Which Should I Buy? A Road Bike Or A Mountain Bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Vickeree, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Vickeree

    Vickeree Member

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    Hi! I need advice on what bike to buy. I'm a runner and I want to transition into doing triathlons and I'm thinking of buying a new bike. However I want to be able to use my bike in daily commute and I want to use it on trails as well. Do they even allow mountain bikes in triathlons? I'm not an elite athlete and I'm not going to break any records soon so I'm considering getting a mountain bike instead... any suggestions?
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Mtb no good for tris. You need a road bike set up for that.
     
  3. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    I have to disagree with JH there. He is right in that a SERIOUS contender needs at a minimum a road bike, a dedicated tri bike would be the best option. But you already said that's not you.

    Yes, you definitely CAN ride a Mt Bike or hybrid. USA Triathlon rules allow that. (If you're in some other country, ???, check their governing body's rules, but probably similar)

    http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/multisport-zone/rules-education/articles/cycling-conduct-bicycle-specifications-511ad.aspx

    I'm like you, not a serious contender, doing it for fun, for health, for personal satisfaction. So, that being said, a mt. bike or hybrid will be lot more comfortable on a daily commute, IMHO, and you definitely aren't going to be able to do trail riding on a road bike.

    You will give up some speed due to increased tire drag, wider tires, tread and all, and also due to the more upright, less "aero" posture. But, consider your day to day benefits versus this infrequent cost.

    If I were in your position, I would definitely check out a hybrid or mt bike first, and go for the day to day utility and comfort factors.
     
  4. Vickeree

    Vickeree Member

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    Thanks for the tips! Greatly appreciated. I probably would settle for a hybrid since I really intend to use the bike as cross training and for commute and triathlon second. Are there any hybrid bikes that are portable as well? I've seen people fold their bikes while riding a train... I'm not sure if they can use their bikes for both trails and roads tho... What are some good inexpensive brands?
     
  5. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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  6. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Anyone on a road bike will have a 3mph advantage over a mtb rider. A rider on a TT bike with aero bars will have a 3 mph + advantage. That means a weak rider will crush a mediocre rider in competition so equiped.
     
  7. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    Yep, that's an easy one, no way a mountain bike can keep up with a road bike. At the same time for commuting the road bike might not be very adequate.
     
  8. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I commute on road bikes all the time, a cross bike in the winter. My commute is 20 miles with long uninterrupted sections one way and the time savings, reduced effort are significant over a typical MTB setup.
     
  9. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    It ultimately boils down to comfort level with the equipment - I just know personally I still hate my road bike, and if I were trying to commute on our roads in our traffic on it, I just plain couldn't. With a Mt bike or hybrid, I have the option of using our safety path/trail systems and "sidewalks" (ok, it's LEGAL here to ride on the sidewalks and we don't have that much foot traffic from pedestrians - we're the fatest city in the US, remember!) where a road bike tire and tread just wouldn't cut it on gravel, etc.
     
  10. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    How about a "Cyclocross" or "Endurance" road bike fitted with Tri-Bars?

    With an extra set of tires for commutes maybe?
     
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  11. Vickeree

    Vickeree Member

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    Thank you for all the suggestions. Right now I've decided to get a basic mountain bike I guess overall usability and adaptability is what I would prefer. Would it be more expensive if I get a basic MTB and upgrade later to make it a hybrid model versus buying a separate road bike that i can use in triathlon events altogether ? Or maybe I should just settle for those silly portable bikes with girly baskets in front of them haha :)
     
  12. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    It would be more expensive and still not the "right tool for the job" or something... Triathlons are probably nearly 100% done in 700c diameter wheels.


    You're not from Doping Control are you? I told you people, I lost my [email protected] sample, Ok? :D
    What do you think I am? A goddamn Cycling-Therapist? :D I dont have girly folding bikes...
    Road bikes, I do have... :D

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSog-u9mLKQ


    [​IMG]
     
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  13. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    What is your budget?

