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Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Caden, Jul 28, 2006.
What part of the world do you live\work in? Hills, flat, hot, cold, windy... ?
I would guess there are a few reasons why quite a few people choose mountain bikes as their preferred cycle.
1- Big, fat tires. They give the impression of a softer ride while being able to go through anything
2- Price. Mountain bikes, on the lower scale anyways, are often much more affordable than road bikes. I picked up mine from Wal-Mart for $53 dollars.
3- Availability. Mountain bikes are more readily available to be purchased than road bikes. Go to most stores that sell bikes (not counting bike shops), and you'll probely see a lot more mtn bikes than other types.
4- Image. A lot of people associate a mountain bike as making you look "tougher". A road bike often conjurs up an image of someone wearing tight shorts.
Personally, I love 'em all. I've been riding my mountain bike for awhile, and just bought myself a road bike. Each of them has their uses and advantages, and it's all a matter of preference really.
Hilly. Austin, TX area (these parts are known as the Hill Country). Hot, obviously. Incidentally, Austin has what I consider to be a HUGE road bike rider population, possibly due to Lance being here - I don't know. All the more reason I'm surprised when I see pretty much nobody commute in on a road or even touring bike. It's mountain bikes all the way. Not even hybrids.
My own experience with those that ride MTB is that they do so because:
1. It's much cheaper purchase.
2. Less skill is required to ride(some are scared to death of fast bikes).
3. Flats are less likely.
4. Some people don't even know what a road bike is or what it's like to ride one.
5. Clipless pedals seem way too dangerous.
6. Most people are only interested in communting to work, I've had more than a few MTB's snub their noses and get the look of disgust when I fly by on a carbon race bike with no hands drinking some water and eating a cliff bar.
I use a hybrid for commuting, and certainly find it has several advantages over a road bike for this use.
For example my last rear tire (Specialised Flak Jacket 700X38) lasted for 6000k and never had a single puncture. It was also cheaper than a road tire, which becomes important if you're clocking up the miles/k's on your commute. A larger tire can also deliver more comfort if the road surface is less than perfect, which is the case for myself.
Hybrids also have the fittings necessary (usually) to fit fenders if you live in a wet climate, as well as racks to carry whatever gear you need to take.
Obviously these advantages involve tradeoffs, usually at the expense of straight out speed. However there is a multitude of models of bike at every point between Mountain/Hybrid and Road bikes, allowing a choice of how much tradeoff you want to have.
Personally I'm happy to sacrifice around 3-5 kph to gain significantly in comfort, durability, reliability and load carrying capacity.
i think you just made up my mind for my next set of tires for my commuter hybrid. 6000k? awesome. as far as what type of bike, i bought a 700c tire, flatbar hybrid to commute over road, bike trail, dirt road pretty much year round. more and more i find myself on lengthy road rides on days off wanting a bigger gear to get in and a more aero position. (the front shock could go overboard for all i care on pavement) a road bike is definitely in my future but it is nice to have a bike that can go anywhere and FAST.
I ride a Marin Highway One and I have put Aero bars on it, the Jammer Gt's to be precise. The Marin is a much 'racier' hybrid then most others; it has a carbon fork, road drivetrain and a very light, triple-butted aluminum frame. It just has V-brakes and a flat bar.
My experience using Aeros had been mixed. On the good side, they actually do make you go faster, sometimes alot faster if there is a headwind. The bad side: The pads cover up your shifting index, and Aero bars are not nearly as stable as being on the bar-ends, or on the drops of a regular drop-bar. So, you can lose control of your bike much easier. Since you happen to be going faster, the results are pretty bad. Nearly dislocated my shoulder thanks to my Aeros...
And this is why I quit commuting (or riding) on my hybrid and got my road bike. My first plan had been to start replacing things on my hybrid - I found I was outriding my gears, so I wanted bigger chainrings and a smaller smallest cog in back. I also wanted clipless and then the more I thought about it I really didn't like the "one position only" nature of flat handlebars (without barends). I also wanted a much much harder seat - like a road seat. Oh, I also wanted lighter wheels because the hybrid had tank wheels, weight-wise.
Instead of doing all that, I bought a road bike.
A few people in this thread have mentioned that mountain bikes are less prone to flats - please explain. I realize that a high-pressure tire is more easily punctured, but road bike tires are 1/3 the width of mountain bike tires. Assuming an even distribution of sharp objects on the road, doesn't it follow that a mountain bike tire is 3 times as likely to run over something sharp since it's always touching 3 times as much road surface?
But the mountain bike tire is much thicker and more durable, so the sharp objects are less likely to penetrate the tire. I have had one flat in two years on my hybrid with Specialized Armadello tires. Most road tires are not made of Kevlar because Kevlar tires weigh too much.
