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Mountain bike or road bike...

Hi everyone,

I am training for my first triathlon in the summer and up till now have only been cycling in the gym. Is it important to use a road bike a long time in advance of the event, or will a mountain bike suffice. ie. are there muscle groups that the road bike use that the other two neglect?

Many thanks


  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    Hi Jonathon

    Like you I am competing in my 1st tri this June & will also be using a MTB for this season. I find I have now got good bike fitness primarily from putting the road time in both with the triathlon club and also on solo training. I have used spinning bikes in the gym ( classes can be good for motivation & general endurance training) mostly to do bricks or as part of practise tri. At the end of the day though (as far as I know) no bike section of a tri is indoors and therefor your best training is to replicate race conditions as best as possible. rain hills wind sleet etc cant beat it.

    As for a road bike, tri specific or MTB suppose that has to be a persoanl preference governed by your pocket & how comiited you are to to triathlon in the long term. I will be getting a tri bike after this season but intend to keep my MTB as a winter / trainng bike as well (assuming I have stuck at it - which I hope I will)

    madnurse [:)]
  • guv001guv001 Posts: 227
    Totally agree with the above I'm just starting but I'm lucky to own both already the most important thing is not to waste money on something that isn't going to be used. If you are totally commited then get a road or tri bike if not see if you can borrow a friends for the first few weeks/months.
  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    Are you planning to buy a road bike at all? If so I'd get it sooner rather than later so you can get used to it. Though if you are planning on just enjoying the first season to see if you like it then I'd stick with the MTB

    I am in the same camp as nurse(and a few others on here) of using my MTB for my first season, if addiction and budget kick in then will probably go for the road bike for next season.

    There was a thread on here that discussed the upgrading of a MTB for a first seasons tri the basic points were

    a) slick tyres

    b) clipless pedals and shoes

    c) Tri bars

    d) I am sure the was more

    Also try and get it set up properly. I was talking to a mate who used ride. he reckoned that the bike set up properly could account for a 20% difference in performance. That is from completely wrong to set up correct so if bike is set up partially correctly then you would get such a huge increase.

  • RobRob Posts: 209
    Hi Jonathan,

    I used a mountain bike for a couple of races with slicks & ordinary toe clips & it was perfectly OK. I'm not sure it uses different muscle groups to a road bike, (if you have them both set up correctly it shouldn't make any difference). But, I bought a racer at the end of last year & did back to back rides on the same route to compare mountain bike vs road. I was 5 1/2 minutes quicker on my road bike over the same route (about an hours ride) the following day, over the mountain bike.

    Like the others say, it depends how deep your pockets are & whether you feel you're going to keep tri's up. A MTB can be used anywhere, the road bike will only be suitable for roads.

  • jazdogjazdog Posts: 223
    Hi folks,

    If you want to get improved performance from your mtb you could consider putting a smaller ratio cassette on it... a cassette will only set you back about £20 and will give you bigger gears to push, strengthening your legs and giving you "more power ugh ugh ugh!"

    I switched the cassette on my road bike and the difference was amazing!

  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    Yeah, there is a danger with MTB's with their gearing that you can be tempted to use the lower gears (granny ring on the climbs anyone?) I know I've sorely missed having that third ring on the longer/steeper climbs :D
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