    How handy are you?

    How tall are you?

    FWIW. If you have a reasonable budget & if you are handy, then you may want to consider a 650b Hardtail with a RIGID fork ...

    You can add "skinny" tires & clip-on aero bars for your Triathlon events ...

    If you are building from scratch, then you will probably want to configure the bike with a ROAD crankset which has 53/39-or-53/42-or-54/42-or-____ chainrings AND/OR a Triple with one of the fore mentioned chainring combinations + a 28t or 30t Granny (depending on the trails you will be riding on, maybe even a smaller Granny).

    If you are taller than 5'11" then consider a Hardtail 29er.

    If you are really motivated then you can swap almost ALL of the parts between Road & MTB components on an as needed basis when using almost any MTB frame ...

    Here is a 26er MTB frame which I reconfigured with Road components ... as pictured, only the seatpost & seatpost clamp + front derailleur were carried over from the MTB configuration ...

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:269633]​

    I laced a 700c rim to a 135mm O.L.D. (MTB) hub.

    I could have used the same MTB rear derailleur, but that's an Ultegra 6500 in the picture.
     
  14. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    That bike looks awesome alfeng, but at the same time for a bumpy road or to get over sidewalks looks a little too fragile. If it's only good road though it's pretty hard to beat it.
     
  15. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    How about this one? :p


    [​IMG]
     
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  16. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Thanks ...

    Of course, you are right that the Road fork isn't suitable for off road riding or curb hopping because it can only handle a 700x28 (?) tire ... well, if that Carbon Fiber fork can't handle a 700x28, then I have a steel fork which can ... but, I reckon that as configured the frame-and-fork can certainly handle any Paris-Roubaix level of bumpy road if a rider(-other-than-me!) was inclined to take the punishment after simply mounting some fatter tires on the rims ...

    The frame, itself, can easily accommodate a 700x42 tire.

    I don't think that the ALPHA Q fork is different from the ones which were once used on some Paris-Roubaix bikes in the past, so it is robust enough to handle most roadways which you-or-I might encounter ...

    Of course, because it is a 26er frame, it is designed for relative fat 26x2.3 tire, too.

    If I had wanted OR if I want to make the particular frame more readily dual purpose, then I would-or-could simply install a non-Road fork -- a RIGID disc-capable fork would probably be the easiest option ...

    Then, I would just have to swap the handlebars (Drop to Flat, and vice versa) + wheels (700c to 26er, and vice versa) + rear brake calipers and/or front brake caliper (BTW, I would dedicate the disc brake caliper & hose to the brake lever).
     
  17. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Indeed!

    That RIDLEY could probably be used as a benchmark bike against which other options should be considered ...

    OR, depending on the non-paved terrain + if the budget allows, then the OP could possibly consider buying one!
     
  18. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    I discovered Ridley when I was checking some Cyclocross races news on the internetz...

    They have -alot- of Cyclocross bikes last time I checked. The aluminium ones also have fenders, racks etc fittings...

    Another nice-ish Alu Cyclocross bike was that "Tricross" one from Specialized, but that's now discontinued and replaced by some more dedicated bad road - road bikes, endurance bikes, and some more "enduring" endurance bikes like that "Diverge" one...

    But then again, Surly makes a steel frame for the Crosscheck, which isn't expensive (which also means that it doesn't have those 0.6mm thin, Columbus 853, or whatever, frame sidewalls :p ) which will probably -if not crashed- last for ever... They say that it might be more "comfortable", which I kinda suspect that it also means "Flexy" though. :p
     
  19. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Member

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    This one looks awesome, is it yours? My kids are just too small for me to have a full riding life just now, I still need to wait a few years so that they grow and I have time to ride with them.
     
  20. wahmed

    wahmed New Member

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    You'll need a road bike if your wanting to do triathlons and commuting. I take it you don't live on a mountain right?
     
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