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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Why do road bikes ride differently than mountain bikes (on pavement)

Asked by Mama_Cakes (11160points) August 23rd, 2013

I’m used to riding mountain bikes on the road. My partner received a road bike, and I just took it out for a spin. I wiped out, slid across the pavement and fucked up my right shoulder. I was going a decent clip. Not too fast. Why the hell happened?

Hurts to move.

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12 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Yikes, sorry!

I think the main difference is they are much lighter, and the wheels are thinner (less traction with the ground).

FutureMemory's avatar

Road bikes, traditionally called ‘ten speeds’ are a lot more difficult to control. The handlebars are designed so that your arms and hands are close together, whereas on a mountain bike they’re much further apart. Next time you get on a mountain bike try riding it with your hands a good 6 inches closer to the middle, you’ll notice a huge difference in ease of control. Additionally on a mountain bike the riding position is usually a little more upright than on a road bike. Also, the tires on a mountain bike are much wider making it easier to balance.

deni's avatar

Generally unless its an old one they are so much lighter than mountain bikes like @Mariah said that you are used to having to brake a significantly heavier object. With a lighter bike like a road bike you might hit the brakes and go flying, like you did, because there is much less weight to have to stop! I am having the opposite experience…I’ve ridden a road bike for years and just got a mountain bike two days ago after my roadie was destroyed in a car accident. I do prefer the lightness of road bikes, but it is nice to be able to hit a pot hole and not be scared to death.

FutureMemory's avatar

Deni has a good point about how light road bikes are. Mountain bikes are pretty beefy in comparison. Kind of like a sports car vs. an SUV.

jerv's avatar

Another thing is that road bikes have firm little tires with far more air pressure in them; often 80–110 PSI compared to a mountain bike which runs tires with more sidewall at 25–40 PSI. You will feel every little imperfection in the road, and your tires will bounce and skitter more due to a lack of “give”.

deni's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Yikes! Take care of that pup. I had one real similar to that from rollerblading last year and neglected it a little, not thinking it could get infected. It did and was gnarrrrlyy.

syz's avatar

Weight, tires. But mostly tires, as pertains to handling.

dabbler's avatar

The angle (relative to vertical) and rake (distance of the axle from the axis of turning rotation) of the front fork is very different on a road bike, making its steering more sensitive/responsive.

A mountain bike will commonly have a larger angle(farther forward from vertical) and larger rake (more of a bend in the fork relative to straight) to make it more self-correcting and stable. The road bike has a smaller/steeper angle and less rake making it touchy compared to the off-road bike.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

They are made not just for entirely different terrain but for riders with COMPLETELY different mindsets.

Chose wisely.

Your choice will define you in the eyes of other riders.

RosauraCaswell's avatar

Road bikes generally are much lighter than mountain bikes. Less weight means you can go further or faster with the same amount of effort you put into your mountain bike. Road bikes have much narrow tires compared to mountain bikes. Mountain bike uses fat tire hence they are called Fat tire mountain bikes.Here road bike tires have much higher pressure i.e., you have less rolling resistance on road bike.

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