What makes a road bike different from a mountain bike?

What are the Differences and Benefits of a Mountain and Road Hybrid Bike

Those who like to drive at high speed on flat roads, but over long distances, began to buy road bikes. They also began to slowly gain popularity, after which the Russians realized that they could ride on our roads as well. But, road bikers have not gained much popularity among amateurs, many do not like too narrow wheels, a twisted steering wheel and a sporty horizontal landing. After all, most cyclists have to ride not only on the highway, but on such narrow and hard wheels it is impossible to ride even on light off-road and bad roads. Therefore, most Russians, especially young people, bought mountain bikes and drove them even on the highway. There were other types of bicycles, among which city bikes became very popular abroad, which are very convenient for driving around the city, but in Russia this type of bike was not very popular.

For those who disliked mountain bikes, road bikes and city bikes, a new kind of great was designed. a hybrid that took the very best of the above. Marketing had a great influence here, which is why such a name came out for a mixed, in fact, bike.

A hybrid, another name for a cross-country bike, is designed for those who often ride on asphalt and dirt roads of varying quality, and also sometimes travel to rough terrain. Such people do not want a mountain, road or city bike, but they want something in between. The large 28-inch wheels with medium-thickness semi-slick tires roll excellently on asphalt, yet they are strong enough to withstand fields, forests and gravel. And the short-travel suspension fork, which is equipped with MTB-type hybrids, smooths out shocks and vibrations from irregularities encountered on the way.

The special shape of the frame with a slightly lowered carriage assembly and a straight, raised handlebar provide the cyclist with a comfortable, fairly straight seat, which improves the visibility, which is important in order to monitor the road conditions.

Due to its advantages, the new type of bike has gained great popularity among cyclists and city cycling enthusiasts.

Cycling tourists are different, some ride on different roads and rough terrain, others. mainly on flat asphalt roads, therefore, a bicycle for tourists began to be produced in two main varieties. a mountain (MTB) hybrid and a road hybrid.

Hybrid mountain bike

This type of bike is suitable for those who like to travel on dirt roads and tracks, both with good road surfaces, and with bad ones, as well as country roads and forest, steppe paths.

1.1. Advantages and disadvantages

  • sufficiently high speed on asphalt;
  • the ability to drive on dirt roads and light off-road;
  • good overview;
  • fenders and trunk can be installed;
  • not suitable for serious off-road driving and cross-country competition.

In the production of this type of bicycle, the frame of a mountain bike is taken as a basis, the carriage is lowered and the rear stays are lengthened, the geometry becomes more vertical, and the ETT is reduced. The frame is most often made of aluminum, because it is lighter than steel. To further reduce weight, in high-end bikes, frame tubes are made using butting technology, which allows you to make tubes of various cross-sections. In places of high load, the pipe has a larger cross-section, where the load is small, it is less. Thus, the weight of the frame is reduced without compromising its strength characteristics.

Top professional models are made on a carbon frame, which is much lighter and stronger than aluminum, and also has the ability to absorb microvibrations, which reduces vibration load on the arms, spine and pelvis of the cyclist.

Sometimes the frame is made of steel alloyed with chrome-molybdenum, the so-called chromoly frames. Thanks to the additives, the strength of the steel is increased, which makes the frames very thin and quite light. Steel also has the ability to smooth out microvibrations, although to a lesser extent than carbon. Therefore, a chrome frame is a great option for an amateur bike.

The cheapest bikes are based on simple steel frames, the disadvantage of which is a lot of weight.

The wheels are large, rolling 28-inch, rubber about 42 mm thick, the tread is usually semi-slick. For tourists who go on bike trips with a large load, you need to pay attention to the rims, as well as the thickness and material of the spokes, the rims must be double, and the spokes are thick, with a diameter of at least 2 mm, made of stainless steel.

An important distinguishing feature of MTB type hybrids is the presence of a shock absorber in the fork, which absorbs vibrations and shocks from uneven road surfaces. Short-stroke shock absorbers are installed here, the length of the hall is 50-60 mm.

Large initial and middle amateur class are equipped with simple spring-elastomeric shock absorbers, in which a steel spring serves as a shock absorber, and an elastomeric insert serves as a damper that prevents the spring from instantly straightening, which does not do its job very well, especially in cold weather and after a certain period of operation. Therefore, such shock absorbers are not designed for aggressive driving on rough terrain and bad roads; for those who like to drive, you need to take a bike of a high or professional class. If you ride in a walking style, then the middle or primary class will go. The middle class has a better spring and the ability to lock the shock absorber, which is important when driving on a flat road. I turned off the shock absorber and you go faster, the spring takes some of the energy from the pedaling to swing.

