Nowadays, there are many different types of bikes one can use to exercise or to simply get from A to B. Today, however, we want to contrast the two classics: mountain bike versus road bike – which one is more effective for training?
The road bike is without doubt the classic amongst the two. Slim tires, curved handlebars and a low centre of gravity are only some of the features this agile bike. It is known for its use out on the streets, but more and more sportsmen prefer so-called cross bikes that are also suitable for cycling on rougher terrain.
Road bikes are ideal for long bike trips where you can reach high speeds without a lot of effort. The advantage of using road bikes on asphalted streets is that it’s possible to control your pace and thus keep cycling at a consistent speed, which makes this the perfect endurance training. Modern road bikes are constructed to be light and are hence also suitable for quick sprints and conquering mountains. This allows your training to become more diverse and endurance as well as strength are improved.
The mountain bike is ideal for riding on uneven terrain. Its wide tires, small and robust frame and great suspension make the bike fit for cycling over gravel roads or soft soil in the woods. Thanks to the tires’ profile, traction and ground contact are amazing on uneven surfaces. Although cycling is also possible on asphalted streets, the tires’ increased resistance prevent you from being as dynamic as with slicks.
As mountain bikes are used on uneven surfaces, more physical effort is needed, which in turn leads to an increased pulse rate. Conducting a basic workout on a mountain bike is difficult. Your strength is simply improved by riding, whereas cycling in an easier gear helps you develop a smoother stroke.
Pros and cons – a comparison
Road bike 🚴🏼♂️
+ thanks to its low weight it’s possible to reach higher speeds
+ enjoy steadily cycling uphill as well as descending quickly
+ ideal for endurance training on flat terrain as the bike’s rolling resistance is very low
+ the bike’s low weight and aerodynamic features are ideal for speed training and improving strength as well as endurance
– can only be used on asphalt and light gravel
– does not do well on ice, snow and wet surfaces
Mountain bike 🚵🏻♂️
+ useable on- as well as off-road
+ better handling in wet and cold conditions
+ ideal to build up strength as ascents on difficult terrain become easier to conquer thanks to the transmission ratio and rough tire profile
+ ideal for developing a smooth pedal stroke and for improving one’s technique as managing ascents and cycling at a high frequency of strokes becomes effortless
– more physical effort is needed on straight, asphalted streets as the tires face more resistance
It’s all about your goals!
It’s not possible to make a universally valid statement about whether the road bike or the mountain bike is more effective for your training. It always depends on your goals and how you use your bike. In general, it can be said that a road bike is more suitable for endurance training whereas a mountain bike is better for building strength and improving one’s technique. However, the mountain bike has one additional advantage in that it is possible to use it on streets as well as on rougher terrain and uneven soil, where you can easily improve your technique during downhill rides. If you want to build up your strength, you can do so with both bikes, as this depends more on your choice of route and transmission than on the bike itself. If you only want to cycle long distances and do quick sprints on asphalted streets, a road bike will be the right choice for you. Ideally, you’re able to switch between both bike types to create a diverse training for yourself, but as this isn’t possible for everyone, answer the following question:
Are you team road bike or team mountain bike? 🚴🏼♂️
Let us know in the comments!