I'm planning to buy a bike - mostly using it in the city on a daily basis - sometimes long roads - But I want a cool bike and I think mountain bikes look very cool.

I would like to know how mountain bikes do on normal roads, especially in the city? Is it more tiring than a regular bike, or what are my other options for city commuting with the occasional touring ride?

  • 30
    Get the bike that makes you want to ride it. Speed and efficiency aren't the only goals - a fancy bike that lives in the garage is useless.
    – Criggie
    Aug 22, 2018 at 11:02
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    @Criggie Exactly. I'm still going with the mountain bike Cause I Can use it for both mountain and city & Plus its cooler - I just fell in love with it :D.
    – Angela
    Aug 22, 2018 at 11:59
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    It's not really a whole answer, so I'll leave it here. If you're living or working in a city, make very sure you have somewhere like a cycle-hub to secure your bike. Don't leave it chained up. Especially if it's a "cool" bike. There's a not-insubstantial likelihood of it getting stolen if it looks valuable. If you don't have a secure bike-storage, get a crap bike for city-use. Something you can live with losing and replacing.
    – Rowan
    Aug 22, 2018 at 14:39
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    @Rowan In addition you should remove any quick release mechanisms and replace with standard nuts if you are leaving the bike on the street. Stuffing a piece of paper with information only you would know inside the seat post can help if you catch someone making off with your bike.
    – JimmyJames
    Aug 24, 2018 at 15:53
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    Only if you want to go off of +5ft drops and do backflips Aug 25, 2018 at 4:42

13 Answers 13


For the past few years, I have commuted on a road bike for most of the year and on a mountain bike for late fall through early spring. My commute also involves both classic road-riding and more urban-style riding.

What I've Found

I've found that I prefer the road bike by a significant degree. Living in a hilly area, it is always a pleasure to drop the excess weight of the shock system, the efficiency loss due to bouncing and flexing, and the wide tired of my mountain bike come spring.

I can finally take my backpack off and put on panniers, which keeps my back from getting as sweaty and is generally more comfortable. My fenders work better to keep the mud off me. It is an altogether more enjoyable experience.

If I could ride my road bike in the winter, I would. Hard to do in the snow, unfortunately, especially when it comes to the turning bit.

What I Lose

However, when I switch to the road bike, I feel I lose some peace of mind. On my road bike, whenever I see a patch of sand at a corner I've got to take, whenever I ride in the rain over fallen leaves, I worry that I will lose traction and fall.

Furthermore, I've been run off the road before and gotten close to it several times and I feel much safer and more comfortable on my mountain bike knowing I can ditch the road and jump into the rough easily if necessary.

On my mountain bike, I don't fear to hop up or down the curb to, for example, avoid a runner in traffic. I can take shortcuts over uneven terrain, hop a few stairs, and be on my way.


In conclusion, I recommend finding a bike that fits your specific needs. If you can only have one bike, find the bike that allows you to do everything. If you live somewhere that gets significant snow, if you live in a place with terrible roads and worse drivers, you may need that mountain bike. If you live in a city with as many shortcuts and stairs as potholes, you'll love the "Go Anywhere" ability. If you live in a very hilly environment, you'll love the climbing gear on your MB. If you have any interest in actually mountain biking, keep in mind that a mountain bike can do both while a road bike has to stay out of the trails.

If you live in a more suburban area, or somewhere as flat as Kansas or The Netherlands, or if you live somewhere with nice weather year round, a road bike is the way to go. The ride quality will be higher; you will feel light as a feather, fast as a Ferrari, and much more efficient than on your MB.


  • Mountain Bike: true go-anywhere ability, safety advantage
  • Road Bike: better riding experience, faster, more efficient.
  • 3
    Mountain bikes may also place your head higher, giving you a better field of view/higher visibility. Also, you can get MTB tires that have a solid center in the tread so they ride more like street tires when you're not taking turns. Aug 22, 2018 at 21:57
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    If riding in snow and ice is a concern, one can also swap tyres for the winter. Those that have metal studs work well on ice and frozen-over snow, while I guess normal mountain bike tyres, though knobby, would probably still slip. So, even with a single bike you can have all-weather rideability by having two sets of tyres.
    – Joey
    Aug 23, 2018 at 10:44
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    @WayneWerner Or you can do it the other way round and buy cyclo-cross tyres for your road bike if it has large enough clearance. Better to start with a gravel (to have panier and fender mounts) or a CX bike from the start. I ride such a bike and it can take me almost everywhere my hardtail MTB could and is much faster on the road. Aug 23, 2018 at 15:00
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    @VladimirF I've been thinking about trying to find a light hardtail, add a lockout lever to the handlebars, and put some more road-appropriate tires on it. Could be the best of both worlds if you could get a rack and panniers on one
    – Dent7777
    Aug 23, 2018 at 15:16
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    In terms of what you lose, this is exactly the reason I chose hybrid or crosstrek bike as described in another answer. I have front suspension for curbs, large diameter wheels and tires that are much narrower than on mtb, but wider than a standard road bike - enough to do the occasional mud/sand patch, but narrow enough to allow for easier ride.
    – Gnudiff
    Aug 25, 2018 at 9:46

