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Mountain or Street(15 posts)

Mountain or StreetDolly
Mar 25, 2002 11:36 AM
Can you help me out here? I want to get a new bike and would like to hear the pros and cons of street bike versus mountain bike riding. Why would I choose one ove the other. Do you do both? - I'd especially like to hear from you! Let me know why you chose mountain biking. Or street, whatever your prefernce is. My email address is
short and sweet.SteveO
Mar 25, 2002 11:42 AM
road pros: faaaaast.
road cons: cars.

mountain pros: no cars
mountain cons: messy in the rain
re: Mountain or Streetgrzy
Mar 25, 2002 12:03 PM
Where do you live and what do your friends do? Do you like/dislike getting dirty? What is your objective in getting a bike? Do you have something specific you'd like to accomplish (i.e. lose weight, ride a century, see the great out doors, race).

I do both and like each disipline very much, but for very different reasons. Road bikes are about being smooth, powerful and efficient. You can cover great distances, see many things and meet interesting people. MTB's are about bike handling, quick transitions, and sprinting ability. You don't cover as much distance, but ont the trails you don't have traffic to worry about. You often see more of nature in interesting settings and you meet more friendlier people. I'm fortunate to live in an area that has a lot to offer for both types of riding. If I had to pick one it would probably be MTBing - there is just so much going on and sweet single track is highly addictive. If I lived in an area that didn't have much to offfer in the way of trails I would prefer the road bike. If you ride a MTB you have to be willing to suffer minor scrapes, getting totally crusty and work on your bike more frequently. Stuff just wears out, but keeping the bike clean goes a long way towards helping. You may not know the answers to many of these questions, but they are things to think about.
couldn't have put it better myselfdsc
Mar 25, 2002 8:22 PM
like most here, I do and enjoy both types of riding, pretty much for the reasons grzy states.

Road biking is about getting out and seeing a lot of your city, county, state, etc. in a relatively short period of time. MTB is about playing in the dirt and constantly challenging yourself against nature's obstcles.

If you are an absolute newbie to cycling, you may want to consider getting a mt. bike first, as you can also ride it on the street. Then, if you find that you also enjoy riding on the road, you can look into getting a road bike.

Above all, enjoy yourself!

re: Mountain or Streetmwood
Mar 25, 2002 12:05 PM
They are so different: Road biking 50-60 miles is not a really big deal, mt. biking 20 miles can be a huge day. Road bike rides, unless you live in the sticks or stage out in the wilderness, usually require some riding w/auto traffic, mt. biking you may not see another person, much less a car. Road biking is more aerobic, mt. biking more anaerobic. Mt. biking requires different technical skills, particularly in single track situations w/rocks, roots and severe penalties for screwing up. Road bike screw ups, I believe, are usually the result of overaggression or lapse of concentration (solo or with auto) and may have extremely severe results.
I ride both, for different reasons. Mt. biking gets you away from everything and allows you to be a little more "immersed" in the surroundings. I enjoy mt. biking more solo than I do road riding, although I prefer small group rides. Road riding is a great adventure, workout and chance to hang w/buddies.
I'd start by riding an inexpensive cross over bike which is ok for fire roads and other off road opps. which are not too intense and allow you to work on your skills. The same bike will also function on short to intermediate road rides, allowing you to see how you like that...then you'll love one or both and be well prepared to step up your equiptment.
excellent reply....I did the exact....IAmtnbikr
Mar 25, 2002 5:12 PM
thing you stated. Got a hybrid, rode it for a summer and checked out local trails, then got a full-suspension MTB. Followed that up with a road bike. Now the wife wants to shoot me! Seriously though, the hybrid now is a ride-to-work/pull-the-Burley ride, and I enjoy BOTH mountain and road biking. Very different, but both are challenging in their own ways, as you stated. I did a 40-mile hospice benefit ride last summer on a Saturday in 85-degree weather, and on Sunday rode for 3 hours with friends on some local mtb trails. My one piece of advice- don't knock either discipline of biking, you may eventually end up doing both! Have fun!
mountain bikes suck! (nm)Rusty McNasty
Mar 25, 2002 12:08 PM
re: Mountain or Streetlaffeaux
Mar 25, 2002 12:20 PM
I agree with what the others have said: both are fun and good excercise, but completely different.

