Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Road Vs Mountain Bikes on the Road

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Road Vs Mountain Bikes on the Road

Old 05-03-14, 08:35 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 456

Bikes: Trek 4900, Cannondale Cx-4

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Road Vs Mountain Bikes on the Road

Yesterday I went for a ride in a park for about 8 miles. Where I ride is paved but I use a mountain bike because there are other folks on the pavement and sometimes I ride onto the grass to avoid them. Yesterday, for the first time, I locked out the front shock for most of the ride. I found that my pace went up about 2-3 mph and when up on the pedals, my top speeds increased dramtically. My questions is would I be much better off with a road bike? Would there be more of a significant difference in the performance as well. I always know a MB slowed me down a bit but I was shocked (no pun intended) at the difference with the lock-out engaged.
Mvcrash is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 08:42 AM
♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯
-=(8)=-'s Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: 40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
Posts: 7,902

Bikes: Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Im not a fan of MTB's for commuting at all.
It's like that dream you always have where you are trying to run away from the scary monster or your 4th grade teacher, and your limbs are moving in super-slow motion as the undesirable entity gains on you . . .
A Road bike with good 28-32c chubby all-purpose tires is what works best for me.
-ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"
-=(8)=- is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 09:09 AM
Veteran, Pacifist
Wildwood's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 11,275

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 252 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2924 Post(s)
Liked 2,084 Times in 1,115 Posts
Each has it's intended purpose. Road bikes are much more efficient for use on pavement.
Wildwood is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 09:11 AM
Third World Layabout
crtreedude's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Costa Rica
Posts: 3,132

Bikes: Cannondale F900 and Tandem

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 24 Times in 15 Posts
I have had both road bikes and mountain bikes, I prefer a mountain bike usually. If I knew it would always been pavement, I might be tempted on a road bike. Honestly, speed isn't a big thing to me as long as I am getting a good workout. I have a Cannodale mountain bike and when I have gone on tours, etc I tend to be a bit faster than most people anyway, so the additional control and options of a MTB I like. It is a hardtail, which is much lighter though.

I used to commute with a MTB too, but the road wasn't very good, so I needed the ability to ride over anything.
crtreedude is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,326 Times in 835 Posts
With decent tires either one is fine.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 12:51 PM
Senior Member
OldsCOOL's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: northern michigan
Posts: 13,252

Bikes: '77 Colnago Super, '76 Fuji The Finest, '88 Cannondale Criterium, '86 Trek 760, '87 Miyata 712

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Liked 508 Times in 279 Posts
MTB's are a slug when compared to a decent roadbike. While on vacation I rode my friend's full suspension downhiller. Plenty of fun on trails but totally frustrating to me for road riding.
OldsCOOL is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 01:06 PM
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
Retro Grouch's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,208

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1564 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 343 Posts
Originally Posted by Mvcrash View Post
My questions is would I be much better off with a road bike?
Objectively, I doubt it.

If a road bike would allow you to average 20 MPH, your 8 mile ride would take you 24 minutes. If you only average 15 MPH on a mountain bike, the same ride would take you 32 minutes. So the question becomes what are you going to accomplish in the 8 minutes that you saved that will make you better off.
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 01:46 PM
Senior Member
kehomer's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 272
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Of course! The mt bike suspension soaks up YOUR energy! Instead of a direct transfer of your muscle energy to the rear wheel, a big portion of that energy disappears in the shocks. The rigid mt bike, without the weight and energy absorption of the shock, is is sometimes more versatile than the road bike. With cushier tires, it is usually more stable and more comfortable on rough surfaces.

Last edited by kehomer; 05-03-14 at 03:11 PM.
kehomer is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 08:58 PM
Senior Member
Velocivixen's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 4,515
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 398 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 18 Posts
I like a decent steel rigid mountain bike with smooth & slightly narrower tires for pavement.
Velocivixen is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 07:34 AM
Senior Member
rydabent's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,179

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2557 Post(s)
Liked 772 Times in 455 Posts
Since some people may only be able to afford one bike, a mountain bike fills the need to ride anywhere. Depending on the tires and the weight, might they be slower---yes. However remember not everyone is a slave to riding the fastest time possible. Some like to sit up and see the scenery instead of staring at their front wheels and cutting .0067 seconds off their record route time.
rydabent is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 08:30 AM
A might bewildered...
Dudelsack's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Loovul in summer. Jensen Beach in Winter.
Posts: 6,592

Bikes: Bacchetta Giro ATT 26; Lemond Buenos Aires

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 108 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 19 Posts
Get a gravel grinder. Great all purpose bikes.
Brevity is the soul of wit.

