A few days ago here at Sudir Raju’s blog, we talked about some of the tips you should consider when getting into mountain biking and how you should shop for, put together and maintain your newly acquired ride. As we all know, the bike is only half the issue, as you have to consider gear, clothing and even some training to get ready to hit the trails and make the most out of your experience.
However, today we go back to the vehicle of your adventure, in an attempt to answer the age-old question: Should I buy a mountain bike or should I get a road bike? And while the answer to that question may lie superficially on whichever type of rides you prefer and whether you like the outdoors more than the open road, the truth of the matter is, there is a lot more to it than you may think.
Living in the Washington, DC area, you will see that there are many commuters out there that use their bikes everyday, you will also see people taking the roads on the weekends and riding their thin road bikes for several miles at impressive speeds, but you cannot ignore the fact that our region offers some of the most amazing natural trails and hike that makes it more than worth it to give mountain biking some serious consideration. So which is it? Well, that is all up to you, but today we want to give you some facts for you to consider before committing to one of the options.
The first and most important feature that gives mountain biking an edge is how sturdy and durable their frames are. MTBs are designed to traverse difficult terrain and that makes them great at withstanding bumps and falls. Also if you look at it from a fitness point of view, they are better at holding a rider that is heavier and gives you the opportunity to work out even harder while riding because the bike can take it.
Something else that is worth mentioning is the posture in which you ride. Mountain biking is done while sitting on a more upright posture than road biking, and thus you will be able to look around easily to enjoy the views and also you can sit on the saddle longer since you are doing it at a more natural position. Sitting upright will also allow you to strengthen your core muscles and give you a better posture.
Last but not least, I want to tell you that mountain biking requires a much more significant amount of effort, we are talking about 50% more effort according to studies when it comes to traveling the same distances that you would on a road bike. This means that you will work out even harder and notice an improvement in your physical performance faster when you choose mountain biking.
There are some disadvantages also, and that is that a heavier frame, a bigger tire and the existence of a suspension system ensures that your bike will be heavier and more difficult to push. Mountain biking also offers riders with a better opportunity to sustain injuries just by the mere fact that they have to deal with obstacles constantly, as opposed to simply the open road.
Road bikes are unmatchable when it comes to speed and performance while riding longer distances. The way their gear ratios are set up, matched with their light frames make up for a combination that screams cardio boost. Your endurance and general fitness performance will greatly be improved riding a road bike, even if you are only doing it once a week.
Another advantage of road bikes is the fact that since they are set up to be more efficient on the road, they allow you to go far distances without feeling too tired. Mountain bikes are meant for shorter rides in difficult terrain, while road bikes allow you to truly get away and experience the open road and cover many miles of travel. This is not just an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights that Maryland has to offer, but also going back to our previous point, it gives you a chance to take your workout to the next level.
Last but not least, the bike gives you the great versatility to ride around town and to make it part of your daily commute. There are roads everywhere and you do not have to go out of your way to find a trail just so you can ride. You can literally just step out of your door and find the pavement waiting for you.
Not everything is great when it comes to road bikes and one of the things that you have to keep in mind is that they are not very comfortable. The riding position and the fact that they do not have a suspension system ensure that your body will take all the beating from the bumps of the road. This discomfort can discourage some riders and if you have an existing injury or problems with your back, riding a road bike will probably bring those issues back to the surface.