A Mountain Biker's Guide to Making Road Riding More Fun

Oct 12, 2020 at 3:48
by Matt Wragg  





As winter rolls towards us, there’s a good chance that many of us will be starting to think about road bikes. Whether your trails are unrideable in winter, you want to get in better shape for next year or you just like the idea of trying something different, a road bike can be a good addition to your stable. Among us mountain bikers, road riding tends to get stigmatised as joyless, which is unfair. Yes, it’s not the same intense experience as tearing down an alpine fall-line or carving perfect, fresh loam, but that doesn’t mean it can't be fun. And, I believe, if you think about what bike you choose and how you spec it you can make it a little bit more fun.

When I bought my first road bike I had little money and even less idea about what I was doing. Logging onto Chain Reaction I scrolled down their range until I found the Vitus in my budget and ordered what the site recommended for my size. It arrived without pedals so I bolted on a set of flats and amused myself by bombing up and down the valley road in board shorts, Birkenstocks and no helmet. The brakes came in Euro setup, the wrong way round for me, but I could never be bothered to re-learn how to setup a cabled brake or re-tape the bars, so I ran them that way for my entire time with the bike. My favourite pastime was to find a middle-aged guy in replica team kit and buzz him as I steamed past up or down the mountain. I have fond memories of summer evenings letting the tiny 21mm tyres skate around on the rough roads of Northern Italy on the descents, then dropping by the local bar for a beer after.

My first road bike. I don't remember buying the chainring or chainguide, but I assume it fitted on the front derailleur mount. It was cheap and cheerful and saw me through 3-4 winters of road riding - not bad for a £500 bike spruced up with leftover MTB parts.

I was having fun which meant I was riding the bike quite a lot and the more I rode it the deeper down the rabbithole I went. Realising I was hitting 70km/h on the descents, I started wearing a helmet. A friend gave me some lightly used road SPD pedals and shoes. I hated how heavy the bike was, so the cheapest way to save weight was to remove the small chainring and front derailleur, leaving me with a 50t single ring. The position on the descent was wrong so I bolted on a Renthal 90mm stem I had left over from a press launch. It’s a pattern we should all recognise and very soon I started eyeing up carbon fibre bikes… and then came the day when I tried lycra.

It’s a slippery slope, but one I have thoroughly enjoyed going down. Of course as a professional bike nerd (I may have that printed on my business cards) I have tweaked my road bike into something I think is a bit more fun than an off the shelf bike. It’s nothing too wild, I think in the last hundred years road cyclists have crafted a pretty good machine and it would be arrogance to think it’s completely off the mark, but I do think it’s just that little bit more fun this way.

bigquotesas I approach the end of my 30s I have made my peace with not wanting the same riding position a 21-year-old racing snake with a spine made of rubber.

One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was assuming that a road bike is, well, a road bike. Once you start digging you quickly realise that there are a galaxy of ever so slightly different takes on a bike with different frame properties, geometry and intent, but it’s much more subtle than with a mountain bike. Do you need a race bike, a climbing bike, an aero bike? If you go and find a popular spot for roadies what you will most likely see is lots of people riding race bikes, which is, quite frankly, ridiculous, in my opinion. Race bikes are built for young, flexible ultra-athletes who are happy to suffer in the name of glory. They tend to have twitchy geometry and are stiff enough to shake your teeth out, as road cyclists seem to worship on the altar of stiffer equals better. While I’m happy for you if you’ve done well enough in life to head out and buy a Pinarello Dogma, rest assured that I’m probably having a far better time on my trusty Genesis.

Genesis Datum
My Genesis Datum, I'm fairly certain I've had this since 2017, but my memory is treacherous these days.

My Datum is, strictly, a quietly progressive gravel frame. Current gravel bikes tend to head more into MTB territory as brands wrestle to try and square the growing popularity of gravel riding with the uncomfortable truth that gravel was always about suffering to reach wild places, and the mass market is not prepared to endure such pain. Although there seems to be some debate on optimal reach numbers, with many brands' reducing the reach on their gravel and endurance bikes compared to their racing machines. You are faced with a choice between low and long or short and high, while here I have managed to put together a bike that is both long and high. The geometry of the Datum meant I could jump up from a 54 to a 56cm on a frame that was already on the longer side of things. In practice what this means is that my Datum has a slightly longer reach than either a race bike or a gravel bike, much taller stack than a race bike, longer chainstays, slacker headangle, greater tyre clearance, a similar BB drop and a more compliant ride than a race bike. I have seen a few riders opt for CX bikes for the winter, which used to be a decent option for getting better geometry than a road race bike. The problem there is that for CX they raise the BB to increase mud clearance and the frames are even stiffer than road race bikes as they are intended for use in a one hour race where you are on the limit the entire time - comfort is not even a consideration.

Generally, road riders tend to size down their bikes and add longer stems - there are a lot of ideas floating around as to why this is (stack height, weight, aesthetics), but I worry more about overall bike handling, which doesn’t seem to get a look in. I wanted the larger frame to give myself more space in between the axles paired with a shorter (110mm vs 80mm) stem to bring the bar back behind the front axle so I felt more comfortable descending. It’s the same basic logic Mondraker pushed with Forwards geometry, and aside from the occasional moment when I’d like the toptube to be a shade lower, I see no reason to ride a smaller bike, and as I approach the end of my 30s I have made my peace with not wanting the same riding position a 21-year-old racing snake with a spine made of rubber.

Then there are the chainstays - an area that the mountain bike industry is finally starting to embrace in a more nuanced way than claiming that shorter = "playful." Race bikes all have ultra-short chainstays as the most important consideration is how close the person behind can get to draft more effectively and in the worlds of marginal gains, a 400mm vs a 420mm chainstay is a no-brainer for them. For me, who usually rides on his own, the longer stay means a little more space between the axles to move my weight around and more predictable handling. I really enjoy playing on the descents, pushing my weight back for the braking phase of a corner, then forwards as I enter the curve to weight the front - something you can't do without that bit more space.

bigquotesDo I even need to discuss brakes with mountain bikers? We’ve known since the 1990s that disc brakes are just better.

One of the first questions I usually get about my bike is “why the single ring?” My love of single-ringed road bike started with my hacked Vitus, but since then I have had some time to consider it and I think there are a few other advantages. Firstly there is weight - if you’re building a bike on a budget, needing fewer things to mount to it is both lighter and cheaper (although with these fancy Easton EC90SL cranks, the cheap ship clearly sailed for me a while ago). The important question to ask yourself when you are choosing gearing is “what am I trying to do on this bike?” For me, the answer was to try and become a stronger mountain biker. That means I don’t need the close gear ratios to spin along in a pack and I don’t need to worry about speed work (high cadence pedalling), as that’s not something I ever do on my mountain bikes. What I need is to get stronger, so I stuck on a fairly big ring and persevered until it felt comfortable as it’s a good way to build strength in your legs.


Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
The Easton cranks must be at least five years old now - while on the mountain bike side carbon cranks can be a questionable investment as you plough into rocks, the fact that these still look good after this long means it's easier to justify pushing the boat out a little more. And yes, I run a power meter. It's been an interesting lesson in teaching me how pointless numbers are in many ways. I can put down pretty respectable power numbers, but it doesn't translate to me being fast. As for the Renthal chainstay protector? I just thought it looked cool.


At the back, I pair it with a wide-ish range (for road) 11-32t cassette. It is becoming more common to see previous generation MTB cassettes on gravel bikes (up to 42-46t), but for pure road riding, I think they are heavy and defeat the whole plan of running hard gears to build strength. Plus, if you are on the flat, I find the jumps in between gears a bit jarring. Until recently I was running an 11-speed XT derailleur with a Wolf Tooth Tanpan adapter to match it to the slightly different ratios of road shifters. The only downside for road riding is the clutch mechanism weighs a shade more, but the benefits of security and quieter running on rough roads seem undeniable to me. Also, if you’re building your bike on a budget, pulling an old MTB derailleur out of a box and adding a €5 adapter saves a fair chunk of cash. When you pair a clutch with electronic shifting, like I have here with my shiny, new Shimano GRX Di2 transmission (one of the benefits of being married to a Shimano ambassador), I really don’t see a downside to running a clutch and if you’re worried about the weight you could always shave your head to make the same kind of weight saving.

Do I even need to discuss brakes with mountain bikers? We’ve known since the 1990s that disc brakes are just better, so why would you go back to 1970s-style caliper brakes? The current trend is to pair a 160mm disc to a 140mm rear disc. Maybe there is an aero reasoning behind this I don’t understand, but I have never bought into the weight-saving arguments for running smaller rear rotors, I always prefer increased heat dissipation and precision of a larger disc on all my bikes. I did wonder if I could find a 20mm adapter to mount a 180mm disc on the front, but it felt too much like being different for the sake of being different. My STIs (the combined gear shifter and brake lever assembly) are the new Shimano GRX Di2 which are designed to give you a little more control than standard road STIs - they have improved ergonomics to help you move the bike around and the brake feel is crisp and confidence-inspiring. Apparently ditching the mechanical shifting mechanism allowed them to rework the STI for maximum brake performance - which is one of the better arguments I have found to justify electronic shifting.

To keep the bike in line with my road riding intentions (and not wander off into gravel territory) I run a set of Acros all-round road wheels. If you’re riding or racing road bikes on the flat, the tendency would be to run deep section wheels as the aero advantage outweighs the weight penalty, whereas for mountain climbing the rim gets paired back to a minimum as weight is at a premium. These sit somewhere in the middle, although more modern rims do tend to go a little wider as having a consistent profile with the tyre offers an aero advantage. Oh, and the freehub on these wheels puts a grin on my face every time. Riding in groups it’s considered bad form to have a loud freehub as I’m sure it would get annoying with time, but I don’t care about that and the machine gun sound of the ratchet is so loud and obnoxious that I love it.


Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
Shimano GRX Di2 STIs are the heart of my cockpit, paired to 160mm discs front and rear. Schwalbe G-One Speeds are my tyre of choice with Effeto Mariposa strips and fluid inside.


My wheels are shod with a set of Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres mounted tubeless. Tubeless is one of the current debates in road cycling, and having done years on tubeless mountain bike tyres I really struggle to understand the resistance to the technology. There is a valid argument that for elite racers being able to continue riding on flat tubular tyres is important, but I don't think there are many amateurs ready to drop four figures on carbon wheels only to grind them into the asphalt to get back to the parking lot. I think the MTB equivalent of the G-Ones would be running heavy casing enduro tyres all year round, which is what I tend to do on my longer-travel bike. Sure, lighter tyres would roll faster, but I cannot be bothered to change tyres regularly and I prefer the security, extra grip and lower pressures of a burlier tyre, especially on the rough mountain roads around my house. Much like MTB tyres, I think there is a limit on size and that the 35-40mm tyres that are now common on gravel bikes are a lot like plus MTB tyres - they don’t roll fast and when it gets ugly you are forced to choose between a lead weight of a tyre or constant punctures.

To put the change in context - when I got my first road bike I was running 21mm tyres that needed to be inflated to 100psi (6.9 bar) to avoid punctures and they had zero tread, so even a mildly moist day was terrifying. Today, having gone up to a 30mm casing, the stippled tread pattern seems to roll fast enough, but still offers grip in the wet and I have done several thousand kilometres this year on them and the only problems were down to human error. When I went to wider tyres I dropped down to 70psi (4.8 bar), but then I forgot to check the pressures regularly and realised I was safely running around 50psi (3.4 bar) in the front and 55 psi (3.8 bar) in the rear, and they were much smoother and more comfortable at the lower pressure. These pressures offer just enough give in the tyre that if you push hard against the rear you get a little deformation to help you pump the bike, but the handling still feels precise descending. It is definitely worth going through the same kind of process you would on your mountain bike to try and get the pressures right - searching for the magic point where they don’t quite wobble around under load and impacts don’t blow straight through to hit the rim.

