The difference between Mountain Biking and Road Biking is almost as clear as their names.
Road Bikes are built to be lightweight and aerodynamic. They feature a more aggressive riding position and are the fastest bike on the road. Mountain Bikes are built for stability and utility. They feature knobbier tires and ride smoothly over any surface.
I’ll admit, Road Biking is still really cool. And no one can deny the popularity of Road Biking over Mountain Biking, at least in the US media. Road Bikes dominate some of the biggest names in racing, with events like the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.
But even with all the appeal behind Road Bikes, Mountain Biking is still the best sport on a bicycle. Here are 11 reasons Mountain Biking is Better than Road Biking.
Not Sharing a Road
We’ve all been there. You’re heading down the road and all of a sudden you see the cars ahead of you driving around an obstacle on the right. Once you finally catch up to the interruption, you realize its a train of Road Bikers on a route down the same road.
Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to see a biker split the cars on day where the city traffic is bumper to bumper.
While these situations may seem dangerous, the bikers are even more nervous than you.
This is the one drawbacks to being a Road Biker.
Where you ride, you share the road with Moving Trucks, Construction vehicles, and even the speeding, multi-tasking soccer mom who’s too gassed up on the latest Starbucks concoction to see you on the road when shes too busy yelling at her kids.
Maybe that’s too extreme. But compared to Mountain Biking, that might as well be what Road Biking looks like.
Mountain Biking is completely different than Road Biking in the aspect that you only share the path with the rocks and roots you’re rolling over.
In fact, most Mountain Bike Trails are referred to as “SingleTrack”. Just like those nostalgic days of the elementary school lunch line, riders traverse the track in single file fashion.
It’s a lot easier to enjoy the beautiful nature around you without the worry of being plowed by a car!
Better for Your Health
Stealing a bit from the paragraph above, sharing the road with all those cars and vehicles can’t be too good on the emissions chart.
Okay… the threat of pollution from riding close to cars all day isn’t something to cause concern – in fact, you’d endure more pollution from riding inside the car than beside it, but compared to the trees and bushes of a Mountain Bike Trail, there is a clear winner.
While any form of exercise is good for the body, I’d imagine the exercise you enjoy in nature be better than the efforts spent elsewhere.
Believe it or not, Road Bikers will encounter wildlife of their own when they’re out there on the road. From yelling drivers to the bewildered droves of people crossing the sidewalks, life can get just as wild for Road Bikers.
But the Wildlife just doesn’t compare. In the shoot out of Mountain Biking vs Road Biking, the environment helps propel Mountain Biking to the top spot.
Mountain Bike trails weave in and out of sectioned off areas of forest. Since hunting is obviously prohibited, animals are naturally attracted to the area.
If you’ve been riding for a while, you have probably seen your fair share of deer, squirrels, and maybe even bears!
Most of my local trails have sections that follow a river as well, so it’s not uncommon to see turtles and lizards.
Peace and Solitude
Sure there are scenic rides like The Katy Trail in Missouri, or the the Sea to Summit in California, but these rides aren’t the typical scenery for those who Road bike.
While Road Biking is very accessible, I would not describe the experience as peaceful.
Busy sidewalks and streets can easily be a reality and it’s hard to find time to ride by yourself. If you find yourself needing to leave the house for a quick cool-down ride, you may feel like heading back to the house sooner than you thought!
Mountain Biking on the other hand can be very peaceful.
I have had many mornings where I’m the first one to the trail. There’s still a light mist in the air around the trees and you can only hear the squirrels and leaves over the clicking of my cassette. Try finding a good time of day where you have your local roads all to yourself.
Even if you find yourself at the trail on a busy day, you could end up not seeing other riders for miles.
If you ever feel the need to de-stress after a long day at work, load up for your local Mountain Bike Trail and I guarantee you will find the peace and solitude needed to keep a level head.
It’s no secret that the world of Road Biking can be very competitive.
If you check your local bike shop for the Group Ride schedule, you may notice that they have to address the pace that is expected of the group. Not every ride is for beginners.
Some may even argue that Road Biking itself is not too beginner friendly. While Road Biking does attract the elite athletes, you can always find a friend to ride with.
But Mountain Bikers are arguably more friendly all around.
If you’re lingering too long at the Map on your first visit to a trail, expect a fellow rider to come over to you with some direction. If you stop on the side of a trail to grab something from your pack, don’t be surprised if passing riders stop to see if you need assistance.
I have seen Mountain Bikers give up their spare parts, time and assistance to fellow riders on the trail.
While I can’t speak for every rider, this has definitely been my experience.
Many Riding Styles
Road Bikes do have a few notable categories, including Touring and Gravel Bikes. But the style of riding doesn’t vary too much.
Mountain Bikes come in all types, and you can find a category for any style of riding:
- Cross Country/XC
- Dirt Jump
If you’re looking for the constant thrill of speed and jumps, hit up your local Downhill trail. Wanting to test your endurance and experience the best nature has to offer? Search for the best Cross Country trail in your area. If you want to tackle just about any trail you set out to try, buy yourself an Enduro bike and ride with confidence.
Mountain Biking has and will continue to expand the styles of riding possible and I can guarantee they will be an experience.
Regardless of what you’re riding, there’s always a chance that you’ll fall off your bike.
I’m not saying there is a such thing as a “good fall” when it comes to cycling, but I would dread any type of fall on a Road Bike. You can imagine the road rash that would last for weeks. Even if it was a low speed fall, you can pretty much guarantee you’re leaving with road rash.
Ever see those gnarly scrapes after a crash in a Road Race? What about This video where the biker is left hanging on for dear life after a nasty crash? Sound like something you’d like doing? I didn’t think so.
Now i’m not saying Mountain Biking can’t have some nasty falls. Just look at This video.
But the fact is, most of us are not aspiring Redbull Rampage contestants. Unless you’re barreling down a section way over your head, you will most likely experience a lot of low speed falls. The low speed falls help build your awareness while being relatively forgiving.
It is a high chance that you will fall into the safety of dirt and grass during a fall on a Mountain Bike. A lot more forgiving than harsh pavement.
Biking is pretty low impact as far as workouts go, but believe me, you can really see the difference in fitness between the beginner riders and the seasoned vets. What until you’re passed on a trail or ride by a guy pushing 50.
While either biker can get a good workout in on the bike, Mountain Bikers will get that same workout a lot quicker than the average Road Biker.
Sure, you can find a steep hill to climb on a road route, but Mountain Biking is built entirely on that varying incline and decline. If that’s not enough to get your heart pumping, try navigating roots, rocks, and drops, all while maintaining momentum.
Your core will also be put to work more on a Mountain Bike vs a Road Bike. Not only are you keeping yourself balanced, but you’re also having to move your weight around the whole time you’re riding.
12 miles on the road is the equivalent of 5 miles on a Mountain Bike trail. If you’re looking for a better workout, g et a Mountain Bike.
Regardless of age, riding a bike will always be a fun experience.
Just like I mentioned in the article “Benefits of Mountain Biking“, biking can be a great addition to any ones life. Whether you prefer the road or a Mountain trail, you will always find fun out there on two wheels.
But I’d have to say Mountain Biking is a lot more fun than riding on a boring road. You can hit jumps, ride down embankments, and even challenge yourself on a climb.
Not too much to mention here, we have all seen the typical Road Bike Kit.
Mountain Biking is better than Road Biking because it is always an adventure. Whether you’re knocking out 20 miles in Moab or running your 100th time at your local track, there is always a new experience out on the trail.
If you have any comments of your own, or feel like I have Road Biking all wrong, please comment below.