Dudelsack is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 08:36 AM
Senior Member
GravelMN's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Rural Minnesota
Posts: 1,604
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I started with a rigid MTB with 1.5" fairly slick hybrid tires and a touring crankset (48-tooth big ring) and I averaged about 15 mph on most rides. When I got my road bike (steel with carbon fork and 28mm tires) my average speed went up to about 17 mph. The only place it made a big difference was on hills. There are other advantages to the road bike, but honestly, I had a great time on the hybridized MTB too. The MTB shone best when the roads got bad or when I got into loose or soft surfaces.

If I had to go with just one bike for all purposes, I'd probably go with a 700c touring or hybrid, maybe cyclocross though I've never ridden a true cyclocross bike, with 32-38mm tires.
GravelMN is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 09:28 AM
John E
feros ferio
John E's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 20,639

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1040 Post(s)
Liked 510 Times in 363 Posts
I hate the way suspension, particularly in the rear, feels for road riding. I currently have four bikes in working order, and each has its own purpose.
1) Bianchi road bike -- climbs fast, accelerates fast, but twitchy in a crosswind -- my fair weather friend
2) Peugeot and Capo road bikes (traditional road touring geometries and fatter tires) -- great for general transportation, stable, comfortable on long rides
3) Schwinn non-suspension mountain bike -- noticeably slower than the road bikes, but I do have 2" knobbies on it. Great for shopping, carrying loads, general purpose riding if speed is not an issue. My foul weather friend. About a 10% speed penalty versus the Bianchi.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 09:29 AM
Senior Member
JonathanGennick's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Munising, Michigan, USA
Posts: 4,131

Bikes: Priority 600, Priority Continuum, Devinci Dexter

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 685 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 55 Times in 37 Posts
Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Get a gravel grinder. Great all purpose bikes.
+1. Something like a Salsa Vaya maybe, or their Warbird model.
JonathanGennick is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 01:35 PM
Senior Member
BlazingPedals's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 11,920

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1292 Post(s)
Liked 448 Times in 293 Posts
Back in my upright-riding days, I had a mountain bike that I sometimes used for club rides. It had slicks, and no shocks. I knew it was a little bit slower, but I didn't mind. Then I got the brilliant idea of riding it on a tour. You know, just in case there was rough pavement. Worst mistake of my life! Yeah, I lost 3 mph average speed; but the biggie was, I was completely drained, with 4 more days' of riding to do! I called my wife and had her bring me my road bike.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 01:56 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 456

Bikes: Trek 4900, Cannondale Cx-4

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll stick with the forks locked out when I can and get some hybrid tires. As a few mentioned, it is more about the exercise and view than the time but I still like to know my efforts are going where they should.
Mvcrash is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 05:02 PM
Moyene Corniche
Senior Member
Moyene Corniche's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 207
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Question is really what is 90% of your riding... Recreational, able to go anywhere when the path dictates ??
I raced and will race again starting next year... I used a Cannondale M900 for commuting to and from work, at the time it was a completely rigid setup... If your rear triangle is rigid and front forks are locked there should not be a big difference...

(1st) what tires are on now ?? That will consume a lot of energy transfer. Unless you are off in the single track, you don't need X-country knobbies, you do need a tire that will allow you traction on dirt but also run at a low friction coefficient on pavement....
Let me put it this way, I trained on my MTB in winter on ice and snow covered dirt trails where you are constantly drifting both wheels, same with this winter as I trained on the road on my road bike with 700 Michelin race tires, in the snow and in the slush...
Tires are important but they are only 50% of the equation. bike handling is also a critical factor.

(2) If you believe MTB's are slow, a friend showed up years ago at a group ride on a MTB, ( everyone else on their road steeds ). end of ride sprint and all the other sprints he won on a flat bar MTB... With smooth street tires but still.... He was also a grad of the former German National Team. ( Yes I have mentioned this elsewhere ) but the point is that focusing on riding is more important then the particular equipment.

