- Is road biking REALLY a performance advantage for MTB…?
I find I can only do “so much” mountain biking before I start getting a bit bored – all the prep, mucky gear, washing bikes etc starts to get on my nerves.
I can finish work at 5, nip out for a 1 or 2 hour ride and I don’t have to worry about all the filthy stuff.
So having a road bike means I get more miles in. Granted, there’s a bit of psychology that won’t apply for everyone, but it certainly works for me.
And yes, for sustained, high intensity cardio training, nothing beats a road bike.Posted 6 years ago
Unquestionably yes. Back in the beginning the likes of Gould and Baker cam from huge road training backgrounds, (and won just about everything in the UK), and nothing much has changed. There was even a video of the Atherton’s riding road bikes for training.
The simple answer is that you pedal more on road, stop less, (once out of the city/town), and generally work at a more consistent and higher heart ratePosted 6 years ago_tom_Member
If you don’t find the road bike fun then you may as well be spending more time on the mountain bike.. but if you do like it then it is worth it. Personally I ride my road bike in the week and then mountain bike at the weekends, as I don’t live near any good trails and don’t always have time in the week to get anywhere.
I found it has improved my fitness a lot which means mtb is a bit easier now.Posted 6 years ago
Not really. Road biking allows you to do certain things better, like steady pace and targetted intervals. However there’s nothing magically better or harder about it. Some people seem to be more focused on road rides though and doss about on MTBs, which could have something to do with it mind 🙂
Also, most people have roads nearby, which means you can always get out and ride for 4 hours from your house, without having to faff about and drive somewhere if you don’t have local trails.
Personally I don’t get my heart rate anything like as high on the road as I do on MTB. There aren’t many 1:3 technical climbs on the roads where you have to put in full power just to stay on the bike. However I can’t MTB at a steady pace for hours on end.Posted 6 years agorocketmanMember
Is road biking REALLY a performance advantage for MTB…?
If you prefer non-technical MTBing then yes, it is.
However turning the pedals and breathing is only a small part of technical MTBing – perception, anticipation, reaction, co-ordination and panic supression are essential requirements and the only way you’ll get better is to do more MTBing.Posted 6 years agomaxraySubscriber
Interesting this, I have been doing lots more commuting on road/canal on a cx bike and when I went mountain biking on the weekend I expected to be flying but evidently the road biking works different muscles 🙂
You are fairly static on a road bike so my leg strength/lung power were fine but my upper body etc had a bit of shock and awe.
As a positive it did fully remind me why I used to get up at silly oclock every Saturday to make sure I got a mtb ride in.
Going to make sure I get back into that habit!!Posted 6 years agono_eyed_deerMember
Personally I don’t get my heart rate anything like as high on the road as I do on MTB. There aren’t many 1:3 technical climbs on the roads where you have to put in full power just to stay on the bike. However I can’t MTB at a steady pace for hours on end.
…spot on, exactly right.
They are different things entirely and will get you fit in different ways. MTBing (more) will also most likely improve your skilz (more), maybe. If that’s what you want to do..
I did all my training on the road for an off-road team 24hr once-upon-a-time and found that, although my legs, heart and lungs were good, my upper body and arm strength just wasn’t up to the off road pummelling.
As another poster said also, you have free will, use it. Question why you want to get out on the bike after all, rather than feeling compelled to ride on the road, just cos ‘its what all the pros do’.. 🙂Posted 6 years ago
A change from riding trails to roads helps keep to mind and mojo fresh, especially if you ride the same trails/roads all the time. However you can just pump up the tyres, or better yet get a set of new wheels with slicks on for the MTB.
If you’re serious about racing/training then road riding is an option worth looking into, although more for longer marathon races than standard XC IMO/IME.
Running is good for running, cycling is good for cycling. Both work the heart and lungs but use different muscles. Mo Farah doesnt cycle a lot, Wiggins doesn’t run a lot, go figurePosted 6 years agomonksieMember
What Rocketman said.
Training (and increase in fitness, adaptation blah, blah) is specific.
Both road cycling and mountain biking is cycling. Turning pedals with your legs so in that respect, turning pedals with your legs will become easier, in theory as your further and continous adaptation takes place.
However, spinning a steady cadence of 90rpm in a steady gear isn’t going to be that much help when it comes to transfering that adaptation to getting up a very technical and steep climb off road. You’ve adapted to riding steady and long, not short aerobic bursts of absolute power.
