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Mountain Bike vs Road Bike- Why Road Cyclists Should Mountain Bike Too!

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Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a mountain bike and that’s pretty close.

Mountain biking is one of the most difficult and challenging activites that a cyclists can do with a bicycle especially when compared to road biking. Even so, no mountain biker ever shys away from ride down a biking trail, as they take immense pride in their feats. Many people who had been road bikers have shifted to mountain biking and there are a multitude of reasons for the same.

Mountain Bike vs Road Bike: Which One to Pick?

Most cyclists are used to or have tried out road cycling at least once in their lives.

Why not give mountain biking a go?

Let us just explore the top reasons why mountain biking is a great activity to try out:

  • No Traffic:

 Which means no pollution, no problem. The important mountain bike vs road bike difference is that there is lesser traffic and surely lesser collisions.

  • After Effects: 

You get to enjoy a beer after that strenuous mountain bike ride rather than a plain old electrolyte drink!

  • Explore New Places:

 It is exciting to get lost in the wilderness and discover new exotic places altogether.

  • Better Views: 

What’s better than exploring wildlife and the natural environment? It sounds way better than just remaining secluded to the sides of the road.

  • Good for Overall Health: 

No emissions from vehicles and being closer to nature makes the ride all the more worthwhile. Besides, a ride in the woods is always so peaceful and quiet.

  • Not About Covering Miles: 

Mountain biking is not about pounding out miles but rather enjoying the hilly terrains amidst the lap of nature!

mountain bike vs road bike
Mountain bike vs Road bike

Reasons to Consider Mountain Bikes

Surely a lot of bikers like yourself must be considering the number of reasons to go for mountain biking.

Let's see if we could capture all your thoughts.

1. Enhanced Bike Handling Skills: 

The mountainous terrain helps in developing your reflexes and also your pedaling style. If you are really keen to improve cycling endurance, mountain biking is just for you.

2. Variety Served on a Platter: 

Mountain biking is surely a fulfilling experience as you get to ride on a number of terrains, which hons your skills as a biker. Plus of course, the most important part is that you ride among the beauty of nature.

3. Bye-Bye Emissions:

Mountain bikers are generally pedaling away in the mountains; so emissions from cars and other vehicles are completely avoided.

4. New Perspective Opens Up: 

Venturing out in the hilly terrain is a good way to gaining a new perspective altogether. An MTB road bike will surely renew your love for the hills and will make you fall for cycling all over again.

5. Connection with Nature: 

Riding a mountain bike is like hitting two birds with one stone. First and foremost it gives you a great workout and secondly it creates a beautiful connection between you and nature, which is mostly absent for road cyclists. The scenic beauty, flora, and fauna can only be enjoyed biking on an MTB road bike.

6. Bigger Social Circle: 

Generally people who go mountain biking are very laid back and are on the lookout for a good time in the hills. There is nothing better than joining a mountain bikers club.

7. Synonymous to Fun: 

Mountain biking is synonymous to fun and only fun. The lovely backdrop, fresh air and hard curvy terrain will surely make for one enjoyable ride.

Check out the 10 Hacks to Make Mountain Cycling a Success

Mountain bikes
Mountain bike benefits that every cyclist should explore (Source)

But don’t lose heart dear road bikers as we will now enlighten you on how to use the mountainous terrain to your advantage.

Adding mountain biking to your regime, you can actually enhance your skills and stamina. An occasional mountain bike ride will keep you fresh and who knows you might just love it.

Also, check all about Mountain Biking Skills - Gear up for Descending Hills.

Advantages of Mountain Biking

For the road bikers, mountain biking can actually be advantageous. Here is why:

1. Riding a mountain bike in a hilly terrain will throw you out of your comfort zone.

You will be able to handle your bike well. Maybe there will be a couple of bruises, but you would eventually get the hang of it. It will improve your reflexes and your performance on the road as well. Try to take help from a coach to begin with and then just go with the flow.

2. The varied terrain will bring explosive power to you.

The steep and short rises and obstacles will demand power from you and it will in turn make you stronger. So handle the acceleration and pedal your way to success.

3. Pedaling increases efficiency manifold.

The pavement has more traction and therefore it will not bring much of change to you. But rather, dirt, roots, mud and other slippery surfaces shall help you with your timing and of course increase your pedaling efficiency, making you all the more precise. And does mountain biking help road cycling? Yes, immensely!

4. One of the health benefits of riding a mountain bike is that it increases bone density.

Do try it during the off season to reap the benefits and it will help you during the peak time.

