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Old 04-30-05, 10:51 PM   #1
StalkerZERO
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Mountain biking Vs Road Biking...which better for fitness?

I bought an entry level specialized hardrock and I'm trying to figure out the best way to utilize it for exercise. Obviously I will try out trails but maybe in the future I will get a road bike for those long distance road workouts.
But which is better for fitness? How do you ride each for more efficient fitness workouts?
Should I have bought a road bike instead? :|
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Old 05-01-05, 12:05 AM   #2
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You can get just as fit on an older Specialized Hardrock with knobby tires as you can on a $2000 carbon fiber Ultegra equipped road bike. You just won't be going as fast. Your body only knows how long you ride and how hard you ride - duration and intensity. You may want to consider getting a heart rate monitor to gauge your effort levels. If I were to have only 1 bike it would be a mountain bike. They're great to get started on for sure.

My cousin is one of the fittest people I know. He doesn't own a road bike. He can sustain 18 MPH for 2 - 3 hours on a hard tail MTB with fat knobby tires and he isn't a cyclist. He can do a 5K run in just under 18 minutes also. Wish I could do that.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:14 AM   #3
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Heart rate monitors....you mean pulsemeters? Which one should I get?
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Old 05-01-05, 04:57 AM   #4
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Stalker,

I asked about the heart rate monitors as well. Try and look up that post, there was a lot of good advice there. I ended up getting a Timex 5c401 from heartratemonitorsusa.com. I am really happy so far. Go to the website and look at the different features and decide what one you feel you need or want and then go from there.

Good luck
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Old 05-01-05, 06:18 AM   #5
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I generally notice that true "Mtn Bikers" - those folks going on off-road trails and doing technical mtn biking kinds of stuff have much more pronounced upper body development - they need shoulder and arm muscularity to perform they activities of technical mtn biking.

I would think that riding a mtn bike as a road bike would tend to develop the leg and thigh muscles a bit more as it feels to me when I ride a mtn bike that I am continually putting in more effort to get from one place to another, no matter the speed. But, that is a very non-scientific response, just how I feel.

I would compare it to my weight lifting. Riding a mtn bike is like going "heavy" on the weights - higher weights, fewer reps, while the road bike is like higher reps and less weight.

Again, very non-scientific and purely my instinctive feeling.

What do I do?

I have a mtn bike and 2 road bikes, and vary from one to the other.

One thing for sure, After riding my mtn bike for awhile, my road bikes seem especially agile and nimble! It is a really different riding experience.

If you want to get "fit" don't forget resistive exercises such as weight lifting. Very important for heavy duty road bikers, because road bicycling is a non-weight-bearing activity and promotes osteoporosis.

I used my Specialized Hardrock mtn bike as a road bike for about a year, but got tired of being passed on centuries and tours and the like. So, I bought a road bike also. Many folks on the forum have both and more.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 05-01-05, 06:19 AM   #6
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I train with both. The mountain bike gives me a different type workout and uses more upper body that a road bike. Also I believe a MTB (especially singletrack) is a good workout for awareness and concentration.

One good hour on the MTB and I am spent more than 2 on the road bike but in a different way.

Great cross training.
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Old 05-01-05, 06:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
I bought an entry level specialized hardrock and I'm trying to figure out the best way to utilize it for exercise. Obviously I will try out trails but maybe in the future I will get a road bike for those long distance road workouts.
But which is better for fitness? Should I have bought a road bike instead? :|
Mountain biking is better for total fitness than road. That's especially true if the trails are challenging (technical). Off-road riding maintains bone density and reflexes better than road.

Why not do both for variety? I typically do a metric century road ride and a 18 to 24 mile trail ride each week. It's most fun if you have a bike for each.

As far as how to get fit, Ned Overend's book for ATB riding and Chris Carmichael's book (something like "the Ultimate Ride") for road will do nicely. Check Amazon.com.

Al
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Old 05-01-05, 09:25 AM   #8
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If you get some high pressure street tires, clipless pedals and make the right adjustments, you can go almost as fast on your MTB as you would on a road bike. I used an MTB as a my road bike for almost a year before I became a full fledged "roadie."