High-end amateur bikes are equipped with spring oil forks, in which the spring is better, and most importantly, an oil cartridge acts as a damper, which is much better than some elastomer. Therefore, these forks are suitable for amateurs who like to drive on bad roads and light off-road.

For those who are fond of sports cycling, you need to take a professional bike with an air fork, in which an air cartridge serves as both a shock absorber and a damper. Such a fork is lighter and of better quality than a spring-oil fork, therefore it is suitable for professional athletes.

1.5. Attachments

The body kit remains almost the same as that of a mountain bike, only the number of teeth of the front sprocket system increases in order to make the gears faster. At the same time, downshifts, for example, 28/34 or 28/32, must remain, in order to be able to climb a more or less reasonable ascent. Example of a standard SUNTOUR NCX male hybrid system, 48-38-28 teeth. For women, systems are installed with a smaller number of teeth, for example 44-32-22, to make it easier to pedal. On a mountain bike, the front system also has fewer teeth, for example 42-34-24 or even 40-30-22.

Let us recall the main classes of SHIMANO mountain transmissions, which are distinguished by reliability, accuracy of operation, weight, number of gears and price.

  • lowest level: SHIMANO Tourney, 3×7 gears, 14-28 teeth MF-TZ21 ratchet;
  • beginner amateur level: SHIMANO Altus, 3×8 gears, HG200-8 cassette for 12-32 teeth or HG200-9 for 11-34 teeth.
  • intermediate amateur level: SHIMANO Acera, Alivio, 3×9 gears, cassette HG400-9, number of teeth 11-34;
  • high amateur level: SHIMANO Deore, 3×10 gears, cassette HG50-10, number of teeth 11-36;
  • semi-professional level: SHIMANO SLX, 2×10 or 3×10 gears;
  • professional level: SHIMANO XT, 2×10 or 3×10 gears;

Please note that on the most budgetary bikes of the lower class, they always put stars instead of a cassette, the so-called ratchet, which is significantly inferior to the cassette in reliability.

Initial and sometimes middle class hybrids are equipped with rim brakes. Medium, high and professional grade are equipped with mechanically or hydraulically actuated disc brakes.

Hybrid road bike.

Once a mountain bike has been combined with a road and city bike, why not put a straight steering wheel on the road bike, the wheels are slightly thicker, and maybe even a mountain transmission? Here’s a new type of hybrid designed for those who like fast driving on flat roads, but he does not like the steering wheel and too horizontal landing.

Someone will find it more convenient to use this type instead of a full-fledged road bike, because it is easier to ride on it for pleasure due to a more direct and relaxed landing. Due to the thicker wheels on such a bike, it is more convenient to ride on rolled soil and not ideal tracks, on flat asphalt it is also good, here it is faster than a hybrid MTB type, but a little slower than a classic road bike.

2.1. Advantages and disadvantages

  • high speed on asphalt and compacted dirt roads;
  • fairly straight and comfortable fit;
  • good overview;
  • low weight;
  • fenders and trunk can be installed.
  • not suitable for driving on any kind of off-road and rough terrain.

This bike is usually based on a road frame with light thin tubes, the feathers are made a little longer, the geometry shifts to a more vertical one. Most often aluminum is used as a material, sometimes chromium-molybdenum steel. Top models have carbon frames, the cheapest have simple steel frames.

The diameter of the wheels is the same 28 inches as for the MTB type, but the tires are already used, with a thickness of about 33 mm, recall that the thickness of the classic road bike is 23-28 mm. The chambers are inflated with a higher pressure than the MTB type, to give more rigidity and reduce rolling resistance, which increases roll and top speed. For the same purpose, a slick protector is used.

The fork is always rigid, made of aluminum, carbon fiber, chrome molybdenum steel or regular steel. Rigid fork does not take energy to swing the shock and weighs less.

The transmission can be mountain transmission with an increased number of teeth of the system, like the MTB type, or it can be road transmission. We have already given the classification of mountain transmissions, now we will briefly consider road.

  • entry-level hobbyist: Shimano Claris, Sora.
  • intermediate amateur: Shimano Tiagra, Sram Apex
  • high amateur level: Shimano 105.
  • professional level: Shimano Ultegra, Dura Ace, Sram Rival, Force, Red.

Brakes are most often rim, but there may be disc brakes.

Types of road bikes

Road bike. Designed for driving on a flat road at high speed.

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City bike. Indispensable for measured and comfortable trips around the city and flat roads.

Touring. It is the most versatile road bike. Able to provide a comfortable ride both in city conditions and in light off-road conditions.

The form

Road bikes are designed and built to travel at medium to high speeds on level ground, usually asphalt.

The frame design and low handlebar position provide the rider with a hunched position while riding. This ensures that the maximum possible energy is transferred from the cyclist’s feet to the pedals.