To finish the build I have a 460mm wide Thompson carbon bar. The orthodoxy on the road is to run narrower bars as it reduces your front profile for an aero advantage, so many of the pros go down to around the 400mm mark. At my level as a cyclist, I really don’t waste time thinking about aero gains - riding more and losing weight are far more useful ways to try and go faster - so I applied the mountain bike logic that a wider bar gives you better control. I also find it keeps my lungs more open, so I can breathe a little more easily. The saddle is an indulgence. It is a Selle San Marco Mantra Super Leggera that is utterly pointless (they retail for something like €400), but it is so nice. It even has the weight (113g) hand-written underneath. I have been asked a few times about the comfort as it has zero padding. The thing to keep in mind with saddles is that padding is for short rides, while it’s the form of the saddle you need for longer days on the bike. Think of airport chairs that feel great when you first sit down, but after 15 minutes you’re hunting for a chiropractor’s help. This saddle is the opposite of that - it feels unforgiving at first, then you forget about it and it’s only some hours later that you realise it’s been keeping you comfortable all ride. Finally, I use Time cleats as they have a good amount of float in them.


Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum

Genesis Datum
Carbon may be nice, but it's nowhere near as classy as a Thompson Masterpiece post and clamp, although I prefer their bars in carbon and as wide as possible. It's winter, so mudguards are essential - and did nobody tell you that Pinkbike Marshguards will fit a road bike with enough tyre clearance? Time Atac pedals are simple, light and reliable. In France bells are mandatory in cities, so I found this Knog number that is pretty discrete - I also run one of their lights on the rear to make myself as easy to spot as possible at all times. I run an old Garmin Fenix 3 for my GPS as it's done five years and just works every time - I want the most simple, toughest GPS possible as generally I only have my heartrate showing and I can't be trusted with anything delicate. Saddles are priced very much like Porsches - the less there is, the more they cost.


I think this all adds up to a slightly more fun take on the modern road bike, one that is perfect for those winter miles to make you faster on your mountain bike. I really enjoy riding it all day, I can descend with more confidence, it's comfortable and simple - and I think simplicty is one of the most important things on a road bike (I have mountain bikes if I want complication). I imagine many roadies would turn their noses up at it as it's not the lightest bike, the frame errs on the side of durability rather than lightweight, and a bit of me would quite like a newer frame as 12mm axles front and rear so I could replace the wheels more easily when the time comes. But, every time I come to think about replacing it I simply can't justify finding the money to replace my sturdy workhorse as it rides so well. Reading the review of the new Specialized Aethos on our sister site, I get the impression that there are pure road riders out there looking for something not so dissimilar from this - simple bikes with a focus on handling and comfort.


382 Comments

  • 202 13
 The best way I found to enjoy road riding, was to just buy a gravel bike. It's more fun than a full on roadie, and it's safer. You can still do all the same things a roadie can, plus that training on uneven ground transfers very well to mountain biking.
  • 148 14
 It' great, sure, but the speed on road is pretty limited compared to pure road bike. And the speed is what's fun about road bikes.
  • 58 73
flag teamdoa (Nov 15, 2020 at 1:34) (Below Threshold)
 Just buy an XC bike. You can still ride on road and off and its even easier now what with the 29 wheels. You also do not have to go as far to get fit.
  • 64 7
 @TheJD: There are plenty of rolling resistance tests out there that show that the difference is not as big as most people think (if you have good tires). And those are done in a lab as well, not in the real world where the road conditions might be less than ideal.
I went from a road bike with 23s, then 28s to a gravel bike with 37mm slicks then 43/40mm small knob tires. I barely notice a speed difference. It's more sluggish to accelerate, but after i'm up to speed it's great. I wasn't pushing out massive watts and getting super high average speeds on the road bike either.
Now when I get on a road bike with 25-28mm tires, it's torture. I'm way happier with riding a gravel bike on the road. Keep in mind the roads are terrible where I live. But the my gravel bike also has more stable geo, a bit more upright position. It's just better to ride for an avereage Joe like me who's not chasing Strava times. Personally I don't see a reason to torture myself on a pure road bike. But that's just me.
  • 44 18
 @HollyBoni: so what you are saying is that all bikes feel slow if you ride them slowly?
  • 14 7
 @HollyBoni: The rolling resistance is not what would be the problem. The main force to overcome is the aerodynamic resistance anyway when not going up a steep hill and the gravel bikes are worse than road bikes in this regard. You could put some road tires on the gravel bike, but you would still have the more upright gravel geometry. Sure, there are possible gravel bikes with road-like geometry and I have one like that, but mine is a 2017 model and the geometry has progressed a lot in the gravel bike territory since then. There are even aero gravel bikes now, but still, if it has road geo and you put road tires on it, is it still a gravel bike? Not in my mind.
PS: Knobby tires might have comparable rolling resistance with slicks, but the aerodynamic efficiency is a lot worse.
  • 37 1
 @TheJD: Yeah, gravel bikes are worse on the road, no doubt about it. But how many of us occasional road bikers here care about shaving off seconds on the occasional road ride? Big Grin
I'm not saying gravel bikes are not worse, just not that much worse. It's not like if you get a 30km/h avereage on a road bike, you'll get a 10km/h avereage on a gravel bike with the same effort. (And again, the road surface matters a ton. The roads are horrible where I live. Where I have to brake with 25mm tires, I can usually just glide with ~40mm tires without touching the brake lever .)
All i'm trying to say is that if you don't race, chase Strava times etc. a gravel bike can be a great option. With the right tyres it's not so slow that it can't be "fun", and other factors like comfort might be a big positive to certain people. But we are all different.
  • 23 0
 I got a Giant TCR on cycle to work to replace a Revolution road bike that was effectively a gravel bike in terms of weight and geometry. The increased speed and acceleration of the Giant had me beasting myself every time I got on it. Being able to attack a climb without feeling like you're dragging a ship anchor behind you makes a real difference to how hard it feels like it's worth pushing, so while in theory you get just as for riding for an hour on a slow bike as a fast one, for me, the fast bike encourages pushing far more, so I get fitter. Mountain biking is still far more enjoyable though!
  • 9 0
 Yeah, quite right. With the way a lot of the roads are in the UK, a gravel bike is a better choice; you can run wider tyres at lower pressures. Much as I like the look of a road race bike - unless you race, you're better off on a bike that suits the roads you ride on. Too many riders kid themselves they're like the pros, so copy them completely; race bike, slammed stems, lightweight wheels, etc
  • 23 3
 @Starch-Anton: I think what many folk are missing is that riding a light road bike is very different from riding a lumpen gravel bike [i.e. a 1990s MTB] on the road. I have a light sub 11kg, full sus race XC MTB and it's incredibly fast off road compared to my heavier enduro style MTB. Yet on the road it feels like I have brakes on when compared to my 9kg CX bike. Now a full on road bike weighing another 2kg less makes my CX feel a bit leaden and make the roads even more fun. A light bike and in particular light wheels transforms the feel of any bike.

You do not need big fat and heavier wheels for British or any roads, what you need are lower pressures and tubeless tyres. 28mm tubeless tyres at a sensible low pressure [45psi for 75kg rider on 21mm int.width rims is sweet spot for me] can cope no problem, heck I've even ridden rough gravel and rocky MTB trails with them. Though I do think 32mm on 21mm+ rims will become the optimal road tyre width in due course.
I've even taken a full on aero race bike off road with no issues and despite what the cliches/myths claim, it was one of the most comfortable bikes I've ever ridden. But then I didn't use 150psi in the tyres. Tyre pressure=comfort or discomfort, everything else comes a long, long, long way back.

A key point to note, never try a really light bike [of any kind] - unless you can afford to buy it.
  • 7 0
 I bought a cheap CX bike and put gravel tyres on it. I ended up doing waaay more gravel than MTB this year lol. So handy and so much fun.
  • 34 18
 F*ck strava
  • 5 0
 I have a gravel bike, and a Foil. Foil is for the big road rides and group rides where efficiency and speed matters. Gravel bike is for when I want to be comfortable going anywhere. They are just different tools, love them both.
  • 8 4
 I used to ride a hardtail on tamer singletrack and I've switched almost completely to a gravel bike. Most of the time I ride tamer trails it's so I can ride from my house and the gravel bike is much more enjoyable on the road sections, plus once I hit the trail the gravel bike makes small obstacles and features feel more exciting and challenging than on the hardtail and blowing by people riding their 160mm endurobro bike on a beginner trail while wearing spandex and 40mm tires never gets old.
  • 2 1
 I agree. I have had a cx bike for about 5 years. Since the races have dropped off its become my road/gravel/hard tail adventure bike.
Does everything just takes a little more nerve on the trails.
On the plus side you impress all the kids at the local jump spot when you zip through the drops on the drops....
  • 1 0
 @bainer66: Do you have a dropper on yours? There are a few jumps I hit on my gravel bike, plus there's one of those paved Claudio pump tracks in the middle of a groadie ride that I like to hit, but I feel limited primarily by having the seat way up in my business. I feel like it could be a lot more capable with a lower seat.
  • 4 0
 @dthomp325: If you like to ride a gravel bike where it's out of it's depth, a dropper is kind of a game changer. Just put your seat down the next time you're out riding and you'll see. You get all the benefits that you get on an MTB or any other bike, plus the drops will be way easier to use when the seat is down.
  • 4 0
 @HollyBoni: I’ve got a hardtail XC bike and a road bike (race geo), both with power on them. I’ve done probably 25 efforts on both in the same canyon climb this year (9 miles, 2,800 feet climbing). At the same power, I am consistently about 10% faster on the road bike (29x2.2 and 700x25, both tubeless). Unsurprisingly, it really isn’t that significant of a difference. A good XC bike is quite efficient. Granted, this is a short 40-45 minute effort. Over a longer distances, I think the road bike would start to show it’s efficiency.
  • 3 0
 Literally the same could be said about an XC bike. They are just like gravel bikes, but more capable.

Alsp you're not going to achieve road bike speed with a gravel bike anyways, so where's the point?
  • 7 0
 When I moved to the city and was farther away from my MTB trails, I tried a cyclocross bike and a road bike. I went with the road bike because it is so much more efficient on tarmac. Putting in a few hours eventually shows a dedicated road bike allows me to go a lot further. I enjoy having two very different feeling bikes and I enjoy my MTB even more now because I am even more fit. However, I still wear mostly MTB gear on my road bike. There are certain limits I do have.
  • 2 0
 @TheJD: I spin out at around 40 mph on my 1x12 gravel bike. Still plenty fast. 9-50x40t ring.
  • 1 1
 @seraph: Especially at those speeds, a road be would be much faster.
  • 3 2
 @TheJD: I’ve never understood this argument. And I’ve had road bikes since I was 12. The only time I can’t keep up with my 1x gravel bike is in an all out 35+mph sprint. Gravel bike with 38-40c smooth tires is just as fast as any road bike.
  • 3 0
 @z-man: lol, speed is speed. 40 mph is 40 mph regardless of what you're riding. lol
  • 2 3
 I'm not sure why people need to think that mountain bikers need road biking to be dumbed down. Road biking is awesome in its own right as is gravel as is cx. Stop trying to make mtb seem like the idiots sport. Trush is that road biking is dumbed down mtb. Look at guys like Ryder, Cadel etc. Mtb made them phenomenal road cyclists. Point is, all riding is awesome. Its a healthy and typically safe way to get exercise, race, have fun and all of the above
  • 3 2
 I found riding my mountain bike on the road is more enjoyable. Comfortable ride with suspension and big tires. Also, can jib off obstacles to make riding the road more interesting.
  • 4 0
 @TheJD: agreed 100%. That’s why after 5 years of trying to convince myself the I could get away with a “gravel” bike as a road bike I bought a pure road bike and haven’t looked back.
  • 3 0
 @sunringlerider: wrong. Try maintaining 34 km/hr average over 70+ km ride with gravel bike
  • 2 2
 @fasian: I've done 39km/h on road rides, with 38mm tires, and standard g540's on my diverge. and hit the average you're talking about. Slam the stem, wear a more aero helmet, clothing, the differences between bikes will be so small at that point. I am a bit slower on climbs but throw a pair of carbon clinchers on I'm out climbing my friends on their dedicated road bikes. It's always the engine, I hop on my tcr once in a while when I wanna snag multiple KOM's in a ride vs just one. I'm an exception but honestly if I had to pick one bike I'd go purely gravel + a trail bike.
  • 2 0
 @HollyBoni: Agree, I went from a Specialized Tarmac to a Grail and I really don't care that it's a little bit slower as it's not what I want anymore. I can bumble my way through slop and rocks, then pick up a road transfer for 5-10km. I can also use the same pick to go on a pie run with my roadie friends.
  • 2 0
 @jas101: if you want to make all those changes when you want to ride with a pure road group feel free. I'd rather grab a second bike and not have to consider wheel changing etc. And yes, it's always the engine, but equipment does make a difference for ease and efficiency.
  • 1 1
 Hope you aren’t the guy’s who moan about eMOUNTAIN BIKES !
  • 1 0
 @fasian: I agree for sure, and my point wasn't to say you're wrong, but the difference in equipment is quite small. That was my point, wheels change how your bike rides completely, bigger ring up front, and slightly lower your stack and you've pretty much got a road bike (again I come from owning a newer diverge which i'd say is more of a road oriented gravel bike).
  • 1 0
 Putting gravel tires on my single speed rigid. Going to be the best winter ever
  • 1 0
 @TheJD: Totally agree. That's why I still have a road bike.
  • 3 1
 Specialized Tarmac road bike vs Niner RLT9 gravel bike vs YT Jeffsy

