MTB Speed on the Road

JohnBoyUK Posts: 206
edited January 2010 in Road beginners
Hi Guys,

I got a Specialised Rockhopper Pro about 9 months ago on the C2W scheme through work assuming I was doing the right thing buying a MTB. Given that I'm doing mainly 95% of all my riding on the roads (as you can see from my GPS plot below), I'm considering getting a road bike in the next few months now.

In the meantime, I'm keen to improve my distances and times. I've got semi-slick tyres now as advised by some of you for when I done the London 2 Southend ride in July 2009 so sort of wondering what sort of speed I should be travelling at.

My average speed seems to be around 12 mph. Is that normal for a MTB? I appreciate the gearing is completely different to a road bike so I'm expecting to be a lot slower than the lycra-clad roadies that pass me every 5 minutes but what should I be ideally looking at to hit on average? 15mph? or quicker?

What do you think?


  • STEFANOS4784
    STEFANOS4784 Posts: 4,109
    Dunno really but how fit are you? How often do you ride? Do you drink/smoke much? Your link wont work for me but how long are the routwes that you get 12mph on, many hills?
  • JohnBoyUK
    JohnBoyUK Posts: 206
    Yeah sorry, havent really given much info there have I?

    Physically, 6'0", 16st so a little over weight ;-), dont smoke, dont drink often...have recently started to commute from Bexleyheath to London by MTD 3 times a week, takes 1hr 15-20min to Stepney Green (same as getting train to Cannon St and tube back out).

    I average around 12mph on the flats, but the speed definitely drops off over the hills. Got one main hill on the commute, Shooters Hill, probably the highest in SE London, try to avoid it on the way to work but will take it on the way back.

    I can run 5 miles in just under an hour, not particularly quick and done my last half marathon in 2hr 25 min...can run and ride for 2 hours + without stopping for a break, so ok fitness wise, but not fantastic.

    Just got no idea what a half decent average speed is really for comparison.
  • STEFANOS4784
    STEFANOS4784 Posts: 4,109
    I reckon that sounds pretty reasonable on a MTB but in honesty not super quick, you will be a lot quicker on a real bike though :wink: And as the vbug bites and you start to resemble rasmussen you'll be flying by the time summer hits :wink:

    Most important thing is to enjoy it IMO, i used to get tetchy when i got overtaken but seeing how much some people let cycling rule their lives/diets etc despite knowing they'll never be pro i prefer doing mah own thing, anyway i tend to ramble b0llox, someone else will be along soon with some real advice :wink::)
  • Looking at your route you will have lots of stops and starts. Even if you have set your Garmin to ignore stops, you will be slowing down and starting up again.When I commuted by MTB from Bexley to the City (about 15 miles) I took about an hour, but I had the advantage of travelling along a main roads not across them. I used complete slicks - you don't need any tread at all on a bike tyre (unless you are in mud or snow) but can't remember the type.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I think that is about right Johnboy, I was the same as you, bought a Rockhopper Comp Disc and almost all my riding was on roads. I am thankfull I bought it as I was 21st at the time, I now have a road bike at 15st and am flying along.

    Not fitted my 705 to the road bike yet, I have only been out on it twice and am using a Shimano Computer that shows what gear you are in etc. But will go back to the Garmin soon. I do a 30m circuit which has a couple of smallish climbs and was averaging about 13.5mph on the mountain bike (with nobbly panaracer fire xc tyres), same circuit I am now getting 18.4mph.

    Will edit with 2nd link once I get my garmin fitted. Here is my mountain bike data
  • josborn
    josborn Posts: 13
    Getting around 17mph on the road at the moment on typical winter rides, but that's on fairly flat routes with not many stops. My training roady is pretty shocking though, XC race bike would be a bit quicker.

    gearing will make no difference unless you're spinning out the MTB gears
  • 12mph is decent for a MTB on the route you take.. I ride Dartford to West end occasionally and can do it in just over an hour on a Road bike, so not too much of a difference