bike – Speed

    If you are looking for something fast, then you should go for a road bike. These bicycles are very fast, thanks to the lightweight parts used to design them. Furthermore, they are very responsive when it comes to the pavement. They also feature a 700c size that comes with very thin tires.

    The thin tires help to increase speeds by reducing the rolling resistance. Since the frame needs to be rigid, materials such as titanium and carbon fiber are mostly used. Road bikes are very fast on pavements and other smooth terrains. But when it comes to rocky and hilly roads, then there is no doubt that mountain bikes will perform better and faster.

    Road Bike vs Mountain Bike – Weight

    Mountain bikes are built to withstand very rough terrains. This is why its support frames and wheels are solid and heavy. Conversely, the body parts for a road bike are very light. They are useful when it comes to commuting rather than carrying loads. This explains why they are swift. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, can handle bulky items. They are versatile enough, and the wheels are keen to handle heavy loads.

    Effort, Efficiency, and Comfort

    If you are looking for a bicycle that requires little or no effort, then you should consider buying an off-road. But this only applies to paved roads. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, require some effort because of their heavy parts. But it requires less energy to ride them on rough terrains than compared to that of its counterparts. So it’s okay to say that the effort required does not entirely depend on the type of your ride. However, when it comes to comfort, mountain bikes are the best.

    Fitness

    Fitness is a very common concern for many when it comes to choosing a bicycle. This is why we are often asked questions like which is the best for doing exercises or burning calories. Both bikes are right for exercise.

    Shifter Gear

    The difference between the two shifted gears is that one is optimized for speed while the other one is great for hill climbing.

    Mountain Bikes Vs Road Bikes Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you ride a mountain bike on the pavement?

    Yes, you can ride a mountain bike on the pavement. In fact, it’s best to use on the roughest and uneven city pavements. But if you want something that you will use to commute faster to different locations, then you should consider choosing a road bike. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with riding an MTB on the pavement.

    Does Mountain biking or road biking burn more calories?

    They both burn calories because they require a lot of movement by the legs and your hands. However, a road bike is the most ideal for exercising thanks to its favorable body positioning.

    Is a mountain bike good for commuting?

    An MTB is made of heavy frames and suspension. So it’s not a good idea to use it for long-distance commuting as you will need a lot of effort. However, you can use them for shorter distances because they have an upright riding position and low gears.

    Can you ride a road bike in the rain?

    Yes, you can ride them in the rain. However, you will need a waterproof jacket so that it can be fun. Make sure that it’s breathable because you can build a lot of sweat even in the rain. On top of that, you need to be alert because cold feet and hands may end up distracting you.

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