Use your road bike riding for aerobic adaptation in the main with some sprint intervals to assist toward your mountain bike technical climbing (and the like) to make riding all day easier but to get better at the aspects of each type of cycling, you need to be specific in your training.
It’s all well and good to say the professional mountain bike riders ride 80% on road but then how many times on this and other cycling forums are people mocking the lack of technical aspect in elite race courses? That’s not to say the elite can’t ride very technical trails but when they do train off road, they’re not doing The Hope Figure of 8 route. More like one or two hours at most going up and down technical sections on very compact routes. They’re not racing the length of the Pennine Bridleway so why should they train to race it? Specificicity* you see.
* I’m not even sure that I haven’t just made that word upPosted 6 years agoHob NobMember
From a pure fitness perspective, riding a lot more road over the past 10 months has made a huge difference to riding MTB for me.
I used to ‘just’ ride DH, so anything over an hour on an XC jaunt at a decent pace would have me blowing out of my ar*e.
I decided as winter came to break out the turbo, and the road bike, and spent the winter training, and as soon as the weather broke & clocks changed, commuting to work (18 miles each way 3 or 4 days a week).
The difference it has made to my ability to ride XC is amazing. I haven’t stopped riding DH or the weekend MTB blasts, so haven’t lost the ability to do any short powerful bursts, nor do I have any issues with riding anything technical, although i’m not sure how riding road for general fitness as a suppliment to MTB would affect you ability to ride over rocks & roots?Posted 6 years ago
@molgrips – you need to try harder if you’re not redlining your HR.
Steep hills make it easier. There tend to be more of them off road ime hence making higher heart rates more common for me off-road. That’s all I’m saying.
As above, style of biking is quite different too. Good roadie technique is spinning away consistently and not moving around too much. MTBing requires a lot more pedal mashing and a lot more standing up and moving around. I definitely don’t do enough MTBing at the moment and am a bit worried I’ll be useless when I get back to it!Posted 6 years ago
You just described doing a lot more riding, not swapping mtb for road, as is what most also seem to be describing. If you added the extra time to MTBing you would see the same improvements as well.Posted 6 years ago
I am not dissing road biking, I do about 60% mtb 40% road, and being realistic the time spent on the road bike would probably be spent doing nothing if I didn’t have it, so more time riding means increased fitness.BadlyWiredDogSubscriber
Running is good for running, cycling is good for cycling. Both work the heart and lungs but use different muscles. Mo Farah doesnt cycle a lot, Wiggins doesn’t run a lot, go figure
Rob Jebb is, erm, ‘quite good’ at fell running and also seems reasonably competitive on a bike – Three Peaks, Whitton etc. Nick Craig is okay on a bike, but also places in fell races. You can choose your examples to prove anything you like.
What is this ‘they use different muscles’ thing that people keep throwing out. Have runners got a special technique that means they don’t use their calf muscles, or their quads, or their core muscles, or abs? Don’t they just use the same muscles but slightly differently and with more impact?
Anyway, road bikes are ace. Maybe borrow one and give it a whirl – you might enjoy it and you might not. Or you could compromise and try a cross bike.Posted 6 years agobrakeswithfaceSubscriber
Fell running is a unique example though. Cycling transfers very well to fell running and visa versa, and many top mountain runners do a lot of training on the bike/turbo as it is hard in this country to produce the kind of sustained (running) climbing required on alpine courses (see Sarah Rowell’s book). As already stated above fell runners have done very well in cycling (Jebb) and triathlon as well (the Brownlees) I don’t think cycling is thought to be as useful for general running.Posted 6 years agoJunkyardMember
I don’t get my heart rate anything like as high on the road as I do on MTB
really you should just try harder on the road HTHPosted 6 years ago
I accept there are ood anerobis spurts of road that you tend to not get ont he road but doing 100% effort is eay to do on a bike whatever the terrain. You should achieve MHR on either if you are doing maximum effort
It is easier to do a proper training regime on the road.
IMHO off road is a little like [long]interval training long draggy climbs freewheeeling down hills long draggy climbs freewheeling down hil etc
You almost always pedal on the road hence you get a better [ more consistent] workout and can pick routes to do specfic things flatish fo r fast traing hilly for power, distnace for stamina etc
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