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MTB speed vs Road bike speed

stevie_90210stevie_90210 Posts: 94
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I'm sure this kind of question has been asked before, but I haven't seen any answers that satisfy this particular one.

If the same rider cycled 40 miles on a very light (~ 17lb) front-suspension carbon mountain bike with mountain bike tyres pumped up high (~60psi) and managed that distance in 3 hours...

...then what sort of time could that same rider expect on a good road bike that actually weighed 2lb more.

I believe the difference isn't that great between the two, perhaps the road bike could save 10 minutes.
My commute:
commute.jpg

Posts

  • PhatePhate Posts: 121
    I'm sure this kind of question has been asked before, but I haven't seen any answers that satisfy this particular one.

    If the same rider cycled 40 miles on a very light (~ 17lb) front-suspension carbon mountain bike with mountain bike tyres pumped up high (~60psi) and managed that distance in 3 hours...

    ...then what sort of time could that same rider expect on a good road bike that actually weighed 2lb more.

    I believe the difference isn't that great between the two, perhaps the road bike could save 10 minutes.

    Would expect the difference to be more than 10mins tbh, mainly because of three things

    Much less rolling resistance

    More agressive riding position

    No loss of power through the front forks having suspension
    exercise.png
  • How much difference would you expect?

    I know it's a tricky question! :)
    My commute:
    commute.jpg
  • Difference for a decent roadie averaging about 17 or 18mph would be about 40 mins.
  • father_jackfather_jack Posts: 3,509
    Hell of a difference. Faster, and less tiring when you arrive. I remember riding 14 miles each way on MTB, was totally knackared by the time I got there, and took ages. With road bike shaved off quarter off the time, and when I arrived not even tired, could ride back and forth again.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
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  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I'm sure this kind of question has been asked before
    Only a few dozen times :wink:

    I started road cycling a few years ago on my MTB - after a while I was averaging about 1:15 for my 20 mile, mostly flat, commute. I then roadified the bike a bit by putting on slicks, SPDs and a longer (and upside down) stem - that cut my average time to 1:08.
    Getting a road bike only improved it by about 3 mins, although there was a new handicap in that I wasn't happy to bunny-hop the 8 kerbs I had to cross on the way.

    I've since moved house and my commute is now a bit shorter but much hillier, I can't quite bring myself to summon up the scientific curiosity to try it on my MTB for comparison - but I expect the extra weight on the hills would be crippling, a problem you clearly don't have.

    None of that proves a lot. The time differences will be affected by factors like the hilliness of the route and the wind (this affects me more than anything else, my current best and worst times for my commute are 0:56 and 1:45, I reckon at most 5 minutes of the variation can be attributed to fitness). I guess you could try circuits on a track for more controlled comparison, but how sad would you have to be to do that? Plus it wouldn't compare climbing at all.

    Your query looks more than hypothetical, can we assume that you have actually tried this? It's also a slightly unfair comparison if the road bike is actually heavier than the MTB - how many people have a combination like that? Perhaps 2 bikes of roughly equal cost might be a more useful test.
  • Yes it is more than hypothetical! :wink: Good guess.

    A friend managed this in 3 hours. I can manage this in under 2 hours and 20 minutes.

    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.

    Also, the question keeps getting asked round where I work as to what sort of difference a road bike can make to a mountainbike. The more experience I have and the more I hear what other people say, the difference is sometimes only a few minutes per hour.
    My commute:
    commute.jpg
  • father_jackfather_jack Posts: 3,509
    sure you can probably compare it, if I ride about 22/23mph on flat on roadie, 16/17mph on the MTB for the same amount of work
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • bernmcbernmc Posts: 9
    NOt really an answer to the specifics of your question, but I think you'd be surprised at the difference skinny road tyres and road gearing make.

    My speed over 50 miles on the road on the only proper road jaunt I've done was around 4-5 miles per hour quicker than my average speed on my MTB which I use to get to work every day (30 mile round trip).

    It was a boardman team carbon road bike though, but I'd only done a few weeks training on it before the ride. I reckon a couple of months of practice and getting used to road riding would have seen a much bigger difference.
  • Yes it is more than hypothetical! :wink: Good guess.

    A friend managed this in 3 hours. I can manage this in under 2 hours and 20 minutes.

    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.
    .

    Could you try swapping bikes for a test run?!
  • Nikko2Nikko2 Posts: 10
    I am new to all this cycling been commuting to work for about 3 weeks now. So a completely out of shape unfit censored .

