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Who do better on hills, MTB-er or roadbiker?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Who do better on hills, MTB-er or roadbiker?

Old 09-01-05, 10:18 AM
  #1  
roger89
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Who do better on hills, MTB-er or roadbiker?

Hi,

I've been passing those roadbikers while on the hills quite easily (I'm on MTB with slicks). I always thought that the roadies should be faster than me. So I'm wondering is there any advantage of a MTB-er on the hills? I ride a 12kg MTB.. any idea?
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Old 09-01-05, 10:24 AM
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MTB riders do hills more in general and are thus better on them. A MTB may also be geared better than some poser that is riding a 53/39 front ring but really shouldn't be. I love my dad and all but I have done some rides with him and even though I out weigh him by 40+ pounds I can out climb him IMO because I have gearing more suited to doing it (50-34 rather than the 53-39 he rides). He isn't out of shape either, he trains and races (Sr games stuff) but IMO hasn't made the best gearing choices.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:26 AM
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Up or downhill?
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Old 09-01-05, 10:27 AM
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Let's see...
1) They're not trying to keep up with you
2) You're just in better shape then they are
3) If it's a really steep or long hill, then the (generally) lower gears of a MTB will be to your advantage
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Old 09-01-05, 10:29 AM
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voltman, it's uphill
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Old 09-01-05, 10:34 AM
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Haven't been passed by MTB yet, and some did try.
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Old 09-01-05, 10:57 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by roger89
Hi,

I've been passing those roadbikers while on the hills quite easily (I'm on MTB with slicks). I always thought that the roadies should be faster than me. So I'm wondering is there any advantage of a MTB-er on the hills? I ride a 12kg MTB.. any idea?
The aerodynamic advantages of a road bike mostly go away at hill climbing speeds (at least if the hill is steep enough). You're probably just fitter than they are. Or they're not trying to beat you.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:06 AM
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Probably impossible to say in general, but I have a personal anecdote on this.

I've put in over 4,000 miles on the road this year so far, with over 200,000 vertical feet of climbing. A buddy talked me into doing a mountain bike ride with some of his work buddies who are total gear/mud heads. I showed up on my early '90s vintage MTB with no suspension, about 30+ lbs. We decided to do a local "classic" MTB ride, the front half of which is basically 2,300' of elevation gain over about 5-6 miles. I smoked them all on the way up. I stopped several times to wait for them along the way and they were dying trying to keep up, complaining about their HRs being in the stratosphere, etc. There was only one bit where I had trouble; an extremely steep section where my hybrid (semi-slick) tires couldn't grip and I was just sliding backwards.

The other side of the story is they smoked me on the descent. I'm not a great descender even on the road, and on steep downhill dirt and rock trails I'm even more of a wuss. Actually I even crashed and got a little trail rash re-initiation into MTBing.

To sum up: I don't know "who do better on hills" in general, but I know who did that day.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:10 AM
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Don't forget to include that when you meet someone on the road you may well be on totally different rides. You mauy pass a very fit roady on a climb where for you it is the main climb and for him it is just the warmup.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:16 AM
  #10  
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I always assume everyone on the road could whup my @ss ever since I tried for 3 miles to catch up with someone who had at least 40 lbs. worth of beer gut over me. But we seemed to be going about the same speed; he did catch a break at a couple of traffic lights, though. (yeah, that's it, I would've won? if it hadn't been for those darn lights)

I've noticed that my mtbing has improved a lot since I took up road cycling. I haven't hit the gnarly trails in a while but on the mountain top trail I'm much faster yet I haven't crashed into any trees(yet).
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Old 09-01-05, 11:22 AM
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I wouldnt waste energy trying to beat someone up a hill especially if I've been riding for the past hour and a half.

MTB'ers aren't beach cruisers, if your fit, you can beat quite a few roadies
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Old 09-01-05, 11:50 AM
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I would have no problem getting passed by an MTBer, and don't find passing MTBers to be anything special either. However, yet to be passed by an MTBer in any on-road situation. If it ever does happen, odds are it will be a couple hours into a hilly ride, and the guy doing the passing will be a guy from the Trek/Volkswagen team.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:04 PM
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Similar experience to 'nother

