Do you lose fitness moving from mtb to road biking?

Squeak191
Squeak191 Posts: 24
edited September 2007 in Road beginners
Hi all,
Might be a bit of a bizarre question but here goes.

Just over a month ago I got my first ever road bike (a Colnago) and I'm loving it! I used to commute on an old mtb but now the road bike feels like a big difference - it's so much lighter, smoother and quicker (don't know why I didn't get one before!).

Anyway, my question is: if you move from riding a mtb to a road bike do you lose fitness? My theory being that as the road bike will be lighter, quicker, etc you have less ‘work’ to do? Or do you need to cover more miles on the racer to make up for the lost effort that you would have on the mtb? When I ride my mtb now it feels like I have to put in MORE effort than I did before I got the road bike. So somewhere, somehow, I feel like I've lost fitness but not sure how as I still cycle everyday on the new road bike and the distance I'm cycling hasn't changed.

Perhaps it's all just in my head (!), but would be interested to hear if anyone thinks the above argument is true? Could I have lost fitness since I started riding the road bike? I would love to hear some thoughts on this.
Many thanks!

Comments

  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,385
    if your riding on the road only then it will feel like you have to put in more effort to go the same average speed - obviously - no point in having a roadie else

    remember speed off road ia affected by all manner of other factors that you have little control over

    its probably all in the mind yes - acceleration. top speed will all be less on the MTB for the same amount of effort

    However if you just went at the same speed on the roadie as you did on the MTB then es you are doing more work - personally i'm almost 5kph of average speed faster on the roadie than the MTB!! over the same bits of the commute
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Coming from an MTB background and having got a first road bike a year ago - I have much improved cardiovascular fitness and endurance from riding a road bike.

    But...

    Mountain biking is completely different to road-bike riding. On an MTB you are always moving your weight around, standing up and taking a bit more stress through your arms. The exertion tends to be more short, sharp shocks than when you sit on a roadbike for a few hours.

    So, you will lose some MTB-specific fitness and when you take the MTB back on your favourite trails your whole body will ache (but you may be a bit quicker over the less technical stuff if you've trained your heart well).

    A Colnago for a first road bike, respect...
  • Eurostar
    Eurostar Posts: 1,806
    If you put in the same effort as you did on your MTB you will go quite a bit faster. Road bikes have a lot less rolling resistance, inertia and drag than MTBs, so you have to increase the drag by going faster. Otherwise you will do less work which will lead to a reduction in fitness. Riding an MTB is a bit like weight training and cycling at the same time.

    If you had SRM power meters on each bike you could pedal them both with the same force and tell us how much more efficient your Colnago is! Go on, they're only a couple of grand.
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • going the same distance on a road bike and a mtb will be more difficult on the mtb. You're overcoming increased rolling resistance, increased air resistance (due to less aero body positioning) and pushing a heavier bike. So over the same distance you are not doing as much work on the road bike.

    You probably use different leg muscles on the mtb as well due to body positioning which won't help the aching legs when you get back on the mtb!

    I was absolutely knackered doing 40km on road on my mtb but when i got my road bike i cruised 55km with very little problems. Shows how much easier the road bike is!
  • PhilofCas
    PhilofCas Posts: 1,153
    mea00csf wrote:
    going the same distance on a road bike and a mtb will be more difficult on the mtb. You're overcoming increased rolling resistance, increased air resistance (due to less aero body positioning) and pushing a heavier bike. So over the same distance you are not doing as much work on the road bike.

    You probably use different leg muscles on the mtb as well due to body positioning which won't help the aching legs when you get back on the mtb!
    I was absolutely knackered doing 40km on road on my mtb but when i got my road bike i cruised 55km with very little problems. Shows how much easier the road bike is!

    absolutely, you'll work slightly different areas which is noticeable, i'd say i got fitter moving to a road bike, i think because of riding for longer periods without a rest, MTb'ing (generally) gives you natural breaks that are simply not there on the road.
  • There are (at least) 2 different answers possible here.

    1. If you ride your road bike on the same routes and in the same conditions at the same speed as you rode your mtb you will use less effort for each ride. If you ride faster you will make some of that up, but as a consequence the ride will be for less time, so the net benefit is marginal. To get the same level of exertion as prevously you will, therefore, need to ride faster and either go further or go more often. As riding a road bike on the road feels generally more rewarding than riding an MTB on the road, the motivation to ride further faster and more often should be relatively easy to find.

    2. If you ride your MTB as an MTB and your road bike as a road bike, you are comparing apples and pears. Off-road MTB riding is more anaerobic and resistance based - short hard bursts with recovery in between. You move around a lot more on the bike and use a lot more upper body muscle. Road riding is generally aerobic (unless you are sprinting) with a more sustained level of intensity for longer periods and very little use of the upper body. Riding an MTB on challenging terrain is the most fun you can legally have with your clothes on, so get out and do it as often as you can!

    Road riding is good to build base fitness and endurance. MTB riding builds strength and bike control skills. Do both is my advice.
  • Thankyou so much to everyone who has replied back to me. it's reassuring to know that I wasn't imagining it all! I will def now be mixing up the use of the MTB (both on-road for the commute and off-road) and the road bike. I will also be doing longer rides at the weekend on the road bike.
    Thanks again for the replies, it's really appreciated.
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    It's nearly the same but different!

    Like you I try to mix it up to try to get better overall fitrness
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • Oh no! Looks like I'm going to have to supplement my MTB with a road bike. :D:D:D
  • Do both is my advice.



    Amen. 8)
    Wheelies ARE cool.

    Zaskar X