    Got a roadbike this week and difference was below as confirmed on my GPS cycle computer:

    MTB
    Distance 7.29
    Time 34:18
    Av. Speed 12.75mph
    Max Speed 20.53mph

    RB
    Distance 7.29
    Time 27:35
    Av. Speed 16.21mph
    Max Speed 23.4mph

    So about 7mins quicker and did'nt expend anywhere near the effort as on the MTB. I am not much quicker down the hill but can sustain a decent pace everywhere else which is the difference.

    I expect when i get used to the bike and can put in the same effort as I did on the MTB I will be even in quicker.
  • MikeWWMikeWW Posts: 723
    Over that distance I would be about 20 mins quicker on the road bike assuming a relatively flat route. If there were big hills would be a bit more in favour of the road bike
  • Butterd2Butterd2 Posts: 937
    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.

    Unless you are climbing the weight of the bike will make censored all difference.
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  • Butterd2 wrote:
    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.

    Unless you are climbing the weight of the bike will make censored all difference.

    So if I ride my 14lb road bike then repeat the same flat route but with 40lbs of lead poured in the frame(so it doesn't affect its aero profile) it wont make a difference to the time taken?

    I suppose Newton could be wrong ...

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  • Butterd2Butterd2 Posts: 937
    Butterd2 wrote:
    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.

    Unless you are climbing the weight of the bike will make censored all difference.

    So if I ride my 14lb road bike then repeat the same flat route but with 40lbs of lead poured in the frame(so it doesn't affect its aero profile) it wont make a difference to the time taken?

    I suppose Newton could be wrong ...

    Since you quote Newton I assume you understand what you are talking about and hence would know that that is indeed correct if the ride were perfectly flat. The only difference would be in the time to accelerate up to speed. F=ma is I believe the equation you are thinking about.

    Now on a more practical level the OP said that the difference in weight was 2lbs not 40lbs so I stand by my statement.

    Now stop being a censored and writing stupid responses.
    Scott CR-1 (FCN 4)
    Pace RC200 FG Conversion (FCN 5)
    Giant Trance X

    My collection of Cols
  • aspockaspock Posts: 21
    easy................


    (f"(t)) dμ(t) = −" (t) dμ(t)+ (b2 + 2a2)f2" (t) dμ(t) + 2ab2f"(t) dμ(t) + a2b2 − a4.


    Road bike
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    I did a 27.5 mile loop last night with a few hills. A few weeks ago it took me 115 minutes (plus a water and nutri-grain stop) on my hybrid with slick tyres. Last night on the road bike took me 101 minutes (no stops, bit of water on the move). Both times it was clearly sunny and basically no wind.

    I expect some of that is improved fitness but mostly it's the bike. Especially as I had the rest on the hybrid.
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    Here's another couple of examples. Two different routes both ride on each road done within a week each other (so fitness levels should be similar), the first on each route was on a Specialized XC Expert with frotn and rear suspension locked out and with standard tyres pumped up (not slicks though). the second of each route was on my road bike (my first) and were my first two rides on it so I was still very much getting used to it.

    Route 1: 13.0 miles, 100m climb, 100m descent
    MTB: 49:02, av spd 15.9mph, max spd 28.9mph
    Road: 43:59, av spd 17.8mph, max spd 34.5mph

    Route 2: 15.5miles, 152m climb, 152m descent
    MTB: 57:37, av spd 16.1mph, max spd 28.1mph
    Road: 50.52, av spd 18.3mph, max spd 31.5mph

    All times/distances measured with a garmin GPS, and the heights are from the DEM linked to in Sportracks rather than the dodgy GPS heights.

    Now I'm more confident on the road bike (probably equal to how I felt on the MTB when I did the times shown above), I'm probably 5 mins quicker on each route. In fact I'll try one of them tomorrow to find out and post up the results if you're interested.

    I would also add that as others have mentioned above the amount of effort to get these times on a road bike is also a lot less. I've since done a 60 mile ride in 3:30 (with a couple of 5 min stops included) and there's no way that I could have done that sort of distance on my MTB let alone in that sort of time. In fact I'm not sure I'd want to do 60miles on the MTB!

