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Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!(33 posts)

Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!Fez
Oct 7, 2003 8:00 AM
On a recent group ride, a guy joined in riding his hardtail MTB. Sure, he didn't pull, but he had no problems staying in the group. The ride was flat so there were no climbs. The only time he got dropped was on breakaways, but he always managed to rejoin by keeping a steady speed.

The MTB looked pretty nice. Light frame, front shock, full XTR, slicks. Probably as light as hardtails come.

Can anyone quantify what the speed penalty is for riding a lightweight hardtail w/ slicks vs. a 17lb road bike?
Obviously, not much! Seen the same. nmSpunout
Oct 7, 2003 8:06 AM
Did it for years, and a friend still does.Silverback
Oct 7, 2003 8:16 AM
It's not really that big a deal, if the MB is properly set up. I got back into cycling after a post-college decade off with a mountain bike, then decided I wanted to do more road rides. I had a new baby and a new job at the time and couldn't afford another bike, so I put slicks and lowered the quill stem on my Bridgstone MB3. Did many rides in the 50-mile range, several longer, and a couple of legitimate centuries. At the same time, I was riding offroad quite a bit with just a tire change.
Really, what are the penalties? It may be a couple of pounds heavier, but that's a small percentage of the weight of the bike/rider package. Gearing wasn't a problem for me because I rarely use the highest gears on a road bike anyway, and a skinny, hard tire rolls just as well in 26-inch diameter as it does in 700C.
A friend who does eight or 10 centuries a year trains on his mountain bike all winter long. He claims it's only slightly slower than his Trek Carbon Copy roadie.
re: Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!LC
Oct 7, 2003 8:20 AM
I have seen guys on MTB's not only keep up, but blow away the roadies. The bike has very little to do with your speed. It's the engine that counts.
Three summers ago, before I got my Zurich,OldEdScott
Oct 7, 2003 8:22 AM
I was having a parts problem (couldn't find what I needed) with my elderly busted Miyata road bike. All I had, for over two months, was my massive steel hardtail, and that's all I rode. I DID put slicks on it, but other than that I'm wheeling 32 pounds of unadulterated steel front-suspension MTB through all my normal hilly road routes. A little over 1,000 miles later (enough miles to be a fair sample) my average speed was within the margin of error for dead heat with my road bike average speed.

Mitigating factor: I'm in constant hills, so my average speed ain't that great anyway. Still, it was a bit surprising.
re: Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!weatherx
Oct 7, 2003 8:31 AM
i've done group rides on mtb and have pulled. mtb is not as aero (in general. xc race bikes are pretty aero) and offers fewer hand positions. lower gear-inches (smaller wheel+smaller chainrings) force higher cadence when speed picks up. gear spacing a bit larger than most road bikes so rider needs to be able to adjust with varying cadence. mtb will kick butt on long steep climbs though.
re: Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!JELLIOTWELLS
Oct 7, 2003 8:35 AM
I ride in Central Park a lot and I can't tell you how many times I get passed by people on mountain bikes. It is sometimes tough on the ego.
Better than getting passed by runners on the trail! :) nmgf99
Oct 7, 2003 8:41 AM
weight is irrelevent on the flats. nmSteve_0
Oct 7, 2003 8:36 AM
roadie shame: getting passed by a skater...consolidated
Oct 7, 2003 9:10 AM
...ok, rollerblader in skinsuit, the 3' long variety. just heard about it of course ; )
...or a skooter.Lon Norder
Oct 7, 2003 9:25 AM
thanks for the kickbiker piccyclopathic
Oct 7, 2003 9:50 AM
was looking for one! I saw the guy in Brest. He must have had a spare change of shoes to finish 766mi

On side I spoke to guy from NYC who rides one, and he said that the diff isn't that great. Kickbike as fast on downhills, can go up almost as fast as regular bike, and achieves about 2/3 on flats.
BTDT <GRIN>dcdre
Oct 7, 2003 9:26 AM
I was the skater dude passing the bikers. Biking is cross training for my skating events...
I had it happen on the cruiser ...Humma Hah
Oct 7, 2003 9:29 AM
San Diego's Lake Miramar is frequented by some serious 'bladers. Roadie rollerbladers, who do events up in the 20-mile range. Competitive. I was once decisively passed by a pair, speaking Dutch, who turned out to be internationally-known stars in the sport.

I think I could have passed them on a roadbike, but it would have taken serious effort.
Doubt itFez
Oct 7, 2003 9:50 AM
If they were pro-level speedskaters, they could smoke most ordinary folks who ride a roadbike. The main difference is the rate of acceleration.

There are plenty of speedskaters who can maintain speeds in excess 25-30mph and can hang all day with a pack of Cat3 cyclists. Scary to think about what they could do on a bike if they rode one regularly.