.30 mile (.48 km) climbl at 9.9% grade
4:31 time YT Jeffsy - XT 12 speed
2:59 time Specialized Tarmac - Shimano 105
2:52 time Niner RLT9 Sram Force 1
*Niner had the advantage I believe because of perfect gearing for that climb

1.48 mile (2.38 km) descent at 3.2%
who cares YT Jeffsy - XT 12 speed
3:13 Specialized Tarmac - Shimano 105
3:18 Niner RLT9 - SRAM Force 1
*Tarmac faster I believe because of rolling resistance and aero

In the end I am putting my Tarmac up for sale. It is no doubt the faster bike on the road, but the Niner is way more comfortable with the 650Bx47 IRC Boken+ tires and I can get out more comfortably on local gravel routes like the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I did 63+ miles over 5 hours last weekend and only had to cross about 5 or 6 roads. I can still do all the rides I can do on my Tarmac, albeit slightly more rolling resistance and more touring geo, so less aero. I have done a few singletrack rides and gravel climbs and was instantly sold. I will always still prefer my mountain bike because steep and loose, rocks and roots, and jumps, but really enjoy that gravel bike.
  • 1 0
 @jas101: Would that be two bikes? Wink
  • 2 0
 @jas101: My buddy has a Cervelo Aspero (also a road oriented gravel bike). He also just got a Tarmac SL7. He is markedly faster on Tarmac. I'm also faster on my road bike than my all road bike. For me it's a tangible difference. Anyone can go fast on a "gravel bike" with some changes. But a pure road race bike will always be faster.
  • 1 0
 You said "to enjoy _road_ riding", so where would that uneven ground come from?
  • 1 0
 @imajez: "I've even taken a full on aero race bike off road with no issues and despite what the cliches/myths claim"

No issues? So you were able to ride it just as fast on the same lines as your trail bike and you didn't break anything or even have to work significantly harder?
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: wow, "beating" beginners (they're on a beginner trail, after all) while on a much lighter bike and on a trail you seem to know, sounds like you should have some sponsors!
  • 1 0
 Or you could ride gravel on xc bike. Road bikes with slicks are so fast. Never thought I'd like idea but they go so fast with so little effort. Amazing how far you can go without really trying. I get road bikes but gravel bikes are odd to me.
  • 1 0
 Here just for this statement!
  • 1 0
 @just6979: have you ever ridden on a road? Surfaces can get pretty crappy, especially when you get out onto backroads. Not to mention train tracks, cattle grates, etc.
  • 1 0
 @facelessghost: those are all nothing compared to a good natural trail. They're also the exception, not the norm. Most of paced road riding, or gravel road riding, is going to be fairly smooth. Hopping a train track and navigating a couple potholes twice each day on your commute isn't going to have a huge impact on trail riding.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Sure, I assumed I was responding to something about some component or whatever that smooths out the uneven surfaces. Who has time to read all the comments? Smile
  • 1 0
 @beggers87 I completely agree man! All the best roads are the roads not made of asphalt! And round where I live, the roads made of asphalt either have holes in them, or the cars come
Past a foot away from your elbow at 65mph! And they are So much more fun than the road bikes I’ve had in the past, and you don’t get a squitty Cornhole when hitting a pothole on a descent! And I can still keep up with roadie mates too ????
  • 2 0
 @crazy-freerider: I guess, just like the debate around whether an enduro sled is overkill, it comes down to where you live. I'm lucky that I can be in nice countryside under 10 minutes from my door, on roads that are generally fine on 28mm slicks, with traffic that's generally not bad. If your roads are like you say, I can totally see why you'd choose a different bike to me.
Final thought... I see lots of roadies on dark coloured bikes in black clothes with no lights. Let's not be the ones that get run over as nobody can see us - full enduro colour schemes please!
  • 2 0
 @crazy-freerider: Had too many friends to be in serious accidents due to cars, the less time spent on the road the better! Plus it makes those potholes easier to handle with the fat skinnies Razz
  • 1 0
 @TheJD: I've rideen with plenty of roadie groups on my OPEN UP and I was often amongst the stronger riders, so no, a Gravelbike does not need to slow you down on the road, if your wheelset DOES slow you down considerably, just get a roadie wheelset for your gravelbike for those rare occations where you need it.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: One for road one for the mountains, and one for commuting. shhhhh the wife can't know I could survive with 3.
  • 137 4
 Why does every article written by a mountain biker about road cycling include an anecdote or reference to sometime they dropped a roadie while riding inferior equipment? Setting aside the fact we have no idea how hard the roadie was riding, I think it's fair to say there are slower less fit riders in every type of cycling. I never see articles from road cyclists talking about dropping endurbros in twisty single track, and we all know it happens.
  • 158 0
 everyone has to tell that same anecdote.
"On my single speed I love passing people with gears"
"I love riding my rigid and blasting by some 270lb endurobro in a rock garden"
"Nothing better than passing a 9000 bike on a 1200 bike"
"I ride a bike from 03 and love passing people on more modern bikes"

You have heard it all 1000 times by now.
  • 50 2
 Someone get dropped this morning?


/s
  • 28 0
 @RonSauce: and it happens in nearly all sports. Cars: "my clapped out GTI with an oversized turbo (AKA sleeper) smoked that brand new M3," Telemark: "the thing about tele skiing is that it's harder, requiring more skills and I love blasting past DH skiers on moguls," Moto: "That dude was lapping riders on brand new 450's on his rusted out 1995 CR125"
  • 5 0
 On the road get into a draft and it’s far easier to keep up with a faster rider, especially into a headwind.
  • 34 50
flag mattwragg Plus (Nov 15, 2020 at 8:48) (Below Threshold)
 Because it amused me, and, as a rule, riding mountains with a single ring builds stronger legs than spinning along (this was nearly a decade ago so I think I was still on 1x9), you’re basically dropping into a whole new sport with good physiology to do well. If it makes you feel any better, I tried it on a fella in a Cannondale Liquigas kit. It turned out he was actually on the Liquigas team and once he’d finished relaxing he smoked me like I was stationery.
  • 39 3
 It's so obnoxious, isn't it. What do people have to prove by claiming they "dropped" someone? If you're not a racer and can't prove it on the racetrack, it literally doesn't matter how great you think you are.
  • 49 5
 @mattwragg: as a rule, making fun of slower riders isn’t cool.
  • 1 1
 @mattwragg: in terms of the physiology thing, I’d not thought about that until I was on a ride with a friends son who is a pretty good roadie (previously been an Alps ride guide) who said he could tell I was a mountain biker as I had a strong burst of power when kicking up hills. Only been road riding for the past couple of years but really love it, totally different to Mtb but compliments it by helping to build cadence and endurance / fitness.
  • 17 0
 Anyone who passes me is on a shorter ride than me. Anyone I pass is on a ride equal to or easier than mine
  • 3 2
 @BenTheSwabian: Because in the deep state world, you are always in some virtual competition with others around you. Lol.
  • 1 2
 Matthieu van der Poel is a shitty MTB’r lol
  • 12 1
 Bonus cringe points if same people don't do any real races because they "don't care about that kind of stuff".
  • 3 0
 @RonSauce: But did I tell you about the time I passed some bloke on an analog bike while I was riding my buddy's ebike? Psht, what an idiot. Am I right?
  • 1 1
 @mattwragg: "as a rule, riding mountains with a single ring builds stronger legs than spinning along"

As a rule? What rule? What is stronger legs anyway? 1 rep max back squat? 3x5 front-squat? Capable of a 50 mile green-trail ride at 95% max effort? Sub 3 hour marathon?
  • 1 1
 @mattwragg: A few guys that are single speeders in my area, are always at the top of Strava leaderboards every week in both mileage and vertical climbing feet. A lot hold the top spots on speed leaderboards as well.
  • 2 1
 @just6979: A watt is a watt is a watt is a watt ...
  • 2 0
 @facelessghost:
But when is a watt a watt? What watt is what? Eek
  • 1 0
 On one of our more mellow local trail systems, I routinely drop enduro bros while on my road bike running 30mm tires and the sensation is good for about 50 watts and 20 ego strokes.
  • 2 1
 I dropped an old lady and kid on the road last week. They didn't know what hit them. Strava-Bro, dude!!
  • 1 1
 @tacklingdummy: Yeah, that's what's it's all about, dummy, passing women and children. Righty-o.
  • 1 0
 www.velonews.com/training/do-low-cadence-drills-actually-make-you-faster

Turns out that "rule" isn't backed up by the science.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: power/speed are always going to have a tipping point. Especially in sports like cycling and running. Pushing harder on your pedals will most definitely build strength and power, but that doesn't directly translate to speed. Outputting more power obviously takes more energy. Im not saying i think a chainring being bigger or smaller is going to shift your athletic performance though. Really, its all broscience, as is most athletic research.
  • 1 1
 @knuckleheadmtb: I think you need to brush up on how to identify sarcasm and jokes.
  • 115 14
 "My favourite pastime was to find a middle-aged guy in replica team kit and buzz him as I steamed past up or down the mountain"

