Mountain Biking vs Road Biking

Road Biking is a type of bicycling discipline that takes place on paved roads and city streets.

Most people who live in the city have a preference for road biking because of its practicality and accessibility.

Road biking is also great for people who are looking for a workout to include their daily routines.

Aside from that, road biking presents minimal hazards and doubles as an eco-friendly alternative to riding a car from one place to another.

On the other hand, mountain biking is a discipline under the “extreme sport” category. This is because of the hazards and severe risks it presents to riders.

Despite the risk, the trend of participation in this sport gradually increases. In 2008, there were 6.9M mountain bicyclists in the US, gradually increasing to 8.6M in 2018.

People’s interest is often inclined with the high adrenaline and thrill that mountain biking provides. 

Which one is better? Both.

Which is better depends on your intention of the sport.

Are you looking for a bike to use for commuting and occasional rides or are you looking for a bike to take you on off-road adventures?

Maximizing the use of your road or mountain bike also depends on where you live. 

Is Mountain Biking Harder than Road Biking?

Considered an extreme sport, mountain biking is more challenging than road biking.

Road bikers face struggles too, but not as grave as the risks presented in mountain biking.

When you’re off the road, nature becomes your playground.

The uncertainty of the path can be hazardous and unpredictable.

Tree roots, steep slopes, downhill descents, and loose rocks present risks to the body and the head area.

Deaths caused by head injuries or neurotrauma are also common in this discipline.

Despite that, mountain cyclists choose this extreme path because of the mental health benefits it provides.

High adrenaline, increased dopamine levels, and mental focus are some of these benefits. 

The variety of subdisciplines in mountain biking also proves that this sport is not focused on speed alone.

Cross-country and slopestyle are subdisciplines that focus on the creativity, form, and mastery of the cyclist.

Road biking is a lot more straightforward than mountain biking. Most competitions highlight speed more than anything.

This explains why road bikes are lighter but cannot take the harshness of other terrains. That said, road bikes are not suitable for riding off-road.

But if you need to travel off-road, the best you can do is to find a compacted dirt trail. 

Can Mountain Bike Be Used for the Road 

Before we get into the question, let’s first extract the capabilities of mountain bikes. 

A mountain bike has wide knobs for tighter grip in loose terrains.

A frame-like geometry for assisting in steep climbs, stable 26” wheels for bearing rough and rocky potholes, and bulky frames and components for adding weight into the bike.

A road bike has thinner wheels for avoiding excessive friction on the road, high polished and lighter components, and a designed handlebar that allows a riding position that promotes leg power. 

Designed for abuse, mountain bikes have bulky frames and components.

When you’re riding on rocky terrain, the least that you want is a light bike or a road bike that weighs 18 pounds in comparison to the weight of an average mountain bike, which is 32 pounds.

Riding a road bike in an off-road environment can keep your pace slower. In the same way, mountain bikes are not suitable for paved roads because of how it’s built. 

Are Mountain Bikes Good For Hills?

Mountain bikes are good for hills and also for a variety of natural environments. In fact, there is a subdiscipline in mountain biking focused on downhill competitions.

A downhill cyclist can keep a speed of 80 miles per hour on a mountain bike.

This starts with the competing cyclist lifted to the top of a mountain by a chair lift.

The cyclist makes it to the bottom in their maximum speed which gets recorded by the judges.

The cyclist with the fastest recorded time gets awarded as the winner. 

But what do you do if you face a hilly paved road?

A road bike is too light to take the steepness of a hill and a mountain bike struggles to maneuver in a paved road.

Which one would you choose to use?

Hybrid Bike vs. Mountain Bike

That’s when the hybrid bike comes in.

When your house is located on a hilly road, choosing a bike becomes a hard decision.

This goes the same with people who have friends that ride offroad and friends that ride in-state.

Hybrid bikes are for people who want to choose something between a mountain bike and a road bike. 

A hybrid bike has a pair of flat handlebars that promote an upright position.

The shifting units are similar to a mountain bike more than it is to road bikes that often have integrated brake and shift levers.

People who are uncomfortable with using road bikes in traffic will find ease and comfort with a hybrid bike.

Some hybrid brands also tend to take a little bias on mountain bikes, offering wheels that are at least 26 inches in size. 

What you must take into consideration is the fact that hybrid bikes are more for general use than it is for competitions.

A 100% road bike is faster on pavement and a 100% mountain bike can take harsher environments and is also faster on rocky terrain compared to a hybrid bike.

But if you are a person looking for more versatility, a hybrid bike is a good option.

Best Mountain Bike Brands


Specialized is the first company that offered the first mass-produced mountain bike in 1981.

Founded in the early 1970s and the brand is one of the pioneers in the industry.

Specialized also provides quality and proven bikes for every budget.

Their popular models include Stumpjumper and Turbo Levo.

Specialized is a brand for every entry-level cyclist to advanced extremists. 

Trek Bikes

Next in line, Trek Bikes is one of the biggest players in the Wisconsin bike industry.

Aside from the variety of models that they provide at every price point, the quality of their mountain bikes proves to last a lifetime.

They also offer fair choices for people who would rather ride a road bike.

Their most popular model is the Trek Fuel EX and the Supercaliber.

Given the name “jack of all trades”, Trek Fuel EX has captured the interest of many mountain bike enthusiasts.

Santa Cruz 

Santa Cruz is one of the most expensive bike companies in the industry.

They have fourteen models focused on off-road and mountain terrains.

Their popular models include 5010, Bronson, and the Bullit.

Santa Cruz bikes have top-quality frames and components made with detail.

Believe it or not, but you’ll see 3 to 5 Santa Cruz bikes in every 10 bikes parked out in a lot. That’s how popular this brand is.


Ghost bikes are one of the established bike brands in Europe because of their bikes’ durability and quality.

Their bikes are reliable because of the SRAM and Shinamo groupsets equipped with them.

The two best-selling models by Ghost are the aluminum hardtail mountain bikes, Kato and Kato X.

Their cheapest model is around $1,500 and their most expensive one costs $4,000. 

Rocky Mountain 

Rocky Mountain is a bike brand that offers a catalog of bikes in every mountain bike discipline.

There are 30 different models that specialize in cross-country, downhill, enduro, slopestyle, pump track, and more.

Rocky Mountain bikes have durable frames and high-quality suspension, perfect for enjoying a cruise off-road. 

Found in 1981, Rocky Mountain started its brand in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

About David Miller

Passionnate about extreme sports since a young age, I started my journey with brazilian Jiu Jitsu and skydiving. After 2000 jumps, I’m now a professionnel skydiver focus on wingsuit flying. I’m writing about all kind of extreme sports, trying to find the best spots in the world to do it.

Leave a Comment