If the part of mountain bikes that you think looks cool is the rear suspension, I very much recommend you buy an uncool bike. Rear suspension is very heavy, requires maintenance, means you can't fit good mudguards, stops you using panniers and means that, while you're riding, part of your energy is going into flexing the bike around instead of moving you forward. It's also completely unnecessary unless you're riding down mountain tracks at high speed, which you say you won't be.

I would suggest a "hybrid" (also known as a "fitness bike" or "commuter bike") – they have a more-or-less mountain-bike-shaped frame and might have front suspension (which is a comfort-versus-weight trade-off that you'll have to consider). They have narrower, smoother tyres than mountain bikes, and these are better suited to riding on paved surfaces but they'll still be OK for light off-road use such as gravel tracks.

  • 7
    +1 I ride a hybrid to work year round. I use spiked tyres during the snow season and the tyres it came with during the rest of the year. I'm gonna skip the front suspension on my next bike but otherwise it'll be the same type. Aug 23, 2018 at 16:41
  • 2
    Good answer. We call hybrids "commuter bikes" in my area.
    – Carl
    Aug 25, 2018 at 22:01
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    I think you are unfairly biased against rear suspensions. Those do serve a purpose, and there are many accessories well-suited to mountain bikes. It all depends on the actual use of the rider, and the poster says they want a bike that rides well in the city. I don't know which city you live in, but in Montreal, you might very well like to ride a mountain bike downtown, given how many obstacles and road work you pass by.
    – sleblanc
    Aug 27, 2018 at 1:32
  • @sleblanc If you want to say that I'm wrong, fair enough, but you need to explain why: I've given several reasons why rear suspension is a disadvantage and you've given none except a vague reference to obstacles and road work. My road bike with skinny tyres and no suspension works fine through road works and you don't say what "obstacles" you're talking about. And I really take objection to your claim that I'm "unfairly biased". With zero evidence whatsoever, you're accusing me of both being factually wrong and pushing some sort of agenda. Sorry, but that's out of order. Aug 27, 2018 at 8:47
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    I've been riding a hybrid for a year now in a decent sized city and have been very happy with it. Works well enough for bike trails where the pavement is usually smooth and dependable while also working well on the terrible midwest city roads.
    – aaaaaa
    Aug 27, 2018 at 16:47

Generally mountain bikes offer certain advantages and disadvantages over, say, road bikes for commuting.

Advantages: The seating position is comfortable, and ridig will also be very comfortable due to suspension and the wider tires. Also, in bad weather, mud and snow you probably have better traction with MB tires. Also the wide handlebars make nimble riding very easy.

Disadvantages: The wider tires, higher weight and less aero positioning of the rider mean that you generally have to invest more power to go the same speed.

If a bike, that looks 'cool' to you means that you'll ride it more, then go for it. But it might not be the best possible buy. There's also bikes specifically made for commuting which focus on being very reliable and still comfortable (Canyon Urban and Commuter series come to mind).

To answer your question completely, we'd need to know how long your commute is, what your budget is and if you consider also riding trails with your bike.