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Mountain bikes are designed for cross-country travel in off-road conditions. The frames are made as strong as possible to withstand aggressive use. Typically equipped with shock absorbers to absorb vibration and a wide handlebar for maximum control while driving.

Lightweight design for road bikes is a must to maintain speed and maximize ride comfort.

Since mountain bikes are not designed for high-speed rides, a heavy bike weight is a must in order to provide the necessary margin of safety and resistance to deformation during falls.

Wide tires with deep tread on mountain bikes increase the contact area of ​​the rubber with the surface, which increases friction and, as a result, stability and flotation.

On the other hand, road bikes are narrow and smooth. One would think why not apply wide-tread technology to a road bike. But there is no particular need for this, because when rubber interacts with asphalt, a sufficiently high coefficient of friction is formed, which ensures a comfortable and confident ride.

Which is the best bike. mountain or road?

Choosing a bike is not easy. Especially in today’s marketplace, where advertisers eager to grab customer money are ready to present many stands and proof that this bike is right for you. Nevertheless, if you turn on your brain and approach the question in detail, then choosing the right bike will not be difficult.

So, the first thing to do is to answer the questions: In what road conditions will the bike be used? For what purposes is it purchased? If the bike will be used in off-road and rough terrain, then the choice should fall on a mountain bike.

In contrast to the mountain bike, there is a road bike, incomparable and irreplaceable when traveling around the city and asphalt. In order to simplify the selection task, below is a detailed analysis of the most popular models of mountain and road bikes.

Before proceeding with the consideration of the differences, it is necessary to understand what subspecies mountain and road bikes are divided into.

Types of mountain bikes

Cross-country This bike was designed for off-road riding. As a rule, it is supplied with a front shock absorber. The lightness and strength of the design makes it convenient for travel both in the city and in rough terrain.

ATV (All-road bike). It is the most common type of mountain bike. Technical characteristics allow it to be used in a moderately sparing mode. Ideal for measured journeys in both urban and rough terrain.

DownHill. Designed for descents from the mountains and movement in rough terrain.

This bike is not intended for a calm and measured ride in urban conditions. The main function is to provide the most comfortable handling in conditions of descent and to preserve the frame structure during falls.


Generally, road bikes are designed to cover distances on smooth surfaces at high speeds and do not have a moveable suspension. This is not necessary as the bike is not designed to travel on uneven surfaces.

In contrast to the road bike, there is a mountain bike. For him, the presence of a shock absorber, at least a front one, is absolutely necessary.

Thus, having answered the above questions and figured out the technical characteristics, choosing a bike will not be difficult.

Difference between mountain and road bikes

Brand and use. these are the two main differences between a mountain bike and a road bike. Any road bike versus mountain bike comparison should keep in mind that road bikes

What is a road bike?

Road bikes that look fragile, at least compared to mountain bikes, are designed for everyday use in hard-surfaced areas. They are pleasant to look at as they largely slide on smooth surfaces such as metal roads.

Road bikes are thinner and more aerodynamic to reach higher speeds. On any given day, road bikes are faster than mountain bikes. Road bikes can easily reach speeds of up to 50 mph. Road bike frames are thinner and more aerodynamic to help bikers reach higher speeds. These bikes are engineered to cut wind as much as possible, and are specially made lightweight for easy acceleration. Road bike handles are usually twisted or lowered to make it easier to set up many speeds. Road bikes are also available in flat style. Roadster, recumbent, hybrid, touring and versatile. these are the types of road bikes.


The frame of a mountain bike is heavier and thicker than a road bike because of the emphasis on stability and handling.

When it comes to the road bike frame, the emphasis is on achieving higher speeds with a lighter aerodynamic body.

Mountain bikes have flat or risers.

Road bike handlebars are usually twisted or lowered to make it easier to set many speeds. Flat style also available.


Mountain bikes are used for riding on unpaved areas such as unpaved roads, over obstacles such as logs and stones.

The road bike is used for riding on paved roads.

What is a mountain bike?

Mountain bike. This is a bike designed for cross-country riding without cover. It’s clear from the get-go that mountain bikes have to run on loose trails and withstand a lot of impact and abuse that can lead to wear and tear on their frame and parts. Thus, mountain bikes are stronger and more durable. Any mountain biking cyclist knows that there are differences in riding position for road and mountain biking. This is due to steep slopes and difficult terrain in mountainous regions, as the cyclist must sit more upright while riding.

At first glance, the difference between an MTB (mountain bike) and a road bike is palpable thanks to a wider, stronger frame and wider tires with better traction for riding on rough terrain. Mountain bikes are built with an emphasis on stability and balance over speed and aerodynamic body. In terms of speed, mountain bikes can barely reach 20 mph. Mountain bike grips are designed to provide better control and handling for the biker, and it’s no surprise that the rims and tubes of a mountain bike are thicker than a road bike. Full day endurance, cross country running, downhill and freeride. these are types of mountain bikes.

