I mountain bike on a hardtail I got about 3 months ago. I love it, but am wondering If road bike is a good investment as far as training. I want to take things beyond just mountain biking a handful of miles a few times a week.

Also I hear everyone talk about winter biking and it being all different. I live in a place where it doesn't really go below 20°F so would either road biking or mountain biking like not be a possibility during the winter?

So I'm wondering if (training wise) a road bike is a good investment.

  • I'm sure it would be an excellent investment and you would gain a lot out of training on it. You almost certainly won't regret it, if you like going fast that is.
    – ebrohman
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:04
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    I commute during winter on my hardtail in temperatures below -20C, everything will be fine given you service the bike regulary and wear suitable clothes. As for a road bike, I was very pleased after buying one in addition to the MTB. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:28
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    A "road bike" is a bike that is optimized for riding relatively long distances on relatively smooth roads. Better posture, better tires, less aerodynamic resistance. For "winter biking" a road bike will do fine if you don't encounter snow or ice. With snow and ice you need a bike a bit more like one you'd use on muddy surfaces. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:33
  • @ebrohman I love going fast ;)
    – Kemosabe
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:33
  • Some possibilities I’d like to point out: You can play with the seating position of your mountain bike and try to make it more efficient and aerodynamic. You can also change to slick tires for road cycling which will greatly reduce rolling resistance. Click-in pedals and closer gear steps (next time you replace the cassette or crank) are also a good idea. With those changes the differences to a road bike shouldn’t be all that great.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


You will go further and faster on a road bike for the same effort. You go further and faster on a better (i.e. more expensive) bike. Training is not about going further and faster for the same effort, its about putting in more effort. So, will a road bike make a difference - only if you will put in more effort on the road bike than the MTB.

If the idea of road riding spins you wheels, get a road bike because if you are enjoying it the training will happen. If the idea behind a road bike is a road bike lets you go the same speed and distance for less effort, a road bike will not help you meet your training objectives, except if you enjoy doing the same speed and distance for less effort, you are more likely to keep doing it rather than stopping altogether.

(you could pretty much 'road' in the above and other adjective describing a bicycle here) 'expensive', 'fat', 'single speed', 'Down hill', 'pink'

Plenty of people ride in sub freezing temperatures, its entirely possible to do so and enjoy. More people pack their bikes away for winter because its too hard. Only you can decide which group you want to be in.

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    So the winter won't do anything to damage a road or mountain bike?
    – Kemosabe
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:18
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    @Kemosabe if you cycle on roads that are gritted, then the grit can potentially build up on a bike and accelerate wear, but if you clean your bike every couple of weeks you've nothing to worry about. Mudguards help too. Mud etc. on mountain bike can cause wear and requires cleaning whatever the season.
    – mrkwse
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:25
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    Yep, the bike is the vehicle. Training is what the rider does.
    – andy256
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:30
  • Cool thanks. I clean my mountain bike regularly and take good care (or so I think) of it, so it all sounds good.
    – Kemosabe
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:32
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    Some people ride a cheap beater over winter months and save their nice bike for summer - especially in areas that use salt on roads.
    – mattnz
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 2:42

I see two questions here... First, will you benefit from a road bike? If you will ride it more than you are riding the mountain bike, then yes. That will depend on where you live (are there good roads or paved trails for a road bike), who you ride with, etc. I do most of my riding on my road bike because I live near an excellent paved trail and there are lots of great country roads a short ride away. I can ride out my front door. Mountain biking involves driving to the trail head, or a medium length ride on pavement to get there on the bike.

Second, can you train through the winter? Yes, absolutely. It's just a matter of having the correct gear for the temperature. Warm clothes that wick sweat. Good gloves are critical. Probably a high-output light (and tail light), as winter means shorter days and frequently being caught out after sunset. I ride all year, in temperatures down to 20*F or so. Much colder than that and I ride the indoor trainer, though there's no reason I couldn't ride outside other than my own comfort.

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