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Training off road through the winter can improve your bike handling and fitness. Not sure how much you'll gain on the road on your MTB. However, the set up - and gearing - is so completely different that you absolutely need to get out on your road bike as often as possible.
I'm no expert, and a generally crap cyclist, but I I don't think your road bike is going to suffer too much wear and tear. You're posiibly more likely to pick up punctures in the winter due to grit and other crud on the roads but decent tyres will reduce the likelihood. Other than that, keep the bike well lubed and it shouldn't suffer too much.
She said "lubed!"
That aside, I'd agree that your handling and skills will improve (MTBers are meant to have the smoothest pedal stroke), but your position, the speed, how it rides on the road and the like are completely different. That said if it gets you out biking over the winter, then that's the right bike for you.
nice questionI started as an MTBer and am now a roadie.... I have arm warmers and everything
I used to think MTBing gave me a great strength workout - its harder riding a MTB,...? Its certainly harder trying to ride at the same speed..... (but then a road bike is harder trying to ride at 40kph than 30.....)
I went out 2 weekends ago on the MTB for the first time in a year.... I found it curiously easy. I romped up hills, ground though crappy trails, and only headed for home as the weather was sooooo rubbish.
So a bikes a bike,,,,,,, Its all good, I jump on the MTB when its icy or really wet and hit the forrest. Apart from that the road bike (or tri bike if its dry) comes out over winter when ever possible
Specificity people......race specific training.
I'd say it's OK for the short(er) rides during the week, but your long ride where practicable should be on the bike you will race.
Though if it gets really shitty I'll take the MTB out in the woods
are you meant to ride your bike over winter??? i hang clothes on it till spring then i think about riding it
You get more benefit 'using' the MTB than 'looking' at the Road Bike - if it's that sort of choice.
I asked this several times in different ways over at bikeradar forums I can tell you that riding on roads provides a much more consistent training surface than riding on the trails. If you are at all in to measuring your achievements and improvement over time then riding on the road is the much better option.
I like to vary my routes. Riding the same route over and over seems too much like a job! If I ride 10 routes on my mountain bike when I look back at the time i spent riding, the distance i covered and the elevation i climbed I can not really draw any comparisons. Conditions (muddyness) play a huge part. The terrain also plays a huge part - e.g. climbing 2000ft of smooth hard pack is much easier than climbing 2000ft of wet roots and rocks. On the road you pretty much know that 2000ft of climbing over 40 miles is pretty similar whatever day you ride it.
Now, you could ride your mountain bike on the road. What I would say after having done that for a while is that it feels like a bit of a futile exercise when a roadie comes whizzing past. It feels even more futile after the first time you have ridden a road bike.
I will ride my MTB for fun but for training I am focussing on the road bike. It provides the consistency of data I want and is specific to the event I want to train for.
K - MTB'ing has 2 good reasons to use it for IM training over winter
1. building leg strength - heavy bikes, soft surfaces, steep climbs are all good for building strength which will carry through to road. some of the top roadies - Cadel Evans for one - started as MTB'ers. sure - you can't compare speed or distances but that's not the point, it adds not detracts
2. bike handling skills will improve on an MTB which can come in handy for tricky situations on the road - how to hold a skid, how to steer quickly etc.
I'm not saying road training is not the way forward for IM training - it is - but MTB can add something extra to the mix that shouldn't be ignored. and frankly for those days when the roads are crap - ice, fog, heavy rain etc - get out on the MTB for a change and bring a smile to your face...
Depending on how extreme the MTBing is it can be 5-10-20 minutes hardwork followed by a rest as you descend. If you are XC racing on easy tracks with consistent pedalling then MTBing would be closer to road biking.
Nothing wrong with interval training if it is an interval training day however if it is long day then consider the terrain you use.
As others have said you do need to put some time on on the road bike to gain specivity.
I was bloody adventure racing today for 4 hours, was that better training than an hour the turbo - yep. Even the Kayaking. It was fun and that is sort of the point isn't it.
I use a cyclocross bike in winter. Road position, can handle a bit of cack too. Couldn't afford gears so use single speed verion