Road bike vs mountain bike: which is the better workout?

Road bike vs mountain bikeRoad bike vs mountain bike
Road bike vs mountain bikeRoad bike vs mountain bike

Road bike vs mountain bike: which is the better workout?

Cycling is arguably one of the most popular ways to exercise, especially with those who enjoy the great outdoors. It can be difficult to decide between mountain bikes and road bikes for the best workout, but here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.


The advantages of choosing a mountain bike

  • Sturdier frame: If you are looking to shed some weight, a mountain bike has a sturdier frame that can hold a larger amount of weight. Because of this, bike repairs such as tyre punctures are less likely to happen. A sturdier frame means you can work harder on the bike which can result in a better workout.


  • Upright posture: Sitting with an upright posture will make your body feel more comfortable and will allow you to strengthen your core muscles while riding. Bending forward can also lead to back pain, which will discourage you from spending time on the bike.


  • More effort is needed: To move a mountain bike forward, more effort is needed to propel it. This means that you will burn more calories and fat per kilometre. If you take bumpy trails, your body will also gain more impact which is important when building muscles and strengthening your core.

The disadvantages of choosing a mountain bike

  • The frame is heavier: Because a mountain bike is used for durability more than speed, you will find the frame much heavier than a road bike. This makes it heavier to ride uphill, if this is part of the terrain you have chosen. If you are unfit, having to move a heavier object on rough terrain may cause more injury than good.


  • The tyres are thicker: Mountain bikes have much thicker tyres than road bikes, making them slow to accelerate and not very fast moving bikes. This is not an ideal bike for someone who is looking to increase their cardio, but can help with building leg muscles, due to the effort needed to propel the thicker tyres.


  • Increased risk of injury: A mountain bike is not usually used on a tarmac road, but mainly a bumpy, often wooded trail. This can lead to injuries, such as falling off and hitting a hard patch of ground, hitting your head on a low-hanging branch on the trail, falling off or scraping your legs and so forth.


The advantages of road bikes

  • It can boost your fitness: A road bike is known for being great for speed, which is always good for a cardio boost. Because these bikes have light frames, you will be able to propel them forward a lot easier and you can get a better and more inclusive workout.


  • You can go for longer distances: Road bikes are made to be lightweight, meaning that you can cycle for longer distances with more endurance. This will lead to a better cardio and full-body workout overall, especially for the calves and thighs.


  • It can be used for in-town riding: A road bike can be used for riding around town if you need to perform errands. This makes it ideal for those who may not have access to a mountain bike trail and who want to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.

The disadvantages of road bikes

  • Your body can take a beating: The thinner, more aerodynamic frame of a road bike is not made to endure as much as a mountain bike can, which means that your body is more susceptible to enduring every bump in the road. This can lead to discomfort and can discourage you from continuing to ride.


  • Incorrect posture: The posture needed for riding a road bike is one that is unnatural and uncomfortable for many of us. You will often notice road bikers hunched over their handlebars, risen slightly off their seats. This posture can lead to back problems and other pain.


  • Not as versatile: With a road bike, you are only able to ride on tarmac roads due to the structure of the tyres. This means that you will have to purchase a separate bike for those times when you want to explore a trail or try out harsher terrain. This can make it a costly purchase and endeavour.


Final verdict

Overall, mountain bikes are best for endurance and muscle building while road bikes offer a better cardio and overall body workout. Your choice will depend on what workout you want to get out of the activity. Be sure that you are fully prepared to take on the risks of either one before making the decision to either venture out into the wilderness or tackle the intensity of the roads.


Road bike vs mountain bike