I have Schnell Damping 26, which is a mountain bike with front and rear suspension. Some people suggest me that thick tire bikes are not good for road racing. What is the reason? Also, some suggest that back rear suspension is not good and causes a lot of sweat.

  • What kind of races are you talking about? Road, xc, dh...?
    – k102
    Jul 5, 2017 at 8:35
  • Road race. I bought mountain bike as I live in hilly terrain but thinking of participanting in racing event.
    – PD Pro
    Jul 5, 2017 at 8:40
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    I doubt that you're going to win something using actually wrong type of bike. But if you just want to participate - go for it
    – k102
    Jul 5, 2017 at 8:44
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    @PrasanDutt A mountain bike isn't necessarily a good choice, even in hilly areas. Mountain bikes are designed for going off-road, which means they're robust and, therefore, heavy. If you're only riding on the roads, a lighter bike would be easier to ride up the hills. Jul 5, 2017 at 9:17
  • This is a sub-$200 (USD) "full suspension" bike. It is a toy bike, not a real bike and while it's probably safe to ride on road/gravel, it would most likely not be suitable for any serious mountain biking. Slicks should nearly always offer far less rolling resistance (and be lighter weight) than knobby mountain bike tires, which is why road racers/riders prefer the narrower, slick tires to the wider, knobby mountain bike tires. Jul 5, 2017 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Wide tyres are designed to be pumped to a relatively low pressure so that they bend around objects they roll over, to give grip and a smoother ride. They also often have lots of bumps and lumps on them: again, these dig into the ground and bend around things for more grip. However, bending and deforming all this rubber hundreds of times a minute takes a lot of energy. The only source of energy on a bike is you, so this means that a lot of your energy is going into the tyres, rather than driving the bike forwards. Sometimes, you hear a mountain bike with really knobbly tyres being ridden on the road and it sounds like a swarm of bees: that's a lot of wasted energy.

Suspension (front and rear) is, by design, flexible. This means that, when you press on the pedals, some of your energy goes into driving the bike forwards, but some of your energy goes into flexing the suspension.

Roads are relatively smooth, which means that fat tyres and suspension aren't giving you any advantages. But they're still there, using your muscle power for useless things. They're also heavy, which makes it harder to accelerate your bike and harder to go up hills. These are significant disadvantages to using this kind of bike on the road. Another disadvantage of mountain bikes is that they often have very low gearing, which means you can't go very fast, even spinning your pedals as fast as you can.

Some bikes with suspension have a control that lets you stop the suspension moving. That would be a good thing to use when riding on the road, but you'll still be carrying around all that excess weight and your squishy, fat tyres.

And, in fact, you might not be allowed to ride a road race on your particular mountain bike. The international regulations of the UCI require something fairly close to a traditional diamond frame. The intent was to exclude some of the extreme aerodynamic designs that people were experimenting with, but a mountain bike with rear suspension would also probably be forbidden under these rules. Although any race you'd be likely to enter wouldn't be run by the UCI, local cycling federations usually use rules very similar to the international ones, so that the rules don't suddenly change when people turn pro.

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    @PrasanDutt It depends what your goals are. Your bike isn't a good choice for road racing, sure, but any bike that you enjoy riding is a good bike for you. Jul 5, 2017 at 14:12
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    If you not trying to win a race, but merely participate then it won't matter, although you may get some weird looks. But if you do i would at very least get some smooth tires rather than knobby ones, and lock out your suspension if you can. It will be a bit like taking a jeep to a road racing track meet, but if you have fun who cares.
    – Nate W
    Jul 5, 2017 at 15:59
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    @NateWengert It might actually matter. As I understand it, UCI regulations require a bike with a diamond frame, which a double-suspension mountain bike probably doesn't conform to. Whether or not UCI regulations are relevant would presumably depend on how serious the race is; I wasn't going to comment on that sort of thing because I don't know much about it at all. Jul 5, 2017 at 16:11
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    @DavidRicherby a very valid point, i was thinking more of a local club race or event rather than a UCI sanctioned race.
    – Nate W
    Jul 5, 2017 at 17:07
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    It depends on the tires— a supple tire will bend and deform without absorbing much energy. Such wide tires will be as fast or faster than narrow tires (especially a rigid narrow tire). Jul 5, 2017 at 18:00

There have been quite a few 'alternative road' bikes with wider tires being made in recent years: https://blog.performancebike.com/2014/10/07/alternative-road-bikes-the-only-bike-you-need/

While rarely used for racing, they're very competent for general road riding when fitted with wide, supple, smooth tires.

Even race bikes have been moving towards wider tires and rims in recent years.

  • Agreed, though these "wide" tyres for road bikes are generally significantly narrower than MTB tyres. Jul 5, 2017 at 18:08
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    Generally, though a decent number of bikes are built around a 650x47B tire these days, which is nearly as large as an MTB tire. Jul 5, 2017 at 18:11
  • Agreed - its not the width of the tyre so much as the weight of the bike, flex of suspension, and knobblies that tend to be on MTB tyres.
    – Criggie
    Jul 5, 2017 at 19:58
  • @AlanGerber not many road races are won on those.
    – ojs
    Jul 5, 2017 at 20:24
  • @AlanGerber I tried my mountain bike for speeding up as I was practicing it since last several months. I realized that now I don't sweat much and could attain good speed.
    – PD Pro
    Jul 6, 2017 at 5:55

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