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Coming to the road from MTB XC race background

mikeyj28mikeyj28 Posts: 754
edited November 2016 in Road beginners
Hi,

I have been riding bikes for years and wouldn't be classed as a beginner at all. Although I am new to the road!
I have turned to the road for me to get some much needed miles in over the winter and to provide myself with some variety.
I have raced XC for a number of years and was pretty quick in my early-mid 20's but have since slowed up a little although I do still enter a race or two to satisfy my competitive nature.
After clocking up a good 800 miles on the road bike I have some observations and just want to see if it is just me or whether it is to be expected having come from a mountain biking background.
1: While riding uphill, I tend to feel it a little more in the legs (thighs). I have a 50/34 chainset on the road and yes my carbon HT MTB has a 26/39 chainset which will make it feel a bit easier getting up the hills (but I seem to be faster on the MTB too). Is it strange though to feel the hills are a little harder on the road bike or not?
2: The handling on the road bike seems a lot less sure footed and in the wet I am a bit more sketchy. Not sure if it is nerves or the MTB gives a more of a planted feel on the tarmac? I am running 25mm tyres on my road bike.
3:Getting used to being on the drops is still odd to me and I feel a lot of the time I am just resting my hands on the shifters.
4: Getting up the hills - I am getting out of the saddle a lot more than on the MTB. Is this normal??

Sorry for the rambling message but I have found it strange going to the road for extended periods, yet, it is strangely addictive too and enjoyable. Any tips to improve would be greatly appreciated too. My fitness is good and have good bike handling skills but, the road bike is just so alien to me too. Will my performance on the road improve with time?

Thanks
Constantly trying to upgrade my parts.It is a long road ahead as things are so expensive for little gain. n+1 is always the principle in my mind.

Posts

  • I'd say that your experiences are pretty normal. Low gears on an MTB mean that going uphill might feel easier and certainly easier seated. I'd been surprised, though, if you are faster uphill unless the hill is exceptionally steep - mostly because MTBs are typically heavier and knobbly tyres present more rolling resistance.

    And road bikes will feel more twitchy - they're designed to be. Going back to an MTB after a road bike is like driving a tractor after a lightweight sports car.

    Give it time and it'll all feel normal. You'll appreciate the road bike on roads and the MTB off.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I morphed from a MTB rider to a roadie. At first I just rode the MTB on the road; it was a fairly light, fully rigid bike, but the big gaps between gears and the wide knobbly tyres made it hard work. I tried fitting some slick tyres and some bar ends to give me more hand positions, but it was still pretty inefficient. At one point I was overtaken by an old boy on a road bike, and that's when I decided I needed to get one.

    The gearing is completely different, you do need to get out of the saddle to climb steeper hills, but the closer spaced cassette means you can usually find a comfortable cadence. Road bars give you many more hand positions, but I spend 90% of my time on the hoods. The drops I only use in stiff headwinds or for steep descents where I need maximum braking.

    If you're feeling it in the thighs it could be you have the saddle too low or you're using too high a gear and grinding rather than spinning.
  • mikeyj28mikeyj28 Posts: 754
    I'd say that your experiences are pretty normal. Low gears on an MTB mean that going uphill might feel easier and certainly easier seated. I'd been surprised, though, if you are faster uphill unless the hill is exceptionally steep - mostly because MTBs are typically heavier and knobbly tyres present more rolling resistance.

    And road bikes will feel more twitchy - they're designed to be. Going back to an MTB after a road bike is like driving a tractor after a lightweight sports car.

    Give it time and it'll all feel normal. You'll appreciate the road bike on roads and the MTB off.

    I think it is that I keep my cadence high on the MTB and just seem to be able to 'suffer' for longer while going at a higher tempo- hence, generally the faster ascents (although not always).

    Yes you're spot on with the going back to the MTB after being on the road bike. It does seem like driving a tractor.
    Hopefully it will all feel normal soon enough for me on the road bike.

    Thank you for the input.
    Constantly trying to upgrade my parts.It is a long road ahead as things are so expensive for little gain. n+1 is always the principle in my mind.
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    mikeyj28 wrote:
    1: While riding uphill, I tend to feel it a little more in the legs (thighs). I have a 50/34 chainset on the road and yes my carbon HT MTB has a 26/39 chainset which will make it feel a bit easier getting up the hills (but I seem to be faster on the MTB too). Is it strange though to feel the hills are a little harder on the road bike or not?
    2: The handling on the road bike seems a lot less sure footed and in the wet I am a bit more sketchy. Not sure if it is nerves or the MTB gives a more of a planted feel on the tarmac? I am running 25mm tyres on my road bike.
    3:Getting used to being on the drops is still odd to me and I feel a lot of the time I am just resting my hands on the shifters.
    4: Getting up the hills - I am getting out of the saddle a lot more than on the MTB. Is this normal??

    I'm in a fairly similar position, doing some road riding to complement mountain biking in terms of fitness but also as I have found out in terms of adding a different style of riding to spice things up which I'm enjoying thoroughly - I can't wait to do a 50+ miler now in the picturesque West Yorkshire Pennines/Peak District.

    I've found exactly the same things, riding uphill seems way harder seated but I can tell I'm faster (plus Strava shows it). The handling is different but I like the different feeling, the nimbleness of a road bike is great.

    I didn't take long to transition to drops, felt quite natural to be honest.

    Standing for climbing up steep hills, absolutely and it feels more comfortable if anything to do so and because of that I have started to stand more on the mountain bike too which helps power up those steep rocky climbs while balancing weight front and back for traction.

    So yes, what you're experiencing is normal - well at least I'm experiencing it too.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    I think you'll find MTB XC racers make for excellent road racers due to the similar nature of the horrendous balls out short sharp efforts followed by very little recovery.
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
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