What a nobhead
  • 70 7
 This whole article is written "us vs them". He picks apart every feature of a road bike and then tells us how it should all be changed in order to be enjoyed. Just buy a bike and ride it. Yeesh.
  • 13 1
 Awful
  • 31 0
 All of this guys articles are written with a healthy dose of arrogance
  • 24 1
 Reasons you will overtake someone who is faster than you: base miles training period, rest or recovery day, rest between efforts or sprints, warming up, cooling down, mile 99 of 100, injury, etc. You never know the other person's situation and a good athlete won't give chase. Beat someone three times in a race and then you can claim to be faster.
  • 3 1
 @Strobeha: He's French.
  • 3 0
 @feds: totally agree, it's quite telling that the vast majority of the article is devoted to describing his bike fettling in detail, and doesn't talk much about what is actually enjoyable about riding it (except chasing middle aged guys in Lycra)
  • 1 0
 It's delicious, isn't it?
  • 68 0
 Stopped riding road when I was seeing way too many hit and runs or folks getting a slap on the wrist for taking out a group ride. Bike vs car never ends up well for the bike/biker. A shame as I really enjoyed the speed and efficiency after riding mtb for many years.
  • 18 20
 Not fault of road biking/bikers though.
  • 41 1
 Depends on the situation. I've seen many a roadie behave poorly in traffic, putting themselves at risk. But have seen far more careless drivers. Last road ride I went on there were far too many close calls for me to enjoy it, so I stopped riding road. This is coming from someone who earned a living as a bicycle messenger at one point, playing in traffic used to be my job! Smile
  • 62 0
 @TheJD: doesn't much matter whose fault it is if you're dead.
  • 18 0
 True, it’s just awful how the law aggressively protects the person attacking others as long as they are using a car as a weapon.
  • 10 0
 @ko-d: in the Netherlands it's the other way around: liability by default lies with the car driver. With lots of cyclists riding in the dark without lights and not respecting right of way, at the same time wearing headphones and using their phones, even as a cyclists myself I feel there should be a sensible middle ground.
  • 10 0
 Yea, me too. Distracted driving is so off the charts, I gave up road biking and motorcycles.
  • 12 0
 @JarrodB: vehicles come with “infotainment” these days. The first time I heard that I was so scared to ever ride on a shoulder again. I still maintain manual cars will save the world from driving and texting.
  • 9 3
 @JarrodB: The reality is that riding to work is in fact safer than driving to work. The low risks of cycling are well outweighed by the health benefits gained over driving. Bike messengers are however a very different and markedly unrepresentative category.
People seriously misperceive the dangers of cycling. It is not inherently dangerous, for example both pedestrians and drivers are slightly higher risk of head trauma than cyclists. But no-one insists they need helmets to go about their business.
Humans are simply shocking at risk assessment or indeed anything involving probability.
  • 19 0
 Vancouver has had an explosion in bike paths created to separate riders from cars, and it is fabulous! Definitely not meant for road racing strava or pelotons of your speeed buddies, its great to ride a comfortable groadie bike with hydraulic discs and semi-fat tires. My 26 km commute to work can be done entirely on bike paths. Get involved with lobbying your local politicians for change if you hate riding with death-mobiles.
  • 4 0
 @heckler73: you’re in progressive metro area who has thought about people’s needs and transit together to accommodate for those paths. Similar places exist in the states, but it isn’t feasible to say “ just ask” for a lot of America. We fell hard for cars back in the 50’s and aren’t looking back. I do feel safer on a motorcycle and I always throw the deuces at roadies. I remember the suffering, then I twist a throttle and forget
  • 2 0
 @usedbikestuff: be part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Which problem? Don't get me started.
  • 5 0
 @JarrodB: I'm with you here that it's a 2 way street in terms of roadies Vs drivers. There's a busy stretch of road which is a 60mph limit and not very wide near us which in summer you get massive groups of roadies riding next to each other taking up over half of the lane meaning it becomes very dangerous for both the cyclists and the drivers when trying to pass them. In this situation its very inconsiderate and a bit foolhardy of the cyclists but on the flip side I have seen drivers carving up cyclists for no reason. There's a conflict between the two. I stick to the trails, it's safer and more fun (not saying road cycling isn't fun)
  • 2 0
 @usedbikestuff: and its not “just ask”. Just vote.
  • 3 1
 @Mac1987: Oh my god this drives me nuts. Our legal situation regarding liability is slightly different, but there's also a insane amount of cyclists in city traffic, without a care in the world for whats happening around them. They will just go wherever whenever. You described it perfectly. No helmet, no lights, not sticking to traffic laws and all while using headphones. I really don't understand how not more of them end up as casualties.
  • 2 0
 @heckler73: that’s wishful thinking at best. I go back to my previous point. If my hometown tried to put in bike paths, they would have to do as many miles as there are roads and every ride would be a few thousand feet of climbing, aka, no one would use them. Metro areas, great, rural infrastructure can’t support it.
  • 2 0
 When someone asks me why I don't ride a road bike, I say 'I've never been hit by a car while riding singletrack.' And I have been hit by cars. A few were bad.
  • 2 0
 One of the biggest problems is that roads just were not made for both cars and bikes together at the same time. The discrepancy in speed and lack of space is the main source of accidents. That is why I don't ride road much.
  • 4 0
 @usedbikestuff:
Manual Cars doesn't prevent texting. Here in Europe almost every car is manual and you can see far too many people driving and texting.
Just in Spain, where I live, there are over four thousand deaths every year related to texting while driving, in a country with a population of 47 million is quite a lot.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: lol in southern Ontario there is an area just west of Toronto where the only truck route connecting two major highways is single lane with basically no shoulder. Beautiful road, often see road bikers on it. There definitely isn't enough space for two transports and a bicycle side by side.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: But soon you'll be able to get hit by an eBike!
  • 1 0
 @facelessghost: LOL. I'll just have to make sure I stay above 24 kph.
  • 53 1
 Road biking is not boring at all if you have nice roads to ride in. Just like MTB. What I completely hate about it though is breathing diesel gas fumes from passing vehicles.
  • 6 1
 I don't really get the appeal from it. Whenever I see many roadbikers they usually drive up and down mountainb pass roads where there is insane traffic from loud motorists. One big factor for me riding mtb is the ability to ride trail which are the best way to experience nature and athletic challenges. I solely enjoy riding paved roads especially with traffic.
  • 12 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: If the only option is riding on heavy traffic roads I think I would stay away from it, for the health of both my lungs and bones, and it's just a nuisance. But regarding the scenic aspect you can have a wonderful time and be exposed to even more beautiful and natural settings than on a mountain bike. As I said, it only depends on what roads you ride, what's your geographical location, and how far you are from heavily populated areas. And downhilling can also be quite a thrill on certain roads. So also considering that you can cover a lot of ground and see a lot of wonderful places, and that there is a certain thrill in going fast powered by yourself alone, I would say there is a lot going in for it.
  • 7 6
 You're right but you have to admit that it is kinda boring compared to mtb. Especially if you're riding alone. Strava segments and pushing yourself helps a little bit with that but road riding all alone isn't overly joyful. If I'm riding alone, I'll choose my roadbike over my mtb only if the poor weather turned trails into peanut butter
  • 9 0
 For some strange reason even if i'm riding on a boring dirt road next to a corn field or something, I still enjoy it more than road riding. I can't explain you why. We have some quiet roads here for sure, I live in a small town with a population of like 5000.
I guess I just like the "i'm in the middle of nowhere out in nature" feeling? There are some paved roads that are out in the middle of nowhere as well, but there is just something about riding on dirt I guess, or I don't know.
  • 2 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: Indiana has giant grid of quiet roads, it's like a giant playground and it's quite nice.
  • 2 1
 @pakleni: Obviously MTB is more fun (especially if you're a pinkbike member), but I recently built up a frankencross bike and the ability to rip on-road to easy XC trails and then blast up hills off-road is pretty damn fun.
  • 1 0
 @rezrov: I did that before I got a road bike, by putting a 26-36-48 touring crankset and a rigid fork on a xc frame. The goal was the same. I can go anywhere with it and do averages on road that aren't far behind the road bike's.
  • 1 0
 Vehicle exhaust is incredibly clean (at least in North America) for the most part. I'd be more concerned with the dust from brake linings that contains asbestos. I guess it comes down to "Do the health benefits outweigh the risk?"
  • 2 0
 @pakleni: It's only boring if you (and the friends you're riding with) make it boring.

Siting in a bar doing nothing: probably boring
Siting in a bar with your best friends, catching up on life and enjoying a meal and drink probably not boring:
  • 4 0
 I love road riding, almost as much as MTB. From my house I can be at Huntington Beach eating tacos in 3 hours. Or, I can ride up to Big Bear and get a burger (but that takes a lot longer). I can ride all over southern California, stopping anywhere I like for a snack and a drink and keep on going. I can go see the Hollywood sign or just leave the car at home and ride to work (okay, I do that everyday anyway).

Road riding is boring because you tell yourself that it is boring and make it a chore. For me, it is just part of being outside.

I also like to run great distances too, for fun.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Riding my mountain bike downhill by myself: still a ridiculous amount of fun Big Grin
  • 34 0
 I don't understand people. Where is this law that you can only be a roadie or a "endurobro"? I love both equally and I get different rewards from each. Plus they are hugely complimentary. Road riding is so good for building fitness. MTB is awesome for bike handling skills. MTB is all about having fun, and being in the moment, focused on the small stretch of dirt right in front of you. Road is more Zen, enjoying the scenery, going further than you have ever before, climbing more than ever before, or pushing yourself to hold a steady effort for longer than you thought possible. It also gives you an appreciation of just how much more fit the pro peleton is compared to us mere mortals.
  • 16 0
 Tribalism and ego
  • 3 0
 totally summed up my experience with road and trail. I love them both.
  • 2 0
 Why can't people just enjoy things for what they are? Also, I think that you will find the most enjoyment by consulting a road-riding expert, getting fit correctly, and setting up a road bike to me most efficient as a road bike. If it doesn't fit right, is uncomfortable, and slow, you won't want to ride it, which defeats the entire purpose.
  • 3 0
 Its funny because you see these amateur mountain bikers that just rag on roadies and make fun of them and feel the need to maintain their endurbro image.....yet somehow forget that almost all of their heroes in DH and enduro ride road super frequently and a lot of them openly state they like it! How about maintaining your super-bro image by riding some road, getting way more fit and crushing your "i only ride enduro" friends at the next race?
  • 3 0
 @ianswilson815: I just think bikes are rad
  • 1 0
 I ride on the road/gravel multiple times per week between April and November (just moved my bike to the trainer), and enjoy MTB weekends and evenings. The two are definitely complimentary and all those miles in the mornings mean I can hit the local bike park for 'enduro' night and enjoy riding up as much as I enjoy riding down!
  • 24 0
 I ride both regularly, speed and efficiency of road bike is amazing to experience especially if you enjoy going up hill. Each to their own but I just love bikes and cycling
  • 1 7
flag just6979 (Nov 16, 2020 at 12:38) (Below Threshold)
 @tomo12377: Speed, yes. But the efficiency argument I find lacking. Efficient at what? Pretty much just pedaling and going long distances on relatively smooth roads. But a full-sus trail bike is much more "efficient" at going long distances on fun trails. A DH bike is way more "efficient" at getting down a steep trail the fastest.

The trail situations might have less energy sent solely through the pedals, but the total energy required to get a road bike down a good DH track in one piece is going to be quite a bit more than than the total energy input that a DH bike would require.
  • 2 0
 But that’s the whole goal - when you’re efficient on smooth roads for going long distances, you greatly expand how far you can ride and how many different things you can see and places you can visit. Bombing down steep trails on a plush ride is amazing, but it’s not exactly like riding 3 hours to treat yourself to a nice pastry and then riding back. They’re both fun.
  • 1 0
 @KeeganPelton: Not disagreeing that's the goal for many people, just arguing that the term "efficiency" is being abused. Efficiency can mean so much more than just pedaling efficiency.

Pedaling efficiency is only the most important efficiency when "on smooth roads for going long distances". Once off-road, traction (efficiency at continuously putting pedaling power to the trail) needs to be taken into account. Once going downhill off-road, suspension efficiency (how well the suspension isolates the rider so they don't have to expend extra energy absorbing or otherwise account for trail obstacles) also becomes a factor. For really really long rides, bike fit becomes a factor, because a bad fit takes energy to adapt to and that's inefficient.
  • 22 1
 I've nearly doubled my saddled miles this year my adding a gravel bike to my garage. You can take these gravel and CX bikes down most single track no problem. There is something fun about underbiking.
  • 9 17
flag jgainey (Nov 15, 2020 at 9:05) (Below Threshold)
 Why would doubling miles be a positive? I would rather spend 3 hours in the woods on single track, than 3 hours on the road (or gravel) any day, and every day of the week.
  • 9 0
 Same. What I also like about my CX bike is getting out on the bike is less of an ordeal. MTB typically requires a bit more gear, and it's slower to get to the trails.

On the CX I can ride to the trails 50% faster and hit a quick XC loop, whereas I wouldn't do a quick loop on my full sus because the ride feels like more of a time investment.
  • 11 1
 @jgainey: wut? Why would doubling miles even be a negative? Sometimes I get tired of riding single track all the time. It's nice to do something different, like an open road in the countryside. Group rides or with friends out on the road have been pretty epic since we have nice countryside for it. Road is also great for fitness level.
  • 3 0
 @jgainey: Because not everyone lives in a place where you can access the trails just riding our of your garage vs. a road bike where you can access the road just riding out of your garage.
  • 1 0
 @rezrov: "whereas I wouldn't do a quick loop on my full sus because the ride feels like more of a time investment."

