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How much faster is a road bike than an FS MTB?

james22b2james22b2 Posts: 132
edited November 2015 in MTB beginners
Hi, approximately how much faster is a road bike with thin tyres than a full suspension mountain bike with wide trail tyres, assuming that the latter weighs double and that they are both being ridden on flat paved road by the same rider?
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  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    Very hard to say, far too many variables, etc, etc.

    However, for my 12-13 mile commute I switched from a hardtail 29er with 2.0 maxxis ignitors to a CX bike with 35c tyres and straight away saved about ten minutes off my ride each way using the same route. I guess the full sus would be slower still, but hard to say, too many variables, etc, etc.
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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    A lot.

    A really big lot.
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    At least 50% faster. The difference is huge.
    I hate my road bike but have to admit it's so much faster than my trail bike on tarmac. And that's just a cheap Boardman with half it's gears not working compared to my Transition trail bike in tip top condition and built with the best parts I can afford, including the most efficient pedalling shock I have ever used.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    I can keep my road bike pace going for about 7 miles on my mountain bike. The road bike is alot faster especially up hill.
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    I average 10 mph for MTB and 15 for my road bike......so about 50% faster. Road bikes just roll better and you can maintain speed easier.
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,643
    Like everyone says - a lot, but it's hard to be very specific.
    I have 2 road bikes and I am faster on one than the other.
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    A lot.

    A really big lot.

    I would say, even faster than that !

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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    FS could be anything from an XC whippet on 1.95" tyres to a double the weight downhiller on 2.35".

    On the road into town I hit 20mph on my FS MTB and 23mph on my skinny slick shod hybrid.
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    An awful lot.. It is amazing the difference it makes..

    Between my house and town (about 0.6 miles and mostly flat) I can get to 28mph on my roadie and about 20 on my mtb.. My MTB (hardtail) is set up for off road though. Tyres at lowish pressure, grippy, slow-rolling tyres etc..

    bob6397
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • chucklachuckla Posts: 132
    Road bikes are quicker for so many reasons, lighter, less rubber on the road and above all the gearing! A road bike is geared for speed with large chain rings and small sprockets, an MTB generally has small chain rings and large sprockets! One built for speed, the othe easy but albeit slow climbing!
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    My 13 year old on his road bike can comfortably outpace me when I'm on my FS... so about 40 years faster.
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  • schmakoschmako Posts: 1,982
    My hybrid has no chance of keeping up with road bikes, might be saying that to justify a bike from the darkside though..

    But on my 27.5 full sus I can only pass the fattest of road bikers.
  • kemp_adkemp_ad Posts: 24
    I began commuting on my 27.5 hard tail.
    Used to take about 28mins.

    Now on my giant defy I can comfortable get to work in 20mins without sweating or pushing it.

    It's 5 miles. I have obviously got fitter so that's impacted times slightly but it is a lot more enjoyable on the road bike as less effort in the mornings.

    Would prob say 30-50% faster on average
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  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Meh. There are a few hills around here I've ridden dozens of times on my road bike and my MTB and the MTB is the fastest. Aero is the biggest difference. People want to think it's more of a difference than it is IMO. 30% gains are complete tosh if you've got a vaguely XC focuses MTB.
  • BigAlBigAl Posts: 3,122
    Meh. There are a few hills around here I've ridden dozens of times on my road bike and my MTB and the MTB is the fastest.
    Really? So what is the point of your road bike?
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    It is quicker (just not vastly so, as some folk think), and more comfortable, and you can't race on a mountain bike, and I suspect that over a longer distance the speed differential would be more pronounced, and it's nice to have multiple bikes. There are many climbs where the road bikes are faster, just not all of them.

    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.
  • Ber NardBer Nard Posts: 827
    Meh. There are a few hills around here I've ridden dozens of times on my road bike and my MTB and the MTB is the fastest. Aero is the biggest difference. People want to think it's more of a difference than it is IMO. 30% gains are complete tosh if you've got a vaguely XC focuses MTB.

    Agree. But going uphill, aero doesn't count for much. On the flat, it's arguably the most important factor.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Depends on the hill. Counts above about 15mph. But yes, that's why my MTB isn't all that much slower on some climbs.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    It is quicker (just not vastly so, as some folk think), and more comfortable, and you can't race on a mountain bike, and I suspect that over a longer distance the speed differential would be more pronounced, and it's nice to have multiple bikes. There are many climbs where the road bikes are faster, just not all of them.

