What’s The Difference Between A Road Bike And A Mountain Bike?

What’s The Difference Between A Road Bike And A Mountain Bike?

There are many different types of bicycles. Different bikes are designed for different terrains, riding conditions and purposes. There are always pros and cons to every set up, and so bike builds are optimized for their intended purposes. 

Road bikes are perhaps the most common type of bicycle. A road bike is a type of bicycle that is specifically designed for paved roads. It has a lightweight frame, thin tires and drop handlebars, which allow the rider to crouch down and lean forward while riding. This position reduces wind resistance and allows the cyclist to travel faster. Road bikes are commonly used for cycling competitions, touring and commuting.

Another common type of bike is the mountain bike – which is used in the mountain biking sport. Mountain biking is a thrilling sport that combines the solitude of nature with the physical challenge of riding over rough terrain. Mountain bikes have thicker, knobby tires that can handle rocky trails and wet conditions. They also have suspension systems that absorb shocks from bumps and jumps, making them more comfortable to ride on rough surfaces.

Road bike vs mountain bike suspension

The bicycle suspension is an important part of the overall design of a bicycle, and plays a crucial role in both the comfort and performance of the bike. There are a variety of different suspension types available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. A good suspension system can make riding a bike over rough terrain much more comfortable, while also improving the bike’s handling and stability.

This is why mountain bikes tend to focus on suspension. It not only makes for a more comfortable riding experience, but any impacts or drops can be absorbed without damage to the rider. Longer riding times can also be achieved – which makes suspension indispensable to the mtb scene. 

Road bikes on the other hand are designed to be as light and aerodynamic as possible. Given this requirement, and the fact that paved roads have relatively smooth surfaces, road bikes forgo suspension altogether to focus on speed. 

Road bike vs mountain bike handlebars

On one hand, you have road bike handlebars – skinny and designed for speed. On the other hand, you have mountain bike handlebars – wide and designed for stability. So, which is right for you? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each type:

Road bike handlebars are perfect for riders who want to go fast and cover a lot of ground. They’re thin and aerodynamic, which allows you to cut through the wind easily. Additionally, they’re narrower than mountain bike handlebars, so they’re ideal for riders who want to weave in and out of traffic or make quick turns.

Mountain bikes on the other hand have flat handlebars. These provide more stability and control over the bike, and are more comfortable over long distances. They are quite wide and are not very aerodynamic. This isn’t really an issue for mountain biking though, as the trails don’t allow the riders to pick up too much speed – it’s more important to be able to corner with precision. 

Mountain bike vs road bike tires 

Mountain bike tires are thicker and have more tread than road bike tires. This is because mountain bikes are designed to be ridden on rough terrain, while road bikes are designed to be ridden on paved roads.

While mountain bike tires offer more traction and can be ridden on rougher terrain, they are also heavier and slower than road bike tires. Road bike tires are thinner and have less tread than mountain bike tires. However, they are lighter and faster than mountain bike tires.

Mountain bike vs road bike gears 

Mountain bikes have more gears than road bikes, which is necessary for the varied terrain encountered when mountain biking. Road bikes usually have only 16 or 18 gears, while mountain bikes can have up to 30 gears. The gear ratios on a mountain bike are also spaced wider apart, so that a rider has more options when climbing or descending steep hills. 

Mountain bike gears are designed to work best at lower speeds, while road bikes have higher gears that allow riders to reach higher maximum speeds. 


To summarise, mountain bike vs road bike have different features that are designed to meet specific riding conditions. These can largely be separated into differences between suspension, handlebars, tires and gear systems – all of which serve riders best in their intended use cases. 

Mountain bikes push the limits of stability and control, while road bikes are meant to be super light and fast!