Mountain bikes, in my opinion, are slower than road bikes. However, I could be overlooking some critical factors. So let’s look into this a little more.
Why are mountain bikes slower than road bikes? Because mountain bikes are heavier and have knobby tires, they are slower than road bikes. In addition, mountain bikers have less aerodynamic body positions, more shock absorption slows them down, and the gear ratio reduces top speed. Finally, mountain bike tires are lower pressure, the rider wears more gear, which adds weight, and the handlebars are more comprehensive, which causes wind resistance.
The purpose of a mountain bike is to ride off-road rather than on the road. So let’s look at how its design contributes to its slower road speed.
How to Accelerate a Mountain Bike on the Road?
The first step is to have the tires replaced. Invest in thinner tires. As a result, the rolling resistance will be reduced, and the bike will be lighter. Check that the tires are smooth and free of knobs. You’ll be able to roll faster and gain momentum due to this. Increase the pressure in your tires as well.
Remove any suspension from the front and rear tires. You can also lock your suspension and change its stiffness or rigidity. You won’t lose pedal power because of shock absorbers, and you won’t need suspension because the road is flat and smooth.
If you’re currently using flat pedals, switch to clipless pedals. You will first push down and then lift to complete the revolution when you pedal now. You increase your speed by applying force to the pedal during the pedal stroke.
Replace your current handlebars with narrower handlebars. Then lower your handlebars as far as they will go. This will allow you to maintain a more aerodynamic body position. In addition, you can tuck your elbows, your head, and shoulders into the bag, which will reduce wind resistance and enable you to move faster.
Use a rigid fork instead of a mountain bike fork; most trail riders’ forks have made their way. This is done for you to absorb the impact. You don’t need this on a paved surface, and traveling bouncing will cause you to lose speed. This is especially true if you stand on the accelerator pedals. A firm fork will keep your pedaling power moving.
You can lower the number of chainrings from three to one if you have three. This will make your mountain bike lighter, allowing it to travel faster on the road. It is possible to save up to 300 grams of weight. Saving a little money here and there can build up over time. It is more noticeable on the road than on the trail, absorbed by weight.
Can a Mountain Bike Outperform a Road Bike?
If you ride your mountain bike in its current configuration, you will not keep up with a road bike on pavement. Your mountain bike is heavier than your road bike, requiring you to use more effort to pedal at the same speed. Maintaining a sustained pace with the road bike will be challenging even if you can.
Additionally, you’re unprepared if you’ve only ever done mountain riding and not a road bike. Cycling on the road requires higher endurance and resilience to lactic acid accumulation. Because you haven’t had time to practice, you’ll soon find yourself unable to keep up.
The most effective method of keeping up with a road bike is to alter your mountain bike. Then it’s advisable to practice riding your mountain bike on the road more often, as this will help you develop both your mountain biking and road biking abilities.
Are Mountain Bikes Good for Commuting to Work on the Road?
You can still ride your mountain bike to work if you own one. However, mountain biking is a more comfortable and safe mode of transportation if you are not hurrying to get to work. While mountain bikes are slower than road bikes, they are more versatile. Walking through parks, mall parking lots, behind buildings, underground, and over curbs, you can save time. In addition, mountain bikes feature bigger, knobby tires for increased traction. This grip is critical for navigating tight corners and weaving through traffic.
Additionally, weather conditions such as snow and rain necessitate excellent traction, and you do not want your wheels to get unstuck. Whether in the city or suburbs, the roads are in poor condition. There could be potholes, as well as dirt and gravel. Suspension on a mountain bike provides the necessary support to absorb the impacts. You’ll be prepared, even more so if one surprises you. A road bike has the potential to throw you to the ground. Unless you’re racing, the tucked posture of a road bike is unnecessary. A mountain bike enables you to see automobiles and pedestrians more clearly because it keeps you upright and balanced.
