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Old 08-27-12, 01:49 PM   #1
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Newbie Question: Road bike or mountain bike?

I almost feel dumb asking this question, but I don't know if the difference really adds up to all that much for a new rider - I've been riding for about a month. For now, I'm just focusing on building up endurance for when I go back to America. Aiming for a decent speed on some of these roads, and the traffic that comes with them, would be stupid at my current lack of skill and finesse.

Most of the roads I ride on look like this

with accompanying pot-holes, ditches, fallen tree branches, etc. Many of the inner-city roads like this have a lot of traffic and public commute that keeps me from safely reaching faster speeds (unless I go during the quiet hours, such as when this picture was taken).

Normally, I would assume a road-bike would be just fine for this. However, a couple days a week, I like to go on rougher roads like...

You have the smaller "mini-lanes" to the side, but those are small and oftentimes have slower riders on them, which forces me to use the rockroads if I want to continue pushing myself. Would a road-bike be able to handle this?

And I'm working on this road right now. If there's one road that demands an off-road bike, I think it's this one.

But if a road bike would suit my needs better, I'd be willing to forego this little pet-project since I doubt I'll find roads and views like this in America. I could always come back and try again with a better bike.

So would you get a road bike or a mountain bike? What I have right now is a mountain-bike, but it's be rather easy to trade it in. I just don't want to be training with the wrong tool if it'll somehow hinder my growth in the sport.

Thanks for putting up with questions from a new biker
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Old 08-27-12, 02:25 PM   #2
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Have you looked at a cyclocross bike? It's like a road bike but it has fatter tires with a more aggressive tread.

There's also this, a bike designed for African riding conditions.
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Old 08-27-12, 05:52 PM   #3
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A road bike with wider tires should work. Either a cyclo-cross or touring bike. A good mountain bike would also work, but my preference would be no shock absorbers.

Don't know what it would cost, but this sounds like what you are looking for.
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Old 08-27-12, 08:29 PM   #4
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If you just want to build your cycling muscles, and cardiovascular, the mtb will give you the workout for that. If you want to go faster in Kenya, the suggested cyclo-cross or a touring bike with wide tires will be a little faster. If you want to go fast in the US, wait until you return and buy a light road bike with very skinny tires.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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