Whats best for getting fit? Road or MTB....


New Member
I'm pretty sure this is a topic that creates passionate debate on all sides, but I'd like to know the thought sof others.

For my part I suspect road ycling but can not justify why; as formMTB, my thought might be that I can (technical XC, not towpath cruzin') give a better upper body workout...


Formerly just_fixed
i rode mtb hard for years and got reasonably fit. i got a folder road bike and my fitness improved by miles and miles. when i go out on my mtb the fitness difference is amazing. so road bikes increase fitness much much quicker. i think it is because on mtb's it stop start but on a road it's pedalling non stop.


New Member
The bike which will improve your fitness better is the bike which is more difficult to ride at speed.

The less aerodynamic the bike is, the more oomph you will have to put in to ride fast.

A road bike with one of those Nike parachutes ( on another thread ). Or a heavyweight MTB with fat knobby tyres and wide mudguards.
Either will do.


New Member
jimboalee said:
A road bike with one of those Nike parachutes ( on another thread )........................................
Like having my carcas sitting ontop of it is not hindrance enough....:tongue:


Moodyman said:
As Bromptonfb said - no stop / starts
+2 but, as always, "it depends".

MTB'ing is usually a group activity, so there are few stops which last under 15 minutes, whereas going out solo, few stops last more than 5 minutes.

MTB'ing is usually about pushing yourself hard over tough ground, then stopping at the top to re-group, chat, and head down again, whereas riding on a road, you often run at a lower level but do it for 90 minutes with no more breaks than the odd traffic light.

However, for the reasons given, if "MTB" means following a tow path , that's going to be as hard, if not harder, than a road ride over the same distance.


This is where the comparison falls down. Most people MTB for pleasure.
MTBing is much the harder workout for your entire body, but then again I ride solo so no group to wait for and I don't stop unless I break something (me or the bike).

For pure cardio it's hard to beat a road bike as it's easier to keep in the zone. Also for leg muscle developement and pure leg strength road biking has the edge.

There's some research that mtbing, as a weight bearing activity, is better for your bone health compared to road riding which may be detrimental to bone health.

While I crash more on my mtb I don't have to worry about being knocked over by a car. And the air's cleaner 20 miles from the road than on it.

I know a lot of mtb racers and as a rule most of us ride the road for fitness and mtb for technic and skills. For some that's 8 hours on the road and 2 off.

Fiona N

lukesdad said:
This is where the comparison falls down. Most people MTB for pleasure.

Oh come on....I still ride my road bikes for pleasure.

Even the pain is pleasurable - after it stops :biggrin:


New Member
St Neots , Cambs
i found MTBing built Strength faster due to the harder terrain and big tyres etc.


Road bikes build stamina and improve general fitness much better i find.

guess it depends which your trying to build.


New Member
last summer I was on a roadie for most of the time and when I went back to the MTB I definitely found a jump in my fitness from prior to using it.
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