You're doing it wrong. I go out and do power-hours on my trail bike to run the dog all the time. If you don't need all kinds of extra gear on the CX bike on trails, why does the trail bike need it? Helmet, gloves & glasses if you prefer, hit it. You're only going for an hour, you can even skip the water if your bike for some reason doesn't have a bottle mount (or stick a soft-bottle in your shorts back pocket, works surprisingly well).
  • 3 0
 @zephxiii: Because some people care more about the time than the miles. I try to get out twice a week on trails, (though right now with a 1 year old and newborn I'm lucky to get one), but I wouldn't trade any of the hours of those trail rides just to "double my saddled miles" by doing a road ride instead. In the end, I'm going to have the pretty much the same amount of "saddled hours", so the miles just don't matter.
  • 15 0
 The main reason for carbon seatposts is to increase confort. There are rarely new seatposts that focus on stiffness. Also the concept of running bars at 400 or 420mm is because shoulder width is for the most at that mark and with normal bars you don't push your wrists inside and thus putting stress on them. That's why there are wider gravel bars that are flared.
  • 3 1
 I think that's a circular discussion re: bar width, as road pros tend to have narrow shoulders as they don't want to carry the bulk of upper body muscle. What I know for sure is that when I jumped from 44cm to 46cm the handling felt better, and when I recently ended up on a 40cm for a couple of rides the bike's handling felt horrendous - switching it up to 46cm changed how the bike handled.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: I don't disagree about handling, wider bars give you more stability, that's why even XC now uses 740mm bars. I was speaking only about ergonomics. I'm 173cm tall, quite light and I don't have wide shoulders. The 54 Diverge I now use quite a lot (tho mostly on road as I don't have anything decent to ride around me) has a 420mm bar and it was a bit too wide for me so I had to rotate hoods a bit inward as I found that I was straining my wrists a bit. On a 2h ride it wasn't a problem before, anything more and my hands would start to numb.
  • 5 0
 @mattwragg: You aren't neccesarily measuring the outside muscle of a shoulder when you are talking about mechanics, you measure the joint. Having huge delts and a muscular build doesn't make your grip wider, same as having big legs won't make your hips wider.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Yeah, you're right, although I always figured skeletal and muscular development were connected (if you start young). I guess a better way to put it would be that the sport selects for a certain bodyshape and people with slimmer upper bodies are naturally better-suited to road racing.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: How does adding muscle change the width of your shoulder bones?
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: "people with slimmer upper bodies are naturally better-suited to road racing."

Doesn't really change the fact that the average grip width lines up pretty close to 40-42cm, as stated by @vid1998. Bar width isn't all about aero, and overall comfort/fit is still a decent part of both a race (despite the snark about 30 year olds being less flexible*) and endurance road bike, and while race bikes will sacrifice some comfort for aero, it's not one-dimensional, because it still needs enough comfort for the rider to put in dozens & dozens of miles over and over again.

*(Oh hey, maybe that middle-aged guy you keep buzzing is just not as flexible as he thought he was and is saving for a bike that fits better, and meanwhile you're being a dick to him.)
  • 15 0
 “ As winter rolls towards us, there’s a good chance that many of us will be starting to think about road bikes.”
This is funny, because in Belgium exactly the opposite is happening: many roadies moving to MTB during winter...
  • 7 0
 Yup, high speed on a road bike isn't pleasant in colder weather. Plus roads covered in leaves at moment or ice later on, are sketchy when driving, so definitely iffy a on a bike. Though snow+bikes=awesome fun on or off road.
I prefer off road in winter, you tend to be working harder at lower speeds, so you stay warmer. I'm still wearing summer road mitts whilst MTBing even now, in mid November [-6-11C], yet I need winter gloves for on road.
  • 11 0
 As a long time road rider, i bought a gravel bike this spring. I find it gives me greater confidence riding road sections, as the gravel shoulder is now a bailout option in traffic. The position is much more comfortable, and at 63 I have now come to the realization I will not be called up to ride the Tour de France anytime soonSmile
  • 16 2
 I just ride my hardtail trail bike.
  • 4 3
 HT with road tyres works. Droppers are useful at traffic lights
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: I’m on Conti XKings, not the fastest rolling, nor great in the mud, but a good allround compromise for trails/pumptracks/commuting.
  • 9 0
 I think the most important part is the roads and the location. Great asphalt in the mountains with little traffic to a perfect little Italian village with a sick cafe with amazing coffe and food. Yes. Crappy potholed filled flat dull windswept road to another swedish village with a closed ICA supermarket not selling the usual hotdogs, nah I'll pass
  • 12 0
 Microdosing and edibles weren't mentioned once in this article....
  • 8 1
 * "The problem there is that for CX they raise the BB to increase mud clearance and the frames are even stiffer than road race bikes as they are intended for use in a one hour race where you are on the limit the entire time - comfort is not even a consideration." *

This nothing more than a myth. I have Specialised Crux, a purebred CX race bike. A bike which I've done 12 hour days on over 180km/100miles on very mixed on and very off road terrain and it's been lovely and comfortable.
A few reasons, the geometry is almost identical to that of a the old steel Stumpjumper from the nineties, not a bike that was ever claimed to be stiff and unyielding.
It's tyre pressure/width that actually give you comfort. Not the frame material/design - the double diamond bike design is inherently stiff. Modern and more appropriate lower pressures make all bikes comfy, even a supposedly teeth rattling ultra rigid aero bike. Something the article starts to acknowledges later on. I ride even lower pressures than mentioned. My MTB is similar with 19/20psi with 29er/2.3" tyres.
I've also ridden so called comfy bike frames and gotten serious hand and foot buzz from vibrations in less than 20km - all because of traditional too high tyre pressures.
  • 1 0
 Id have to agree. When i aged out of junior i stopped racing cross and made the single change of switching a pair of furious freds on as tires. Running them at 30ish psi ive done 14 hour days all off road, and at 60 have “won” the local drop ride. Only flats have come from attempts at riding up stair sets on my commute.
  • 2 0
 I also thought that was an odd point to make. As an example, the Trek Boone CX race bike even has their ISO speed flex design on the back end, same as their endurance road Domane or indeed a Procaliber XC hardtail. Like you say, tire choice and pressures make a world of difference.
CX bikes aren’t going to be the best road bike conversions, but I’d suggest that has more to do with the steep and short geo (including higher BB as mentioned) for dealing with slow & tight muddy corners; road bikes tend to feel a bit more stable at speed.
  • 1 0
 What makes CX bikes fun for MTBers is that they're designed with off-roading and obstacles in mind, which makes them great for light single-track. Gravel bikes are made for comfort on gravel, stability, and touring, and honestly gravel is pretty boring because you can't turn for shit on gravel, which makes cornering a slow, dull affair. A CX bike is the closest roadish bike to an XC race bike.
  • 1 0
 @rezrov: They're made for CX race courses in mind, not general off-roading. In fact, the steep angles, short wheelbase, and high BB, all combine to make a pretty crappy trail bike. CX bike is definitely not the closest to XC, could actually be the furthest, in everything but tire & mud clearance.
  • 8 0
 ".. to making to road riding more fun?" Maybe check the guide to making to grammar more better.
  • 6 0
 "My favourite pastime was to find a middle-aged guy in replica team kit and buzz him as I steamed past up or down the mountain."

So, basically being a dick, giving mountain bikers on road bikes a bad name. Great work!
  • 4 0
 Great article. Road riding is great fun. And for those that say it is so boring and mtb is about getting away and all that, road is different to me in that you are getting more of a meditative, zen-like experience. Riding bikes is fun, and I ride a lot of road. Hell, I'll also be getting a gravel bike eventually, they are also a blast to ride. My road bike, and future gravel bike, sit quite nicely next to my FS, hardtail, and DJ.
  • 6 0
 Pick a bike and be a dick about it.

or...

Embrace the N+1 life and just have fun riding, regardless of wheel size, or style of bike that's under you.
  • 1 0
 This
  • 7 4
 Got some roady slicks for my HT during lockdown. Did a few rides but could never get over the sheer boredom. Just a sweaty fume sucking version of driving. zero technical challenge to stop me from thinking about the monotonous leg spinning. only time it got intresting was when cars tryed to kill me.
  • 5 0
 I initially started to ride road hoping it would be exciting, like mountain biking, but it is not. Once you get over that disappointment you begin to appreciate it for what it is - it's just nice to be out exercising. It's a very different pleasure - rather than adrenaline it's more chilled enjoyment (even if you give it some gas).
If you live somewhere nice I could get into it, but unfortunately I live in an urban area and after one too many car vs bike situations I stopped - figured it was better to get injured on my mtb where it is my fault rather than risk the roads!
Strange thing to me is that road crashes (even the minor ones) are always far worse than mtb, contrary to the image! You wear far better protection, the surface you fall onto tends to be better (outside of rock gardens), etc, although that will depend on where and how you ride...
  • 2 0
 @slimboyjim: Same boat... Tried it for both fitness and commuting but the enjoyment factor just didn't surpass the suck factor. Throw in the near death experiences you get when you head out on back roads with no shoulder and cars not thinking to watch for you and we'll I sold the bike. Now I've taken up rowing, both indoors and out and would much rather base my fitness there. I find it's particularly beneficial to my ability to pump the bike effectively longer and harder.
  • 2 0
 I was similar but was using my old commuter hybrid to explore the lanes outside the city. Was just too much stress always wondering if that car I could hear approaching was going to stop in time or not. While fast downhills are fun again it was the fear of cars coming the other way that killed any enjoyment. Out in the proper countryside I find it different but if I'm going to/allowed to travel to ride bikes I'll take the mtb and ride wherever suits the weather best.

I found the best compromise is a turbo trainer, get the fitness benefits out of road riding but none of the danger. It also gets my off the sofa and the heart rate up when it's too grim or I don't have the time/inclination to get out in the woods.
  • 1 0
 "only time it got intresting was when cars tryed to kill me."
This pretty much describes being a bike messenger, which is the only time I was not bored on a road bike.
  • 7 0
 Pick a bike type and be a dick about it.
  • 2 0
 Or, pick all the bikes and don't be a dick about it.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: my preference too
  • 3 0
 Lucky enough to have MTB, Road, Gravel, Single Speed and Touring bike. They all get used, they are all awesome and they all have their place. If I was told to keep just one....I would really struggle to make that decision. Road riding is not intrinsically boring. Scotland is CLASS for road riding....and gravel....and of course MTB....Scotland is CLASS.
  • 3 0
 "While I’m happy for you if you’ve done well enough in life to head out and buy a Pinarello Dogma, rest assured that I’m probably having a far better time on my trusty Genesis."

And my all-road bike is less expensive than yours and has zero carbon and no electronic anything, so I must be having even more fun than you!

So I guess any mountain biker who follows this "guide" to road riding should just: 1) Find something to hate, maybe bikes you can't afford, 2) Be a dick about it. 3) Get expensive shit for cheap/free so your bike is closer to the ones you hate on. 4) Be a dick to other people when riding your hypocrite-cycle.
  • 3 0
 "but I have never bought into the weight-saving arguments for running smaller rear rotors"

How about the plain simple fact that rear brakes do less work, see less force, get less energy into them that needs to be dissipated. Can you buy into that? A smaller rear rotor isn't weight saved, but rather a larger rear rotor is weight wasted. Save that weight and maybe you won't care about the weight difference of a clutched mech.
  • 12 10
 I see so many casual road riders/commuters using drop bars they would be so much better off with flat bars particularly in traffic and its miles comfier. Obviously I dont mean for your keen beans , or those who actually need the aero advantage of drops but for others there seems to be a fashion to ride with drops rather than any benefit.

Oh and the flat pedals and board shorts (and peaked helmet) is an absolute must if any PBer rides a road bike. Just to make the point to roadies.
  • 10 2
 Especially in traffic the flat bars, if not talking width less than 450 mm, are a very big hindrance and are way more dangerous for you, because car drivers are much more likely to hit the end of your bars. Drop bars, talking the usual width around 400 mm, are the same width as your silhouette, making them less likely to get hit. You can also squeeze into smaller gaps at the traffic lights or on shared bike/pedestrian paths.
  • 11 4
 @TheJD: Narrow is good, but drop bars force you to choose between maximum braking power in the drops, which is a pretty low position for urban riding, or reduced braking power from the hoods. Narrow, flat bars can offer the best of both.

If 25 mm per side makes a significant difference to your safety, your roads sound terrifying!
  • 6 0
 @R-M-R: does disc change things with braking from the hoods? I have Ultegra 8000 disc with 160 rotors on my road bike and can lock up the wheels from the hoods.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: Our roads are not bad at all, the ones we ride often, but when I am sometimes going on my mtb on a road I feel a lot more vulnerable than on my road bike. Partly because I am a little slower, but mostly because of the wider bars-420 mm on my road bike vs 740 mm on my mtb.
  • 1 1
 @gramboh: It certainly helps. I still find braking from a flat bar slightly quicker to engage, but yes, the additional power of discs narrows the performance gap.

