How much of a difference will I notice going from a Mountain bike to a road bike?

  • I have a Mountain bike with 1.95 tyres on it. Most of the cycle path I take into work is fairly well paved/asphalted, I'm not going over any dirt tracks or anything like that although there is the odd bit of poorly maintained asphalt.

    There are also a couple of hills that are steep but not long, for the most part it's fairly flat though.

    How much of a difference would I notice if I bought a road bike for my daily commute?

    Is your MTB 26" rims? You will notice a big difference there

    Simply put, and assuming the bicycles are of comparable quality, it will be like going from a tractor to a Ferrari.

    You'll notice a difference -- the road bike will feel "lighter" to ride, not so much because of actual weight difference, but because of the difference in tires. And your posture will be more suited to high speeds. You will probably want to change your riding style a bit, running higher RPM.

    You can still get larger tires for your road bike to accommodate the poorly paved terrain. You can usually fit up to a 700x28c (maybe 32c) tire on most road bikes for a smoother ride. Alternatively, you could get a touring bike or cyclocross bike with rack and fender mounts which can hold bigger tires (or skinny ones), racks, fenders, and is much more suited to roads than your mountain bike (but does have a few drawbacks vs a standard road bike)

    It may be like going from a tractor to a Ferrari, but while retaining the tractor's engine and transmission.

    Big difference it's lots harder

    Hmmm... I've gone the other way - road bike to mountain bike with 27.5x2.2 (knobly tractor) tires. The tires roll surprisingly well and no real difference in speed. In fact I was out cycling with my son last weekend, he has a tourer with much thinner slick tires and I was rolling past him on the down hills!

    And buying a Dutch style utility bicycle would be like getting a Sedan or SUV, something most suitable for an urban environment.

    This has been very helpful, I have been riding an 18 mile paved bike trail on a road bike with not much riding experience and it has been a piece of cake. I switched over to a hard tail mtn bike getting prepared to start riding on dirt trails later and the 18 mile bike trail is killing me ,it is really difficult on a mtn bike with all the drag!

  • Rory Alsop

    Rory Alsop Correct answer

    8 years ago
    • You will find the journey a lot less effort, as you are dramatically reducing the weight of the bike.
    • You will also be able to accelerate much faster, as the rolling resistance will be reduced through the use of thinner tyres.
    • Your gearing is likely to allow for faster speeds as well.
    • If you previously had suspension, you will notice the ability to accelerate, brake and turn is much better, and more precise.
    • You will rapidly learn how uncomfortable bumps are so you will have to get used to dodging round stones, potholes etc.

    Less suspension means more precise braking and steering? Do motorbike and car manufacturers know about this astonishing idea?

    Weight only matters if you're climbing a hill, and you get back that energy when you go down. Oh, and it also matters in that you build up a certain kinetic energy related to your mass and speed (1/2 mv^2). So the more m, the more energy you put in to get moving, and so the more energy you waste when you brake. But you are not putting in much mass-related energy when you're cruising on level pavement. The principal advantage of the road bike is less air drag.

    @Kaz - fixed the speed bit - I meant acceleration. And the suspension - it may be surprising to you, but yep, suspension reduces your precision dramatically on a bike.

    @kaz As cars built for racing tend to have very stiff suspension with very little travel I think it's safe to assume that they do.

    @Kaz, "rolling resistance will be reduced through the use of thinner tyres" - rolling resistance is actually higher for thinner tyres (all else being equal). It's the higher pressure, (slightly) larger diameter and (slightly) better aerodynamics that reduces the resistance.

    @Trengot Cannot make head or tail of your comment, or what it is replying to.

    @Kaz I appear to have tagged you in a reply to the question not your comment. Sorry.

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