Author Topic: Road Bike vs Mountain Bike  (Read 7415 times)

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Offline OmahaNeb

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike
« on: June 02, 2005, 04:51:25 pm »
I am trying to decide which bike to take on a 1 week road tour.  I have an older 15 speed steel bike, 700 x 32 tires, Phil Wood components and bar end sifters that I have used for touring in the past successfully.  I also have a 21 speed steel mountain hard tail bike set-up with 1.5 x 26 inch smooth tires, butterfly handlebars, front shock.  The weight of the two bikes is equal.  I have calculated the gear ratios for each bike.  The highs are similar with the mountain bike having lower low-gear ratios.  Both bikes are very comfortable to ride.  I have used the mountain bike on the Great Divide and commuting and I have used the road bike on many multi-week tours.  I will be touring in Northern Minnesota with some rolling hills for a week using front and back panniers.  The butterfly handlebars give me the same number of hand positions as the traditional road bike handlebars.  I don't feel that the small gear steps of the 21 speed will be that much of an advantage.  I am traveling with my sons who will be using their 700 c wheeled road bikes.  My main question is, if I take my mountain bike, will I be at a riding disadvantage to the riders using road bikes.  Will the mountain bike front shock and wider tires be a disadvantage under a loaded touring environment.

Offline wanderingwheel

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 05:45:15 pm »
The front shock would be my only concern, assuming your top gears are similar. Did you remember to account for the differnet wheel sizes when comparing the gear ratios?

I think there's something to be said for using common tires and tubes between you and your sons.  It sounds like this will be a short trip so it may not be an issue, but I would certainly consider it on a longer trip.

I've toured on my road bike with others on mountain bikes and I don't think I had a great advantage over them.


Offline OmahaNeb

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 06:30:06 pm »
Thanks for the input.  In answer to your question, I used the Shelton Brown web page calculator that looks at the tire size and crank arm length to calculate the gear ratios.

Offline vanick

Road Bike vs Mountain Bike
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2005, 05:04:22 pm »
I'm getting ready to ride across the country on my hardtail MTB.  I've been riding it on some of the local club rides, I've no problem keping up with all the other folks on road bikes.  I'm running 1.5 x 26 Avocet CrossIIK tires with 85 PSI, they roll really nicely.  Top gear is 46 x 11, that spins out someplace on the long side of 25 mph, plenty fast for the folks I ride with.  The other end is 24 x 34, which enables me to pull a loaded BOB up just about anything.  I did swap out the suspension fork for a solid number.

I've posted some bike images at

Regards, Nick