Which One To Choose Between a Road Bike Vs. Mountain Bike

road bike vs mountain bike

Cycling is becoming the most loved hobby after the COVID-19 situation. People are discovering their long-lost love for cycling again. If you are going to get a new bike and are confused about which one to get, we are here to help. Road bike vs. mountain bike carry a lot of differences, and both are meant for different purposes. 

Some obvious differences between road and mountain bikes are frames, wheels, and handlebars, along with other details which are not noticeable on first look. When purchasing a new bike, people always face the dilemma of picking the right type of bike for them.

Here is a detailed guide on a road bike vs mountain bike. We have also discussed different types of bikes. Let’s dive right into the post.

Different Types of Road Bikes and Mountain Bikes

There are many different types of bikes available and which is why it becomes very difficult to figure out which one to choose. Every bike is designed keeping different circumstances in mind, with subtle variations in each of them. 

Below we have listed some common types of road bikes and mountain bikes.

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Types of Road Bikes

  • Race bikes – these are lightweight and completely stripped down, making them as light as possible. The design is aerodynamic and is focused more on speed than comfort. The cycles have a stiff body and thinner wheels and are not great for steep terrain or touring. 
  • Gravel bikes – these bikes are meant for both trains and off-roading while maintaining speed in longer rides. The frames are stronger and work against rough terrains. These bikes have wide and knobby tires. 
  • Endurance bikes- these bikes suit well for endurance and long-distance riding. You mostly get to see endurance bikes in cycling contests because they offer more comfort. 
  • Touring bikes – touring bikes are suitable for traveling long distances with a comfortable ride. These are not meant for speed racing.

Types of Mountain Bikes

  • Cross Country (XC)- one of the most common types of mountain bikes. These are suitable for riding the trails for longer time periods.
  • Trail – these mountain bikes are suitable for gnarly riders that ride on track and trails. The bike comes in full and single suspension.
  • Enduro bikes– these bikes are full of suspension and are specially designed for trails. Compared to other different types of bikes, they’re expensive and high-end.
  • Downhill- a downhill mountain bike is made to suit rough terrain when going downhill. These are not suitable for climbing up or going on challenging tracks.

Road Bike Vs. Mountain Bike- Which One To Choose?

Before comparing road bike vs. mountain bike, you need to know about your cycling style.

Ask yourself some questions like, 

How will you be using that bicycle?

Are you planning to work out without any shock to joints?

Do you simply want to cruise and explore the trails around you or go to the mountains?

Do you need a bike to cut traffic and ride around the city?

Knowing about your motive to buy a bike that is suitable for your requirements. If you only ride on pavements, then you do not need to buy a mountain bike. Also, road bikes are perfect for daily commuters and can cover many different types of ground. 

In case you wish to use a bike for exploring, exercising as well as going to the mountains, then go for a mountain bike.

Road bikes are made for pavement, so you cannot use them in the mountains. The tires are thin and narrow. Even a single pebble or stick will flip the bike around. 

Whereas mountain bikes are not meant for pavements and will require a lot of effort from you to go.

These are not very fast on roads and not even efficient. As compared to road bikes, these are a lot harden and uncomfortable on roads. 

Now let’s take a look at both these bikes to get a detailed insight.

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Road Bike

Road bikes are designed for speed. These are suitable for regular commuters because they have narrow tires that roll quickly on pavements without obstacles. Nowadays, these are also being made with disc brakes which are making road bikes even more popular. Road bikes are available in a few different types like mentioned above.  

Quick Pros and Cons:

Let’s take a look at the pros of having a road bike:

  • Suitable for fast speed
  • These are easy to maneuver and lightweight
  • Posture puts the torso over handles providing lots of power.
  • The riding position is perfectly suitable for maximizing leg power and speed.
  • Components are easier to maintain
  • Thin tires with light frames minimize fraction
  • Easily available under $1,000 to $2,000.


  • Not as durable as a mountain bike
  • It cannot be used on unpaved paths
  • It is uncomfortable to ride them slowly as they have high speed
  • Can put pressure on your neck and wrists

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are more versatile and durable as compared to road bikes. These are made to go on different terrains and dirt trails with obstacles. Mountain bikes have wide handlebars and come with a fork that can absorb shock. These can easily handle twigs and pebbles and even some degree of bumps without sending you flying across.

Usually, mountain bikes have wide tires with plenty of treads to offer traction when you ride. These also come with hydraulic disc brakes that can easily handle descents and steeper climbs.

You can ride mountain bikes anywhere, including roads which makes them highly versatile. 

Quick Pros and Cons:

Here are some common advantages of riding a mountain bike.

  • It has a durable frame which can handle abuse
  • Offers a tone of traction, which makes climbing the mountain easy. You can even go uphill steep climbs.
  • Bike wheels can easily handle rocks and potholes
  •  These are easier to control because of extra suspension
  • Also, riding on these bikes is more comfortable


  • Heavier on the road which makes uphill climbing difficult
  • These bikes have a more rolling resistance
  • You need to put in more effort to ride these bikes on the road
  • Comparatively less efficient because of suspension
  • Slower speed

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Now that you know the difference between a road bike vs. a mountain bike, it will be a lot easier for you to pick one. These are designed keeping in mind the different purposes these bikes serve. Before you buy a bike, think of the way you will be using these bikes and how you will ride them.

Happy Cycling!