Where you live will determine what's available to you. If you live in where there are no off-road trails, get a road bike. You'll be able to use it as intended more often.

If you live in an area with many trails, a mtb is a great choice.

Since you're not sure what type of bike to buy, I'm assuming that you're (a) not sure what type of riding you want to do, or (b) planning on riding on the road, but not sure if you need a mtb or road bike to do it. My suggestion is to first determine what type of riding you'll be doing. If you'll be sticking to the roads, a road bike is faster and more efficient, while a mtb gives you a more upright view of traffic, might be easier to control for a beginner, and more comfortable on rough roads.

Talk to a local bike shop and see what they have to say. They might recommend a hybrid/cross bike which would allow you to ride light off-road trails and have better efficency on the road.
Do you like to drive?Alex-in-Evanston
Mar 25, 2002 1:37 PM
For most folks, road rides begin at the front door. Trail rides begin far from home.

Also consider a third option. Most people I know love their cyclocross bike above all others. Definitely true for me.

Do you like to drive?eschelon
Mar 25, 2002 1:46 PM
No doubt. It sucks to have to drive somewhere for an hour just to ride my damn mtb...that's 2 hours in my car for the day! What a waste of time.

I wish there were awesome trails nearby but that isn't so...because I do enjoy mtb.

Your choice should basically come down to this: road biking if you enjoy going really fast. MTB if you like nature, and experiencing knarly terrain, and not mind going really slow because you'll be going up hills most of the time.
Yeah--cyclocross or hybrid...cory
Mar 25, 2002 2:48 PM
Assuming you live where you have at least some access to dirt and that you can have only one bike, I'm with Alex--a cyclocross bike or a hybrid lets you do some of both with just a tire change.
I live just over a mile from the Toiyabe National Forest, about 10 miles from Reno and within reach of some of the best mountain AND road cycling in the country, and I've had both a mountain bike and a roadie for 15 years. When I got my Atlantis, though (an "all purpose" frame that's very close to being a hybrid), I read all the hype about it being a dual purpose bike, so I put cross tires on it and tried it. It's really surprising where you can go with a little skill (things all mountain bikers used to learn, but most don't now that they have suspension).
For an all-day offroad ride with technical sections, I'd still go with the MB. But I've done just about everything on the Atlantis, from fire trails to centuries, and it works fine.
Agree on the cyclocrosser.MB1
Mar 25, 2002 5:12 PM
I've got 2 sets of wheels for mine. A tough set with wide tires and a lite road only set. I can do anything on that bike.
re: Mountain or StreetKSC
Mar 25, 2002 2:05 PM
I would add road biking is considerably more dangerous due to cars & speed. I do both and prefer mountain biking, but all the +'s & -'s above are true. I'd always pick a mountain bike over a hybrid though - like futons, hybrids are bad @ both their functions. Mtbs are also more versatile, but they do suck if you want to do a 50 mi road ride.
When in doubt ...Humma Hah
Mar 25, 2002 5:14 PM
... I'd chose a "hybrid", which generally means a basic mountainbike frame, with street tires.

If you want to ride mostly on the streets, knobby tires will buzz too much. Street slicks will work OK for the occasional trail ride.

A mountainbike (MTB) will be a bit more confidence-inspiring for a beginning rider. It's fatter tires can soak up hits that would damage a delicate road machine. I would not recommend a race-bred, speed-oriented roadbike for a beginner.

However, if you know you will want to cover large distances fast and efficiently, or want to keep up with other roadies on a group ride, a roadbike is significantly better. In my opinion, you'll know clearly if and when you are ready to make the transition.

Me, I still ride an old cruiser on the road, and they ain't kicked me out of this forum yet!
I think that Grzy's advice is best.Spoke Wrench
Mar 25, 2002 7:05 PM
Unless you're a totally solitary individual, I'd check to see what your friends have. The better job you can do of projecting how you are going to use your new bicycle, the better you can select an appropriate bike that you will love and the more fun you are going to have.

When I ride my mountain bike, it tends to be a solitary thing. I tend to think of it as going for a walk in the woods, only on a bicycle.

Here in St. Louis, the group social rides are all road rides. After riding a mountain bike for a while, my road bike almost feels like it has a motor by comparison. While it's certainly possible to ride a mountain bike on a road ride, its a going to feel a bit like taking a knife to a gun fight.