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Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?(18 posts)

Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?GileyD
Jan 17, 2003 12:33 AM
It seems from what I have been reading / hearing over the last year or two that the MTB market has been slowing down considerably for some time, while the road market is growing. Chatting to guys in LBS's locally confirms this is the case in the UK and it seems to be the same in the US.

Why do you think this is? Logically you would have thought with the roads getting busier and therefore more dangerous that off-road would be the growth area.

Personally speaking, I have been riding MTB for 10 years, road for 8, but over the last year or so road has started to account for about 80% of my riding. One of the reasons for me is the weather: here in the UK it rains a hell of a lot so the trails are seriously muddy for over half the year. I have lost the enthusism to spend as long cleaning and lubing my MTB as actually riding it! I also find that riding on the road seems to keep me fitter than off road, though logically that is probably because my off road rides are usually about 2 hours, road rides tend to be about 4.

Anyone got any views?
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?MJ
Jan 17, 2003 3:06 AM
mtb requires a trail, transport to trail, mud = lots of cleaning and maintenance and sometimes closed trails (or at leats no fun trails) - I get bored riding the same trails - off road riding is erratic from a fitness front - for me there's alot more standing around and stopping

road rides begin outside my front door, no special routes required - if you're heading somewhere specific you can ride there - road is more constant - even rain isn't a game over for road - maintenance is less onerous - there's always a new route/out of the way spot so rides are varied

I still mtb. and still enjoy it when I do but 70%-90% of my rides are road these days
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?Mike-Wisc
Jan 17, 2003 5:35 AM
Exactly what my (new) LBS said. The converts to road just want to ride, so they go out to their garage, hop on their bikes and go for a ride. No hassle, no travel, just ride. Plus, if you've got some cross-tires you can still do some trails if you want and have them local to you.
Many reasons...wspokes
Jan 17, 2003 4:43 AM
Many different reasons I believe from the one described in the previous reply to economy.

Money is hard to earn, a top line MTB model costs similar to a top line Road ride. Difference is the road bike will last forever if taken proper care of and if you don't always worry about the latest and greatest upgrades. You can change a chain less frequently on a road model, parts don't wear as quickly as a MTB. You seldom "break" parts. Even your cloths and accessories are spared the wear and tear. Everything lasts a little longer and it pays off better in the end.

Also, MTBers are realizing that a great majority of MTBers train using the road to spare their parts and their bodies wear and tear...build cardiovascular fitness! many benefits. In the early 90s, I remember telling some younger guys all this and they were "hardcore" MTBers and they were thinking, "whatever". We went to the Grundig World Gup at Mount Snow and as we were arriving, there were road riders all over...training and spinning. They were amazed. They couldn't believe it. I am sure there are many other reasons as well.

14 degrees with a real feel temp of -3 today in Pa.
distance, speed, comfort and flare.colker
Jan 17, 2003 3:08 PM
on a road bike you'll cruise down the city, you'll take the road, you'll go anywhere; it's a long distance eating machine.
you ride fast, faster than cars in slow traffic and you do it in comfort. mtn bikers look at 700 x 23 tires and tell me my road bike must be uncomfortable but once you experience the smooth ride of the balanced geometry you change your mind. it's a much more evolved machine than a mtn bike, with almost a hundred years of racing in the alps and dolomites as research and development for geometry, fit and frame building. mtn bikes have 20 yrs. mtn bikes are designed for extreme mtn biking. in the city, where most of them are ridden, they are slow; too slow.
road bikes have a mean look. sophisticated. it says 'i'm into something you can't understand".
i guess that's it..
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?PEDDLEFOOT
Jan 17, 2003 5:07 AM
I think that alot of the MTBers are growing older and are finding that there is alot less potential for injuries or falls on the road as opposed to trails.At least in my case thats the reason I switched from riding trails to road.
Bingo!Ray Sachs
Jan 18, 2003 4:17 AM
I think age is a huge factor. We've all read about how much trouble the sport is having attracting new young riders and we all know intuitively that kids aren't using bikes for getting around like most of us boomers / gen x types did as kids. So there's not much new blood and the old blood is getting older. MTBing is more of a young guys game and as you get older, the less intense, more zen-like road riding becomes more appealing. I'm into my 40s now and still do some off-roading on my cross bike, but have no appetite for the more extreme terrain I rode when I got into it 7 years ago and I just prefer the groove I get into on a long road ride. I'm clearly not alone.