I ride road, dirt, and urban (commuting). My road and mountain bikes are fairly conventional. For commuting, I've converted an old mountain bike into a road bike: rigid fork, road drivetrain, narrow bar, and fat slicks. Very happy with that set-up. It feels more stout than my road bike, brakes engage at full power a bit quicker, and the fat slicks don't drop into storm sewer grates or cracks. That's not to say road bikes are terrible for urban riding, I just think this set-up is a little better.
  • 2 1
 @TheJD: A difference of 320 mm is bit larger than the 400 mm vs. 450 mm you were discussing earlier!
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: I put the 450 mm mark just to show that narrow flat bars are fine. If you look what's available in the market as mtb flat bars you will mostly see 680 mm and wider bars, with 720 mm and wider being most commonly seen on complete bikes from brands.
  • 1 1
 @TheJD: Flat bar road bikes are usually spec'd with narrower bars than 720 mm.

In any case, I agree a wide bar is unnecessary for the road and could get in the way in tight situations. I've set up my flat bar as narrow as possible, limited only by the ability to slide the brakes and shifters inboard. It would be even better if it was a little narrower, but it's close to ideal for me and I like it better than a drop bar for urban riding.
  • 2 1
 @TheJD: I live in London, trust me, I know of tight traffic.
Drops in the traffic are pointless, even roadies friends of mine confess to never use them at all, except for country side downhills.
What happens then is that you're forced to ride in the hoods to be able to use the brakes, and even so the brake power you have from the hoods is shit. That alone is worth changing to flat bars and brake reliably at all times. But also the maneuvrability in the hoods is shit, cause you have to bend your wrist in a very unnatural way in tight turns.
And flat bars can be trimmed to the content of one's hart too
  • 3 1
 @iiman: Braking whilst on hoods is absolutely fine, I can and do brake one fingered on and of road. And I live in Peak District with vicious steep hills.
No idea what you're doing to with your wrists in tight turns, sounds like you have a badly setup bike by your various complaints. I ride in awkward traffic and also very twisty teach terrain on my CX and have zero problems steering, or using brakes. from hoods.
  • 2 1
 @iiman: Flat bars give you more control over the bike, no doubt about that. But I think you're overexaggerating when it comes to drop bars.
With modern brifters and good brakes you have all the braking power you'll ever need when you're holding the hoods. On my SRAM levers I can put 3 fingers on the levers when i'm holding the hoods, and my middle finger reaches the end of the brake lever in this position. I've done countless singletrack descends on my gravel bike while holding the hoods. I've had no issue with braking power, or control, even on twisty singletrack, or if I had to jump stuff.
Most people rarely use the drops, that's true. That's because a lot of them are trying to imitate TDF racers with their position on the bike (if you have a drop bar bike, you have to have a massive saddle to bar drop with a slammed negative stem, right?), and/or the bike comes with a super aggressive position from the factory. If you raise the bars to a more comfy position, the drops will be more accessible and you'll use them all the time.
All that said, for a dedicated city bike and/or city commuter i'd go with flat bars 100%. But drop bars are not as bad as a lot of people say. A lot of negative experiences are connected to too aggressive geo and bike fit.
  • 2 2
 @imajez: braking power from hoods vs drops is not debatable, is a fact.
It can be done and thousands do it daily, but is far from the ideal set up for city conmuting. Most of London conmuters just don't know better.
My city bike has flat bars, I don't currently own a bike for road riding.
  • 3 0
 Drop bars are fine, I've used them in gravel races in peanut butter and dry/loose conditions. Saw a guy win Iceman Cometh on drop bars one year too.
  • 4 1
 @gramboh: he hasn’t used hydraulic road discs.
  • 2 0
 @R-M-R: I started commuting this year with a new job and new city, I'm using my old (2013) Giant Reign as a commuter. I didn't change much, except Big Apple as tire, it rolls pretty well with these and the 150mm of travel.
It also has a 2kg U-lock :/
The 800mm bar are a bit wide but there are many bike lane where I am so it's not an issue 99% of time.
The dropper seatpost is also pretty cool at traffic lights, and a not so stylish but totally usefull Zefal defletor rear mudguard for full suspended bikes.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: Unconventional, but if it works, that's what matters!

The Big Apple tires are great for building an urban monster truck. As you said, they roll quite well and you certainly won't drop into a storm drain or a road crack.
  • 1 0
 Yes !!!

I am a hardcore (LOL) flat bar rider. More control, more comfort, and 90% of the time when I see a road rider they are on the hoods anyway. I know its possible to bunnyhop and get steezy on drop bars, but 30 years of MTb and racing Enduro and DH I feel sketchy as hell on drop bars just riding along, not to mention uncomfortable. I suppose there is a sligth disadvantage when really pushing it, but considering I pass way more roadies than vice versa I can live with it.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Get some better brakes. Modern discs are plenty strong even from the hoods. Plus, if you're on the hoods in traffic, you're not going super fast, so if you can't stop quick enough then you need better equipment or more practice.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Thank you. Your experience is clearly universal, you are insightful enough to know what equipment others have used and how they ride, and and I can tell you're the fastest and most experienced rider here.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: you can tell I'm the fastest from a statement about when most people are not going fast? That's a skill. And thanks!
  • 2 0
 After riding only MTB since 93 in my homecountry Hungary, I purchadsed my first and current road bike when moving to UAE, where one can find hundreds of kilometers of road bike tracks, closed for any other traffic. As it is more accessible then the mountain biking areas it was a natural move. Still enjoy MTB more but rod riding can indeed be also a lot of fun especally if you like going fast, which needs very mindset. At the end of the day, bikes are bikes, pedal as hard you can go as fast you can and enjoy! Smile
  • 4 0
 When it gets to muddy to mountain bike, you throw less aggressive tires on the mountain bike and go for an urban ride looking for curbs, stairs, and loading docks.
  • 2 0
 I now only have a Gravel bike, but I really miss my Cervelo S5 that was stolen. There's nothing like cruising at speed on an aero bike (and you don't have to be super fit to notice). I have to disagree, IMO race bike geo is more fun esp descending.

I'd also question that cx bikes geo is relevant for road bikes. If you race cx, then great ride it on the road, but if you're buying a bike a gravel bike now exists so you don't need to buy a cx bike to ride drops with bigger tyres.
  • 2 0
 "pushing my weight back for the braking phase of a corner, then forwards as I enter the curve to weight the front - something you can't do without that bit more space."

Something you can't do _as easily_, or with as much forgiveness, with a shorter wheelbase. You make it sound like a slightly smaller wheelbase means you must be static fore-aft on the bike.
  • 2 0
 "the 35-40mm tyres that are now common on gravel bikes are a lot like plus MTB tyres - they don’t roll fast and when it gets ugly you are forced to choose between a lead weight of a tyre or constant punctures."

But they don't roll significantly slower, especially for someone who isn't chasing marginal gains. You proved it in the next paragraph when you talked about the pressure drop not being a bad thing. Softer _is_ faster (up to a point of softness, and 35mm all-road tires is not even close to the point) on anything besides an indoor track surface. You also just mentioned how you could have gone with lighter tires (which "would roll faster"? What?), instead of the heavy "enduro casing equivalent" tires you have, but then go on to say that just a little bigger tire size means a choice between a super heavy tire and constant punctures... But you already chose a super heavy tire... so why not go a little wider and get even more "security, extra grip and lower pressures of a burlier tyre", because a 35mm gravel tire is not like a 3.0 or 3.2 plus tire, definitely closer to a 2.3-2.4 trail tire feel. And what constant punctures? Road and gravel riding is quite different than trails, and a well made 38 or 40 mm tire can be both quite light and quite durable for even rough roads and rowdy gravel.
  • 2 0
 Buy yourself a gravel bike, and it will become your new road AND hardtail mountain bike! I converted an old Redline D660 29er to a gravel bike and absolutely love it. Running 700 x 45c (which is 29" by approx 1.8") tires on it and it will make anything off road feel exciting. I pretty much park the mountain bike in the winters now, due to trail conditions.
  • 2 0
 Most MTB gravel/road cross pollenators I know run MTB SPD pedals on the drop bar bikes. So many upsides and very little downside.

Was thinking that with Matt's enduro bro fender (which I like BTW) those pedals seem even more out of place.
  • 3 2
 I had a gravel bike before they were called gravel bikes (touring bike). It was not that practical for ‘road’ riding in reality. I eventually bought a full carbon endurance bike (ie an all day comfy bike) and it was a revelation. Done thousands of mikes on that including riding to work. All in lycra.
I go out with my mtb mates on their road bikes and we ride 50-60 km chating the whole way and stop at pubs.
It is dull in the riding sense but you see nice places and its social but most importantly you get fit!
I still have the gravel bike and it is still that but its use is limited.
  • 1 4
 So you're saying gravel bikes are gay?
  • 1 0
 Before getting into mtb I rode my 80s steel framed roadbike on singletrack just to see if I'd be into it. A couple of weeks later the frame was cracked and a mtb was ordered. I've always had a vintage roadbike since then, but must admit that they do not get much use, mtb is just simply more, regardless of weather.
  • 2 0
 I quit road riding after being hit 3 different times. Besides that road is so boring. I'll ride my trainer and be safe if I want to ride or I'll just go for a hike with my dogs.
  • 1 0
 I've been hit a few times, I was done with the road after last summer, I watched an suv fully run over a guy on a bike then speed away. Everyone is staring at a cellphone these days, thats how I got into mtb in the first place.
  • 1 0
 I just built an old mtb frame up with a rigid fork, flat bars and CX tires. Its my "gravel" bike, but I can also happily hit up some single-track on it if I'm feeling randy and its still way faster on pavement than any mtb I have.

I won't share roads with automobiles voluntary anymore. Witnessed too much and been a victim of too much.
  • 1 0
 This is a gross overstatement, but i found that gravel bikes made by dedicated MTB companies tend to be more fun minded and offroad friendly than the others. I have a NS gravel bike and it came stock with fatass tires, and could go around XC tracks like noones business (OK Slow-mo around log drops but still ).
  • 17 16
 Nothing sounds worse than riding a road bike in lycra sucking in exhaust fumes hoping the truck driver up my ass is not trying to text his ex right now. I would rather lick a thousand cheese graters then buy a road bike. You can stick those drop bars where the sun does not shine.
  • 21 0
 Alright dude, let's see you put your money where your mouth is! 1 cheese grater licked a thousand times will do.
  • 5 4
 Clearly you’ve never ridden a road bike, which makes your opinion moot.
  • 1 0
 @dirtybikejapan: damn, that’s f-info horrible. So sad. I’ve had beer cans thrown at me and assh0le drivers squeezing me off the road. It’s terrifying and unfair. If you isolate that out of the equation though, gliding along a windy road at speed on a road bike is pretty fun, so long as you’re not surrounded by jerks in SUVs.
  • 1 0
 I've recently switched from a crossbike to a Kona Libre AL. The crossbike was a pretty steel lugged frame, but it was so nervous and going down any sort of steep hill I felt like I was going over the bars. The more relaxed upright geo on the Libre is great, I also put some PNW 52cm bars on it. Riding the gravel bike isn't my first choice, but it is an enjoyable bike to have.
  • 1 0
 @als802 I have a steel cross frame right now I'm thinking about getting that Kona you have and switching all my parts over. Sounds like you're enjoying it?
  • 2 0
 @bman33: I've only been out on it a few times, but yes I like it far more than my previous bike (Soma double cross disc) The geo is more comfortable and upright for me. It also handles nicer, I don't notice much difference in frame material, the carbon fork is nice though.
  • 1 0
 @als802: Right on man, thanks for the feedback. I have a steel Charge Plug cross bike currently with Ultegra kit and TRP brakes. I figure most of the parts should cross over. Only issue now is everything seems to be sold out everywhere unless you are looking at XL or XS. Rubber side down man!
  • 4 3
 @mattwragg: there three main arguments against disc brakes for road use.
First is for just for nerds, and is that yes, less aero. Disc and caliper produce more turbulence, Hambini speaks about it in one of his videos.
Second, and this is more of a real world one, is that is not uncommon that in rainy days the spray from the road contains oil and diesel that's gonna land in the rotors. No explanation needed, I've seen it happening.
Third one is that road levers are expensive enough, and hidraulics add weight, complication and price, when actually rim brakes are good enough for most people.

