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-   -   Mountain Bike versus Road bike for commuting (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/221660-mountain-bike-versus-road-bike-commuting.html)

pgoat 09-19-06 09:27 AM

all good points Craig

just as the 'best bike' selection depends on the rider and the type of riding typically done, the best commute bike depends on terrain, conditions, riding style, etc.

Having tried them all I prefer the mtb in NYC. But a hybrid or cross, etc - anything that will accomodate wider 700s and set up with a flat bar and bar ends - suits me fine too as a second choice.

jcm 09-19-06 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by agarose2000
Hi all - I'm sure this topic has been posted to DEATH somewhere out here, but with the search function down, it's all little hard to get the latest and greatest on everyone's experiences.

For a non-trivial commuter (>5 miles each way) on generally good quality roads, I was wondering what people's EXPERIENCE was with mountain versus road bikes.

I would love to hear specifically from people who have actually USED or OWNED BOTH mtn & road for COMMUTING; I know at least a million "theoretical" reasons that would be a legit argument, but I'd like to hear about the real deal from anyone who has made the switch and why.

To start off, would love to hear about:
1) Speed - how much faster and on what terrain?
2) Price
3) Comfort & carrying capacity
4) Flexibility - is it worth the whole new road bike if you just use it for commuting, or is a mtn/hybrid the best bang for your buck?

If you can, say a little about your rig and your route so we can all get an idea of where you're coming from.

Thanks all, great forums here!
Agarose2000


PS - I'm on a Gary Fisher Mamba with knobbies, doing a 5-7mile commute in the LA area each way, and am an occasional (but increasingly frequent) mountain biker on the weekend. Installed a rear rack and Jandd economy panniers (I highly recommend panniers!) but don't have fenders. Also use a rear red blinker. I ride fast (for me) and on well-maintained roads, but do duck out onto sidewalks (and go slow) in heavier high-speed traffic, especially on one-lane roads. Change at work, and do the full shirt & tie thing - no wrinkle problems yet with a decent folding job in the packing. (Did I say panniers help?)


1) Speed: No question a road bike is faster, given the lighter weight. I usually don't like to quote average speed. I just measure time of commute. On my Sequoia, I cover 3.8 miles in 19-21 minutes going to work. It's up a 1.2 mile, fairly steep hill with the rest steeply rolling. Very little flat running. Coming home doesn't count. On my '88 Trek 830, (pictured below) it's 23-25 minutes.

2) Price: The sky's the limit. For what it's worth, I blow by some very pricey bikes on that hill on a regular basis. One guy always seems to want to chase me. Well, maybe he's already put out 30 miles, I don't know. I paid $500 for that 830 back then. You might find it for $100 now. Great bike. The Sequoia's just a rec-roadie I got on sale for $950. Fun bike.

3) Comfort and Carrying capacity: Goes solidly to the all rigid, old school 830. It's as comfy as my 520 and has more hardpoints for racks and panniers! Just try and find that on a modern mtb. No question about carrying capacity: road bikes have little or none. I used a backpack with the Sequoia and ended up going back to the 830 after four days.

4) Flexibility: I use the 830 for everything including centuries. I don't have a single purpose bike. The Best Bang For The Buck? Very subjective here, but I favor recycling a good old bike. Few bikes get much use and good ones abound. Unless you find a good sale, you will be over charged at any LBS for a new one. I got my '98 Trek 520 (near mint) for $550, fully dressed with racks, fenders, Brooks and Nitto stuff. I can't believe what they go for new and naked. Same with my new Sequoia Elite. If it wasn't marked down to the degree it was, I'd have passed. Buy a decent used rigid mtb. They are the toughest bikes ever built, with the possible exception of Euro 3-speeds.

You didn't mention tour machines. They are also excellent all-rounders. However, due to the hills, my commuting is done on the 830 because it has OvalTech chainrings.

