Is riding a mountain bike on the street a better workout than a road bike?

A road bike is more fun and fast on the street, but you do get a better workout with a mountain bike.


A road bike can feel like a leisure stroll while on a mountain, you use more muscle.

15 Answers

  • MtBikr
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Actually it's all about time and effort, you will put the same amount of effort on either bike just on the road bike you'll be going faster. For the same time and effort you will burn the same calories. The reason for the leisurely road bike feel is that you have reached the speed you are comfortable with and you have to work harder on the Mtn bike for the same speed.

    Edit: For those thumb downers, from a work out prospective, when you work out you burn X number of calories, this can be directly related to watts. Watts = effort x time , wattage is a unit of energy, calories is a unit of energy. Simply put it doesn't matter one bit if you are on a mtn or road bike, 200 watts is 200 watts!

    What weighs more a ton of feathers or 2000lbs of steel?

    • ?5 years agoReport

      he contradicted himself anyway, you will put the same amount of effort on either bike but on road bike you will be going faster , so you will get to where you are going quicker, so the effort x time = watt equation will be different for each bike. the mountain bike having a longer time.

  • 3 years ago

    Mountain Bike Workout

  • 4 years ago

    Going uphill is hard work no matter what bike you have. However a Mongoose department store mountain bike would be much heavier than a lightweight road bike and therefore harder to pedal uphill. But all mountain bikes have sufficiently low gearing that you should be able to climb any hill riding one. Uphill speed depends on your conditioning as well, you are new to cycling and not yet in good enough shape to ride uphill at faster speeds no matter what bike you ride. Changing bikes won't be much faster, and if you want a faster bike you will have to pay quite a bit of money to buy one, minimum $700

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I get a much better workout on my road bike. Above 12 mph you are using more energy to over come wind resistance then anything else so the bike doesn't matter that much. A road bike is like driving a sports car it just begs you to go faster. It will also allow you to change hand positions often and will allow you to fight those headwinds. Another advantage is the gearing, you can still pedal down hills where the mountain bike tops out at speeds 10 mph slower.

    When it comes down to it you determine who much you get out of it. The pro cross county cyclists train on a road bike. They just cant get near the workout on trails and a mountain bike on the road is slow and boring. I cant even get close to getting my heart rate up on my mountain bike as I can on my road bike.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I'd say about the same. A mountain bike gives better resistance training whereas a road bike is better for speed training and maintaining a good cadence.

    To me a mountain bike is overkill, depending on the area you live in. No matter where I go, it's all paved. Broken but paved, so I can get away with wider tires but have no need for an aggressive tread.

    On the other hand, there are not many areas "safe" for a high performance road bike except for newly paved roads, and in Michigan, that smoothness lasts about two years. But to get there, you have to ride across pot holes and broken pavement.

  • 9 years ago

    I work just as hard no matter the bike I am riding. Just going faster on a road bike. How do I know? Heart rate monitor tells me how hard I am working. Frankly, I can put in more saddle time with a road bike. Mountain bike is good for about 90 minutes of road riding. Road bike is good for 2 to 4 hours.

    Source(s): Personal experience.
  • 9 years ago

    Disagree, STRONGLY. The workout you get is based on your use of the bike, not on the bike itself.

    Road bikes are rigid, built for speed, not terrain. Mountain bikes are built for obsticles and rough ground. In typical urban conditions, your body will undergo more stress riding a road bike. You'll probably get where you're going faster, but it will take its toll. Compare driving in a stiff-shocked sports car, as opposed to an SUV.

    That being said, just as SUVs use more gas, you can burn more calories because a mountain is heavier. Riding a mountain *on a track* will be more of a workout, if you try to keep up the same speed as a road bike. Riding it on the road is a different matter.

    Muscle mass is dependant on how hard you push, regardless of the bike. Cardio is a factor of calories/time/distance/difficulty.

    Edit: I agree with each of the previous answerers as to 1)safety, 2)heart rate, 3)resistance vs. cadence & road conditions. You're getting nothing but quality answers tonight!

    Source(s): 12 mile daily commute
  • I
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    It's a better workout and burns more calories if you're doing the same speed as a road bike.

    But you're exerting pretty much the same amount of energy on a road bike vs a mtb. Road bikes are simply built to be more efficient with the same amount of energy, so you can go farther and faster than on a mtb with the same effort.

  • 9 years ago

    Road bikes are a better workout. you can go farther and see more which will motivate you to ride more frequently. You put in the same effort no matter what type of bike, you just get more out of your ride on a road bike.

  • AntDU
    Lv 5
    9 years ago


    It depends. Mile for mile, yes. A mountain bike is heavier and will incur more rolling resistance from the wheels. This will cause more drag on the bike, forcing more effort from the rider.

    This however is not the entire truth. Riding on the street, in terms of sport, is about going further - faster. Most road cyclists have an ideal amount of distance to cover without a set time. Their goal is to cover "X" miles as fast they/the group can. If 2 people, both of equal weight and ability set out for a 20 miles ride; 1 on a road bike and 1 on a mountain bike, the person on the road bike will finish in about half the time.

    Using Rough estimates, I can probably ride 20 miles in about 01:05:00 on my road bike. A local TRAIL on my Mountain Bike is about 20 miles and it takes me around 01:50.00. It is noteworthy that I am more experienced rider. A lesser rider will probably see a increase in the road time, but a larger in crease in the MtB time.

    In basic terms; it takes roughly the same amount of energy to ride 1 mile at 20 mph as it will to ride 1 mile at 10 mph because of the difference in time it takes - assuming the same bike is used. This does not hold water in your scenario because you are changing a key variable.

    So, in short - your theory is correct. It will take more effort to ride a mountain bike on the road therefor better exercise. However, you will likely see better growth and a larger likelihood of "sticking with it," if you choose the correct bike for each form of riding.

    Source(s): MtBr
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