Difference Between Mountain Bike and Road Bike

Difference Between Mountain Bike and Road Bike

Mountain bikes and road bikes vary a great deal. Some people may not see the difference at first, but you will see a big difference between the two after using the two. The wheels, frames, handles and gears are very different. The two also serve different purposes. The main difference is that road bikes are better suited for long distances at high speeds, while mountain bikes are meant for uneven roads. Below are the differences between mountain bikes and road bikes.


There are different types of mountain bikes and road bikes. Each type is designed for different purposes.

Types of Road Bikes

The different road bikes include race bikes, gravel bikes, endurance bikes and touring bikes.

Types of Road Bike
  • Race bikes: The race bikes are lightweight, and they are designed for speed. Their frames are stiffer, and the wheels are thinner. The race bikes can be uncomfortable.
  • Gravel bikes: These bikes can be used in off-terrain and trail bikes. Their frames are strong, and they can deal with rough terrains at high speed. The tires are wider and knobblier.
  • Endurance bikes: These bikes are meant for endurance and long distances. They are also more comfortable. They are more common in cycling contests.
  • Touring Bikes: These bikes are not meant for speed. They are comfortable and so perfect for long distances.

Types of Mountain Bikes

Types of Mountain Bike

The different types of mountain bikes include: cross country, trail, Enduro bikes and Downhill bikes.

  • Cross Country(XC): This is the most common mountain bike. It is perfect for riding trails and long-period rides.
  • Trail: This bike is perfect for trails and terrains. These bikes come in single and full suspension.
  • Enduro bikes: These bikes are usually designed for trails. They are high-end and expensive.
  • Downhill: These mountain bikes are meant for rough terrains precisely downhill. They are not meant for climbing, only rough grounds and going downhill.

Performance and Purpose

Mountain bikes are made for off-road use. They will work perfectly on trails, tracks, dirt, and snow.

 Mountain bikes are not set for the streets or pavements. But you can change their tires and get a more slick profile to use them on the streets. The road bike will not work on trails and terrains. In any rough environment, the road bikes will be prone to more wear and tear, and they are shaky due to lack of suspension.

Mountain bikes are slower than road bikes. It isn’t easy with a mountain bike to keep up with a person with a road bike. Road bikes are made for speed and long distances so with it you are assured you can travel very long distances.

Weight and Postures

Compared to road bikes, mountain bikes are heavier. Road bikes are usually lighter because they are lightweight since they are more designed for speed. When riding a road bike, you should sit in a forward-leaning position. This will help improve aerodynamics. It allows you to transfer more power to the paddles.

When it comes to mountain bikes, they are heavier because of their make. For the posture, you sit nearly upright. You only require a slight forward lean. To support this posture, bend your arms slightly and grip the end of the ends of the flat steering bar.


Most mountain bikes usually have two chainrings, while road bikes have three chainrings. Road bikes have 8 to 12 cogs. The number of gears differs between an eight-speed and 11-speed bike. The setup of the road bike is mostly the 50/34 chainset with an 11-28 cassette. So the big and small chainrings have 50 and 34 teeth, respectively, and the cassette smallest cog has 11 teeth, and the largest cog has 28 teeth.

For mountain bikes, the most common choices of gears are 1×11 and 2×10. The first number contains the number of chainrings at the front, while the second number refers to the cogs and the cassette in the rear. The 1×11 gears are simple since the front derailleur is not there; there is no need for a shifter on the handlebar’s left side.

The 2×10 gearing is perfect for long climbs. It allows riders to go for long distances without getting very tired.

Wheels and Tires

The size of wheels and tires differ for mountain bikes and road bikes. The wheels for mountain bikes have large diameters, and they are robust. They are also wide, and they have different tire profiles.

The road bike wheels are not wide. They have less surface friction, and they offer more speed while exerting less pressure.

Handle Bars

The handlebars of mountain bikes are completely different from those of road bikes. The shape and designs are different.

Mountain bikes have wide and flat handlebars. The flat handlebars provide better control and make it easier to brake. Flat bars are suited for climbing.

The handlebars for road bikes are less wide, making it easier to squeeze through small gaps.


Road bike breaks have a shorter pull compared to mountain bikes. Road bikes have mechanical disc caliper of cantilever breaks.

Mountain bikes, on the other hand, have V breaks or mechanical-disc brakes.


Road bike pedals and mountain bike pedals are different. However, when it comes to pedals, you can use the mountain bike pedals on road bikes.

Both pedals lock your shoes on the paddle. The difference between the pedals is the size of the cleat attached to the shoe sole.

Mountain bikes have small cleats making them easy to unlock. Road bikes have larger cleats; this increases the surface contact with the shoe sole and the pedals.

When purchasing a bike, you need to be sure what type of bike you want or its purpose. If you are an adventurous person, then the mountain bike is the right choice for you. When living in town and looking for a bike to help you move around, you can go for the road bike. Your choice will be determined by other factors like speed, brakes, and gears. Whatever choice you make, make sure you pick what works best for you.

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