Five reasons mountain bikers should try road cycling

Cover more ground, try new tech, get fitter and more

Listen up, buddy: it's time to start shaving those legs and hit the road. Why? Have a watch of the video below or read on for the five best reasons to switch from mountain biking to road cycling, and also how it'll improve your riding on the trails too.

If you're just starting out then you may want to consider our advice on how to get into road cyling, getting your riding position right and buying a road bike. Either way, it's time to ditch the baggies and don the lycra.

Five reasons for mtb cyclists to try road cycling

1. Fitness

If you’re looking for an easy way to get faster on a mountain bike, ignore the latest wheel size trend, forget about purchasing this year’s 15 per cent stiffer, five gram lighter component and get your hands on a good old fashioned road bike.

Like it or not, the type of consistent, leg-focused training you’ll encounter out on the roads is something you’ll struggle to find on a mountain bike.

If you’re not convinced, ask almost any pro mountain biker – from XC through to downhill, road cycling will be a cornerstone of their training program.

2. Go further, see more

We’re not suggesting you can’t do as many miles on a mountain bike, but a road bike will allow you to cover much more ground in less time, and for less energy.

If you’re looking to get out and explore your local surroundings, there’s no better way – just make sure you have some way of getting back if you destroy a wheel or suffer some other misfortune.

And although your backpack might be practical, you might get some funny looks from the regulars, so stick with a saddle bag instead.

3. Less maintenance

Having the latest 11 speed groupset, internally routed dropper-post and hydraulic disc brakes is great, but if you start riding a high-end, top spec mountain bike through the slop and grime of winter, you’ll soon end up spending more time in the shed than you will on the trail.  

Road bikes – short of the pro peloton at least – are generally more simple machines. No suspension forks to service, bushings to replace and no pinch punctures… well maybe not as many.

And although the road conditions might be a little miserable in the winter months, a good set of mudguards will stop the surface water solution from garnishing the bike, and your clothes.

4. Traditionalists

Mountain biking is a child of the ’70s, so still has a relatively youthful complexion. If you prefer your sport with deeper-seated roots and steeped with more historic accolades, you might enjoy the heritage road cycling has on offer.

Flashes of historic styling don the road cyclists’ livery, harking back to times when names like Coppi, Merckx and (en-quitile) Anquetil wore cotton and rode steel framed bikes, probably powered by last night’s steak and brandy.

And if you’re after grandiose amphitheaters of the sport, the Alpine climbs, or cobbled roads of Europe are all yours for the taking.

5. Easy access

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the wilderness or next to a trail centre, chances are you’ll need to ride, or worse drive to the trails.

Environmental connotations aside, it’s a pain in the ass having to lug all your kit just to get your weekly, after-work training ride done.

Road cycling is – usually – on your doorstep and you’ll soon learn to love the freedom of wheeling your bike out of the shed and hitting the highway. Just not too literally we hope!

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia

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