Mountain Bike vs Road Bike Which Is The Better Choice

Mountain Bike vs Road Bike Which Is The Better Choice
Photo by Jenda Kubeš from Pexels

Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by Johannes Kristjansson

Mountain bike VS Road bike which should you chose. Also which is better, that is not easy to answer since it depends on who is asking. Because if you like speed you are going to go for the road bike. On the other hand, if you are after challenging terrain you go for the mountain bike.

It is all about preferences what are you looking for if it is a good workout then both can work. The road bike is more about just pushing yourself to get a good workout. But the mountain bike is a bit different because it gives you more of a whole-body workout.

You need to muscle the bike around when you are riding a challenging trail. You are only going to be riding on paved roads on the road bike so it is more about just maintaining your speed and getting over those hills. Let’s get into more detail and see what the pros and cons are of these bikes.

Mountain bike

Mountain bikes are predominantly used off-road. That´s where they are in their element but of course, you can ride them anywhere on paved roads or the trails. You are not going to maintain the same speed as the road bike on paved roads. But you will still be able to reach reasonable speeds just takes a little more effort.

Mountain bikes can be put in four cadagories based on suspension

The suspension gives you a considerably smoother ride compared to a road bike. Not all mountain bikes have suspension some are just rigid like road bikes.

But most mountain bikes have at least front suspension which is necessary I would say. You are going to want to have suspension on your mountain bike it makes the ride so much smoother preferably full suspension front and back. Here are the four categories based on suspension.

  • Rigid has no suspension in the front or the back just a rigid frame
  • Hardtail has no suspension in the back but it has suspension in the front fork
  • Soft tail has pivots in the frame, it has no rear shock but it does flex because of the pivots.
  • Full suspension has rear suspension and also suspension in the front fork

More versatility

Mountain bikes are much more versatile and are also more durable. You can ride them almost anywhere in any weather on trails, paved roads, in the mud, and on gravel, you just need to get on the bike and go.

Lower Gears

There is another positive on having a mountain bike you have lower gears than road bikes so it will take less effort to go up hills. You can go up steeper hills and it will be easier to ride over difficult terrain.

Wide Tires

Mountain bikes also have wider tires with better traction which is essential for the kind of trails you are going to be engaged with.

More rolling resistance

But all that traction has its downside it increases rolling resistance which affects the speed you can maintain. That is one of the main reasons you are not going to keep up with a road bike´s speed it just takes too much energy.


Also, another drawback of mountain bikes is that for the most part, they tend to be heavier than road bikes. But they need to be more robust because they endure more punishment with jumps and not as forgiving terrain.

Less Traffic

Another positive on mountain biking is that you are mostly going to be riding your bike on trails or off-road so you are less likely to encounter traffic. Which can be annoying or even dangerous at times because there are crazy drivers out there.

Road bikes

Image by Richard Masoner

What Road bikes are mainly built for is speed. It is not as versatile as mountain bikes, road bikes are for someone who wants to get where ever they are going considerably faster. If you enjoy racing then road bikes are a great choice there are a lot of amateur races you can take part in. Also if all your friends ride road bikes then it is probably best to get one as well. Because you are not going to be able to keep up with them on a mountain bike.

Less Friction

One of the main reasons you can maintain such high speeds is that you have less friction because of how thin the tires are. Having a light frame is also very important and they achieve that by making them out of mainly three materials: aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber.

No suspension

Road bikes have no suspension so it is not going to be as smooth of a ride as on mountain bikes. But because you don’t have any suspension you are going to get more power to the wheels because of the rigid frame.

Good Workout

What is also great about road bikes is that you can get a really good workout on them. And compared to running there is way less pounding on your joints. That can be something to think about especially when you are getting older and might have some knee issues.

Not As Durable

A few not so great thing about road bikes is that they not as durable as mountain bikes, but that is just because they are not made for the same type of riding. They are as tough as they need to be for paved roads.

Best To Use On Paved Roads

Also, it is not a good idea to use road bikes on unpaved roads. They are not built for that and if you do all I can say is that it will not be pleasant. But if you do anyway it is not unlikely that you will be walking home. After you puncture a tire or something worse, so the best thing to do is just stay on paved roads.

More Traffic

Something you need to think about when you are on a road bike is traffic. Since you are always on paved roads you are more likely to encounter traffic than on a mountain bike. So it’s better to have less traffic because there are crazy drivers out there and you want it to be less likely you encounter them.

Riding Position

The riding position on a road bike is very low to decrease drag so you can maintain higher speeds but it can be tiring to stay in that position for long periods of time.


Mountain bike vs Road bike so which is better? We have gone over the good and the bad of both types of bikes and the answer is. Well, it depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for speed then the road bikes are better. But if you are looking for a smoother ride and versatility then the mountain bike is better.

Each type of bike has its pros and its cons but for the average person, I think the mountain bike is a better choice. The reason for that is you have more options on a mountain bike you can be on the road, gravel, trails, you just have more to choose from. So it is more likely that it is going to be a better fit for you.

But of course, it all depends on what is important to you. The road bike is also a great choice if that is what you are more interested in. But If you are looking for a good workout then both types of bikes will work just fine.

Here is also a video you might like. Road bike vs mountain bike which is harder.

Photo by Jenda Kubeš from Pexels

Johannes Kristjansson

As a writer for Biking Masters i am committed to bringing our readers a large variety of quality content in the world of cycling.

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