You’re bored with the typical performance bike that is only suitable for the city road or sightseeing? You want to challenge yourself on the trails with the best gear and bike?

It’s time to pick out a mountain bike and get the adventure-ready!

So how is a mountain bike different from a normal bike? This blog will show you some special aspects that make an MTB distinct from others such as purpose, performance, gears, etc.

Here in the blog, I would mention and compare mostly road bikes as the most popular bike for cyclist vs mountain bike.

Purpose & Endurance

The Trek X-Caliber 7 Mountain Bikes
The Trek X-Caliber 7 Mountain Bikes

Mountain bike is used with its purpose – to ride off the road and a short distance. As a reason, the design of a mountain bike is specialized to beat the dirty, muddy, or gravely terrains. It’s also built tougher by thick tires and wheels included add on puncture resistances so that it can handle the damage from the trails with rocks and weather conditions.

Road bike on the other hand is designed to ensure the speed, endurance on a city road, and the pavement performance. Rider’s seat is constructed in a more forward position combined with the lightweight, a road bike has much more power to speed up and ensure the aerodynamic while riding. A road bike is meant for long distances to travel with speed maintained.


As the purpose of the bike, the mountain bike usually brings up more weight than the road bike. The road bike which is built to maintain speed, aluminum, or carbon fibre is the better choice to reduce the weight. The tires at around 500cc – 700cc are also designed with a smaller size and lighter weight for the aerodynamics solution.

Meanwhile, a good mountain bike needs strong, heavy, and thick tires to adapt and handle the hard trails. It also helps to reduce absorption shock to riders. The frame of the mountain bike is chosen in steel or carbon fibre for the best endurance.



The Northwoods Aluminum Mountain Bikes
The Northwoods Aluminum Mountain Bikes

The rear or rear cassette of a mountain bike is bigger than the one on-road bike. The cassettes in road bikes include more individual sets so that the forces are maintained huge with deep hub spinning. On the other hand, a mountain bike is designed with a variety of gear in a group. This helps to dispense the forces on tires more constantly so that the bike is sturdier on the shock and dirty, split trails.The splines of road bikes sometimes are reduced to guarantee the speed. Meanwhile, the mountain bikes have the splines as the important part to decrease the shock.

Chainring/ front derailleurs

In other words, I’m talking about the chainrings of two types of bikes. The mountain bikes are designed with 2 chainrings when the road bikes have 3. The main purpose of the chainrings is to ensure and increase the speed due to the shifting to the strong power of each pedal.

Wheels & Tires

The Marin Bob Cat Trail 3 Mountain Bikes
The Marin Bob Cat Trail 3 Mountain Bikes

As mentioned above, the mountain bike wheels have a bigger size and thicker than the road bike. It’s said to be much wider than the road bike and multiple types of tire. You can also add on the puncture resistance for better coverage for your mountain bike. The tires themselves have a lot of surface friction that helps the bike reduce the shock and stick better on the trails. The average weight of a mountain bike could be around 1.3 kg – 2.2 kg.

Road bike, in contrast, has much smaller wheels with roughly from 0.8 kg – 1.6 kg. They’re designed with less weight and suitable for the long, no obstacle road.


This might be interesting to see the differences since they are distinct from others. The mountain bike usually includes flat handlebars while the road bike has a drop handlebar. It all comes from the purpose of the two types of bikes. The mountain bike needs more control over the bike with easy, fast brakes so that the flat bars are more strain that is needed on the wrists.

Meanwhile, the drop handlebars are shorter and straight. It helps riders take the bends at the corners easier. It also makes the bikers sit more up-front on the bike that helps increase the speed during the tour.


The Vitus Nucleus 29 VR Mountain Bikes
The Vitus Nucleus 29 VR Mountain Bikes

As the purpose of dealing with a lot of shocks and forces, the forks of mountain bikes are made more durable and burlier. Road bikes, on the other hand, have this feature reduced and sometimes are suspended.


You can still use the same pedals on the 2 bikes – mountain bike and road bike – but they’re still different and similar. They both can lock your feet to the pedals so that it’s not slippery causing trouble in riding. But they got different sizes of the cleat.

The cleat which is used to attach to the sole of the shoe in a mountain bike is smaller than the road bike. Why? So, it’s easier to take off. For example, you might get an accident and fall off from the bike when riding on the trail. By having a simple taking off pedal, you can get off easier and it means you’re safe.

Road bike instead gets a bigger cleat so that the contact points between the shoes and the pedals are bigger. It means you can put more pressure on the pedals to increase the speed.


The Smayer Mountain Bikes
The Smayer Mountain Bikes

The mountain bike brakes are built with a longer pull toward the road bike. You can usually see 2 types of brake on mountain bikes are V-brakes and mechanical disc brakes. Meanwhile, road bikes have more universal types of brake such as mechanical disc, caliper, or cantilever brake.

The brake in mountain bikes needs to be strong but steady, so you don’t suddenly stop on the road which means increase the chance of accidents. The road bike brakes in the contract need to be fast and easy to accelerate on the road.


Besides two big types of bikes – road bikes and mountain bikes – you can still search for detailed kinds of bikes such as race bikes, gravel bikes, endurance bikes, or Cross-country bikes, trail bikes, downhills bikes.

These are a few differences between mountain bikes and normal, popular bikes such as a road bike. They both have the purpose and following designs that specifically served their desire. There many types of bikes that you can choose from but be sure you got it right for your needs.