Anonymous asked in SportsCycling · 1 decade ago

Mountain bike vs road bike century ride.?

Is the performance gain over a mountain bike even with slick tires really that big? I have a el cheepo mountain bike, would it be worth to put out a few hundred dollars or less to get a used road bike to use instead? Im in great shape and know I could do it on a mtb, but it will probably take 10 hours. Should i go ahead and dish out a few hundred on a road bike or go ahead and buy the slick tires?

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Depends on whether you're going solo or trying to keep up with a group. I do 100+ miles all the time on my MTB even with knobbies, but it simply doesn't have the gears to stay with a group on the road. I spin out my 42/11 gear at around 27/28 mph, but on my tri-bike I can hit 35/37 under the same conditions just because its geared higher.

    A group riding on the road can easily hold 30mph in a pace line.

  • Red E3
    Lv 6
    5 years ago

    I have done centuries it on both mtb and road bikes multiple times and the road bike is a big advantage. Ten hours is a lot of saddle time so I hope you are getting some time in because no matter what your shape riding that long requires bum conditioning.

    The road bike is simply faster and more comfortable in every category on the road.

    for 200 bucks you might get lucky in the used market and find a good bike but plan on putting another 100-200 into it.

    My advice would be to roll with the MTB with slick tires if it is in suitable mechanical condition and push for better than 10 mph if you find yourself doing more road rides get a proper road bike.Your budget should be more in the 800 plus range for a bike

  • Nancy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Road bikes are much more efficient. That's it. The frame and forks are lighter, pretty much every component is lighter, they have thin (usually treadless) tyres which are run at a much higher pressure, they're more aerodynamic (frame shape and the riding position) and have a gear ratios more suited to speed rather than mountain biking over tricky terrain. All of these factors add up to the rider being able to use his/her energy much more efficiently, meaning they can go faster/further. If you don't want a road bike, to get an advantage, I'd suggest getting some slick 26" tyres and some clipless pedals. edit - LayerWAN - Road bikes can have up to 30 gears...Hell Campag are bringing out 11 speed soon, meaning you could have up to 33 gears!

  • 1 decade ago

    I put 1.3" slicks on my MTB in August because I was riding exclusively on pavement. In September I bought a new road bike and my average speed over the same route increase nearly 4mph. That should give you an idea of how much more efficient a road bike is. The MTB weighs nearly twice what the road bike weighs.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you are only doing this one century then go for the tires. There's no sense in spending lots of money for one ride. Smooth tread makes a huge difference. All that whine you hear with knobs on the road is wasted energy. I stick to Panaracer, Specialized, Ritchey, or Continental tires because they hold up well and give a good ride.

    If on the other hand you are going to ride a few more centuries or ride on the road frequently, then go get a used road bike. They are significantly more efficient.

  • 1 decade ago

    Road bikes are much easier to ride long distances than mountain bikes, or even hybrids. They weigh less and have you in a more aerodynamic position, and the narrower tires have less rolling resistance. All that means one pedal stroke will get you farther than on a mountain bike, even more so if your mountain bike has a suspension fork. Those things are nice on flats but they suck up your power when sprinting or climbing.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Get a road bike, it will make a huge difference. A few hundred wont get you a road bike unless it's used. If you are in great shape you would already know what you can do.

  • 1 decade ago

    I did my first century on a 25 year old road bike in less than 4.5 hours.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The first multi-day trip I took, I put slicks on my MTB. I started at 6:30AM and got to the end of the first day at 4:30PM.

    The next year, I bought a road bike and took the same trip. I started at 6:30AM again, and made it to the finish at 1:30PM with energy to spare.

    So yeah, road bikes are WAAAAAAY more efficient on the street. Get a road bike for your century, or you will be one seriously hurtin' rider!

  • 1 decade ago

    A very fit rider on a mountain bike will generally be out down by an only reasonably fit rider on a road bike over a long enough distance. Skinny slick tires would help a lot but not enough.

    There is a reason mountain bikes are different than road bikes. Probably the biggest draw back in using a mountain bike for a long distance road ride is the lack of different available hand positions. It's important to be able to move your hands around on the bars to rest various muscles. It can be done but it's not very enjoyable. A one or two time thing is not too bad but not something to make a habit of.

    Adding some bar-ends will help somewhat but you do lose some stability in cruising with them. A moments inattention can be disastrous, particularly in a group.

    The discussions here about aerodynamics are somewhat irrelevant. Mountain bikes are not designed to keep aerodynamics in mind. Yes, improved aerodynamics would result in less effort to move down the road but in this case, long term comfort is more important.

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