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  1. #1
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    Newbie Question - why are mountain bikes so much less desirable than road bikes?

    I know that there might be an obvious answer to this question but here goes - Why are mountain bikes considered so much less desirable that road bikes? The reason that I ask is when I look at the Chicagoland CL, it seems that old road bikes, no matter who made them sell at a premium (Schwinn Varsity's for $150 and up)while name brand mountain bikes (Gary Fisher, Trek, Specialized) do not command anywhere near the prices of the road bikes. I know that road bikes are faster but there are a lot of people who are not riding around with drop bars who could cheaply modify a mountain bike and have a great commuting or recreational bike. I also noticed that people don't really talk much about the components of a mountain bike as much as they do on a road bike - is there a reason for this?

    I know that this might seem elementary to many of you but I'm just starting to get back into cycling after neglecting it for longer than I care to admit. Any advice or information is appreciated.

    BTW, I am currently riding a Cannondale M300LE and I just bought a Miyata 310.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    I think it is because technology has moved on for folks who are looking for bikes for actual mountain biking. Now, for folks who apply some creativity to them, they make awesome all round riders. I have been using a converted rigid mountain bike for the past 3 years and it is great.

    I consider their lack of desirability to be something to take advantage of, before the general population catches on. I can remember not that long ago that road bikes were the style that no one was interested in.

  3. #3
    car guy, recovering aixaix's Avatar
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    I suspect the main reason is that mountain bikes are more like tools: they break, wear out & get replaced regularly, while road bikes can last a lifetime. Also, road bikes evoke childhood memories not stirred by most mountain bikes. At least that's the case for us old folks...
    Michael Shiffer
    EuroMeccanicany.com

  4. #4
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    The market decides. And the market has decided (around here anyway) that older MTBs have very little value. The only people buying them are folks looking for cheap, recreational level bikes. So the competition there is the Walmart bike. As long as you can buy some crappastic Walmart bike for $79, its tough to get over about $125for a MTB here.


    In comparison, there are a variety of people interested in vintage road bikes. First you have the people that just like them, the styling, the chrome, or whatever. Then you have the people that want a good road bike, but get shocked by the prices at the LBS ($800 for entry level), so they look for alternatives. Over half of the vintage bikes I sell go to triathletes, that want a racing bike at a reasonable price. They have zero interest in MTBs. Sold two bikes yesterday to a couple planning to do a triathlon. To them, its a nice bike, at a reasonable price. The third group are people looking for a touring bike. The touring bikes from the 1980s are still plenty good, and a lot cheaper than the new stuff.

    The serious MTB riders here want the latest and greatest: disc braking of course, modern suspension, etc.

    I continually recommend older, good, rigid frame MTBs to anyone looking for a recreational level ride. I think they are an awesome deal!

  5. #5
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    Collectable vintage MTB's have and do bring good money but average MTB does not bring squat.The singlespeed phenomenon has pushed vintage RB's beyond reasonable value IMO where hipsters think a POS entry level RB with suicide levers merits $200.00 because it has horizontal stays. Pretty funny stuff actually.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
    I consider their lack of desirability to be something to take advantage of, before the general population catches on. I can remember not that long ago that road bikes were the style that no one was interested in.
    My vote is for "fashion statement" ...

    Around here at least, Mountain Bikes came in like a Tsunami and pushed road bikes for the average guy right off the road and down into the basement. Nobody wanted road bikes. They went totally out of fashion for the masses. You could pick up vintages road bikes now selling for over $200 for about $5 to $25, but they were a tough sell for those who were offering them at garage sales. I continued to ride road bikes, but it was pretty much frowned upon. You go out into the 'burbs, though, and MTBs are still seen everywhere. Kind of reminds me of seeing English 3-speeds in the really early '80s when 10-speed road bikes were selling like crazy.
    Bike-A-Holic

  7. #7
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    I would say that lot of mountain bikes are not really suitable for commuting as currently equipped. I'm used to passing struggling MTB riders on my third to lowest gear on a 30 year old steel roadbike. Agreed, however, that a lot of really nice MTB frames are out there and can be made commuters with some part replacement.

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