I bought my MTB without much thought, really. I wanted a hard tail but thats about it. Now I'm researching on whether my bike is appropriate for xyz application. I've been looking at frame geometries.

Since I don't jump off cliffs or race (even for PR), other than changing the tires and maybe getting a more expensive fork for modest drops, I don't understand the significance of differentiating between cyclocross to endurance road to performance road to touring and all that.

My bike is for general commutes but also for daytrips and future whatever. Definitely 3-4 days touring. Maybe some offroad but nothing crazy. Am I missing out?

  • 1
    If in its current format your bike serves its purpose I wouldn’t go down the rabbit hole... it can get quite expensive.
    – Rider_X
    Oct 31, 2017 at 22:50
  • 1
    Whatever you focus on, expands
    – gaurwraith
    Oct 31, 2017 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


Yes, geometry matters. If you're happy with your bike, then you don't need to worry about it.

There are a lot of different cycling disciplines and sub-disciplines: for example, within mountain biking, there's cross-country and downhill and others. Within road racing, there's criterium, point-to-point, time trial, and so on. And there are bikes with geometries, material selections, wheels, tires, and other components that are optimized for each of these disciplines. Sometimes the differences are tiny, and the sort of thing that very few need concern themselves with.

Consider, for example, that a bike with very sharp handling will be beneficial in some situations (like criteriums), but if you don't need that, you're just going to expend more energy keeping your bike going in a straight line, which at the end of a long ride would leave you more fatigued. Or that some touring bikes are designed so that they handle better when panniers are mounted on the forks. Or that using a racing bike for touring may leave you with your heels hitting your rear panniers because the chainstays aren't long enough.

Bike fit and geometry are intertwined, and different sizes of the same model bike can have different geometry to produce similar "feel" for the intended rider. If you were on a mis-sized bike, in addition to having poor fit, you'd also be getting geometry designed for a person of a different size.

If you were buying a new bike, I'd suggest that a mountain bike probably isn't the best bike for you, since you don't sound like you'll spend much time riding in the dirt, but like I said, if you're happy, don't sweat it.


Possibly. Some bikes make much better generalists than others, particularly when it comes to handling well with any kind of load. Race-oriented bikes of any variety by definition tend to have design and geometry elements that prioritize winning the race and put literal zero compromise towards anything more utilitarian. So in the relative sense, i.e. does the trail/recreational hardtail make a better all-arounder than the repurposed XC race bike, yes there are relevant differences there. In the absolute sense, i.e. how impaired is my repurposed XC race bike at being an all-arounder in ways that actually keep me from doing what I want to do, that is a question that depends on a lot of details and preferences and winds up being much harder to answer.

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