Ask Eric Heiden for the real answer.
There is a couple in town...JFR
Oct 7, 2003 9:43 AM
...that train together on our MUT. He rides a roadie, she drafts him on her blades. I've seen em a couple of times, always going opposite me. They look like they're doing around 20 mph I guess. It's pretty cool.
Skaters can be fastKristin
Oct 7, 2003 12:15 PM
A skating group used to show up at local club rides. Skating was their main deal, but they all owned road bikes too. They'd skate 8-10 miles, then come to the group ride and put on another 34 with the fast group. Also a number of A riders would bring MTB's to the club ride. No problems keeping up. You never want to ride behind an MTB in the pace line though. They tend to forget that potholes are bad. And knobbies can throw up lots of water when the roads are wet.
Be careful behind the cruiser, too ...Humma Hah
Oct 7, 2003 1:06 PM
I warn people trailing me that I am somewhat less concerned about road obstacles than they are, and may forget to swerve and call out hazards. I've creamed potholes, lumber, fallen road barricades, nests of broken glass chips ...
I've managed to stay with a group for a short while...kjkrueger
Oct 7, 2003 9:30 AM
I am new to biking (4 months). I have a rigid Trek 830 XC. About 3 months ago I decided to try the MS-150 Bike to the Beach. I put Specialized Fat Boys and a cheap trekking handlebar on the thing. I have no idea how much the setup weighs, but I'm about 190lbs.

Normally I average 13.5 - 14 mph on longer rides (>25 miles). On my last 25 mile training ride I managed 15.1 mph average. However, 2 weeks ago I rode my first 70 miler, and for the first 18 relatively flat miles I was able to stick with a group of roadies, averaging 18 mph. I'm pretty weak on hills, so that's where they lost me, but I usually caught up with them on the other side. During the MS-150, I started Day 2 with a large group and stuck with them for the first 13.5 miles (again relatively flat) at about 18 mph again.

I probably could have kept with them longer, but that was the first break point. I'm not experienced in pack riding, so instead of taking a chance on making a critical mistake and taking out a bunch of riders behind me, I decided to drop out and do the rest at my normal pace. I managed Day 1's 84 miles at 13.3 mph, and Day 2's 61 miles at 14.1 (thanks to the speed boost on the first segment).

I've really got the bug now and I'm debating with myself whether or not to get a road bike (second hand or entry level). I'd like to borrow someone's to see how much I can attribute to the engine and how much is equipment.
About 2 mph at rec-rider power levels ...Humma Hah
Oct 7, 2003 9:36 AM
... I've personally measured a 0.6 mph advantage going from knobbies at 45 psi to 1.25" slicks at 80 psi.

The MTB still has about a 2 mph speed disadvantage due to aerodynamics, although this can be overcome for short distances by bending over the bars.

The disadvantage widens as airspeed increases, so that at TT power levels the MTB probably has about a 4-5 mph penalty. But, if drafting, and not forced to take a pull, this disadvantage is reduced.

I recently calculated the difference for someone as about an 11% speed disadvantage on the MTB, which requires an increase in power output of around 37% to overcome.
re: Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!Wooban
Oct 7, 2003 11:15 AM
Before I got my road bike I used to ride my hardtail with knobbies and kept up on group rides. The only thing I changed was my cassette. I switched from 11-34 to a 11-23 which reduced spinning out. I remember passing this guy on a fully decked out Colnago C-40 during a sprint and his jaw dropped.
Riding a Century with knobbies.MKD
Oct 7, 2003 11:46 AM
I rode a century last year with 4000 ft of climbing and there was a woman who was riding a Super V Cannondale full suspension mtb with knobbies who rode the entire century. She would would leave the rest stops about 5 min before us and we would pass her and then she would arrive at the next rest stop about 5 min after us. She was riding solo, pretty impressive. I was exhausted at the end and she looked just as fresh as when she started.
Bet she got a buzz from it ...Humma Hah
Oct 7, 2003 1:09 PM
... maybe not too bad on the FS bike, but knobbies make my hands go numb from the buzz. Did you notice if she locked out the suspension? FS bikes rob a lot of power bouncing up and down, but they're comfy to ride.
Not sure if she was locked out? I would imagine so. nmMKD
Oct 7, 2003 10:28 PM
I've seen plenty of mountain bikes dust roadbikesDropped
Oct 7, 2003 12:09 PM
I've seen guys on knobby tires smoke roadies up climbs plenty of times before.

I've also seen guys on hardtails with skinny slicks dust guys with full suspension bikes down technical, gnarly trails.

All more reminders, I guess, that's it's the rider not the bike.
For me it's..............Mike Tea
Oct 7, 2003 2:07 PM
.....just about even. I keep times for one of my 28 mile benchmark rides and I'm about the same time on either my 20lb mtb and my 20lb roadbike. The roadbike feels faster but the computers don't show it.