(3) Best Case Scenario would be to have Road and Offroad bikes but that may not be possible for everyone...
Moyene Corniche is offline  
Old 05-04-14, 07:44 PM
just keep riding
BluesDawg's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 173 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 16 Posts
I would much rather ride a road bike on dirt than ride a MTB on pavement. YMMV.
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 12:05 AM
Senior Member
GFish's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 649
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Road vs MTB = N +1

Rather then doing everything with one bike, get another bike to switch up the riding. Everyone needs at least 2 bikes anyway.
GFish is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 03:18 AM
Have bike, will travel
Barrettscv's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Posts: 12,282

Bikes: Ridley Helium SLX, Canyon Endurance SL, De Rosa Professional, Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra, Schwinn Paramount (1 painted, 1 chrome), Peugeot PX10, Serotta Nova X, Simoncini Cyclocross Special, Raleigh Roker, Pedal Force CG2 and CX2

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 854 Post(s)
Liked 195 Times in 106 Posts
Visit a bike shop and take an extended ride on a Cyclocross or sports/touring bike. Select something with a 700x32 to 700x40 tire that is smooth or has smaller knobs for both pavement and gravel roads. A Specialized Tricross is typical of this style of bike. After some use, you can form an opinion.
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
Barrettscv is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 03:29 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Incheon, South Korea
Posts: 2,836

Bikes: Nothing amazing... cheap old 21 speed mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Got both. mtb on slicks with hydros makes a fine tourer/brevet bike. Its fast enough, useful when the gravel shows up, and can handle single track. But, on a fine day on a good road the toad bike can eadily average 7kmh faster wuth thecsame effort. Of course after 200km everything hurts.

If I had to pick one it would be the mtb, but a cx bike would be ideal to me with only one bike. Sonetimes I want to play in the dirt, or tour 400km, or ride a brevet. mtb everytime. But if I want to ride fast for two hours....
krobinson103 is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 04:50 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a MTB, fixed rear and lockable front suspension too. I converted my wheels from standard MTB wheels to road wheels (the larger one that fits on my air chambers) I can honestly say I've gained 10-15% more efficiency on hill climbs.
I have been toying with the idea of buying a road bike but until I road test one and see that it really is beneficial, I'm refraining my self from getting one.
Mountainking7 is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 12:28 PM
Senior Member
Phloom's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Edmonton Canada
Posts: 317

Bikes: Too many to list here

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I am using a 15 year old Peugeot MB I picked up for $50 for commuting. Replaced the knobby tires with 1.5" slicks. I got it just before the winter started so I had a long time to go over everything. New bearings and grease everywhere except for the pedals. A steel frame with no suspension. I never thought a bicycle needs a suspension because that is what your legs are for. New cables and new indexed shifters. The old Peugeot feels like a new bike. I will replace the pedals with a set of clipless Shimano's when I am a bit more confident riding it through the traffic.

I have a almost brand new condition 1978 Raleigh Competition GS which is a bit to dainty for the commute. The streets are full of gravel from the winter and the city hasn't started fixing all the pot holes. Perhaps later in the summer I will commute on the Raleigh. I can park my bicycle in my office. When winter comes back, I will see if I am tough enough to do it. This morning, it was -2 C and that wasn't a problem.
Phloom is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 02:26 PM
Senior Member
tpelle's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,068
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I agree that a cyclocross bike is the ultimate compromise, at the risk of using contradictory terms. It's basically just a road bike that is set up with wider rims and tires, and has pretty much mountain bike gearing. Put wide-but-smooth tires on it, and it would be plenty fast enough for recreational road riding, but could still handle an excursion onto grass.

I know what you mean about detouring onto the grass to pas muppets. You can ring that little bell, but if they've got those earbuds cranking, they still don't know you're there.

I have a Trek 820 mtb set up with trekking bars that I sometimes ride on the road after there's been heavy rains, as in my AO we have a lot of places where the pavement may get covered with mud or with gravel that washes out of people's driveways. A skinny-tired road bike is not happy on such surfaces. It has suspension front forks, and I get the boings during climbs (lifting the front end of the bike up takes a lot of pedal-energy) and there's no way to lock the suspension that I know of. I've thought about replacing the forks, as I don't do regular mountain biking.
tpelle is offline  
Old 05-05-14, 06:34 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Oahu, HI
Posts: 1,322

Bikes: 89 Paramount OS 84 Fuji Touring Series III New! 2013 Focus Izalco Ergoride

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 40 Posts
My Fuji Touring works great as an all-arounder. I have a set of 700s with 700-25 for it, and also a set of 27" with 630x37 knobbies that I run at 60 psi. The only thing is I am thinking of fitting a cross-style aux brake lever on it which would help on downhills.

scott s.
scott967 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.