Mountain bike vs road bike

Brand and use. these are the two main differences between a mountain bike and a road bike. Any road bike versus mountain bike comparison should keep in mind that road bikes are designed for speed and style, while mountain bikes are designed for stability, balance and durability. Both are designed for completely different specializations, so their structure and parts should be different. While both bikes may look the same to the layperson, and indeed both road and mountain bikes are designed to carry a person and cover distances, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article.

Tires, rims and tubes:

Mountain bike tires are wider and more grippy.

Road bike tires are thinner than mountain bike tires.

Mountain bike rims and tubes are thicker than road bike.

General characteristics of a mountain bike

Mountain bike or simply MTB is a well-known mountain bike designed specifically for off-road travel. These models traditionally have:

  • wider tires, thicker, with clearly and deeply pronounced toes;
  • chain transmission with speed switch;
  • the steering block brought forward;
  • trapezoidal frame;
  • shock absorber for vibration dampening;
  • rear suspension (optional);
  • raised carriage.

A standard mountain bike for sports use is equipped with attachments and can be both light. from 6 kg, and quite heavy, the maximum curb weight reaches 19 kg. The common wheel diameters for this class are 24, 26, 27.5 and 29 inches. Since 1990, mountain bikes have gained international recognition and are used in sports. The modern classification of these vehicles includes such models.

  • Freeride. Free riding on an obstacle course requires the use of full-suspension bicycles with powerful brakes.
  • Bicycle trial. Discipline involves overcoming obstacles by the cyclist. The main task is not to lean any part of the body on the ground or other objects. All natural and artificial obstacles are passed by the rider in the bike saddle.
  • Downhill. Downhill for a while on the track with sharp turns, unexpected traps in the form of cliffs and jumps, natural obstacles is carried out on the heaviest bicycles in the mountain class. The standard wheel diameter in this discipline is 27.5.
  • Cross country. The discipline where the lightest mountain bikes are used. There is a classic format of a race in a circle with a changing type of terrain, a marathon and an eliminator. a survival race.

In addition, there are slopestyle jump bikes, reinforced for bikercross and many other options.But for most mountain bikers, mountain bikes are primarily a means of free movement, allowing you to feel confident and comfortable in any environment.

From the highway

This type of bicycle can be classified as a sports bike. there are races in the discipline, and in general it is quite popular. Road models are fast, but show their best qualities exclusively on flat surfaces. In off-road conditions, they are almost impossible to use due to the lack of the necessary equipment.

Among the common features with a mountain bike in a road bike, one can single out only the material for the frame. it can be carbon or aluminum, but steel options are also found.

Another obvious difference is the shape of the steering wheel, which at first glance demonstrates a sporty character. It is steeply curved and allows the athlete to keep the body almost horizontal during movement, leaning strongly forward. The saddle is also different. here it is longer and narrower, it allows you not to rub the inner thighs even with prolonged contact. The mountain bike’s handlebars are wide and almost straight, positioned above the seat for optimal balance in both the seated position and when moving while standing on the pedals.

The road fork is always rigid. Mountain bikes are equipped with shock absorbers, but there are also options similar to sports. Rigid fork does not fit all models.

Today, almost all hardtails already have elements that cushion shock loads, and in double suspensions they are even double and are divided into types.

From urban

A classic road bike. the most common, walking or touring bike noticeably loses to a mountain bike both in the choice of speed and in cross-country ability. But in such models, the gender difference is clearly visible. women do not have a transverse tube that increases rigidity, they are often made in a folding version. City bikes are equipped with a vertical saddle that is tall, wide and has a spring block for support. The steering wheel in such models has an inclination towards the rider’s body, it is located high and does not require changing the position of the rider while driving.

In fact, road bicycles are created exclusively for leisurely riding at your own pleasure. you will not be able to develop significant speed with their help, and the absence of shock absorbers (they are rarely used) will significantly complicate any exit outside the asphalt path.

But urban two-wheeled models are adapted for use in everyday clothes. their design takes into account all important nuances and eliminates problems with wardrobe items getting stuck inside the chain.

The complete set of city bikes is also quite noticeably different from mountain bikes. They initially include fenders, full-size, anti-splashing mud, trunk, reflectors and headlights. Riding in mud on a mountain bike without wings will definitely not be fun, but it will allow you to overcome obstacles. The urban model will get bogged down on the approach to the obstacle.

The main differences

How is a mountain bike different from other types? In most cases, it will not be difficult to feel the difference. it is in the position of the rider’s body, the intensity of the loads on his shoulders and arms.

Comparing models of different types will help to assess these differences more fully and accurately.