    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.

    Doesn't your mountain bike have relatively fast rolling tyres, very light wheels, no rear suspension, big wheeels and narrow bars? Definitely towards the faster end of mountain bikes. Try it on mine with fat, nobbly tyres, rear suspension set for control rather than efficiency, much heavier wheels and wide bars.
  • JodyPJodyP Posts: 193
    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.

    So add another 7lbs+ and rear suspension as per the OP's post.
  • njee20 wrote:
    It is quicker (just not vastly so, as some folk think), and more comfortable, and you can't race on a mountain bike, and I suspect that over a longer distance the speed differential would be more pronounced, and it's nice to have multiple bikes. There are many climbs where the road bikes are faster, just not all of them.

    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.

    I don't think you'd need to 'suspect' that, it will be a pure fact of physics.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Rear suspension needn't change the equation that much, it depends on the nature of it.

    No reason for an FS to be that much heavier, a short travel FS frame is only up to 3lb heavier than an average ally HT, mine is just 640g heavier than my reasonably lightweight HT frame.
  • RiggaRigga Posts: 939
    The other day I set a PB on strava up a hill near me, I was on my full suss mtb and beat my road bike PB by one second.
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    And I have never been faster up (or down) a hill on my mtb compared to my Road Bike.. Since I got the roadie. If you were faster on a mtb, I bet you had to work harder than you did on your Road bike..

    bob6397
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    The other day I set a PB on strava up a hill near me, I was on my full suss mtb and beat my road bike PB by one second.

    That will be the 30mph wind assisting you ;)
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    njee20 wrote:
    It is quicker (just not vastly so, as some folk think), and more comfortable, and you can't race on a mountain bike, and I suspect that over a longer distance the speed differential would be more pronounced, and it's nice to have multiple bikes. There are many climbs where the road bikes are faster, just not all of them.

    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.

    I don't think you'd need to 'suspect' that, it will be a pure fact of physics.

    Why? I didn't say the time or distance, which obviously would get larger assuming even a constant speed differential. I suspect the speed gap would widen as its marginally more fatiguing staying aero on a mountain bike than on a road bike, and the differences would be more marked at higher speeds.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    And I have never been faster up (or down) a hill on my mtb compared to my Road Bike.. Since I got the roadie. If you were faster on a mtb, I bet you had to work harder than you did on your Road bike..

    bob6397

    Fastest, looking at Zig Zag Rd Main Climb segment, on MTB, 188bpm.

    2nd fastest, summer road bike, 188bpm. There's another effort from 2010 with exactly the same time as the second one, at 187bpm, and several slower ones at >190bpm. It's not really enough to be statistically significant, because logic states that all things being equal the lighter, more aero, faster rolling bike would go faster, but again, don't kid yourself you're saving 50% just by hopping on a road bike.
  • njee20 wrote:
    It is quicker (just not vastly so, as some folk think), and more comfortable, and you can't race on a mountain bike, and I suspect that over a longer distance the speed differential would be more pronounced, and it's nice to have multiple bikes. There are many climbs where the road bikes are faster, just not all of them.

    Does help that the MTB is a 19lb 29er hardtail.

    I don't think you'd need to 'suspect' that, it will be a pure fact of physics.

    Why? I didn't say the time or distance, which obviously would get larger assuming even a constant speed differential. I suspect the speed gap would widen as its marginally more fatiguing staying aero on a mountain bike than on a road bike, and the differences would be more marked at higher speeds.

    Rolling resistance for one, a major one, unless you have 23C tyres on the MTB as well as it being 19lb! 8)
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    It'll obviously vary a lot depending, you could have a pig of a bso Road bike slower than a tricked out weight weenie XC mtb.. But i think it's safe to say roadies are faster on the road in general terms, how much faster really depends, you'd have to compare specific bikes with the same rider.. they have two very different design briefs..

    I don't mind being slower than a roadie as didn't buy a bike for speed per se, more for fitness and I like the versatility of a mountain bike, singletrack, tow path and bridal ways are much more interesting to me than doing 25mph down a main road.
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