My mtb tires are Conti Twisters (light, 1.9", small knobs) pumped just to 45psi.
re: Guy rides MTB on group training ride - and keeps up?!Synchronicity
Oct 7, 2003 4:55 PM
I took my steel MTB hardtail (GT timberline /w slicks) into the local crit race once and kept up with the lead pack for 7/8 laps!! The look on on the face of this one official by the side of the road said it all. Every time I went past, it was like he thought "how long can the guy keep this up?".

Then they smoked me on the last lap. But I could tell they were really trying hard for the whole time. Up this fairly long climb, one guy behind me (who was obviously frustrated that he couldn't catch me) even proceeded to yell out: "BLOODY MOUNTAIN BIKER!"

That was because I was really fit as I rode in to work every day, rain or shine.
He he he.
An old roommate had a similar tale...NatC
Oct 7, 2003 6:49 PM
He was a Cat3 racer on a group training ride back in the early '90s. Along comes this guy on an mtb WITH KNOBBIES, and pulls right past them all. They furiously tried to reel him in but he just kept pulling further away, knobbies roaring on the pavement. He later found out it was Travis Brown.
After riding Porcupine Rim in Moab from town ......MKD
Oct 7, 2003 10:34 PM
(approx. 30 miles) on our mtn bikes, my buddy and I came across a group of roadies. I was beat but my friend had a bug up his a$$ and had to ride with them for a while and pulled and then eventually dropped them on his 27+ lb mtn bike. He is a bit competitive obviously, but it was pretty funny.
Travis is awesome ...Humma Hah
Oct 8, 2003 7:22 AM
... he often rides singlespeed, and has been known to win national-level CX races on a singlespeed crosser, against geared bikes. Like Armstrong, he's just in a whole other world from us ordinary mortals.
I'm not that suprisedoff roadie
Oct 8, 2003 7:43 AM
With slicks on it, a MTB is very nearly as effcient as a road bike. As long as there's a decent amount of drafting or speeds stay under 20mph, the (often small) areo difference is a non factor. Weight is a non factor on flat roads. Top gearing is only an issue going down hill, and even then most roadies will be coastingl, which a MTB is just as fast at- if not faster, due to smaller wheels spinning up easier when rolling down hill, per the classic Galileo experiment.

Tires are what really make the difference. Road tires, for all the marketing, don't vary much in performance as far as plain rollling speed goes, and none of them are all THAT heavy. MTB tires run thw gammut form fast rolling "road onlyu" 1" slicks to 3 inch hunks of rubber that roll about as well as a tank tread, and weigh nearly as much.

I went on a "B" ride with my bike club. The previous week had a few folks on MTB's, so I decided to bring my SS ridgid MTB. 36-16 freewheel gearing, semi-slick 1.75" tires, basically a nice "lightweight cruiser" setup, with XC rider postioning. I was pulling by the end and out-sprinted another rider from a stoplight maybe 250m from the rides end. The bike had good aero positioning due to a low bar height and bar ends that are postioned kinda like aero bars, and it "only" weighs 24 lbs or so (not that the ride was hilly) with those tires on it.
Probably I was in good shape for that lenght of ride / set of riders, but I'm not THAT strong a rider that I could hang with this group on (say) a full on free-ride MTB. Mostly its just that I was on a very comfortable fitting bike for me, with effcient gearing for me at speeds under 18 mph, which was the groups basic cruising speed.
That bar positioning is making a huge difference ...Humma Hah
Oct 8, 2003 9:17 AM
My cruiser is more aero than a roadbike if I'm in a tight tuck and the guy on the roadbike is not ... trouble is I can't pedal in that position, just coast.

My own measurements, over a 20-mile informal TT on the same route, show my MTB picks up 0.6 mph going from 2" knobbies at 45 psi to 1.25" slicks at 80 psi. The bike does not have bar end extensions, and is typically ridden fairly upright, about like my cruiser.

But on my roadbike, with sorta thin, slick, high pressure tires, I'll set up on a flat stretch, and watch my speed vary as I hold a constant pedaling effort. Riding with my hands "on top", a position close to that on my MTB or cruiser, I'll note the speed. At the same effort, I drop to the hoods and the speed almost instantly jumps about 1 mph higher. Transitioning to the drops picks up about another 1 mph or a little more, and that improves still more as I bend my arms and get my back as flat as I can.

The whole key is getting your back flat, preferably without also stretching your arms out straight and vertical in the wind. If your bar end extensions allow you to bend over with your back parallel to the ground, and you bend your arms so your forearms are also horizontal, then you're probably about as aero as a roadbike.
Lance on a Huffy girls bike would still smoke me.DrPete
Oct 8, 2003 10:39 AM
It's all about the rider, my friend. I spend my coin on a road bike so I can maximize my speed and minimize my effort. Some people will just be good no matter what bike they're on.