Mountain biking is great for hill training. I would say that if you gave a serious mtb'er a road bike, and put him at the bottom of a hill with a bunch of roadies, he would probably be one of the first to the top.

I do think that, as a rule, roadies tend to train more simply because few of us live near enough to trails to ride them every day.
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Old 05-01-05, 03:08 PM   #9
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Well as I bought the bike and they were readying it for pick up I opted to swap out the default enduro dedicated mtb tires for a set of raleigh dual purpose tires. The center thread is flat and slick for the road and the edges on either side has grips on them for off road. So far they seem to work ok for the road. However I am not totally satisfied.
Right now I am using the bike for cardio workouts at the local park's bike lane but I'm researching local mtb trails in the area.
I guestimated that I kept my heartrate constant for about 20-25 minutes at least twice within a hour and a half workout. But I'm not sure so I'm going to buy a heart monitor for real.

Really though I'm interested in mtn trails cause they sound and look fun to ride.
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Old 05-02-05, 10:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
...Really though I'm interested in mtn trails cause they sound and look fun to ride.
They ARE! Good move on the tire swappage. I use Kenda Kross tires. They have a smoother center and some knobs for the trails should I decide to go do some exploring when the impulse hits.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

They're cheap too!
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Old 05-02-05, 10:18 AM   #11
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Cool. They look kinda like my tires. Though I wonder how they are gonna perform on the trails. :|
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Old 05-02-05, 10:26 AM   #12
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Those are cool tires. My Mtn. Bike has Panaracers...sucks for road riding.
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Old 05-02-05, 10:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
Cool. They look kinda like my tires. Though I wonder how they are gonna perform on the trails. :|
Going uphill they probably won't hang. But riding on hardpack the Kenda Kross tires do alright for the kind of not too agressive riding I do.

On a different set of wheels I have a pair of Kenda Kwest tires. They're strictly for riding on the road as they have no knobby edges and are only 1.5 inches wide. Kenda tires aren't the best available. They're just cheap and suit my needs. They're also fairly heavy but have generous tread so they last a while too.
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Old 05-02-05, 04:34 PM   #14
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Ok so my best bet is to find a mtn bike trail that is not too aggressive and don't contain many uphills.
I wonder if there is anything like that in the nyc long island area. :|
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Old 05-02-05, 04:38 PM   #15
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There's a really nice on in Rockland County at hook mountain. I know its not in NYC or on LI but its the closest one to ya that I know of

Its more of a bike path through the woods than offroading, but its still really nice, and is mostly gravel from what i remember
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Old 05-02-05, 08:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
Ok so my best bet is to find a mtn bike trail that is not too aggressive and don't contain many uphills.
I wonder if there is anything like that in the nyc long island area. :|
You may have to venture over to Queens or Yonkers to find a good trail like that!
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Old 05-03-05, 06:04 AM   #17
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Road cycling will whip your aerobic system into shape while singletrack will hit the anaerobic system more. Mtb is more sprint/recover and "maintenance" pedaling versus road cycling. Both are awesome, though I'm riding road more right now.
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Old 05-03-05, 10:48 AM   #18
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Could you explain what you mean by "singletrack"? Is that what I am most likely I'm doing right now?
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Old 05-03-05, 04:16 PM   #19
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singletrack is just as the name implies. Passable only by one bike/person at a time.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:27 PM   #20
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As far as cardio fitness goes, assuming a road bike and mountain bike ride take the same length of time, I would think your average/max heart rate would determine which is a better workout.
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Old 07-29-14, 02:23 PM   #21
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As far as cardio fitness goes, assuming a road bike and mountain bike ride take the same length of time, I would think your average/max heart rate would determine which is a better workout.
This post is over 9 years old..
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Old 07-29-14, 02:29 PM   #22
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This post is over 9 years old..
The topic is still relevant regardless of when it was posted. And if old posts should not be responded to at some future time, why not just delete all of them?

Last edited by UniGeezer; 07-29-14 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:30 PM   #23
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The topic is still relevant regardless of when it was posted. And if old posts should not be responded to at some future time, why not just delete all of them?
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