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Cycling Fitness



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In a world where lifestyle diseases are alarmingly, becoming prevalent, biking exercise has been found to be an effective strategy to reverse this trend.

Due to road bike vs mountain bike for exercise benefits, there has been an increase in cycling activity the last two to three decades. Bicycling has been proposed by scholars as one effective strategy to reduce chronic ailments as opposed to living a sedentary life.

This article focuses on aspects of road bike vs mountain bike for exercise. Based on design features, suitability and other enhancements, I hope bike enthusiasts and those who wish to join biking find what they are looking for.


Road Bike


What is it?

Some people refer to it as a race bike, while others refer to it by its speed range, 10 speed? Thanks to advancement, its speed range is now up to 18. These bikes are made for speed particularly on paved roads. Check out our road beginners guide to cycling.

The narrow tires roll faster on the paved road making it one of the fastest bikes. More interestingly, there are specific models designed for women and have been made by taking consideration of the women anatomy. There are many sub-types of mountain bikes including aero, ultra-light, touring, enduring and all roads. The pros and cons of road bikes.

  • The aero is designed to reduce drug significantly. It’s designed in many shapes with a focus on speed rather than comfort. The bike is mainly for racing.


  • The ultra-light is made for climbing due to the light material used to make it. One limitation with this bike is that it is not an all-round use bike.



  • The endurance bike is made almost everyone with a more upright position making it more comfortable. The tires are slightly wider that the other types for easier gear change.


  • Touring bikes are light weight and its design is suitable for everyday riding with a large carrying capacity.



  • Lastly, the all-road is a hybrid bike taking the benefits of pure road and combining it with the benefits of a gravel road bike.


Mountain Bike

What it is?

This bike is made for riding off paved roads. The bike boasts of great features including wider tires that increase contact with the ground, making the more stable. There are also women specific models designed to suit women anatomy. There are many varieties of mountain bikes including the hardtail, XC-full suspension, Trail-full suspension and Endure/gravity-full suspension.  Mountain bike guide for beginners.

  • Hard trail- as suggested by the name, these bikes often have suspension forks on rigid frames.


  • XC-full suspension is designed to endure steep climbing.



  • Trail-full suspension is well balanced with features allowing ease in climbing as well as descending.


  • Endure/gravity-full suspension are designed to counter gravity and therefore are efficient when descending steep slopes.


Summary of Design Features for Riders

Road bikes are designed for -:

  • Smooth paved road surfaces as is suggested by its name ‘road bikes’.


  • Their thin tyres and lightweight frames enhance speed.



  • Dropped handlebars are ideally designed for a variety of speeds.


  • Their geometry makes them ideal for upright forward leaning posture when cycling.



  • They are designed in a streamlined style, which is preferred by many cyclists who find them comfortable therefore best for smooth cycling.

Mountain bikes on the other hand are designed for -:

  • Stability and durability due to their thick and wide tyres. Pros and cons of mountain bikes. 


  • Varied terrain such as rough terrain, steep mountain climb, off-road, dirt road and can even be used on city roads unlike road bikes.



  • Their shock absorbing capability makes them suitable for bumpy rides
  • Their many gears makes them idea for variety of speeds.


  • By design they are heavier than road bikes and liked by athletes and mountain climbing enthusiasts.

Always keep these aspects in mind when choosing a bike for exercise or when exercising.

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Road bikes


Road bikes are ideal for smooth, high quality paved and well maintained road surfaces.


They are light and hence best for smooth surfaces without obstacles ideal to enhance their speed and acceleration. 



Equipped with thin tyres, road bikes are made for swiftness. are road bikes faster than hybrids. 


Since they are ideal for paved well maintained roads, they can be hampered by accidents which are likely to occur on busy roads used by other traffic such as cars. In case of accidents the road bike user faces life threatening injuries. exercising with a road bike. 


Mountain bikes


Mountain bikes are designed for off-road, rough, uneven terrain.


Sometimes mountain bike terrains can be dangerous.



The front suspension of mountain bikes enables them to get onto curbs smoothly like a city bike thus they can be cycled on paved roads.


Trail bikes are designed for the roughest terrain.



Trail bikes are used to climb down a mountain sometimes riding over big mountain rocks, jumping over obstacles like fallen trees, riding through wet surfaces or dropping from heights.



Shock Absorption


Road bikes


Road bikes lack front suspensions, which eliminates their usability on rough and off-road terrain.


