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why does my MTB hybrid feel as fast as my road bike???

t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
edited August 2011 in Road beginners
Hi guys

I recently bought a new road bike for fast leisure riding and occasional dry commutes. I took it to work this morning (11.5 miles, some hills) and was disappointed that it seems no faster than my old MTB that I have set up for hybrid use.

I am a reasonably experienced cyclist (done 1500 miles this year) and was hoping to feel a lot of benefit from the lighter stiffer frame and lower resistance

I know that one swallow does not a summer make...but when you read about people getting huge gains from tiny changes to their bikes "I was 5 mph faster after greasing my nipples etc." I was a little surprised that I wasnt grinning at the end of the ride about how fast I went (top speed or average)

have I got a really fast MTB? Is my position wrong on the Road bike? Anyone else who has two equivalent bikes care to comment. What would you expect the performace difference to be and is it only likely to be seen at higher ave speeds where aero is more significant.

Details of bikes

MTB.
1997 Kona Kula (17") hardtail with front suspension, XTR/Deore XT, Mavic 217 wheels with slick Michelin 1.5" tyres @ 85 PSI

ROAD
2011 Ribble Gran Fondo (M), Shimano 105, Mavic Aksium, VIttoria Rubino @ 110 PSI/120PSI

The only comments I have are that I ride mostly on the hoods for now and I feel more cramped on the road bike the reach is ok but I do feel that my knee/thigh are getting close to my chest. Oh and on hills I do now have the option of standing and powering up without pogoing

Thanks for your thoughts
Tim
My bikes
MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra

Posts

  • scagdenscagden Posts: 7
    Wow that'd a but depressing. I'm in the process of saving for my first road bike and I assumed that there would be a big difference in speed. I did a fairly hilly 50 miles on monday at 13.5mph on my mtb,i was expecting at least 16 on a road, is this reasonable???
  • HamishDHamishD Posts: 538
    OP - what you haven't stated is a) effort on both bikes, b) weather conditions c) your set up d) your pedals/shoes e) how you were feeling on your one road bike ride f) whether your ride bike fits you. etc etc

    Your road bike will be possibly half the weight of your MTB and you WILL go faster for the same perceived effort everything else being equal.

    11.5 miles isn't much of a distance - do 50 and come back and say you'd rather do it on an MTB . . .
  • merakmerak Posts: 323
    I don't know what difference you're expecting, but on the same road route, 25 miles, I go just about 4mph faster on my light best road bike compared with my mid-price hard-tail MTB with big knobblies. The difference between my best road bike and my winter bike with mudguards that weighs 6 lbs more is just about 1mph. In my experience the differences that are down to kit are generally less than people imagine. Differences due to fitness are generally much bigger. I guess the difference between my MTB if I fitted it with road slicks and my best bike would be around 2mph.
  • chiarkchiark Posts: 335
    With my 2 (see sig) I was surprised how fast I was on the mtb after road biking... Like Merak, I think if I put slicks on I'd be quite probably wondering why I'd just spent a grand on a road bike!
    Synapse Alloy 105 / Rock Lobster Tig Team Sl
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    scagden wrote:
    Wow that'd a but depressing. I'm in the process of saving for my first road bike and I assumed that there would be a big difference in speed. I did a fairly hilly 50 miles on monday at 13.5mph on my mtb,i was expecting at least 16 on a road, is this reasonable???

    On knobblies I think there is no contest and hills weight must come into play.

    I guess I have made a pretty quick commuter MTB over the years and the difference over 11.5 miles is not worth getting excited about...

    I still like to look at the new bike though!
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,261
    There should definitely be some difference. I suspect you've probably experienced a combination of different weather conditions, psychological impact and bike set up.

    You probably expected to find it faster and easier so haven't pushed as hard? Sounds like you're not comfortable with the set up which will have an impact.
    I have a fast commuter bike which with a pannier I have averaged 19mph on a commute in perfect conditions with a reasonably high effort level. Took my good road bike in last week in perfect conditions and did a full effort but was only 2 mph quicker over 24 miles.
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    HamishD wrote:
    OP - what you haven't stated is a) effort on both bikes, b) weather conditions c) your set up d) your pedals/shoes e) how you were feeling on your one road bike ride f) whether your ride bike fits you. etc etc

    Your road bike will be possibly half the weight of your MTB and you WILL go faster for the same perceived effort everything else being equal.

    11.5 miles isn't much of a distance - do 50 and come back and say you'd rather do it on an MTB . . .
    This is my first commute on the new bike so I realise it is premature but subjectively there was little difference in effort. Weather was overcast and little wind today, I ride SPD on MTB and SPD-SL on road bike.

    My MTB was quite expensive back in 1997 (£1600 IIRC) and only weighs about 11kg and I think I have got very used to riding it and made it quite fast for road commuting.

    You are right, it stands to reason it WILL be faster but I think that the difference is going to be < 10%
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    chiark wrote:
    With my 2 (see sig) I was surprised how fast I was on the mtb after road biking... Like Merak, I think if I put slicks on I'd be quite probably wondering why I'd just spent a grand on a road bike!