5. Who doesn’t need a break from the same monotonous routine?

So just break the pattern and explore the hills and mountains.

Check out to Understand How to Overcome MTB Trail Obstacles

Joy of mountain biking
Joy of mountain biking

Advantages of Road Cycling

We surely shouldn’t sound like we are endorsing only mountain biking, as road cycling also comes with its share of advantages.

Here are some:

  • Fitness Boost: 

When comapring mountain bike vs road bike for exercise, cycling on the road is actually helpful as you get fitter for the mountainous terrain. You can surely get in touch with pro bikers and they shall confirm this!

  • Cover More Area in a Shorter Span: 

On a mountain you might not be able to cover a particular number of miles but on the road you can cover a large area and of course in lesser time and surely lesser energy would be consumed. This is probably one of the many disadvantages of mountain biking.

  • Less Maintenance Required: 

Bikes for the road are pretty simple as compared to the complexity of mountain bikes, and road bikers will vouch for it. You will require less frequent visits to the store for a road bike as compared to a mountain bike.

  • Easy Accessibility: 

For all those who are living in cities and do not have access to the mountains or hilly terrain, this is for you. Road biking is an option for all those people who do not have such terrain around. Even if at all they are, the drive down to that place could be pretty tiring.

  • Traditional and Classical:

 Road biking is classical as compared to the newer trend of mountain biking. Many people down the ages have won accolades for their skills in road biking, whereas mountain biking only came up recently in the 70s.

  • Enjoy with New Friends: 

Road biking is not that serious, so probably you may end up making a lot of friends who are just like you when it comes to cycling. Join a new club and the riders would just love to give you their advice and tips to make your trip worthwhile.

  • Cost Effective: 

In case you are not willing to spend a hefty amount on a mountain bike, you can easily get a road bike. You will be able to save cash and probably invest that to buy good accessories to make your road trip more exciting. If you are stuck between choosing a mountain bike vs road bike and are short on cash, then go for a road bike.

Know all about Road Biking Training Programs: Training Fundamentals for New Cyclists

Road biking can be advantageous
Road biking can be advantageous

Mountain Biking Disadvantages

Mountain biking comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Let us first understand the major factors that makes mountain biking hard.

  • Hurdles on the Trail: These can be huge hinderances to your ride and could range from roots to rocks to mud and what not. Paved road on the other hand are generally smooth and don’t really have much obstacles. Hills trails can greatly slow down your speed.

  • Effort Required: This is a totally different parameter as mountain riding needs much more physical exertion as compared to road biking.

  • The Surface of the Trail: Vegetation and dirt slow down riders as compared to solid and high-traction pavements.

  • Tire Resistance and Aerodynamics: This is an important factor to consider as fat and squishy mountain biking tires can add to resistance as compared to skinny and high pressure road tires. Road bikers generally move in the aero position and have a narrower overall profile.

Other Factors to be Aware of For Mountain Biking vs Road Biking

Consider the problems associated with both mountain bikes and road bikes before choosing one.

There are certain factors that are involved in each riding that you might not have considered. These are:

  • There are sharp steep climbs up mountain trails and more twists and turns as compared to normal roads.

  • The average weight of road bikes is lighter as compared to mountain bikes.

  • Traffic can cause difficult riding due to bright lights and CO2 emissions from cars.

  • Your decision making skills are needed quicker while riding on a trail as compared to the road.

  • Also, if you are considering a mountain bike for road riding, be aware that these are hard to pedal and are comparatively slower on the pavement as they are mechanized specifically for hilly terrain.

  • Before going for a ride, one must always decide on the surface that awaits. Accordingly, one must test the tires and aerodynamics before embarking on the ride.

Check out The 10 Principles for Road Biking

Mountain biking can be tough
Mountain biking can be tough

Many aspiring bikers come up with a question, "Can I ride a mountain bike on the road?"

As a matter of fact, mountain bikes use tires which create a lot of rolling resistance and are knobby.

Read all about Tube vs Tubeless Bike Tires - Everything You Need to Know

So, if at all you are riding one on the road, you might not be as efficient and quick as you would be on the trail.

You can always broaden your perspective by hitting the hilly trails. And that’s why your next bikeride must be on a mountain bike. Besides, it is so much more fun! So take your chances and get on that bike, not just for the adrenalin rush, but for the love of nature.

What could be more exciting than this! Go on, leave that helmet and kick start the pedals…Happy biking!

Cover image source!