Additionally, you will be more visible to people and cars. While mountain bikes are usually slower than road cycles on the road, you will gain an advantage by exploring alternate routes. You’ll be safer and more comfortable due to the increased grip. Additionally, you will most likely appear more remarkable.
Mistakes To Avoid That Makes Your Bike Slow
You must first stop slowing down before increasing your speed on the bike. Use this advice to avoid the seven most common problems that slow down your riding speed.
You will eventually slow down or bonk if you begin a ride at a speed that you cannot maintain.
Pacing yourself is a superior method that will increase your overall kilometers per hour at the end of your journey. Pace yourself during your ride with a heart rate monitor, a power meter, and your sense of exertion. Begin by riding at a pace that you know you can keep up for the rest of your ride. Then, if you are still feeling good at the halfway point, you can try to speed up a little. The same method also works well for long climbs. Establish a rhythm by starting slowly and increasing speed as the ride progresses, rather than slamming into the bottom of a climb.
There is much work involved in increasing your bike’s speed by a mile per hour. While braking is necessary to maintain control of your speed and avoid obstacles, it is more common than you might think. Excessive braking in a corner or constant braking while riding downhill slows your momentum and causes the bike to slow down significantly. Therefore, you must practice descending and cornering to avoid unnecessary braking. You’ll be amazed at how much your speed increases by the end of your journey.
To avoid bonking and slowing down or abandoning your ride or race due to dehydration or malnutrition, you should drink plenty of water and eat plenty of nutritious food before you begin your ride. The consistency of fueling is less of an issue on shorter trips of under two hours, but you must be consistent with your fueling on longer trips.
As a general rule, try to consume between one and two 750ml bottles of fluids and approximately 60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour you spend riding. In addition, try a variety of sports drinks and energy bars to find out which ones don’t cause stomach upset during strenuous or prolonged activities, which can also slow you down.
Carrying more weight makes it more challenging to maintain a steady pace. In contrast, when it comes to losing weight, most cyclists emphasize the importance of their bike and frame rather than on more obvious and less expensive methods of diminishing relevance.
Instead of buying a $5,000 aero road frame or a new set of expensive wheels right away, consider how you might be able to lose weight from your core first. Then, rather than attempting to buy a 1- or 2-mile-per-hour advantage, reduce your weight while maintaining your power output to significantly increase your overall miles per hour.
Examine any extra gear you may be carrying in your saddlebag or jersey pockets. For example, rather than a full-size hand pump, opt for lightweight CO2 cartridges. A pound or two makes a big difference throughout a ride.
A loose shirt or jacket and baggy shorts can act as a parachute on the bike, catching the wind and slowing you down. If you don’t already have specialized cycling clothing, consider purchasing a tight-fitting jersey and bib shorts, increasing your comfort and making you more aerodynamic as your speed increases. Also, take into account the type of helmet you own.
While all helmets offer the same level of protection, more expensive models are more aerodynamic and breathe better, impacting your performance.
Even slightly, lowering your upper body can significantly increase your miles per hour. The more erect your head and shoulders are, the more exposed they will be to the wind, causing you to lose speed. So naturally, there will be times when placing your hands on the bar tops is acceptable, such as during long climbs.
However, if you want to maximize your miles per hour on downhills or flats, you must lower your chest and head as far as safely possible to reduce wind drag.
This can be achieved by riding in drops with your head bowed or on hoods with your elbows bent to 90 degrees. Because this aggressive position places more strain on your lower back and neck, you may need to adopt it for brief periods during your ride to acclimate and gain strength. Strength training can also help you hold certain poses for more extended periods.
A clogged drivetrain can cause improper shifting, sliding, and grinding when pedaling. Therefore, keeping your bike clean and functional is critical, as a clean drivetrain will always be faster than a dirty one.
Replace your chain and cables regularly (about once a year), and bring your bike in for a tune-up if you have shifting issues that you can’t solve on your own. Additionally, ensure that your wheels are genuine, that your brake pads do not rub against your wheels, and that your tires are inflated to the proper psi before each ride.