    Merak chiark, thanks that was the sort of post I was looking for really.

    It prob is faster I was just wondering what others had found. Maybe after I have done 5 return trips and get some average figures I will see what the real difference is.
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    morstar wrote:
    There should definitely be some difference. I suspect you've probably experienced a combination of different weather conditions, psychological impact and bike set up.

    You probably expected to find it faster and easier so haven't pushed as hard? Sounds like you're not comfortable with the set up which will have an impact.
    I have a fast commuter bike which with a pannier I have averaged 19mph on a commute in perfect conditions with a reasonably high effort level. Took my good road bike in last week in perfect conditions and did a full effort but was only 2 mph quicker over 24 miles.

    That sounds like me. I have never managed quite to average 20mph on my MTB on the commute - though I have been close.

    Think I need to play with setup and also I reckon I lost some time with the SPD-SL - I do NOT find them as simple as SPD so every junction/lights/roundabout costs a bit.

    The one time the road bike does seem faster is on long long stretches that are quite flat when the speed just builds up. On these i DO seem to be faster I guess that assuming I am putting in equal power this is reflecting the lower total resistance of the bike.

    THANKS FOR COMMENTS GUYS. I'LL WORK ON POSITION AND REPORT BACK.
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Relative speed is quite important - when you get above 30kph average and over a few hills the relative benefits of weight and aerodynamics become a whole lot more significant - if you're only trundling along at 20kph then you're unlikely to notice much difference.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • BigDonnBigDonn Posts: 27
    I switched from MTB with slick road tyres to a road bike last year. I've got to say that these people who're claiming 20mph averages on commute to work via a MTB must either be very fit or living in much flatter areas than I am!

    I didn't notice a big difference in my average speed at first but once I got used to the more stretched position on the road bike my average speed has improved significantly. I did 34 miles yesterday at a 18.2mph average. Same route on the MTB average was around 14mph.

    As other people have mentioned, the biggest difference that you'll notice isn't your speed on a short commute but the effort that you need to expend to reach that speed.
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    BigDonn wrote:
    I've got to say that these people who're claiming 20mph averages on commute to work via a MTB must either be very fit or living in much flatter areas than I am!

    Or taking part in a bit of a censored swinging contest :lol:
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • I think allot of it is to do with most roads being crappy. You can make a rigid mountain bike give a road bike a run for its money (skinny/ slick tyres, lower the handlebars, bigger chainring). But if there is any headwind, there really is no contest.
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    I think allot of it is to do with most roads being crappy. You can make a rigid mountain bike give a road bike a run for its money (skinny/ slick tyres, lower the handlebars, bigger chainring). But if there is any headwind, there really is no contest.

    Completely agree with this, on long smooth flat roads the Road bike just keeps edging faster.
    My bikes
    MTB - 1997 Kona Kula
    Hybrid - Kona Dew Deluxe
    Road - 2011 Ribble Gran Fondo, Omega Matrix Ultegra
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,261
    Seeing as the speeds are being questioned...

    Just for clarity, my fast commuter is not an MTB, apologies if I gave that impression. It is a ridgeback road 02. I was simply trying to highlight that a faster machine will not suddenly give enormous differences.

    For the record, the following 3 rides were all in pretty perfect conditions and traffic was relatively mild through Preston as it was school holidays. I do have auto stop on my gps so they are moving averages, typically traffic lights add between 5 and 10 mins to total trip time.

    Fast commuter with heavy pannier: Inwards, about 100 metres loss of height.

    http://www.sports-tracker.com/#/workout/Morstar/f9je4h6vq5125j7f

    Fast commuter home with lighter pannier as I'd eaten the lunch and left some clothes for the car trip.

    http://www.sports-tracker.com/#/workout/Morstar/42h7r9i7u1ubrp5s

    Pretty much full bore ride to work on good bike complete with tri-bars and only a very light hydration pack containing sandwiches.

    http://www.sports-tracker.com/#/workout/Morstar/bsvggku7a6otab2q

    The point I was trying to make is that from a reasonable effort to a balls out effort on a faster machine does not necessarily make huge differences in speeds.
  • merakmerak Posts: 323
    The differences I find that I set out above between hard-tail MTB with knobblies, winter trainer and race bike (about 3mph between MTB and trainer and about 1mph between trainer and race bike) are with all other things equal - in other words they are over the same route, with similar weather, in all cases the bikes are set up perfectly for me, I have ridden them all for thousands of miles and fitness isn't a variable. However, there is another aspect that I forgot to mention that doesn't necessarily come over in solo riding - which is the weight of wheels - but this can become very important in racing (or actively competitive chain gangs): wheel weight is important in accelerations (particularly uphill accelerations) and in climbing generally. So in any sort of ride that is not constant effort but has lots of stops and starts - criteriums, lots of intermediate sprinting (eg for village signs :) ) or racing on hills, the overall weight of the bike in general and the wheels in particular will make a bigger difference than steady state riding.
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