  • 5
    I'd also add that a mountain bike is likely to be more maneuverable than a road bike for a lot of reasons beyond the wider bars. The geometry, rider position, and weight distribution all contribute, probably a lot more than wider bars do - a road bike with wider bars still wouldn't be very nimble. Aug 22, 2018 at 9:41
  • @AndrewHenle but mtb tend to have wider handlebars and it's not so pleasant in a heavy traffic
    – k102
    Aug 22, 2018 at 9:42
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    @k102 I doubt a new rider is going to be zooming between cars in heavy traffic with less than a meter of space. Heck, wider bars would probably help in keeping such a rider out of danger. It takes a bit of experience to learn how to spot a looming right hook or to know where to look to avoid an imminent dooring - and to know to do it always. Aug 22, 2018 at 9:51
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    I think it's worth mentioning that road condition also plays a significant role. Road condition isn't the best where I live (potholes, gaps in the pavement, unpaved areas, bad or no ramps, etc.). I've driven road bikes in these conditions and it's doable, but not optimal and less fun than a MB.
    – Daniel V
    Aug 22, 2018 at 19:02
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    @David seat is very rider-specific thing: for me seats on both of my mtb bikes are good (I guess I'm regular... everywhere), but others may want wider or narrower seat
    – k102
    Aug 23, 2018 at 9:55

I'm riding a hardtail 26" XC bike for commuting, never had a road bike, but tried once, so that's my experience:


  • more upright position which is good in traffic - you see more, you're more visible for cars
  • a bit more comfort (highly depends on tires)
  • possibility to ride anywhere (this too depends on tires)
  • lower gearing - this is good if you live in a hilly place


  • bad fenders. Installing full fenders on mtb (especially with ammo-fork) is a pain
  • more rolling resistance: even if you install slick tires, they are going to be wide (mine are 2.1")
  • more wind resistance due to upright position - you'll have to push harder to ride as fast as people on road bikes
  • lower gearing - the top speed for XC bike is lower than for road bike

One more to "pros", but very specific to where I live (Saint-Petersbourg, Russia) - there are lots of XC races, much more than road ones. So if you'd like to race one day - mtb may be better


I've changed my old ammo fork to a rigid one, installed fenders, rack and bar ends.

Now this bike can either carry some goods or kids seat while allowing to grab some strava crowns - so yes, mtb can be good for urban riding, but with some modifications (and you still going to have relatively low top speed)


There's more than just a mountain bike and a road bike

Especially if you consider commuting I would add at least one more option than the two you mention.

Road bike

Road bike are intended for a fast rides on a rather flat surface and I would say they aim more for a race riding so that's probably not what you want to have for a daily commuting. The position is not comfortable, it is optimised for limiting your drag coefficient and getting most power out of your muscles. Such bike has a seat positioned higher than a handle bar, often with ram handles to enable even lower position (sometimes handle suspension in the middle). They have thin tyres and in general are very light. They often aren't fitted with fenders or even lights to save on weight.

Mountain bike (MTB)

These bikes are optimised for a difficult mountain paths where there are heavily changing conditions, steep slopes, mud etc. Yet the biker does not really care for that (i.e. getting dirt). They'll have a bit more comfortable position than a road bike, with seat just below the handlebar. They will have wide tyres with deep tread, plenty of gears, often additional handles sticking up perpendicular to the main handle to enable shifting position when needed. Usually fitted with some sort of shock absorbers.

City bike

If you've ever been in Netherlands, you've seen plenty of those for sure. These bikes are designed to work in a typical city conditions. Dutch are freaks about bikes (I've been told an average Dutch has at least 4) and they really know what they are doing. Typically city bike has a very upright position. It is far more comfortable than anything you can get in either road bike or MTB. Tyres are quite wide but with tread not so deep as in MTB. Handlebar is much higher than the seat. They often have a single gearbox in an enclosed case to reduce maintenance with 3, sometimes 5-8 gears. Also usually fitted with luggage space (sometimes also in the front), fenders, lights, protection so that your dress don't get into the wheel, chain cover and everything to ensure that a gentleman in his suit or a lady her dress don't get dirty and can get into the office or whatever other business they have. These bikes are really heavy (20 kg is a typical weight) and intended for biking on a flat surfaces but handles small terrain obstacles too. Sometimes are equipped with shock absorbers, usually have very comfortable saddles. This is all about your comfort, not speed.

If you don't plan too much off-road I would really consider this option.

Cool bikes are everywhere

All types listed above have some cool bikes. You may need to look for it a bit more. I own a Dutch-style city bike that I really believe is cool (Batavus Mambo) but I had some MTBs and road bikes in the past as well.

What I would consider is making sure your bike is comfortable for you. Otherwise you'll just stop using it way too soon.