They are smooth road riders and do not require front suspensions for that.



They would therefore be hard to control on bumpy roads. Disadvantages of road bikes


Mountain bikes


The suspensions of a mountain bike absorb the jarring effect on bumpy roads making the rider to control the bike much more easily compared to a mountain bike, which lacks it.


A majority of mountain bikes have adjustable suspensions, which enables the rider to adjust to the level suitable for different terrains during the ride or as per their preference.



Mountain bikes have the advantage of having rear shock absorbers unlike road bikes making them ideal for very rough terrain.


How where a mountain bike has full rear suspensions, moving forward becomes an uphill task as the front and rear suspensions work together to sap ones energy. disadvantages of mountain bikes



Road bikes have thin tyres best on smooth well maintained surfaces because there is not enough room for grip on bumpy steep terrain. The thin tyres enhance wheel pinning of giving it speed.


Mountain bikes have knobby tyres which enhances their ability for grip on less ideal surfaces. Their thick wide tires are ideal for stability


However, their thick wide tyres have a down side on smooth surfaces which would lead them to wear much faster when used on smooth paved surfaces. Their tyres enhance the shock absorbing capabilities of the suspenders making them relatively comfortable on rough terrain. It is very essential factor to differentiate road bike vs mountain bike for exercise.


Braking system


Advances in technology have resulted in some road bikes having disc brakes replacing older break types. However other road bikes still use the old type that press the rim. Disc brakes are more effective for breaking in less ideal conditions.


Mountain bikes have disc brakes, which are fixed at the centre of the wheel. Disc brakes are more effective, durable and can withstand frequent application of breaks on muddy terrain.




Riding posture


Road bikes use the forward leaning position while riding. This posture reduces wind resistance and limits shifting of riding position.


Mountain bikes are used on rough and often dangerous terrain thus ideally the mountain biker sits in an upward posture to allow the rider to see terrain to switch to a suitable position. It is post effect of road bike vs mountain bike for exercise.


Road bike vs mountain bike for exercise Features Discussion Points


  1. Speed of the Bike
  • Road bikes are designed with narrow tires and light carbon fiber material. The narrow tires reduce the contact with the ground therefore increasing the speed. Besides, structure of most of the bike reduces wind resistance allowing the rider to peddle faster.


  • In contrast, mountain bikes have wide tires with more treads to increase the surface area in contact with the ground. Besides, mountain bikes have shock absorbers which reduce the amount of power applied to the pedal making them slower. The speed of bike is also matter for road bike vs mountain bike for exercise.
  1. Riding Terrain

Mountain bikes and road bikes are designed to fit different riding terrains.

  • For those who want to ride along tough terrains, mountain bikes would be the perfect alternative. The wide tires the almost upright riding position makes it a more appropriate and comfortable choice for rough terrains.


  • For riding within the city with paved roads and flat terrain, the road bike would be the ideal option. The reason for this is that the bikes are made with narrow tires which reduces the contact with ground and therefore faster.



  • Riding on rough terrain as opposed to paved roads offers more health benefit for the rider. For this reason, mountain bikes present better health benefits as compared to road bikes.


  • Some health scholars argue that leisurely riding is almost similar to living a sedentary life style. Fast pedaling is best experienced on road bikes. The faster you pedal, the more you burn calories.


  • Generally experienced adept riders who can maneuver them for speed like road bikes.


Downhill Cycling


  • Cycling downhill improves joint movement as well as increasing muscle strength, body control and posture. The trail suspension and endure mountain bikes have features to enable better cycling experience when cycling downhill. On the contrary, road bikes are not designed for efficient downhill cycling but rather for flat terrain.


  • For adrenaline driven exercise and extreme sports, mountain bikes would be your best bet.



  • Many have argued that the more strenuous the exercise the more calories one burns.


  • Given the rough terrain and varied landscape, the mountain bike would expose more of your body parts to exercise.




In today’s world, bike riding has become a kind of craze. More and more people are engaging in cycling for health purposes.

Perhaps the most persistent question has been what to choose pitting road bikes vs mountain bikes. All in all, both road bikes and mountain bikes have their strong points and weak points for exercise.

Cycling reduces mobility by enhancing health. It particularly has been found to control onset of type 2 diabetes, improve blood pressure among other health benefits.

This article has presented the design, features and aspects for road bike vs mountain bike for exercise hoping that based on your health needs and schedule you will find it helpful.

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