To me is understandable that most of them are put off for all this together.
  • 1 0
 Will my next road bike have discs? Probably.

Is there anything wrong with the Dura Ace calipers on my Super6 Evo? No
  • 2 0
 Bought a whyte gisburn a year ago and have been blown away by the longer geometry, way more stable and comfortable than the dated, short, cyclocross geometry passed off by most gravel bikes.
  • 1 0
 I had a Wilier Gtr Team and now I got a Canyon Grail Cf. Both are great bikes, so different, Grail is better for home to work commuting, for disk brakes, for forgiving wheels and tyres, but believe me Wilier GTR team was stiff, light and responsive, when it's time to climb or push hard you can't even compare the two bikes. I would buy another Wilier as soon as I have money but first I want the new stumpjumper for my 40s!
  • 1 0
 I ride roads slowly because I have been beaten, dragged, door prized and shot at for riding fast to the trails or work. I have ZERO interest in riding thin wheels in the snow or rain and a crash at 60K can be life ending.
I will never leave my 26" bikes behind to discinigrate into memories they all work fine. Ya I own a few 650s but I will never stop riding mountain bikes as I feel a road bike is just one big penis.
  • 1 0
 If there was ever a material made for the road, it's titanium. Since it doesn't see as much abuse, geometry changes are glacial and its fatigue life (relative to function), a used titanium road frame is just as good as a new one. Then throw on the fattest tires that will fit.
  • 2 1
 "Generally, road riders tend to size down their bikes and add longer stems - there are a lot of ideas floating around as to why this is (stack height, weight, aesthetics)"

It's about frame stiffness more than anything (and weight). Smaller triangles, stiffer bike. Stiffer bike, better power transfer. When you're reefing on a bike for all it's worth it makes a big difference.
  • 1 0
 Ride what ya got. Mountain bikes are not restricted to dirt or pavement it's called freedom. That's the reason I love mountain bikes.
What about BMX?
Trials bikes?
Fixies ?
Single speeds?
BTW I commute full time by bike. Riding on the road is not fun. It's work.
  • 1 0
 As much as I've always shit talked road bikes, I can't lie, they've become more tempting lately. This is an excellent article, if I ever get one I'll be sure to reference this for a similar more relaxed style. But I'll never wear lycra lmao, that's pushing it! My one concern though is how awful people drive these days, you look around and 50% of drivers are on their phones. That part just sketches me out. At least with mtb, if I crash I only have myself to blame and generally the forest is more forgiving than the road. Road rash sucks so much.
  • 1 0
 Riding on narrow country roads where you’re likely to encounter bike-hating truck drivers terrifies me too. Also I swore I would never wear Lycra coming from a mtb background, but I caved in and got a good pair of lightweight bibs and jersey that weighs nothing, I was hooked! Like you become one with the bike and no flappy fabric in the way of pedaling.
  • 3 1
 Swearing you will never wear lycra is insinuating that you care about looks over function. Personally, when I am out there riding for 100+ miles, I care more about being comfortable. If people want to talk shit about how I look, go for it. My ego isn't that soft.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: haha it's definitely shallow but I just can't wear that tight clothing. Same with swimming, not about to wear a speedo no matter how much better it is. If I was racing xc or something I'd probably rethink it. In summer I just wear basketball shorts and a tank top, definitely not trying to look "handsome" out on the trails. I just want to enjoy fun descents and loose clothing is way better for me.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: I would never talk shit to someone wearing lycra either, if anything I've got respect that you're willing to wear it in the first place lmao! I just cringe too hard though. More power to you man! But like getting gauges or a nose ring, that's just not my style lol.
  • 5 0
 What a strange article, not sure what to make of it....
  • 1 0
 Agreed
  • 1 0
 @Matt Wrag: It's very interesting article you wrote, one that I think all die-hard road fans should read to open their eyes UCI-blocked views. I think the current road bike geometry is much more archais than my 10 year old MTB bike. And each time I ask a provoking question they just get mad or don't reponde at all :-).
.
I'd like to ask you how tall are you? And what size is your Genesis frame to which you mounted a shorter stem?
  • 1 0
 175cm on a 56cm - reach is something like 395mm.
  • 1 0
 Just wondering why there aren't more road bikes with 1x drivetrains. Running a 46t chainring with 11-32 cassette on my CAAD 12 and IMO it's perfectly fine (if you are not racing and need those really big gears for max speed). Makes the whole thing much more enjoyable.
  • 1 0
 I spin out plenty often enough with my 50/36. 46 would drive me insane.
  • 1 0
 Short stem and chain stay, a steep head angle: the reason for all this is a short wheel base for a playful handling in the peloton.
So I don't guess we all ride in pelotons very often but people buy what pros ride and the industry builds it.
Good example: Spezializeds new Diverge, a roadbike with slacker angles, shorter stem and longer cs.
A very interesting bike in my eyes but media recensions were mixed.
People - especially the road bike people - are very traditional.
  • 1 0
 "Make road riding more fun" by changing some parts with more MTB specific is no more fun than before.

To me more fun on road commuting (currently using hardtail) means using curbs to jump, using road canal to bunny hop over, doing some wheelie and manual practice where possible etc. - basically use any object on the path to make ride more fun.

Just sitting and pedaling on paved road is still boooring to me, no matter if you have road or MTB deraileur or single or double chainring setup....
  • 1 0
 I picked one up for £18 on ebay to leave outside work and not worry about it. Gave it a quick service and rode it, hated it.
Binned the curly handlebars as I was doing the same as everyone seems to do, riding with my hands on the fat top section as they're so uncomfortable and giving myself no immediate access to the brakes or gears. Chucked some old flat bars, ODI longnecks and bmx brake levels matched to some cheap MTB shifters, boom, more comfortable and far more enjoyable. Amazing how much difference the longnecks make to vibration compared to bar tap.
  • 1 0
 wider flare bars help, but they're not free.
  • 1 0
 I bought a road bike. Didn't like it. Cramped riding position with the controls in awkward places I have a rigid Scott Scale 29er running Reynolds Assault wheels with G-One speed 2.35 tyres. 750mm riser bar with Ergon grips to give a variety of different comfortable positions, as opposed to the variety of uncomfortable positions offered by drops
  • 1 0
 We found the solution to making it more fun.
1. Flat pedals.
2. Ride to the pub at the beach with your partner.
3. Share a chippy dinner with extra pees and a larger tops.
4. Ride home whilst watching the sunset.
5. Get icecream on the way home.
6. Repeat every few weeks. Fall in love, enjoy the ride together, laugh and be happy.
7. Bonus... leave the younger kids with the older kids whilst you are out. Smile
  • 2 0
 On a road bike you need to have some drop between saddle and bars.... otherwise it will handle like crap. Also the frame seems to big for the rider... road bike w short stem is no fun.
  • 3 2
 How the heck did you know that this article was exactly what I needed right now while considering going out for a roadie day instead of the muddy woods on the MTB haha you gave me the final push towards the roadie decision!
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg does your knog bell also sing constantly? I have one and it’s driving me f*cking crazy. Tried bending it around a bit but it won’t stop.
  • 2 0
 Nah, all good - maybe see if there are any cables touching it as they can stop it working properly.
  • 9 5
 Still boring booooo......
  • 2 0
 I put cross tures on my road bike they just fit, bough a shirtee stem and its ace....I'd defo buy a gravel bike as the extra tyre size would help....
  • 3 0
 Road riding is only fun in lockdown, when you aren't breathing diesel and being treated like a mobile chicane.
  • 1 0
 somehow since lockdown there is more traffic everywhere by me.
  • 1 1
 I think changing the bike does nothing to fix the main issue with road riding, it's the roads you need to change. Try riding down a French alp on a good bike, 100 kph is easy to hit, that's a buzz, as is racing Ducatis down the dolomites. I like riding road bikes in a nice place to ride them. I'm equally happy doing an Enduro uplift in Finale.
  • 2 2
 As a motorcyclist, I can't even begin to express how much I dislike people who do this. Roadies (or other motorcyclists for that matter) who think they need to have a go on a winding, narrow mountain road are pretty much the worst. It's incredibly dangerous for everyone involved and if you feel the need to do it, you shouldn't be allowed in traffic. What do you have to prove anyways?
  • 3 1
 @BenTheSwabian: Brake pads are expensive.
  • 1 0
 @BenTheSwabian: I don't let the brakes go on blind twisty sections, that's daft, nor would I get close to other road users. Age and family responsibility curbs the stupidity these days, in the past I will admit I often didn't give it a second thought but then I was riding road races so maybe a different young stupid mindset. Sitting on the crossbar racing down in a bunch was what you did.

Also, I'd never go near those passes in holiday season, the lazy people who need engines to get up them can't be trusted. As you know, its like motorbike carnage some days, once saw a line of German motor bikers all crash into the same bend on the Stelvio. Dry road, just didn't see the hairpin coming.
  • 2 0
 I like road just fine, but if you want to get stronger as a mountain biker when you're not actually offroad, then do structured training on a trainer.
  • 3 0
 To be fair, if I waited till the trails near me were no longer "too wet to ride" I would probably ride 2-3 weeks a year max!
  • 5 0
 All bikes are good.
  • 1 0
 Just installed some 26mm Panaracer GravelKing SK tires on my 10 year old Giant TCR : keeps it light & fast while allowing for some modest "gravelduro" (yes, i'll take the copyright on that one).
  • 1 0
 I learned to suffer as a road racer, I perfected it on my mountain bike. Living next to a National Forest a drop bar 29er is king if you want to ride forest roads, ahhhh no traffic.
  • 1 1
 Had to ride my single speed novelty cx bike for a week when the regular mtb was out with linkage issue. Same trails. Farkin joke on downhills. Had to walk stuff id normally ride while hittn the waterbottle with one hand. Still got out, still made the trails, but the big take away was the long uphill that left my legs pumped so firm i couldnt walk and a runners high that got me thinkin "this is actually pretty damn cool" but when baby was fixed, the road bike never got used again.
  • 2 1
 Best way to enjoy road riding, is to ride your mountain bike on a road on your way to the trailhead. Then go for your normal mountain bike ride, and then ride home on the road afterwards.
  • 2 2
 There’s an opt out for ebikes, but I’d their an opt out for road biking?

Seriously, this shit is not mountain biking.

And for those quick to flame me, I have tens of thousands of miles riding road, toured multiple continents, so bite me!

I’d sooner XC ski, post hole up a hill, fatbike, anything other than ride a bike with no suspension on asphalt or gravel.

Boring!!
  • 3 1
 I guess you’ve just been doing it wrong.
  • 1 0
 I agree with you that it isn't really MTB content. On the other hand, I still love riding my roadie too.
  • 1 0
 I think road bike is good, for improving your fitness, and your technical. Since i bought road bike, not exactly a road bike, but its a track bike, my cadence now is a bit better, and i can run longer on my bike park
  • 2 0
 Nothing feels better than dusting a neon enduro bro up or down the dirt while I'm on my road bike. I haven't tried heroin, though.
  • 1 0
 It’s a good change of pace, and makes you appreciate suspension. Gravel bike can also do double duty as commuter too (if you’re still commuting) or be your Zwift bike. Zwift dgaf what tire you run or about aero position.
  • 1 0
 I miss my roadie sometimes, but it's just so dangerous. People don't give a shit about you when you're on a road bike. Too many close calls. I'll stick to the mountain and gravel.
  • 3 0
 That's one worn chaining!
  • 1 0
 Was waiting for this comment. Seriously, someone help this man. I can hear that thing from over here.
  • 1 0
 I don't think it's super worn, just that he rides in the big cogs all the time. Look at the non-drive-side shots, the teeth still have some black on them. The inner face of the teeth do the work of pulling the chain back in-line from the outer end of the cassette, so that wear pattern indicates most of the time spent pedaling is on the inner end of the cassette, the big cogs.
  • 5 4
 Yep, gravel bike is definitely the way to go. Take mine on quite a few XC loops with mates on their hard tails and it’s always a blast.
  • 2 3
 Just that on a proper XC bike you'd probably be a lot faster and also have more fun. Not trying to have a go, but think of it from the perspective of fast XC riders. On my home trails for example, there's a lot of gravel bikers lately. Unfortunately they're pretty slow for the most part, especially on the descents they can be a bit of an obstacle on wheels. Proper buzzkill that is. Not that wouldn't grant them to have fun in their own way, but I'd rather they have fun somewhere else and not on trails for mountainbikes.
  • 2 0
 @BenTheSwabian: For sure, anything rough and basically any kind of mountain bike will be faster.
Sometimes I take my gravel bike on the local trails too. It can be fun, for like 20 minutes. When I took it on longer rides on rough terrain, it was torture. On longer descends sometimes I stopped halfway because I simply couldn't handle the constant rattling, it felt like my head was about to fall off.
  • 3 3
 @BenTheSwabian:

You’re simply wrong and an elitist. Your gripe is with slow riders on public trails... get over yourself, you’re not that fast...