-Ray
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?mfuchs1
Jan 17, 2003 5:21 AM
I think one reason is that when mountain biking began to get popular most shops pushed anyone who entered toward the mountain bikes. They were told that "you don't want those skinny tires", ride bent over in the drops, etc. I say this because this is what happened to me when I bought my first bike but I did buy a road bike because I had roadie friends. Some lbs's still operate this way.

After riding off road for a while and having to transport/clean every time they rode more people I think realized that there is an alternative.

As far as ride time goes you can get a 4+ hr road ride in about the same time a a 2 hour mountain bike ride when you consider travel time to/from trail as opposed to just leaving your house. So I think that the hassle factor of mountain biking is now starting to catch up.

It used to be that you were either a roadie or a mtb'er now most people, including myself, ride both. I think that the reason road biking is gaining popularity is not from people new to cycling in general but mountain bikers adding a road bike to their stable.
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?Mike-Wisc
Jan 17, 2003 5:40 AM
A lot of shops simply didn't have any road gear either. I've had to order stuff like tires that should be normally stocked for a road bike before. A bike buyer going into a shop didn't have much choice besides a MTB. For the record, I bought my very first MTB about 18 months ago. I sometimes go against the trends and wait for the trends to come back around.
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?JFST
Jan 17, 2003 5:52 AM
I don't think MTB is really loosing popularity, its just that road is probably gaining more. Mountain biking had more of an extreme image to it and mountain bikers and road bikers seemed to be to very seperate groups. Now mountain biking is a lot more mainstream and there is a lot of crossover between the two. Most mountain bikers are either riding road or training on road because it allows a more consistent workout that improves their mountain biking performance. Unfortunately moast roadies don't seem to have the tendency to cross over to mountain biking and from what I've seen most of the ones I know don't do it out of simple fear of injury.
Also in the UKMountainPro
Jan 17, 2003 6:27 AM
Hi there, ia m also in the UK and i have to say that its difficult to understand why this is the case. the weather may have something to do with it and i ride both mountian and road. I am lucky enough that my house backs onto some spectacular scenery here in Western Scotland so i dont have to go far to get into the mountains. The idea of having to drive with your bike back home after an afternoon in the hills with mud everywhere...well it seems that a road bike is a lot less messy and MTB has been a bit of a fad with every one and thier granny riding one it seems only natural that the marklet will slow to its natural level with only serious MTBer supporting the market. Usually the UK follows trends from the US and i think this included MTB and therefore the novelty will wear off but the UK as well as western Europe kinda invented road biking and were competing well before the US ever became interested so in this respect i think its different and we British are a nation of bike riders and its deep in our psyche. i think our road bikes are easier to maintain and clean and look after.
The Lance factor...seyboro
Jan 17, 2003 6:46 AM
Don't underestimate the power of advertising. Seeing a roadie all over TV and the magazines makes it 'cool' again to become/look like one. Add to that the Euro-feel and you've got yourself a lot of newbies in full USPS gear coming out to the rides. Doesn't matter to me, main thingis, they're riding!
The Lance factor...Mike-Wisc
Jan 17, 2003 6:52 AM
That commercial with him on a road ride and cutting down the wooded trail to drop the tagalongs probably didn't hurt sales and conversion to road much either. :)
Polarizationmohair_chair
Jan 17, 2003 8:03 AM
I think the reason is because the MTB world has quietly split into two factions: The "Extreme" crowd of downhiller/freeriders, and everyone else. Pick up any MTB magazine and you'll see that the emphasis is no longer on what used to be known as "cross country" or "XC" riding, which is what most people do. That's not exciting enough visually. The industry is the same way, and they've ended up with a fairly narrow demographic as a result.
Things have changed . . .Geardaddy
Jan 17, 2003 8:28 AM
I can certainly see why the MTB *market* is slowing down, as there is a slower pace to the innovations being introduced into the bikes/gear and the innovations seem to be oriented towards higher end stuff. Thus, MTBers are seeing less of a need to upgrade and the market is getting a little saturated. The good thing though is that the mountain bike market is very competitive, and thus people looking for a new bike can find a good deal.