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From sports

Comparing sports and mountain bikes is not very appropriate. simply because their goals are too different. In the Sport class models, the Accent is focused on speed performance and ergonomics to reduce energy loss while driving. They do not use shock-absorbing suspensions. they dampen part of the effort transmitted by the athlete during the pedaling process. Accordingly, any irregularities on the road strongly affect the rider’s well-being and the condition of the equipment itself.

The class of the sports bike also matters. For example, the design of racing models is simplified as much as possible. the rear wheel has a solid disc design, a short frame maximally lightens the weight of the equipment itself. The saddle in these sports bikes is located above the handlebars, which helps to maintain optimal aerodynamics while traveling. Brakes are often absent or are represented by the simplest mite in the front, the gearshift system is also absent.

In fact, sports bikes are only good on the highway or track, outside of their environment they are practically useless.

How a mountain bike differs from city and other types?

Mountain biking is the dream of most young and adult fans of extreme riding. This category of two-wheeled vehicles is rightfully considered off-road. it does not depend on the quality of the surface and is able to overcome even narrow paths and gorges. Of course, not every mountain bike owner has to ride the canyons, but the very opportunity not to think about obstacles can inspire even the most inexperienced extreme lovers to feats.

What are the differences from road bicycles for this popular transport today? Is it worth comparing it with sports models? Is there a big difference between road bikes and regular bikes? In fact, mountain bike does not belong to highly specialized categories of transport, but it cannot be called a universal solution either. Such a bicycle copes better than others with riding on rough terrain, suitable for mastering some sports disciplines. But in order to understand how it differs from others, it is worth comparing different types of two-wheeled vehicles with each other.

Road Bike Vs Mountain Bike. What’s The Difference?

From hybrid

The hybrid bike combines the properties of road and mountain types and allows you to find a compromise between comfortable movement on a flat road and overcoming off-road. Visually, it is closer to mountain bikes, the material is carbon, steel or aluminum, but the travel of such models is softer and lighter. The wheels on the hybrids are large. 28 ″, the tires are thinner and narrower, the tread pattern is smoothed, closer to the road.

The hybrids are equipped with a fork shock absorber and use a mountain bike handlebar. It seems that in such a combination all possible disadvantages have been eliminated. But in practice, there are problems, and they are quite obvious. This technique implies a higher seating position, which, in combination with the mountain handlebar, creates some discomfort and increases the load on the arms.

In addition, hybrid bikes clearly lack the strength and rigidity of a mountain bike’s structure. they are not suitable for extreme rides and quickly fail with intensive off-road use.

Features of city bikes

  • Wider but more efficient steering wheel for enhanced maneuvering ability.
  • Installation of special shields to ensure traffic safety and protection from dust and dirt on clothing. There are differences in categories for women and men.
  • Larger wheel diameter with medium-width tire and tread for traction and higher speed. For movement on asphalt, treads with a small pattern are used.
  • Braking control is often limited to only the rear foot brakes.
  • The presence of small trunks and special chairs for transporting children.
  • Damping due to the design of the springs that are in the saddle.
  • Using multi-speed bushings to change speeds.
  • Higher fit frame.
  • Chain protection.
  • Availability of rear-view mirrors, signal reflectors and devices for giving sound signals.

Features of mountain bikes

Extreme operating conditions require increased strength from the mechanics and other elements of the mountain bike, and this is all taken into account when choosing the right type of bike. What is the peculiarity of the technical characteristics of mountain bikes:

  • The frame and fork are equipped with shock absorbers, the stiffness of which is stipulated by the bike category.
  • Reinforced frame option.
  • Use on some types of rear suspension.
  • Reinforced rims and other wheel elements, including tires.
  • The carriage is almost flush with the bushings.
  • Whiter than high strength of elements that provide not only a change in the speed of movement, but also the force of a mechanical transmission. Special attention is paid to the mechanics, ensuring safe (shock absorbers, springs) ascent and descent in areas with more than a critical angle of inclination.
  • The presence of several reduced speeds. This condition allows you to overcome ascents of significant steepness elevations and for movement on routes that are especially difficult to pass.
  • The location of the steering wheel, in relation to the rack with a slightly forward extension, for convenience when moving with a shoulder load.

Modern modifications are replacing the mechanics and devices that were previously used for braking with newer technologies. Instead of rim pads, where, as a transfer of force, the muscles of the hand to the cable, they were forced to brake by pressing the segments, they were replaced with newer equipment. disc brakes, where brake fluid pumped into the system is used. To reduce the total weight in the construction of the frame, a particularly durable, but not heavy material is used: titanium, polymers, aluminum alloys, carbon.

Mountain bikes

The mountain bike has been specially designed for those off-road sections that are not always easy to overcome on foot. Where a road bike could not be used as a transport, and it hindered rather than helped in movement, mechanics modified by engineering thought made it possible to overcome the most serious obstacles.

