Using a MTB for road fitness?

markhewitt1978
markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
edited February 2014 in Road general
Due to the hours I do at work cycling at times others than the weekends is tricky. However I have time at lunchtimes so considering getting a bike to ride at work. I don't want to take my road bike to work for various reasons.

Which means another bike but does it matter what sort? If I'm looking to improve my road fitness could I ride a MTB (with slicks) on the road and gain a benefit from it? As getting a cheap MTB is a lot cheaper than a cheap road bike.
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Comments

  • bagz3
    bagz3 Posts: 253
    Depends on your budget i guess, but i'm sure you could get a cheap road bike.
    MTB or road bike, you're still gonna be pedalling so there of course will be a benefit.
  • Any pedalling is better than no pedalling....bike choice depends on the best training terrain near to your work, ie which gives you the most variety to do things like hill repeats etc.

    Get a second hand bike
  • Any pedalling is better than no pedalling....bike choice depends on the best training terrain near to your work, ie which gives you the most variety to do things like hill repeats etc.

    Mostly cycle paths a few hills including one with a narrow but nothing massive.
    Get a second hand bike

    Yes I was expecting that response. But I've searched for second hand many times but after you've narrowed down sensible pickup distance, bike type, bike size, sensible price. You have a choice of zero every time.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Personally I would get a hybrid (a cross would be best but they are expensive) as an MTB just does not sound suitable for uses you have stated.

    I think you are better off getting a bike suitable for the type of riding you are doing and riding it hard, rather than getting a bike that is hard to ride.

    Even with road tyres it will be a pig to ride on roads and paths/trails.

    I find swapping between drop and flat bars a pain, so how about considering a cross bike? They are the most versatile of any bike type.
    Does your work operate any type of cycle scheme?
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If going cheap mtb better going for rigid forks that buying something with heavy, flexy suspension forks that do nothing but rob your energy. Probably worth swapping to a narrower flat bar with bar ends rather than a 700mm riser bar that is currently in favour, offering the aerodynamic qualities of a barn door
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Hybrid is another option but they do tend to cost a little more. CX would be ideal but you're talking £600 instead of £300. There's no C2W option.
  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    could I ride a MTB (with slicks) on the road and gain a benefit from it?
    Yes.
    Try to set it up to replicate your road bike position as closely as possible. This may require additional expenditure, such as a different stem.
    It doesn't matter that you may be slower for the same effort - the point of training is to do some work, not go as fast as possible.
  • Cheers, as ever the problem is time. Between work, family life, and sleep I have no time during the week for cycling, and at the weekends only Sunday mornings.

    But at work I have an hour for lunch where I normally walk for about 4 miles, but it would do me more good if I'm cycling instead. The process of getting changed, getting my bike set up etc will probably mean I have about 45 minutes riding time available, and during that time I'd like to get the best workout I can in that time.
  • A second hand bike is easily the most sensible option. Sounds silly that you can't find one, where do you live? £300 will get you a decent bike second hand, or a piece of shit new.
  • Durham area :)
  • Last year when I was training for Ride London, I bought a single speed MTB and fitted slicks (you can pick one of for a few hundred), I can promise you, 20 miles on that is one hell of a workout and a fairly quick exercise session, I am convinced it was the single thing that made the biggest improvement to my fitness, especially on climbs.
    My biggest fear is that should I crash, burn and die, my Wife would sell my stuff based upon what I told her I paid for it.
  • Last year when I was training for Ride London, I bought a single speed MTB and fitted slicks (you can pick one of for a few hundred), I can promise you, 20 miles on that is one hell of a workout and a fairly quick exercise session, I am convinced it was the single thing that made the biggest improvement to my fitness, especially on climbs.

    I'm finding my main issue when riding with others, club runs, sportives etc, is them leaving me behind on the hills, now I don't think it's leg strength that's the issue as my legs feel good, it's my CV fitness, so that's what I'm looking to improve. I guess I could solve that by going running at lunchtimes - but I hate running!
  • mpatts
    mpatts Posts: 1,010
    For keeping up your CV fitness, a 30-45 min run is perfect. Other than that, a cheap hack bike is a good idea. Get yourself to the local tip shop and pick up something that fits!
    Insert bike here:
  • I was looking at this http://www.evanscycles.com/products/tre ... 336#select
    Trek 3500 for £275 seems a good deal.
  • Cheers, as ever the problem is time. Between work, family life, and sleep I have no time during the week for cycling, and at the weekends only Sunday mornings.

    I share your lifestyle. My solution is a good front light and regular night riding, after the kids are in bed. A good hard one hour (ish) hilly time trial (did you say Durham? Good place for rural hilly routes) on a regular basis is great training.
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Go running, can do a good workout in an hour which will really help CV fitness. Unless your doing hard sprint intervals an hour bike ride isn't going to help. Once you get over the initial aches and pains you'll probably quite enjoy it - just don't go too far or too fast too soon.
  • trek_dan wrote:
    Go running, can do a good workout in an hour which will really help CV fitness. Unless your doing hard sprint intervals an hour bike ride isn't going to help. Once you get over the initial aches and pains you'll probably quite enjoy it - just don't go too far or too fast too soon.