Most really fast riders never complain about slower riders, they’re too busy enjoying the ride.
  • 1 0
 @BenTheSwabian: I am definitely faster on my MTB, but theres something about being a bit underbiked that makes it more fun, I took my 130 travel trail bike (along with my DH bike) for an alps trip one year and pleney laps were a massive hoot, even though i was slower.
  • 3 0
 Step #1: Ride road stoned. Much more fun than doing it sober.
  • 2 0
 Or Tarmacked...
  • 1 2
 Nothing beats riding road bikes where they don't belong! Even the tamest trails become nice and sketchy on curly bars and skinny tires. It's also pretty easy to pick up an 80s or 90s steel frame and slap a 'modern' groupset on it for short money and go bum out the 40 year olds with bikes worth more than some cars. Road bikes are loads more fun than Pinkbikers will ever admit
  • 2 1
 No that is what you think, what the 40yr old MTB rider who sees you is thinking is, well you really do not want to know.
  • 1 1
 all the 40 year olds by me are by far the best riders. I always year "the 40 year old" dragged on pinkbike, on my trails you will never pass one. You young guys talking shit need to pick up your pace, because none of them have passed me on a trail either, always a MAMIL on the left.
  • 1 0
 I find road riding a grind.. The only way I've found to enjoy it is to either take roads that are very scenic.. Or have an exciting goal to ride to
  • 2 0
 MTB is a social event for me. I do all my serious riding on a specialized diverge of an opus vivace.
  • 4 1
 how about some legit proof reading to make reading more fun?
  • 2 0
 The title of this article seems to be trying really hard to not say the word gravel.
  • 2 0
 My “road bike” is my BMX. That’s how I spice things up when riding on pavement.
  • 2 0
 Road riding is probably more dangerous than mountain biking. people dont pay attention when they drive.
  • 2 1
 "Do you need a race bike, a climbing bike, an aero bike?"

Those are not the options you're looking for. The second two are types of the first one.
  • 10 12
 This isn't "how to make road riding more fun", it's just how to make a road bike more like a drop bar xc bike. Don't even understand why the author would buy a road bike to begin with and then work so hard at shoehorning it into a role it doesn't fit while trying to basically adapt the position and sizing to be a hardtail mountain bike... why not just get a hardtail and throw drop bars and grx on it if that's your preference?
  • 7 2
 This bike couldn't be further from a drop bar MTB, but some gravel/adventure/whatever bikes are straight up drop bar MTBs. But those frames have geo designed around drop bars.
I see the "just throw some drop bars on a hardtail" comment a lot. Sadly (or not) it's not that simple. Straight bar bikes pretty much always have longer top tubes, and drop bar bikes have shorter top tubes. If you throw a drop bar on a straight bar MTB frame, you have to shorten the stem significantly to get the reach to the bars right. On modern MTBs that are designed around shorter stems to begin with, you might not be able to reduce the reach enough. You can size down, buth then you usually end up with less stack.
MTBs use wider BBs, so a GRX crankset will not fit. Even if you find a MTB crankset with higher gearing (they exist), the frame might not have enough clearance for a bigger chainring.

You might be able to find a hardtail frame that will work with drop bars, higher gearing etc. But nowadays you can also just buy a complete bike that's pretty much a hardtail with drop bars, and it's a better option because it was designed with drop bars in mind to begin with.
  • 3 4
 @HollyBoni: you've completely missed the point; literally every single change he made to the bike is to make it more like a mountain bike. Not a single change he made to the bike is to make it more fun to ride on the road. The author clearly didn't want a road bike that was more fun on the road... he wanted a mountain bike he could ride on the road.
  • 2 0
 @badbadleroybrown: I don't know what the author wanted.
We are all different. Just look at the comments. Some people say road riding is miserable. Some people say it's fun. It's very possible that these modifications made the bike more fun for him to ride on the road.
I ride a gravel bike on the road. Some people say that's dumb, I say I like the added comfort and i'll take the slight speed decrease AND I think it's more fun than a road bike. Whaaaa????

If you look at the road/drop bar world, certain "innovations" or changes are MTB inspired. That doesn't mean these bikes are turning into MTBs. Just because a road bike has a 1x, a clutch RD, and a 20mm shorter stem than usual, that doesn't mean it's anything like an XC hardtail...
I think if the author wanted to ride a mountain bike on the road, he would ride a mountain bike on the road. But that's just a guess. Smile
  • 3 0
 @badbadleyorbrown Honestly this was a useful article to get me thinking about what modifications I need for a road bike. He explained his reasons for each change and it wasn't necessarily all about fun although comfort and safety often lead to being able to have more fun.
  • 5 3
 @5chmaus: the title of the article is literally "guide to making road riding more fun"

Personally, I'm in favor of anything that gets people riding but this article is a shitshow of bro takes on road riding that's really just making a road bike, gravel bike actually, more like a mountain bike and has nothing to do with making road riding more fun. The bit about him having more fun than the guy on the Dogma is stupid as f*ck, cause I can guarantee you it isn't true. Add in the bit about his favorite pastime being buzzing past the middle aged guy in proper road kit and the whole article is just juvenile and idiotic without a single bit of useful information for anyone looking to actually ride road and have more fun doing it. All his modifications aren't beneficial for road riding and you'd be far better off buying a stock endurance oriented road bike or gravel bike and getting a proper fitting than trying to replicate this approach.
  • 3 0
 @badbadleroybrown: You make some good points but the article isn't far from expectation for Pinkbike articles especially one that's obvious an editorial rather than a guide as titled. I just wouldn't get so bothered. But if it makes people happy maybe James Huang from Cycling Tips can write a true guide? Could be good!
  • 2 0
 @5chmaus: fair enough, and I'd be interested to read Huang's take on road bikes for mountain riders, that would probably be a good read.
  • 2 0
 @5chmaus: It's obvious that it's not something the title claims it to be? Title says "guide", but it's not a guide, it's a "how-to" "make a bike like mine".
  • 1 0
 @just6979: haha ya really poor choice for the title isn’t it!
  • 10 8
 Road riding is so boring. Miles and miles of just road.. puke
  • 2 1
 Building a fixed gear can be fun too if you live in a flat area. With a tall gearing it's definitely strength training.
  • 4 2
 Apart from commuting why would you ride a road bike
  • 1 0
 Because I enjoy it.
  • 5 7
 Step 1: Don't buy a road bike, buy another mountain bike instead. If you already happen to own a roadbike, sell it and use the funds to buy another mountainbike.

Step 2: Now that the crisis is averted, go ride your mountainbike.
  • 3 1
 "A Guide to Making to..." Lmao nice proofread
  • 2 0
 Race cyclocross. No DHF to save you out there.
  • 1 0
 where can i get one of these sweet fenders i keep seeing on every single bike on here now?
  • 1 0
 Wish there were not bike paths everywhere in North America. Car culture destroyed the potential of road biking.
  • 2 0
 Fat > road & gravel for me
  • 2 0
 "...to making to..." How did that get through editing?!
  • 1 0
 not gonna lie, I would love to have cyclocross bike for some winter or summer laps around my hills.
  • 2 0
 Fix the title, for god’s sake.
  • 2 0
 Just get a steel one put some nice wide rubber on and spin
  • 2 0
 I read this as "a mountain bikers guide to making more fun of road riders"
  • 2 0
 B.S like this is why your traffic is falling off, Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 Best way to road biking is to slap road tires on your enduro bike (and keep your inserts).
  • 4 2
 Tights lycra brrr
  • 7 10
 You don't need a road bike to ride on the roads and you definitely don't need a gravel bike!!!. I ride my mountain bike and have no issues. Albeit it is a hardtail but its a trail/hard hitting hardtail. When I am mainly riding on roads/cycle paths/canal tow paths I swap out my DHR2's and put on my Crossmark2's and it flys along. I have kept up with many spandex clad road bikers and in some cases overtaken them. Great thing about a mountain bike you can ride it anywhere if set up right!!
  • 6 6
 feck that for a game of darts, I don't even pedal the mountain bike. #upliftsforlife
  • 5 4
 Sell the road bike, buy an mtb. Job done
  • 3 7
flag dirtybikejapan (Nov 15, 2020 at 5:10) (Below Threshold)
 It its sad I have only one thumbs up to give.
  • 2 0
 Oh hell no!
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg what chainring size do you run on the genesis?
  • 1 0
 44 or 48.
  • 3 2
 How about just keep riding a mountain bike?
  • 1 0
 tl:dr: beer makes road bikes fun.
  • 2 1
 make it more fun, sell it, buy another MTN bike!
  • 1 0
 Great article!
Worth a watch here too:

youtu.be/U00tU9P1Sew
  • 1 0
 So who's the Shimano ambassador? Big Grin
  • 1 1
 Of course an article about road riding has more words than anything else...boring boring....
  • 1 0
 820mm Drop Bars - nice vision...
  • 1 1
 There is only two things that make road biking fun. 1- racing with a team. 2- watching mtb movies on the rollers.
  • 1 0
 That’s one thoroughly greased front axle!
  • 1 0
 Make road riding more fun:

Cover it in rocks and soil. Job done.
  • 1 0
 Road Riding causes ED, no thanks!
  • 1 0
 still cannot get comfy on a road bike. impossible.
  • 4 4
 Ride a gravel bike and have fun with any outfit.
  • 5 5
 N + 1 is the only real reason to buy a road bike Wink .
  • 1 0
 Lol
  • 3 2
 COOL BLOG BRO!
  • 2 2
 Sooner stick pins in my eyes.
  • 1 1
 I'd rather ride an ebike than get on road one
  • 1 0
 Bo dropper - no fun
  • 1 0
 Just don't go.
  • 1 0
 Mtb lifestyle!
  • 1 0
 Brutal comment #353
  • 11 13
 fit paintball guns and shoot roadies is the only way to make road riding more fun.
  • 2 3
 I once rode a roadbike downhill in traffic with a dropbar. Never again!
  • 1 2
 Flat bar, disc brakes. That‘s it.
  • 2 2
 Pass
  • 1 2
 Best comment.
  • 2 3
 I fine road biking so boring. Lots of risk with no reward
  • 1 1
 Ehh no
  • 4 7
 Keep this cancer off PB. Just look at these comments. People are talking about the aerodynamics of tyres ffs!
  • 5 1
 People dissing other people's bikes because they don't look like yours is PB's cancer. A bike is a bike is a bike.
  • 4 0
 @morewhitenoise: would appreciate if you wouldn't use the word cancer this lightly...
  • 1 7
flag pigman65 (Nov 15, 2020 at 14:27) (Below Threshold)
 @nozes: no, a road bike is a cancer
  • 1 1
 Ehh I understand where they're coming from. I live trashing road bikers but secretly I kind of want one. But it's one of those things where I'd never claim to be a road biker lmao, mtb all the way!
  • 1 0
 Every one of these groups judges the other...As someone who rides all the bikes all the time I think it's pretty funny.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: I always refer to myself as a mountain biker. Though I also run ultra, and spend more time on my road bike than just about anything else I do.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.042412
Mobile Version of Website