  • I have an Electra Townie (with the Shimano Inter-7 hub) that I love, and it's very much a city bike. Only problem is they use rubbish spokes so I ended out having to have mine completely redone by someone who could put steel spokes in there. Aug 22, 2018 at 22:01
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    I have been commuting a variety of long roads and inner city riding for the last two years on a "gravel road" bike. basically a more relaxed geometry version of a cyclocross bike. it's got all the benefits of a road bike (quick, light, mounts for fenders and panniers) but it's also a bit more rugged, with 35mm tires that can stand up to some moderate singletrack trail riding. I took it in to the shop for maintenence and rode my mountain bike today and oh boy do i miss the gravel road bike.
    – Sdarb
    Aug 22, 2018 at 22:30
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    Well, I left out some other types of bikes. E-bikes are a bit expensive and you can consider if that's still a bike ;-) Various in-between bikes are also not here but exist in reality and often do better than a specialised bike, there are folding bikes which are useful when you also have to transport them, cargo-bikes that may not be best fit for commuting but do just great if you go for a small shopping etc. I may add some of those (especially "cross-breed") to the list if you think it's a good idea.
    – Ister
    Aug 23, 2018 at 7:28
  • What you call "road bike" is just one kind of road bike. The other kind of road bike - a tourer - can be closer to what you need from a commuting bike (but unless you take loads of stuff to work, likely too heavy). Aug 23, 2018 at 15:31
  • @TobySpeight I must admit a naming is somewhat misleading and unclear. I've tried to find something reasonably precise but to no luck. Keep in mind I am not native so I am accustomed to a slightly different bike categorisation.
    – Ister
    Aug 24, 2018 at 7:37

in addition to the other replies I'd like to emphasize:

  • the mountainbike makes potholes less of an issue. Partly due to the actual suspension, but also from the suspension provided through the tires, and by the larger inertia of the tires. So while no bike will instantly disassemble under you when going through a pothole, you probably need to be react to them on road bikes. While on a mountainbike you're way further away from losing control even if a pothole hits you completely unexpected.

  • tram tracks: If you ride in a town with trams, wider tires have the advantage that they don't slide into tram tracks as easily as narrow tires. Even if your mountainbike tires are not wider than the tram track, you usually need to hit them at a very steep angle to get into trouble. Road bikes are less forgiving.

So these points are pro mountainbike: You need to worry less about the ground ahead of you and can spend more attention on traffic. BUT this should only be a comfort argument. If the road and traffic are so bad that they are a real issue on a road bike, then maybe riding there isn't such a good idea on a mountainbike either...


  • In city traffic, I experience that the most tiring aspect is the constant stop and go. I.e. all the energy you put into accelerating to cruising velocity is gone by the next stop sign / traffic light (or for riders who prefer to adapt their driving to actual traffic rather than road signs: "is gone the next time you give priority to another participant of road traffic"). Accelerating rotating mass takes more energy than non-rotating mass, so I claim this takes an extra toll on how tiring the ride is that may be more relevant than air drag (although looking through other threads on bicycles.stackexchange, this seems to be matter of dispute).

EDIT: I am talking about energy, not force. I assume any bike with gears should allow you to pedal in city traffic at a cadence and pedal force/torque of your choice with the achieved acceleration as remaining degree of freedom. At a given cruising velocity, that energy - that dissipates into heat once per stop (independent of trip length) - will be higher for a mountainbike than for a road bike, due to the higher mass and higher moment of inertia/angular mass/rotational inertia. (And when considering lower cruising velocities for mountain bikes than for road bikes, that may or may not still hold, my feeling is it still does for my bikes and cruising velocities but I'm not going to buy a power meter to run tests on it)

  • 2
    We have paved trails in my area, so I recently replaced my mountain bike tires with smoother and slightly narrower tires. I'm riding a little faster but the big difference I've noticed is how much less tired / sore I am after a longer ride (which for me is 40+ miles).
    – David
    Aug 22, 2018 at 13:38
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    In my experience the lowest gears on mountain bikes usually "lower" than the lowest gears on road bikes. From that perspective the stop and go should be easier on mountain bikes since you can get going a little quicker. Aug 22, 2018 at 14:23
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    On the road, you're probably not going to be using the lowest mountain bike gears though, even when stopping and starting. They are there for steep ascents and you are usually fine pulling off from a standing start on a flat road in a mid-gear
    – Baldrickk
    Aug 23, 2018 at 9:55

For similar riding, I actually prefer the mountain bike frame over a road bike. I like the stability of the wider tires, and ability to cut across grass or gravel areas without a second thought. However, I look for a few specific characteristics:

  • The bike should only have front suspension (no rear, too much weight for not enough benefit), and maybe a seat spring.