    Yes I know running is the obvious thing, I've tried again and again and again, including today in fact. But I bloody hate it! With sprinting between lampposts it's just about tollerable and I'm hoping to keep up doing half an hour of that per day but it's still not pleasant; I'm hoping - perhaps - it'll get better if I do it more!
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Have you got a decent pair of trainers? Certainly enhanced my enjoyment and stopped most of the foot pain when I splashed out on a nicer pair.
  • kwi
    kwi Posts: 181
    ^^That.
    Go to a running shop and they'll look at your running and recommend shoes for you. (Sort of a trainer fit.)
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Personally I'd say you'll get a better road bike for a given budget than the equivalent MTB. Certainly below £1k
  • If you only have an hour for lunch have you considered buying a turbo and an old hack to sit on it? Only need to change into a pair of shorts and your shoes and you can smash yourself to bits in 30-40 minutes if you want?
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • As above. Turbo and second hand road bike. Then beast yourself with interval sessions. Including warm up and down you'll be done in 45 mins.
  • Wouldn't be acceptable in the office :)
  • Several months on from going onto hour long lunches I haven't got anything sorted as I haven't found anywhere I could safely store a bike at work :(

    The only option would be to carry it in the back of my car, which being a Ford Fiesta isn't exactly spacious. e.g. I can, just about get my 52cm road bike in there, but it takes a lot of careful positioning and twisting the handlebars around even then it only just pushes in.

    Is there a smaller alternative bike which would fit easier in my car? I suppose going from 700c to 26" wheels would help, which kind of puts me in MTB territory, any other ideas, I'm not thinking of folding just now; mostly because I have limited time I want something I can pick up and ride with (almost) no faffing on.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,426
    Several months on from going onto hour long lunches I haven't got anything sorted as I haven't found anywhere I could safely store a bike at work :(

    The only option would be to carry it in the back of my car, which being a Ford Fiesta isn't exactly spacious. e.g. I can, just about get my 52cm road bike in there, but it takes a lot of careful positioning and twisting the handlebars around even then it only just pushes in.

    Is there a smaller alternative bike which would fit easier in my car? I suppose going from 700c to 26" wheels would help, which kind of puts me in MTB territory, any other ideas, I'm not thinking of folding just now; mostly because I have limited time I want something I can pick up and ride with (almost) no faffing on.

    Really? Can't you fold the rear seats down? I used to take my bike everywhere in a 1985 C reg Fiesta which were much smaller than current cars and the bikes were 24" (non compact) frames.

    As for the previous comment that you would be better off running, that would be the case if you are just looking for general fitness but if you want to improve your cycling fitness you are better off going out and riding a bike (whether MTB or road makes little difference as it is using the same muscles groups etc.). You can achieve quite a bit in an hour mixing up between a 40 minute flat out blast (10 minute warm up, 10 minute cool down) or various length intervals. The key is whether that 10 minute warm up will allow you to get to decent open roads as riding in an urban area will limit what you can safely do.
  • Pross wrote:

    Really? Can't you fold the rear seats down? I used to take my bike everywhere in a 1985 C reg Fiesta which were much smaller than current cars and the bikes were 24" (non compact) frames.

    This is with the rear seats down and the passenger seat pushed fully forwards. Like I say I can just about fit my road bike in (with both wheels on) but it's quite a task and I even then puts pressure on various extremities of the bike so I wouldn't want to leave it in there for a full working week. Which is why I'd be looking for a bike which could fit in relatively easily.

    I do agree about the riding bit, I've been doing running and it does help my general fitness but I've been riding with people who ride their bikes every day (for commuting) and it makes a big difference.

    BTW I was thinking something like this might suit (probably swap the tyres for slicks)
    scott-aspect-660-2014-mountain-bike.jpg

    And be smaller than this which is my road bike:
    scott-cr1-pro-compact-2013-road-bike.jpg
  • I used a hard tail mountain bike on the roads for several months before getting my first road bike. Absolutely no problem. I changed to slick tyres but wasn't really necessary.
  • Get a fixie .. that'll be a good work out - simple and cheap.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    I too have the luxury of a 1hr lunchbreak which is enough for a decent ride, especially if you take your lunch with you. When the weather is good I ride the road bike and do 10-15 miles of road riding, when the weather isn't so great I use an MTB and do 7-12miles of trail riding. The problem is that I have to ride a bit of road to get to the trails and once it's dry I can ride my road bike on the trails if I feel like it so I mainly end up using the road bike. February was an exception as the mud has been fantastic thanks to all the rain.

    So, if you have a bunch of muddy trails you can string together for a ride on your lunchbreak then go for it it's great to come back after lunch covered in mud when your colleagues have spent the morning talking about which extreme sports they'd like to do.

    But for road cycling fitness MTBing isn't going to help that much as it hits your body in different ways. For bike handling skills it's great. A rutted gravelly track at 25mph is much harder than a road at 50mph, but a lot of the effort is in your arms on an MTB, much less so on the road, but it does train you to pick your lines and float down, absorb and enjoy the descent rather than tense up, clatter down and endure like many pure-bred roadies tend to.

    So use the MTBing for skills and the road bike for fitness.

    BTW where do you work? I'm on Team Valley and often end up as far as Birtley on my lunch time rides. There are a load of quite roads and decent off-road trails to the south-west of the A1.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • IBTW where do you work? I'm on Team Valley and often end up as far as Birtley on my lunch time rides. There are a load of quite roads and decent off-road trails to the south-west of the A1.

    Although I live in Chester-le-Street I work in Stocton-on-Tees, but the cycling here is actually fairly decent, there's a good network of segregated paths and I could do a 10 mile loop just using those, or I could do a loop down into Yarm then up Leven Bank.

    I was thinking of a MTB not really because I want to ride off road, just because they tend to be cheaper and I don't want to be bringing my good road bike to work with me.

    But the problem is where to put the bike, do you put yours in the back of your car every day? Or have you arrived on the bike in the first place?