    I have no idea if these times/speeds are fast or not (I get out once a week at most), but hopefully it give you an idea of the sort of different between an MTB and a road bike. It's definitely noticable.
  • father_jackfather_jack Posts: 3,509
    Good info. On the MTB, try with both suspension to soft mode, and tyres soft too. And wearing a deployed parachute. :wink:
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • Butterd2 wrote:
    Butterd2 wrote:
    I'm wondering how much is down to the bike, but my road bike is actually heavier than the mountain bike.

    Unless you are climbing the weight of the bike will make censored all difference.

    So if I ride my 14lb road bike then repeat the same flat route but with 40lbs of lead poured in the frame(so it doesn't affect its aero profile) it wont make a difference to the time taken?

    I suppose Newton could be wrong ...

    Since you quote Newton I assume you understand what you are talking about and hence would know that that is indeed correct if the ride were perfectly flat. The only difference would be in the time to accelerate up to speed. F=ma is I believe the equation you are thinking about.

    Now on a more practical level the OP said that the difference in weight was 2lbs not 40lbs so I stand by my statement.

    Now stop being a censored and writing stupid responses.



    Good to see someone with a sense of humour. Well and truly spat your dummy out and simultaneously threw the toys out of the pram.

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  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    40 miles in 3 hours = 13.3 mph

    I'd be disappointed to knock out 40 on the road bike in more than 2h 20, mebbe 2h 30 if not going bonkers, so about 17.5 mph. So 30 minutes quicker. Easy. And a damn sight easier too, as already stated.
  • Wow, thanks for all the very informative responses. Most seem to point to about 30 minutes difference which is roughly what I was expecting.
    My commute:
    commute.jpg
  • 10 years ago i used to be able to manage 20mph ave over 20odd miles on my MTB with slicks.

    Now after a year of road cycling (after the 10year gap) i can manage about 20-23mph ave but over a longer distance. same route!
  • The roling resistance is the key really once you factor in the los of power from the suspension. the weight isn't really as much of a difference. Look at the comparison between a carbon road bike and a carbon TT bike. TT bikes have less emphasis on weight than the road bike and a lot faster. This in turn would be the same for MTB compared to a road bike.
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    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • rich164hrich164h Posts: 433
    rich164h wrote:
    Here's another couple of examples. Two different routes both ride on each road done within a week each other (so fitness levels should be similar), the first on each route was on a Specialized XC Expert with frotn and rear suspension locked out and with standard tyres pumped up (not slicks though). the second of each route was on my road bike (my first) and were my first two rides on it so I was still very much getting used to it.

    Route 1: 13.0 miles, 100m climb, 100m descent
    MTB: 49:02, av spd 15.9mph, max spd 28.9mph
    Road: 43:59, av spd 17.8mph, max spd 34.5mph

    Route 2: 15.5miles, 152m climb, 152m descent
    MTB: 57:37, av spd 16.1mph, max spd 28.1mph
    Road: 50.52, av spd 18.3mph, max spd 31.5mph

    All times/distances measured with a garmin GPS, and the heights are from the DEM linked to in Sportracks rather than the dodgy GPS heights.

    Now I'm more confident on the road bike (probably equal to how I felt on the MTB when I did the times shown above), I'm probably 5 mins quicker on each route. In fact I'll try one of them tomorrow to find out and post up the results if you're interested.

    Route 1: 13.0 miles, 100m climb, 100m descent
    MTB: 49:02, av spd 15.9mph, max spd 28.9mph
    Road: 43:59, av spd 17.8mph, max spd 34.5mph (orignal)
    Road: 41.29, av spd 18.8mph, max spd 35.0mph (updated)

    Latest time added as promised. This represents a more accurate comparison (for me) of the difference between an MTB and a road bike (i.e. just under 20% faster). Sorry for the delay, the previous two trips when I tried to do this route I ended up getting punctures! I only manage to get out once a week so it's taken a few weeks to finally getting a clear run done.

    Hope it helps

    Rich
  • wlshydwlshyd Posts: 25
    Well having made the transition only this last weekend from MTB to road, i am amazed at how marked the difference in speed is; but not only the actual speed, but how much easier it is to sustain those speeds than on an MTB.

    I found myself at the end of the commute grunting some days on the MTB on anything other than FLAT roads (ok I'd been off fitness training for a while which didnt help) but it got a bit daft how jelly-like my legs were upon getting to work.

    Anyway, the roadie is just such a breeze to flirt along on, at least 1/4 to 1/3 quicker but at least half the effort.

    Loving every minute of it (Spesh Allez 16 2010 BTW...)
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