I don't know whether MTB riding has actually gone down though. Local races seem to be still pulling in people, plus all of the new "adventure" oriented races, including 24 hour events et.al. I seem to see as much if not more people on trails now as I did 5 or 10 years ago. But things have definitely changed as far as the makeup of MTB trails to ride. 10 or more years ago was still the "pioneer" days of MTB riding, where there were less restrictions and more variety. Many of those trails are gone and have been supplanted by trails systems in State and Regional parks and at local ski areas. It's great to have these newer trails, but I think people more easily get bored riding them all the time.

I started out riding road but got into MTB only a few years later. Since, I have always done combinations of both. I have to admit that the most fun, memorable, and rewarding rides I have experienced have been on MTB. But, I do love the seemingly endless routes and ease of access that road riding offers (especially here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where there are a plethora of good roads to ride).

I think the road bike market owes a lot to the MTB "boom" of the 90's, as it drove a lot of technology improvements that spilled over to road bikes, as well as the infusion of money into the bike industry as a whole. It's all good though. I welcome more road and MTB riders.

I'll note that road riding needs advocacy for good design of roads, MUTs, and etc. just like MTB riding needs advocacy for keeping trails open, well maintained trails, and new trail development. Personally, I don't see anywhere near the advocacy effort in the road world vs. the MTB world.
Give the people what they want....mwood
Jan 17, 2003 8:42 AM
definitely more road riders than just 5 years ago in my area.
But, I wouldn't say it has been at the expense of MTB popularlity. We live in an area with tons of readily accessible trails (mostly fire road, but some single track)and there continues to be big numbers of MTB devotees.
I think that road riding, at least in my area, is just experiencing a cycle of enthusisasm (no pun intended)and growth, much like tennis and golf have gone through from time to time. Road is just the less threatening in terms of skills required to get out and do it.
Tne next, best thing as far as popularity is going to be cross bikes, at least where I live, IMHO. Not just dedicated cyclo cross, but all types of permutations of build:
drop bars w/ mtb group and semi-skinny tires, road bikes with MTB stems, bars and shifters etc.
The trend then will be to owning, gasp, only one bike that does all things acceptably. I think more people will realize that they aren't fast or serious enough to really need that dedicated race bike for their 20-40 mile weekend ride and, on the other hand, don't ride tough enough trails to warrant that full suspension MTB.
I am going to stick with my current hardtail MTB and semi-trick road bike...
re: Swing from MTB to Road. Ideas why?Bike Bum
Jan 17, 2003 8:58 AM
I Mtn Biked for 14 years and never had much interest in Road. Seemed boring, also riding in Los Angeles, CA area with all that traffic was scarcy and unsafe.
I've since moved to a smaller town where there's country roads right outside my door. Riding road was alot easier to do than packing up the Mtn Bike and not as scarcy with the lighter traffic.
Also, all my riding buddies where Mtb'ers and having moved and not knowing anyone it was safer, if I was riding by myself to be on the road and not off in the sticks if something was to happen. It's been 80% Road and 20% Mtn....and the road has improved my conditioning and made the Mtn Biking more enjoyable. Hence since I'm on the bike more, I'm kicking my new Mtb'er buddies' butts.....
re: For me its conveniencejrm
Jan 17, 2003 5:07 PM
I ride when i can and alot of the time its during the week commuting. or doing road rides twhen the weathers a hit or miss and the trails are messed up. Or go to SF and ride around the city. The only thing i don't like about it being a larger portion of my riding is that it takes away from the handling skills on the MTB.