  • Look for tires with a smoother tread pattern. This will make for a much smoother and easier ride, while still providing extra traction and stability for places where the road might not be so nice.

  • More gears aren't necessarily better. The drive on a mountain bike is likely to have some extra low gear ratios for easier work in tough terrain that just aren't as necessary for rides that are mainly on the road. Riding uphill on asphalt is just not the same punishment as riding up an actual mountain, and a bike with fewer gears is likely to result in easier, cleaner shifts. (Of course, there's also a "you get what you pay for" factor here).

And again, these are my preferences.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! I'd just note that tyres are easily and relatively cheaply replaced, so it's not necessary to buy a bike with the ideal tyres (though, of course, buying the ideal bike is usually cheaper than buying something else and replacing stuff.) Aug 23, 2018 at 10:23

You can ride a mountain bike on the road (you might not be as efficient or able to keep up with people on road bikes though), but you really can't ride a road bike on a trail.

You asked if it is tiring, no, not really, so long as the seat is properly adjusted and you use the gears properly it will be fine.

There are things in between though, for example my first higher quality bike (that came from a bike shop as opposed to somewhere like Walmart) was a hybrid. Its tires were still fairly narrow but had ridges, but not as narrow as a road bike's. It had maybe an inch and a half of front suspension and no rear suspension. I was able to ride it on trails, but a real mountain bike with rear suspension was much more enjoyable once I got one. That hybrid was great though, I used it to commute from my college dorms to campus (in a busy city with potholes) so the suspension made it a lot smoother.


Lots of answers already, but i'll try to give my point of view.

I'm a Dutchie and regularly use both bikes, but each for different purposes. They each have their pro's and cons. MTB is a mid-end hardtail and city bike has a simple three-speed geared hub with an enclosed chain guard.

City bike


  • Low maintenance
  • Built-in lock
  • Luggage rack/panniers
  • Fenders
  • More comfort during short trips (seating position/saddle)


  • Takes more effort to go fast
  • A bit boring



  • Fun to ride
  • Faster than a city bike
  • More traction


  • No chain guard
  • No fenders
  • No lock

In short: a mountainbike is more fun to ride, but a city bike is easier to live with and way more practical for daily use.

  • If, by "built-in lock", you mean the little thing that locks through the back wheel, I'd say that's a false sense of security in a British city at least. Sure, it'll deter the most casual thief who just wants to get on your bike and ride off but anyone who's remotely serious will just pick it up and walk off with it or put it in a van. A bike that isn't secured to an immovable object isn't really locked. Aug 27, 2018 at 8:54
  • @DavidRicherby its good enough to prevent someone riding away on it when you are getting groceries, which would be a typical usage scenario for me. For an MTB you always need to carry that additional chain lock with you which is more of a hassle. Also a €500 city bike is less likely to get stolen then a €2000 MTB.
    – MadMarky
    Aug 27, 2018 at 9:05
  • Honestly, a €500 city bike is probably less likely to get stolen than even a €200 MTB -- the mountain bike is more fashionable so easier to sell. Aug 27, 2018 at 9:14
  • Horses for courses, I rode a city bike once. It was the most infuriating experience... I was on a bike, but I literally couldn't wait to get off the bike. The experience still haunts me to this day. When I next go to the Netherlands I'm bringing my own bike. P.S. I feel that my MTB requires carrying a big dlock, 12mm 1.5 meter cable for the wheels, and a thin cable for the seat, even then you have to know the area you are in, and even then you still risk someone bringing along an electric angle-grinder or 3 foot bolt cutters. Still worth it.
    – user20209
    Mar 4, 2019 at 4:40

Another aspect that hasn't been mentioned is your tires. Mountain bikes typeically have knobby tires and road bikes have smooth tires. I have a mountain bike, and when I wanted to start training for a week long ride, I had no real option but to ride on roads (because we don't have 60mile long trails where I live). Road bikes run with a lot higher pressure in their tires which limits the amount of friction you have with the road. If you increase the pressure in the mountain bike tires ( knobbys) to their max, your ride will have an extra vibration because of the tread on the hard road, and will take a bit more effort.

One way to eliminate this issue and still not have to invest in an additional bike ( and figure out where to store that second bike) is to buy some slick tires for the wheels of your mountain bike. These will typically hold more pressure than your average mountain bike tires so you will get a smoother ride with less effort.

If you do a lot of both types of riding you can invest in a second wheel set and have both types of tires ready to go at a moments notice.

