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Road Bike VS. Mountain Bike For Exercise

Are you looking to shed some calories? Or, do you want to look for alternatives to maintain a healthier lifestyle? Undeniably, cycling is amongst the most popular everyday accessible-to-moderate form of exercising equipment.

The internet is also loaded with articles about the benefits of cycling. While all of that is helpful, the real deal is the confusion that it sets. Which one to get – Road bike vs. mountain bike for exercise?

Let’s find out more about what each bike has to offer. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear picture of which bike you want for your exercise routine, either the road bike or mountain bike.

Road bike

Road bikes, as the name suggests, is a bike for the road. Hence, the design and structure of it are also straightforward, lightweight and easy to ride.

Its slimline tires allow for smooth treading on paved roads and enable you to cover longer distances. New advanced technologies have improved bicycle riding speed range between 18km/hour and 30km/hour.

Riding a road bike offers you a simple everyday exercise that your body needs. It is, in fact, a more accessible alternative to the daily exercise options of running, skipping and walking. Hence, it makes up for superior overall strength and cardio exercises.

Mountain bike

As apparent of the name, Mountain bikes are built for the mountains, steep and bumpy territories and terrains. Thus, requiring a sturdier frame, more integrated components and handling gears. The tires are also wide and knobby with flat handlebars.

The whole idea of a mountain bike isn’t about speed. The sturdy, thick and heavy-duty tires of mountain bikes make riding across uphill and terrains as easy as possible. Hence, the average rate of a mountain bike stands at 25-40 km/hour, going up to 50km/hour for downhill rides.

Mountain bikes are heavily inbuilt and are designed to navigate through rugged terrains. Hence, the effort to ride a mountain bike is more. It results in a full-body workout, cardio, muscle strength building and core reinforcement.

What factors to consider before purchasing a bike for exercise?

The fun aspect of both the road and mountain bike is that it can be used for leisure riding and still help you burn calories.

But if you consider just that factor and blindly go to purchase one, you might end up regretting it. Hence, look at the following factors, which will give you a clear picture of what will suit your need best.

  1. Purpose – Everyday exercise and commuting or exploring and adventure?

One of the first factors you need to overlook is the primary purpose of purchasing a bike in the first place.

If you need a bike for everyday exercise or commuting-to-work/ running errands kind of scenario, road bikes may best cater to that need.

On the other hand, for adventurous riding and workouts, a mountain bike may be best for you.

  1. Preferences for the type of exercise

The previous sections give an idea of the specific benefits of each type of riding. Now, the choice of the bike also depends on your workout preference.

Regular calorie-burning exercise with the comfort of riding on paved roads is best done on a road bike. Road bikes are hassle-free and on the go. It’s more of a take-it-out on the road – ride and cruise through the city bike.

Whereas the adventurous and explorers who want more body endurance training can go for mountain bikes. Mountain bike riding requires strength and stamina both to ride and carry them.

  1. Your level of Riding skills 

Now, if you can barely ride an uncomplicated bicycle, purchasing a mountain bike can be more challenging than you can imagine. Because depending on a paved road and terrain is entirely different.

So, if you are a newbie, it is best to start with a road bike. Then upgrade to mountain bikes. But of course, the case is different if you want to take up mountain riding as a hobby activity.

  1. The kind of location you live in

If you live in a city and purchase a mountain bike for the hype that it offers, it will be a decoration piece in your home. It goes for the other way round – it makes no sense if you purchase a road bike while your residence is on hilly terrain.

Should you enjoy mountain riding and live in a city – you can always hire a mountain bike in and around the off-location mountain riding and vice-versa.

Pros and cons of Road bikes for exercise


  • Convenient for everyday usage and calorie burning.
  • An average weight person (55-75kg) can lose up to 600kcal/hour at 21kph.
  • Light in weight, hence easier for everyday access and exercise. It also allows for long rides without much effort.
  • Overall cardio workout for the body, with toning of calves and thigh muscles.
  • Cheaper investment for regular exercise usage.


  • Less suspension force, hence more susceptible to light impacts of bumps along the road.
  • The cycling posture is slightly less comfortable.

Pros and cons of Mountain bikes for exercise


  • Mountain bikes are ideal for calorie burning, overall endurance, stamina and strength building.
  • The calorie loss count is at 772 kcal/hour for an average 45-55 kg person riding at 14 mph.
  • It is a sturdy bike, which can hold and withstand heavyweight, requiring quite some effort. Hence, more intense body workouts.
  • It is a heavy-duty and comfortable bike that is a solid one-time investment for exercise with high durability.


  • It may require more strength and some skills to ride a mountain bike in steep/rugged terrains.
  • Prone to bike injuries due to the challenging trails and uphill/downhill tracks.
  • Slightly more expensive than regular bikes.

Conclusion – Road bike vs. Mountain bike?

You now have a clear picture of what each bike offers in terms of comfort, calorie-burning and body workout. Both bikes are ideal for exercise and cardio training. But, each comes with its specific pros and cons.

While mountain bikes offer an excellent overall body workout, alternatively, for light exercise, road bikes are easy, hassle-free and convenient.

The factors of time, region of residence, risks, and convenience do come into play in deciding over road bike or mountain bike. In the end, the choice now depends on you and your preference of body workout you would want to achieve and train.

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