Mountain Bike Vs Road Bike: Detailed Comparison

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In the 21st century when everyone is worried about pollution, more and more countries are pushing themselves to become eco-friendly. And what is the better way than travelling via bike?

It is a good time to get a bike but there are different types of bikes available. The most common ones are road bikes and mountain bikes. It is easy to distinguish the bike just by their names. But if you are thinking of getting one for yourself, it is better to know all the details.

What is a Road Bike?

These bikes are made for the roads. They are light in weight, the frames are narrower and they come with a drop handlebar design that makes it easier to move between small spaces.

Pros and Cons

The road bikes are specially designed to perform optimally on the roads, which makes these bikes advantageous on specific occasions. So, when you are using this type of bike on a different terrain you will face the disadvantages of this specific bike type.


  • Very light bikes, high speed
  • Infused with over handlebar posture that transfers most power
  • Due to its unique riding position, it provides more power to the legs. Cuts through the air.
  • Light-weight, tires are thin and wheels are tall


  • Not very durable like the mountain bikes
  • The gear range is high. So, you won’t be able to ride it slowly
  • The riding position is uncomfortable for the neck and wrists for most people

 What is a Mountain Bike?

These bikes are specially designed for mountain trails and muddy roads; hence the name mountain bike. These bikes have stronger and bulkier built. Flat handlebar design for more control and wider wheels for a firmer grip.

Pros and Cons

Mountain Bikes are good and they have several advantages of course. But compared to road bikes; so, there are a few disadvantages too.


  • Frames are bigger and the components are tougher
  •  The frame geometry is very helpful for steep climbs
  • The wheel is small; no bigger than 26”. Very stable.
  • The suspension provides more control as the tires remain in contact
  • Very comfortable, the frame takes all the hits
  • Wide knobbies provides more control in dirty or muddy roads


  • Heavier compared to road bikes
  • As the wheels are small, it has the more rolling resistance
  • Not suitable for regular roads, it has like a snow tire effect
  • Reduced efficiency due to suspension
  • Slow and requires more effort on regular roads.

Which One to Choose – Road Bike or Mountain Bike

There is, of course, a significant difference between the performance, the build, and workings of these bikes. Let’s check them out.

Performance and Purpose

The mountain bikes are not designed for roads but they are for trails, dirty roads, and snowy roads. Unfortunately, these bikes do not perform properly on the roads. But if you can change the tires with something slimmer, then you will get better performance for sure.

The road bikes are much faster, they are lighter and they perform the best on the roads. But these bikes are unable to handle uneven terrain and will be prone to wear and tear if you take them out on such terrain.

The road bikes are light in weight and they are designed to pick up speed. The sitting arrangement is a bit different on these bikes to improve the aerodynamics.

The weight difference between these two bike types is also a very important factor. Usually, road bikes are light-weight compared to mountain bikes.

The Gearing

Even though, the performance and the purpose of these bikes play an important role by pointing out some of the differences. But ultimately, it all comes down to the gearing of these bikes.

The gearing is different. The mountain bikes come with powerful suspension that absorbs all the shocks on a bumpy trail. The tires are really wide and the changed knobbies increase the grip.

  • Rear Cassette

Small rear cassettes are found on the road bikes compared to the mountain bikes. The exception is the touring road bikes.

The rear cassettes on the road bikes are equipped with more gears. The mountain bike cassettes have multiple gear groups on the carrier. So, it can distribute the forces more evenly.

  • Front Derailleurs

The latest mountain bikes are equipped with 2 chainrings but the road bikes have 3 of them. This means that you won’t be able to swap the casket. Do not try to fit other caskets, it will create mounting issues.

  • Wheels and Tires

The diameter of the road bikes is usually smaller than the mountain bikes. The durability also differs, the mountain bike wheels are much stronger. The mountain bike wheels are also wider when compared to the road bike wheels and they obviously have different tire profiles.

The road bike wheels are quite narrower compared to that of the MTBs. This causes the bikes to be a lot faster due to considerably less friction.

  • Handlebars

The handlebars of these bikes are also completely different. The handlebar of MTB’s is wide and they are also flat. But the road bikes have a different type of handlebars, a drop design.

The handlebar profiles are completely different but some people prefer flat handlebars as they provide more control and it also makes it easier to break with just a single finger. So, it is mostly found on mountain bikes that are designed for climbing. But they put more strain on your wrists.

Now, the handlebars with drop design are considerably less wide, which makes the road bikes easier to move through small gaps.

  • Forks

Forks are also very different on these bikes. If you check out the forks on the mountain bikes, you will see that they are much stronger compared to the road bikes. So, these forks can take hits. They can also absorb the shocks due to the suspension. Road bikes do not have these qualities.

  • Pedals

There is a big difference between the MTB paddles and the road bike paddles. Both of them do come with the mechanism that locks your shoes on the paddle. But there are differences in the size of the cleat. The cleat on mountain bike paddles is smaller.

This is very sensible as paddles with smaller cleats are easier to unlock and you are more likely to fall during your ride through the trail. If you are unable to detach, the fall would be more painful. The road bikes have large cleats that provide more contact with the surface area.

  • Brakes

Lastly, the brakes. Of course, the brakes on these bikes are different. The road bikes have shorter pulls and the brakes are mechanical. The mountain bike brakes are different. Mostly, you will get V-brakes but disc brake versions are available too.

Mountain BikeStrong, durable, heavy frameWider  Wheels than the latter Expensive
Road BikeLight frame, unable to sustain shock wavesNarrow WheelsCheaper than the former


Therefore, both mountain bikes and road bikes are excellent but on the roads, they are designed for. If you use the mountain bike on the road, you will put unnecessary strain on your body and road bikes will not simply be able to take the shock waves associated with riding a trial.

Each has its positives and negatives; so, if you are looking for something that will be suitable for both roads; you will be at a disadvantage here. The best thing you can do is to get a mountain bike and change the wheels while using it on the roads.

This will not change a mountain bike to a road bike but you will see significant changes and you will be more comfortable. This is not a perfect solution but people are known to do it.

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