An important factor is the physical endurance and training of the cyclist, but practice is a profitable business, if the decision is made to purchase an off-road miracle on two wheels, the mountain type of bike is the very thing that is required.

How is a mountain bike different from a city bike??

Not motorcycles, not motor vehicles will never destroy the popularity of bicycles among people. This type of transport is developing more and more and now it is no longer the simplest of mechanisms for movement over short distances, but something that is improving every day.

Those who used to be suspicious of a bicycle as a transport, after the purchase, strive to make up for lost time: routes are looked for, equipment is chosen, even the desire to find companions in hobby is understandable. The most difficult question remains which type of bike to choose for yourself.

Features of bicycles

If earlier there were only two categories of the types of bicycles: sports and road (if we do not take into account children’s and teenage types), now the list has increased:

  • Road.
  • sports road.
  • Urban.
  • Mountain.

All of these categories are made taking into account individual abilities, therefore they are divided into men, women, children and adolescents. The design takes into account weight, physical activity and other technical characteristics. Now you can dwell in more detail on the two most popular categories of bicycles. mountain and city.

The main differences

Now that the technical specifications of both categories of bikes are provided, it is possible to understand what the difference is, and how it can be used when choosing a purchase.

  • Mountain bikes are heavier in weight, if city bicycles are easy to carry in the hands in the event of obstacles, then in the case of SUVs this is not the best way out.
  • The cross-country passability of mountain sports bicycles is an order of magnitude higher than that of urban counterparts, but on good road surface they are inferior in speed and maneuverability.
  • Both categories are easily modified with commercially available accessories ranging from mechanical devices to frames, pedals, brakes.
  • Wider tires work well off-road, but on asphalt they create noticeable vibration and increased resistance, so city bikes are preferable in this case.
  • City bicycles provide for collapsible frames on some models, which is very convenient for storing them in city apartments, this can hardly be called a significant plus, since over time the connections acquire unnecessary development and backlash, which affects the ride. These bikes are good for short and easy distances.

If mountain bikes are more reliable in operation: they are durable, it is more difficult to kill them by mechanical loads and if they can be used for a rather long period without serious damage, then the price for them is much higher. When choosing the right bike, it is important to take into account the estimated distances and loads, how this can affect the operation, and only then decide on the purchase.

Major differences

The most direct difference between a city bike and a mountain bike is the wheels. Mountain bike wheels are available in sizes from 26 to 29 inches and are always equipped with tires with protruding tread blocks. These tread blocks act as teeth on loose ground and provide traction where smooth road bike tires will slide.

Road bikes use narrower tires without large tread blocks to provide sufficient grip and handling on asphalt.

What makes a mountain bike different from a road bike??

Mountain bikes have superior grip and cushioning where road bikes can’t handle the road.

Probably, each type of terrain has its own specially designed bike. Paved roads and country roads have very different surface characteristics that require specialized bicycles.

The paved road bike has over a century of racing heritage and is the forerunner of all bicycles. Mountain bike was invented much later, but it occupies an important niche in all cycling and has a wide variety of styles and designs for tackling difficult terrain.

Designed for speed

Road bike. lightweight and easy to drive on a level road. These bikes have 700c thin wheels and thin tires that reduce rolling resistance and increase speed. Racing road bikes are used in competition and are designed to cover the distance quickly and in the shortest time.

On a road bike, the rider adopts an aggressive, forward-leaning position for improved aerodynamics and pedaling force.

The frame needs to be lightweight and stiff, so extra strong materials such as carbon fiber and titanium are commonly used for its construction from various manufacturers. Other durable and lightweight materials such as steel and aluminum have been removed from the market.

Off-road driving

Mountain bikes are designed for off-road conquest. mud, slush, snow, gravel. These bicycles are very sturdy, with thick tires and sturdy wheels to resist damage and shock. Frames are made of aluminum, carbon, steel and titanium to withstand heavy loads.

The suspension system allows the wheels to absorb shock and vibration on rough roads. The mountain hardtail bike is equipped with front wheel suspension, while the full suspension bike has shock absorption on both wheels.

Mountain bikes usually have flat handlebars that bring the rider into an upright position for balance and control on the road.

Choosing a bike

The characteristics that make mountain bikes very comfortable off-road are also suitable for riding on flat roads and bike paths, making them popular with ordinary users. It will never go as fast as a road bike, but the rider’s position and good shock absorption work well on potholes and curbs.

Road bikes. an ideal choice if you ride exclusively on asphalt and want a fast bike; pedaling and going uphill on them will be much easier. Their low weight makes them easy to handle at high speeds.

Road vs Gravel Bike: What Are the Differences?