Also, with the knobbies on mtb tires, the main body part of the tire doesn't actually touch the road surface except on the knobbies themselves. It would take a fairly large piece of material to puncture through a mtb tire, whereas I've gotten a tiny sliver of glass in my hybrid's tire and flattened it. Flats are a part of biking tho, and I always go prepared with patch kit and pump. I learned my lesson on that the hard way. My suggestion is ride hard, ride often, be prepared, and it's not if, it's when.
Here''s why I got a mountain bike over a road bike. I live in suburban Chicago, and needed to start exercising last winter. Bicycling seemed like a good form of exercise that would fit my schedule, and some bicycling friends all suggested getting a mountainbike. So did http://www.stayinsafe.com/letter.shtml although I'm still waiting to find out just how pedaling a mountain bike is going to make me a better biker.
I was able to exercise outside in the winter on the mountain bike and saw a few others out on them in the snow and the cold, and didn't start to see any road bikes until spring. Won't road bikes work in the cold?
I also wanted a versatile bicycle to do/go most anywhere, much like the standard motorcycles I've loved and riden for years. I've like being able to know the bicycle could handle the terrain, even if I couldn't. I doubt I would have felt that way with a road bike.
The mountain bike I bought has needed very little maintenance, and my friends with road bikes all spend way more time maintaining their road bikes. I'd rather exercise than wrench,and the mountain bike has helped me here too.
I also wanted something that wouldn't be too fast. I exercise on some MUPs that are often filled with oblivious seniors, rollerbladers standing in the middle of the path, and people walking on the wrong side of the path. The mountain bike allows me to exercise harder and makes it easier to dodge the others on the path, a road bike would frustrate me more by encouraging my desire to go faster. The roads aren't that great for bicycling either, so the paths are my best place to exercise in my neighborhood and have allowed me to achieve my exercise goals.
No, I think they are more comfortable to ride (softer ride) and more upright position... that would be my guess anyway...
Unless I missed it, no body mentioned that you can have 1 bike to ride off road as well as on road. Some MTBers change the tyres depending on useage or have 2 sets of wheels. If your commute isn't too far, then it isn't that important what type of bike you use.
I commute on a mountain bike with slicks. A road bike would be faster, except for a few places where I'm happy to ride the MTB but would want to get off and walk a roady. The MTB has some advantages though, such as being able to put on knobbly tyres and take it off road on the weekends, and given the state of some of the roads I like the extra rubber and sturdier wheels.
If there are a lot of traffic lights, or speed needs to be kept down to navigate a traffic jam, the aerodynamic advantage of a roady won't help much. Weight is more important in start-stop city riding, but when you include the weight of the rider (admittedly this is non-rotational) the difference isn't that big. Its pretty hard to defend the on-road use of knobbly tyres, or full-suspension which can't be locked out, but even those could make sense given the right route or for someone who is really into mountain biking and looks at their commute as training.
Where a road bike would be significantly faster I'd expect a recumbent to be quicker still, yet I see even fewer of those. Part of that is probably because of people (like me) who worry that they'd be less visible, part would be due to racers who see their commute as training, but a lot of it will be, as with many of the MTB commuters, because of what is in the shops and what everyone else is riding.
Interesting point about the shifters- I can see that being a potential issue. Presumably you still manage to shift? As to stability, isn't this much the same problem as you would have on any lo pro set up? Aero bars are inherently less stable (remember Mr Rasmussen last year...?) anyway, I wouldn't have though the flat bar would make a difference.
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Big fat tires are much more adaptable to bumps and cracks in the road, grass, gravel, etc. For point-A to point-B utilitarian riding, a mountain bike will get you there with somewhat less hazardously than on a road bike, albeit more slowly. Besides, if this is how these people bike on the weekend, it's probably more practical than owning two bikes.
People ride MTB over Roadies for the same reason they drive Hummers over family sedans.....
They look cooler and tougher... a status symbol.
The irony is that the majority of people that own a mtb with nice shocks and expensive features will never ride it off road as they are intended just as the people who drive Hummers will never drive them off road, or even in inclement weather, as they were intended.
Most people ride Mtb's because thats all that Wal-mart sells. And if Wal-mart only sold Road bikes, everyone would be riding road bikes.
Ironically enough, where I live, bmx bikes outnumber mtb's 3 to 1. Some are pretty decent (haro, DK, ect..) most are wal-crap. Once in a blue moon I'll see a old cannondale or Trek roadie.
There is a developing opinion among many people that "gears are bad". This is inspired, obviously, from experience with wal-crap mtbs. At the lbs I mostly see 1 speed cruisers and bmx bikes going out the door, along with a occasional high-end roadie.