What others have said about frame types is certainly true, but this is a way to have a little of both if you are limited to one bike! Have fun riding!

  • Welcome to the site! It's not quite clear what you mean by "friction with the road", but I assume you're talking about rolling resistance, rather than grip. Actually, though, current thinking is that higher pressures don't automatically reduce rolling resistance. On a perfectly smooth road, they do, since they stop the tyre deforming as much where it touches the ground. But real roads aren't smooth, and higher pressures mean that small bumps bounce your bike upwards rather than being absorbed by the tyre. Aug 23, 2018 at 19:25
  • Also, to a large extent, tyre pressure depends on tyre width. If you buy slick tyres for your mountain bike, you probalby won't be running them at much higher pressure than the knobblies that they replaced, unless the slicks are also narrower. Aug 23, 2018 at 19:26
  • I used to have a worn tubeless Schwalbe Evo liteskin RaRa 2.25 setup that rolled like a dream at 35R / 30F PSI on roads. TBH most people should never mention rolling resistance as they are clueless about it, even when they do understand what friction is. P.S. Schwalbe Big One LiteSkin PaceStar at 2.35 inch width and 25psi would destroy practically anything you see day-to-day on the road for rolling resistance, since there are only 11 road tyres i'm aware of with lower rolling resistance (3 if you pump the big one to 55psi)
    – user20209
    Mar 4, 2019 at 5:14

Others have given pretty solid answers but I would like to add that there is another kind of bike made for everyday commute apart from city bikes.

I believe they're somewhat "exclusive" to France in retail (but you can build one yourself very easily), we call them "vélo tout-chemin" which means "all-road bike" in contrast to mountain bike which we call "vélo tout-terrain" (all-terrain bike).

The concept is the following : a simple mountain-bike frame with only front suspensions and tires with thread depth variations : the middle is flat like road-bike tires and the sides are thick and ridged like mountain-bike tires), but I don't know how hard or easy it is to find that outside of France.

So with such a bike you can put less effort in riding on road than with a mountain bike while keeping a good look and not fearing potholes or rain. You also keep the ability to do light off-roading (like forest tracks for example).

Customize :

If there are no such bikes in retail where you live, you can achieve the same result by buying a simple mountain bike and a second set of quick-change wheels with city-bike tires or simply equipping bicycle-touring tires if you want a single set of wheels.


There is only one real answer: try out the bikes you want to ride.

I happen to ride either a BMX or a rigid ~10kg MTB with 67 HA and 2.35 tyres (the front is a soft compound, 45 watts in rolling tests and I run it at 27PSI, but this is worth it for how I like to ride), in the city. I do this because I enjoy it.

So yes, a real mountain bike, with the fork change to rigid is absolutely awesome to ride in the city, if you're like me, and if the bike is good.

But you're not me and you don't have my bikes, so all my answers and those from anyone else will never help you except by wild coincidence.

  • Hello and welcome to the site. We have plenty of unanswered questions, maybe you would like to have look at them.
    – ojs
    Mar 4, 2019 at 6:10

Buy the bike that makes your forwards progress as lightweight as possible: a road bike, not a mountain bike.

I long time ago thought that buying a "hybrid" bike was a good idea. Best of both worlds, that was my idea.

Soon later, I switched to 28mm slick tires. Rolling resistance problem solved!

A bit later than that, I switched the handlebar to a drop bar, with shifting using bar end shifters and with braking using those drop bar brake levers made for V brakes (which I eternally hated). Air resistance problem solved!

What in the end I was annoyed about was the suspension fork. Couldn't change that, so I built myself a genuine road bike.

I have ridden with the hybrid to road bike conversion and with the true road bike on many terrains. 28mm slick tires work just fine on most acceptable quality forest paths. MTB may be better in the mud or in soft wet sand, but how often do you encounter those situations? (Besides, ever heard of cyclocross? They use what are essentially slightly modified road bikes on harsh terrains.)

You said your riding is "urban", on long routes using normal roads. That's where a road bike really shines. If your routes include forest paths, you may want to switch those stupid 23mm tires to 28mm ones. You may want to do that anyway, as after fixing a flat 28mm tires require less pressure than 23mm tires. Also, 28mm buys you slightly more ground clearance, which is good.

Oh, and road bikes are really cool. If your idea of cool includes riding on harsh terrains (although you didn't say you are planning to do that), you can always buy a cyclocross bike which is essentially a slightly modified road bike.

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