Road bikes and gravel bikes, they are similar to each other, but very different bikes, let’s dive into the differences

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Gravel has been a hot topic in the last couple of years, with everyone and their cousin talking about wheel sizes, flared arches, tire widths and tread pattern, but to the uninitiated, the road bike vs gravel bike may seem strange at first as they might not be the case on the surface. differ a lot; they both have drop arches, two triangles and roll on wheels and 700c tires (at least sometimes).

Just as a cross-country mountain bike is different from a trail or enduro bike, gravel and road bikes showcase a wide variety of design elements that enable a bike to excel in a specific area.

Road Bike vs Gravel Bike: What They Should Do?

As you can probably tell from the name, road bikes are designed to ride on asphalt-grade trails, while gravel bikes can be used off-road, gravel paths, dirt roads, fire trails, and even solo trails.

That’s not to say that road bikes can’t be used for gravel riding. heck, every year professional racers take the world’s best road bikes on the white gravel roads around Siena, Italy. Road bikes are much more productive than we often think, but they have a well-defined limit that you will quickly set when you step out on loose gravel road.

Road bikes ultimately fall into two camps: racing and endurance. Racing bikes are what the pros strive for to the absolute limit, with aggressive angles, low weight, and tube shapes and components designed to reduce aerodynamic drag. Endurance bikes are slightly more upright with more stable handling, increased comfort and may have built-in storage and mounts for posts and fenders.

Gravel bikes, on the other hand, are designed to be more capable and tackle a wider range of terrain. They may happily plod on the tarmac or hop onto the back of a group ride, but if you plan on putting in a critical hit number on Tuesday night, you’ll find that even the best gravel bikes won’t get you shot. We don’t officially have the same racing and endurance categories for gravel bikes (yet), but some are more for racing, like Allied Able, while others are more adventurous, as we learned in our Merida. Silex Review. They usually have an abundance of bottle racks, luggage racks and fenders, and are usually slightly heavier than their tarmac cousins.

This weight is also higher because the frame will be reinforced to deflect airborne particles and to withstand the rough and uneven terrain that occurs after you leave the tarmac, but the extra weight also contributes to stability. Ultralight bikes can bounce when the terrain gets sharp, while something heavier will remain more restrained.


A surprising number of road and gravel bikes have a definite definition of suspension

Suspension has long been a staple of mountain biking; however, various suspension shapes are available for both road and gravel bikes, the breadth of which in both categories is amazing.

Specialized uses a coil-damping shock, dubbed Future Shock, on the front of the Roubaix Endurance and Diverge road bike, as detailed in our Specialized Diverge review. Trek and Cannondale have their own take on flexible swivel suspension for the rear; IsoSpeed ​​disconnector mounted on Domane Endurance road bike, Madone racing bike and Checkpoint gravel bike, and Kingpin thru-hinge on Topstone Carbon gravel bike.

However, gravel bikes are the only lot to see air suspension forks: Cannondale offers the 30mm Lefty Oliver on select Topstone models, featured in our recent Cannondale Topstone Lefty 3 review, while Fox offers 32 AX (Adventure Cross). gravel fork.

Technically, both road and gravel bikes come in full suspension, albeit in very different shapes. The Trek Domane has IsoSpeed ​​disconnectors front and rear, which are technically qualified as suspension. That’s a far cry from the Niner Magic Carpet Ride (MCR), which comes complete with a Fox 23 AX fork and rear linkage that delivers 50mm of travel thanks to X-fusion Microlite shock.


Most gravel bikes will have a hitching rear suspension

Most gravel bike components will be road bike compatible and vice versa; However, there are key differences that prevent the gravel bike from collapsing on the Kansas Flint Hills, while other components will still help the road bike dance on the slopes of Mont Ventoux.

Road bikes still use disc brakes (although everything folds towards rotors and hydraulic calipers); Each gravel bike will be equipped with discs. The rim brakes are lighter and perform well on asphalt, but the discs provide superior power, modulation and handling, and are stable in all weather conditions. You’ll appreciate this extra control when you’re downhill on a gravel bike, especially on wet roads.

Both road and gravel bikes will be equipped with 1x and 2x drivetrains. Road bikes tend to use two chainrings as the gear transitions are smaller, which means it’s easier to find a comfortable cadence at any speed.

Gravel bikes have a 1x and 2x drivetrain with a slight bias towards the 1x side. With only one chainring, 1x transmissions are still capable of reaching the same gear range as 2x, although to do so in 11 or 12 gears instead of 22 or 24 means that the gaps between each gear ratio will be larger. Eliminating the need to shift forward has allowed transmission manufacturers to use narrow-wide chainrings with alternating tooth profiles that grip the inner and outer chain links to prevent chain bouncing off rough terrain.