I find mountain biking to be much less strenuous physically than road biking, particularly on the hills. I've gone mtn biking twice, and both times I was up with the leaders on the climbs without even getting out of breath. When it gets technical though, that's when they have the edge.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:18 PM
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A recent article in one of the UK cycling mags discussed a ride by a group of two roadies and two mtb'ers thru an extremely hilly area. All with comparable ability & conditioning. They all thought that the gearing of the mtn bikes would win the day. It turned out that the guys on road bikes were at a great advantage for the overall ride, although I believe the mtn bikes may have worked better on the steepest bits. Mind you that this was a fairly long ride.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99
Don't forget to include that when you meet someone on the road you may well be on totally different rides. You mauy pass a very fit roady on a climb where for you it is the main climb and for him it is just the warmup.
To futher elaborate on this, if I was out on a 60-70 mile ride I could care less who passes me going up a hill (road, mtn, tricycle)as I'm not there to sprint to a mtn top finish.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PenguinDeD
Similar experience to 'nother

I find mountain biking to be much less strenuous physically than road biking, particularly on the hills. I've gone mtn biking twice, and both times I was up with the leaders on the climbs without even getting out of breath. When it gets technical though, that's when they have the edge.
+1... I occasioanlly hit the trails and can hang with most of the MTB crowd here, no sweat... They do have the edge going up crazy root forms..
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Old 09-01-05, 12:35 PM
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Given equal riding fitness and ability, the road bike will outclimb the mountain bike. Road bikes are designed to excell on road - better and more handlebar positions for climbing and lighter wheel and overall weight - crucial for the climbs. Aerodynamics are somewhat moot at climbing speeds.
And think about it, if mtn. bikes were faster on the climbs, the pros would be on 'em in the Alps! (Yeah, I know about the UCI rules and flat bars, but you get my point!)
I've passed roadies on my mtn. bike and been passed by mtn. bikes on my road bike on the climbs - depends on the rider. But for pure climbing, a light road bike can't be beat!
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Old 09-01-05, 12:46 PM
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Last year, I rode the MTB way more than I rode the Road Bike.
This year I rode the Road Bike way more than the MTB.

Here are my comparisons.

Last year. I had much more raw power as my legs were accustomed to climbs in the Canadian Rockies that often exceeded 45 degrees. As a result, my sprinting and hill climbing on the Roadie was awasome but my endurance sucked.

This year, I do not have as much raw power as last year but since riding the road bike allows me to sustain very long continuous efforts, I have much better endurance.

The Acid tests;.
When I MTB this year, I found that I couldn't make it all the way up some of the hills that I did last year but I have a lot more reserve energy for the last half of the ride.
When I ride the Roadie this year, I don't have the raw climbing/sprinting power of last year but I can go much longer without bonking & my TT's were much faster.

T.J.

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Old 09-01-05, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM
Given equal riding fitness and ability, the road bike will outclimb the mountain bike. Road bikes are designed to excell on road - better and more handlebar positions for climbing and lighter wheel and overall weight - crucial for the climbs. Aerodynamics are somewhat moot at climbing speeds.
And think about it, if mtn. bikes were faster on the climbs, the pros would be on 'em in the Alps! (Yeah, I know about the UCI rules and flat bars, but you get my point!)
I've passed roadies on my mtn. bike and been passed by mtn. bikes on my road bike on the climbs - depends on the rider. But for pure climbing, a light road bike can't be beat!
I interpreted the thread title and OP as referring to the rider, not the bikes.
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Old 09-01-05, 02:38 PM
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MTB'ers are wusses. about 1/3 of my rides are on the MTB, and i never have problems keeping up with the full-timers unless it's a bonzai downhill section. as an MTB rider, if you're measuring yourself against the roadies you pass on your MTB, you must not be setting the bar very high for yourself.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:36 PM
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Old 09-02-05, 12:20 AM
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If I saw a MTB'er trying to pass me, I wouldn't even care. Getting passed by a BMX'er would be sad though
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Old 09-02-05, 12:27 AM
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I have ridden bikes with 26" and 700c wheels. My experience has been I can climb better with 26" wheels. However, on the descent 700c are faster because they don't lose velocity as fast.
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Old 09-02-05, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PenguinDeD
Similar experience to 'nother

I find mountain biking to be much less strenuous physically than road biking, particularly on the hills. I've gone mtn biking twice, and both times I was up with the leaders on the climbs without even getting out of breath. When it gets technical though, that's when they have the edge.
It seems that according to the posts, Roadies have the edge on hill climbing here. Wondering if some of that is due to having higher gearing which forces you to work harder and builds strength faster. I know that my legs got stronger faster on my old 12 speed with a low gear of 42 x 23. At the time, I had to make due because I had no other choice. I find myself taking it easier more often now that I have 20 gears to choose from.
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Old 09-02-05, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 'nother
I've put in over 4,000 miles on the road this year so far, with over 200,000 vertical feet of climbing.
that's really not much climbing is it?

From my experience, some MTB'ers just don't care about going up hills fast, it's more about fun than anything else.
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