This pic shows a very large old school mtb. I bought it that way because I knew I would never be an off-road rider except for maybe the occasional greenbelt shortcut. Plus, in 1988, if you wanted a truly comfortable bike, you had to buy an mtb. It was that or a roadie, and there was nothing around like a Sequoia at the time either, with it's relaxed geo. It is one poor man's attempt at a good solid Expedition/Atlantis type. It now has North Road bars, Brooks B67, clipless peds, Freddies, and 1.5" Armadillos. Original mid-range Deore DR's and shifters which work as smooth and quiet as my other 105 $tuff. Sakae Ovaltech chainrings and cranks (forged). I recently changed the freewheel to a low of 28t. I've lost some climbing power but gained some road speed. I don't know - I might go back to the 32t.
http://i10.tinypic.com/455mczt.jpg

pgoat 09-19-06 11:29 AM

cool bike!

I am still doing the backpack thing (actually waterproof mssngr bag today as rain is in the forecast).

I need to break down and try a blackburn or similar knock off rack.bag. My 93 Marin has all the fittings too, I just never used them.......

cplager 02-18-14 10:35 AM

I'll point out that I've commuted to work on a unicycle (couldn't find a rack, however :D). If it were me and I was riding not off-road, throw some slicks on a mountain bike and your 80% of the way there.

Leebo 02-18-14 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by agarose2000 (Post 2945513)
Super cool replies guys (girls). I wasn't aware that for shorter trips that time is roughly the same between both types of bikes and that the amount of effort seemed to be the main difference. I also had no idea that my front suspension fork made a front fender out of the question. I guess it doesn't rain much in Southern Cali, right?

Take a star nut and install it in the bottom of your steerer tube. Then you can put some sort of fender in there, making sure it has clearance for the suspension travel.

alan s 02-18-14 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leebo (Post 16505811)
Take a star nut and install it in the bottom of your steerer tube. Then you can put some sort of fender in there, making sure it has clearance for the suspension travel.

Probably figured it out by now. Had 8 years to think it over.:)

Andy_K 02-18-14 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 16505751)
I'll point out that I've commuted to work on a unicycle (couldn't find a rack, however :D). If it were me and I was riding not off-road, throw some slicks on a mountain bike and your 80% of the way there.

Seatpost rack!

Leebo 02-18-14 01:53 PM

ZOMMBBEEEEE:eek:

cplager 02-18-14 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy_K (Post 16506272)
Seatpost rack!

O.k. I admit I've thought of it since (it's been about 20 years since I've commuted using a unicycle). I'm currently rusty, so adding additional weight in weird places might not be such a good idea (although, compared to a backpack, maybe it reailly is a better idea). Might hurt more when I fall, though.

Huh. Lots of food for thought. :D

caloso 02-18-14 05:11 PM


zacster 02-18-14 06:59 PM

Wow, 8 years. That may be a new record. Not even an errant post in between.

wphamilton 02-18-14 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 16506456)
O.k. I admit I've thought of it since (it's been about 20 years since I've commuted using a unicycle). I'm currently rusty, so adding additional weight in weird places might not be such a good idea (although, compared to a backpack, maybe it reailly is a better idea). Might hurt more when I fall, though.

Huh. Lots of food for thought. :D


What if you used two seatpost racks, front and back so that it stays balanced?

trailmix 02-19-14 05:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alan s (Post 16506135)
Probably figured it out by now. Had 8 years to think it over.:)

This made me laugh.

cplager 02-19-14 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zacster (Post 16507310)
Wow, 8 years. That may be a new record. Not even an errant post in between.

For the record, there was an errant post in between and it was deleted. As I click on "go to new posts", it wasn't obvious that the thread was a Zombie when I posted (yes, I could have looked at the start date before I clicked "new posts"...)

wphamilton 02-19-14 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 16508403)
For the record, there was an errant post in between and it was deleted. As I click on "go to new posts", it wasn't obvious that the thread was a Zombie when I posted (yes, I could have looked at the start date before I clicked "new posts"...)

I thought you were just bored and wanted to break out a commuter unicycle.