Gravel bikes usually have a rear derailleur with some grip definition. Whether it is a roller bearing or a type of hydraulic damper, the main function is to tighten the chain to prevent the chain from hitting or bouncing off the chainrings. They are usually a few grams heavier than their non-clutch counterparts and require a little more fun to push the chain up the cassette, but the difference in chain retention is day and night.


Here we have overlaid the Cannondale SuperSix Evo on the Cannondale Topstone to illustrate the nuances of the geometry differences.

Chances are, you won’t be able to notice the geometry differences between a road bike and a gravel bike unless you have one next to each other; nuances of difference and a few millimeters here or half a degree there will have a decisive influence on the behavior of the bike.

Road bikes tend to have a shorter wheelbase and steeper angles for agility and agile handling. Gravel bikes have a longer wheelbase and a shallower head tilt to add stability and decelerate handling when overcoming technical obstacles and unhurried descents.

For example, the Specialized Roubaix Endurance road bike has a 72.75-degree head angle and a 988 mm wheelbase in size 54; Meanwhile, the Specialized Diverge gravel bike has a weaker 71.75-degree head tilt and a 1032mm wheelbase of the same size.

Road bikes will also have more reach, shorter frame stack and head tube to provide a longer, lower and more aerodynamic position, while gravel bikes will be shorter and more upright.

If we compare Trek’s new Emonda race bike and Checkpoint gravel bike; Emonda has 386mm overhang, 541mm frame size and 121mm head tube for size 54, while Checkpoint has 383mm overhang, 547mm stack and 125mm head tube.

Wheels and tires

Road tires usually do not have a tread, while gravel tires may have certain lugs.

The most striking visual difference between a road bike and a gravel bike will be the wheels and tires. Road bikes typically have an absolute maximum tire clearance in the 33-35mm range, depending on category, with slightly narrower tires most of the errors. Most racing bikes these days will come with 25mm tires with room for 28mm, while Endurance bikes will have wider tires. Wider tires reduce pressure, which creates a wider contact patch for more grip and comfort. Laboratory Tests Show Thicker Tires Reduce Rolling Resistance.

However, wider tires are heavier and, depending on the rim, can ruin the aerodynamics of your wheelset. today’s best road bike wheels are sized for a 25c or 28c body extension to sit flush with the rim, are too wide and the tire will fly overboard.

On the other hand, gravel bikes will have clearance for 33mm tires all the way down to the carcasses, which are measured in inches, and gravel frames may even be compatible with both the 650b (27.5-inch) wheels of the smaller 700c size and tires. As with road tires, a wider contact patch, lower tire pressure improves comfort and traction, and the extra width also makes riding on uneven surfaces a little less technical.

The tread pattern is more important on gravel bikes than on road bikes. If you don’t roll over a surface you can bump into, the tread on road tires doesn’t add much grip, so road bike tires are more or less smooth.

Gravel bikes are designed to ride on softer surfaces, so they have tread and lugs that can bump off-road. There is a huge selection of tread patterns available for gravel tires, and the one that suits you depends on the weather, where you plan to ride, and what the terrain looks like.

Many gravel bikes can also be used with a 650b (27.5-inch) wheel and tire. This smaller wheel allows for a wider tire, approximately two inches, which allows for lower tire pressure and increased comfort and traction. This is possible because a 700×28-30mm tire is roughly the same diameter as a 27.5×1.6-1.8in tire, which means it does not change head angle or track shape or should have a big impact on handling characteristics To maximize clearances for such wide tires, and dirt and debris that will eventually build up on the frame, gravel bikes often have drop chain stays or a machined fork behind the bottom bracket. these same features are also used to improve the clearance of chainrings.

Another thing to note about gravel and road tires is the proliferation of tubeless tires. As the best tubeless road tires continue to improve with each iteration, the technology becomes more and more common on the road, however off-road where punctures are much more common, virtually all of the best gravel tires are tubeless by default.

Cockpit and seat post

Gravel bikes often have flared handlebars

Many gravel bikes have flared hinges and are in some cases shorter than the cockpits you find on road bikes.

Road bikes tend to have a deeper drop and slightly longer reach than gravel bikes.

Expanding arms allow for a wider arm position, providing free wrist space and added control as you move through free corners or up and over obstacles. The extension also makes it easier to access the brake levers from the fall.

Mountain Bike To Road Bike Switch. What Will Surprise You The Most

The last and most controversial component difference you’ll find on the gravel bike dripper post. They are considered a must for mountain bikers and even appeared on Mavic neutral bikes to help riders gain saddle height on the go, but that’s not their intended goal. The idea behind the drip is to get the saddle out of the way on steep descents so you can regain your weight without being thrown behind the wheel.

On an asphalt road, you are unlikely to find a steep enough slope or road surface so bumpy that you have to climb into the saddle, but it is not uncommon for fire roads to be steep enough and bumpy enough to justify a fall. your saddle is out of the way.