TRTR ✭✭✭

I do a short MTB commute a few days a week and was wondering if folks do any of their winter miles on an MTB instead of their road bike or turbo. I'm not talking about going off road in the mud - that doesnt interest me, I'm talking about doing my weekend 3hr road ride on the MTB.
I realise that its not building or exercising specific road bike muscles but riding an MTB on the road is hard work if you push it a bit, so maybe there are certain gains to make ?

Anyone get any experience one way or the other ?


  • I have certainly used mine in the winter for shorter longer rides if you get my drift!!

    3hr bike is a 3hr bike in my book and as long as my legs are working it'll do for me

  • Yup i agree with meldy - a 3 hr bike is a 3 hr bike and potentially tougher on an mtb aas you have to push a lot to get up to speed.....

    I sometimes ridd on mine with the missus on her road bike....
  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    ok, I'll give it a go sometime then. Maybe I should start off by lengthening one of my commutes instead of doing an hour on the turbo first.

  • TR - I'm confused.  you say "I'm not talking about going off road in the mud - that doesnt interest me" - so why have a MTB???  surely the whole point of an MTB is to get off-road and have some tough fun.  mud just adds to certain days out.   

    no doubt that MTB riding on roads is harder work than using a roadie - but it's way more fun off-road

  • For me the whole point of my MTB is on those days when its lashing down and i wouldnt roadbike going out and getting covered head to toe in mud n crap is mega fun image

    For my winter commute i use a roadie with cyclocross tyres

    But as Melds said whatever floats your boat its all biking
  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    FB/RBM - its my commuting bike. I have a commuting bike (the MTB) which I also ride to footy with the kids, or on rides with the kids, to the beach etc and a road bike. But I meant more from the point that 3hrs of playing in the mud wont be much of a replacement for 3hrs on my road bike. Maybe I should venture off road sometime then, the South Downs Way is local to me. 

  • One of the problems with MTBing is that the terrain makes a massive difference to the effort level, much more so than on a road bike. If someone says they did 50miles on their road bike in 2.5hours, even allowing for the fact they live in the Fens and there was absolutely zero wind, you can make a judgement about how fast/ strong a bike rider they are.
    If someone says they rode their MTB for 3 hours, you really have no idea how much work that was. They could have ridden on a canal path, or they could have ploughed through non-draining clay, and it makes a MASSIVE difference to speed. On dry, drained, flatish, fast tracks, you might cover 50km easily. Add in some hills, some mud, some more technical decents - and thats a much tougher ride. 3 hours "playing in the mud" could be considerably harder work than 3 hours on the road, but its about how strong you are (and MTBing is far more whole-body physical than road biking), where you rode and how hard you pushed it. When I ride my MTB I dont piss about in muddy puddles - I might end up splattered, but I also end up physically tired, and for me, thats the point of it. I can get a better bike workout in a hour or two, on the "right" sort of trails than I can on the road, in the winter.

    Dont underestimate how hard the SDW is to cycle on. It's like anything though - if you sit there and freewheel, you'd have got a better return from lifting the remote every 5 mins at home. Actually do some work (in route selection and by turning the pedals) and you'll see measureable gains.

  • I know lots of people push the benefits of MTBing in Winter and for a bit of fun and general fitness I wouldn't disagree - but it's not efficient use of your time if your aim is to ride fast on the road.   

  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    good advice flyaway, I only have time for one decent length weekend ride so I cant waste it. Like Popsider says it might not be the best use of my time soemtimes, but I'll give it a go now and then. I struggle to get my HR up and work hard on the road, so the extra effort required on the MTB might make me work a bit.

  • Pops - agreed, but unless I am wrong, TR doesnt want to be a road cyclist. He wants to be a faster triathlete. In my opinion, a bit of MTBing over the winter also strengthens your core, and gives you a strength session thats a lot more fun than lifting weights. It also adds a bit of variety to the winter, cos you can ride off-road even when its a bit icy which saves you from the turbo yet again.

  • Well it's good to hear different views - whatever works for individuals and I'm all for people keeping training fresh as like you say 90% of it is getting out and doing it rather than sitting at home with the remote.    

    Talking of Winter bike riding are there any forumites fancy doing a forum ride some time ?  In too many years of being on here I've been on two.

  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    A faster triathlete probably, but more able to make use of my strong aerobic engine during those triathlons really. So the strengthening side of doing some MTB sounds like it could be good for me. 

  • It's a bit like arguing cream cakes are good for you - yes they have some nutritional value but the reason we eat them is because we enjoy it.  

  • I'm with TR - I know what he means. I think!

    I like to ride my MTB in the winter on the roads - albeit crappy lanes which are not road bike friendly and being off the main roads are undulating, with odd little climbs and because it is a heavier bike with much higher rolling resistance it definitely makes me fitter! I like the idea of Flyaway's off roading but in reality I don't want to drive to ride my bike and I'm scared of injury!

  • I have an old MTB I use for commuting and road riding. I like having a cheap sturdy bike that can go through puddles in winter, and if the puddles are actually surprise potholes I know the wheels won't get wrecked.

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