Ramona_W 02-19-14 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leebo (Post 16506438)
ZOMMBBEEEEE

I like to see old threads revived because it means someone actually did a search on a topic instead of starting the umpteenth thread about "What did you name your bike?" or "Has anyone ever ridden an MTB with slick tires?" And sometimes new threads on the same topic will be started within hours of each other when if the thread-starter had even looked at "Today's Posts" they'd have seen the earlier thread.

#somepeopleschildren

cplager 02-19-14 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16508685)
I thought you were just bored and wanted to break out a commuter unicycle.

Nah... I'm enjoying my recumbents too much. I guess I could try commuting on a recumbent unicycle.

http://www.unicycling.com/garage/pix/RECUMBNT.JPG

Isaiahc72 02-19-14 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by agarose2000 (Post 2941977)
Hi all - I'm sure this topic has been posted to DEATH somewhere out here, but with the search function down, it's all little hard to get the latest and greatest on everyone's experiences.

For a non-trivial commuter (>5 miles each way) on generally good quality roads, I was wondering what people's EXPERIENCE was with mountain versus road bikes.

I would love to hear specifically from people who have actually USED or OWNED BOTH mtn & road for COMMUTING; I know at least a million "theoretical" reasons that would be a legit argument, but I'd like to hear about the real deal from anyone who has made the switch and why.

To start off, would love to hear about:
1) Speed - how much faster and on what terrain?
2) Price
3) Comfort & carrying capacity
4) Flexibility - is it worth the whole new road bike if you just use it for commuting, or is a mtn/hybrid the best bang for your buck?

If you can, say a little about your rig and your route so we can all get an idea of where you're coming from.

Thanks all, great forums here!
Agarose2000


PS - I'm on a Gary Fisher Mamba with knobbies, doing a 5-7mile commute in the LA area each way, and am an occasional (but increasingly frequent) mountain biker on the weekend. Installed a rear rack and Jandd economy panniers (I highly recommend panniers!) but don't have fenders. Also use a rear red blinker. I ride fast (for me) and on well-maintained roads, but do duck out onto sidewalks (and go slow) in heavier high-speed traffic, especially on one-lane roads. Change at work, and do the full shirt & tie thing - no wrinkle problems yet with a decent folding job in the packing. (Did I say panniers help?)

I actually prefer my hybrid. I've owned and commuted on both mountain bikes and road bikes. Mountain bikes have power for carrying things and adding racks and fenders but road bikes have speed and smooth rides.

But then a hybrid has a decent amount of speed and smoothness as well as a little more strength and the ability to attach racks and fenders.

Andy_K 02-19-14 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ramona_W (Post 16508715)
I like to see old threads revived because it means someone actually did a search on a topic instead of starting the umpteenth thread about "What did you name your bike?" or "Has anyone ever ridden an MTB with slick tires?" And sometimes new threads on the same topic will be started within hours of each other when if the thread-starter had even looked at "Today's Posts" they'd have seen the earlier thread.

#somepeopleschildren


Search is overrated. You use search when you want information. If you want to talk about something, you start a conversation. When was the last time anyone something new to talk about?

alan s 02-19-14 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy_K (Post 16509286)
Search is overrated. You use search when you want information. If you want to talk about something, you start a conversation. When was the last time anyone something new to talk about?

Plus, bike commuting is so different now than it was in the olden days. Think of all the innovations like new apps and um....

Andy_K 02-19-14 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alan s (Post 16509575)
Plus, bike commuting is so different now than it was in the olden days. Think of all the innovations like new apps and um....

Hey, what about the innovation of 8-speed cassettes? And 9-speed cassettes? 10-speed cassettes? 11-speed? Hold the phone, I think I've got an idea for the next big thing!

alan s 02-19-14 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy_K (Post 16509619)
Hey, what about the innovation of 8-speed cassettes? And 9-speed cassettes? 10-speed cassettes? 11-speed? Hold the phone, I think I've got an idea for the next big thing!

I don't know...kind of like being able to turn the volume up to 11...for commuting, I could easily get away with a low, medium and high gear. Currently have 27 gearing options, as long as I don't mind a bit of cross chaining. However, I'm talking about real life-changing innovations, like GoPro cameras, that as I understand, make you virtually invincible.


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