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  1. #1
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    Train on MTB only or keep Roadie?

    Hi All,

    First a little background, I dabbled in some XC racing this year and found out that I:
    a.) Sucked (Not skill wise but fitness) and
    b.) It's truly something I want to try and push myself to improve at.

    So that said, I am focusing on getting much stronger for my main season which kicks off in fall. I have a plan in place, much of it involves (early on at least) controlled rides either on easy trail, road, or trainer.

    So what I'm grappling with is this. I have a road bike that is suitable to train on - nothing serious just a basic lower level 5 year old bike, but not one i want to invest too heavily in. In terms of fit it's the right size but I'd really have to invest in a better saddle and a proper fit as it's just not quite right. But I also have a spare wheel that I can use for my MTB on my trainer. I know many here like road bikes for training, but I'm actually thinking of the opposite and selling the road bike and investing a bit into truly dialing in the XC bike.

    What are some opinions out there? In a perfect world I'd have both a dialed road bike and MTB, but hobby money is separate from family money so i have to be as efficient as possible. I'm of the mind that I'd rather train more on the bike that I plan to race on and have a bit of extra cash from selling the road bike to put into it, as opposed to investing even small coin into the road bike. The counterpoint is that by keeping the road bike I'd save the drivetrain wear and tear (minor I'd guess) and also I wouldn't have to keep taking the wheel in and out - not a huge burden. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Keep the road bike. Its easier on the body, and I think it works well for long endurance rides. It also seems to build "cycling fitness" pretty quickly.

  3. #3
    XC Hack
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    Agree ^ My endurance went up with the road bike. Also, I reduced my twitchiness and bike handling became better with the road bike. I did too much road bike at one point as my technical climbing and descending skills on the mtb got lost a bit. I'm more in balance now.

  4. #4
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    being in better shape is always faster than spending money on a bike... keep the road bike and train! good luck man!

  5. #5
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    Agree with everyone here. You should definitely keep your road bike. It builds endurance and you'll need that in XC races.

  6. #6
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    Make sure you still ride the mtb for training rides a bunch too. Road and mtb fitness are not the same. Clearly, there is a ton of overlap, but they are NOT the same.

  7. #7
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    I'll jump on the bandwagon and also say keep the road bike. MTB's really get hammered on, I don't think its a good idea to train on the same bike you intend to race.

    Also, like others have pointed out, nothing can replace road bike fitness, especially the base training it offers. A low end road bike is perfectly fine.

    Depending on your financial situation and what your bike is worth, you may want to think about selling your road frame and buying a cheap(er) steel frame that FITS for training.

  8. #8
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    Good suggestions all, thank you all very much. Glad I asked the question in this section, as I'm sure most here know from experience the benefits of having both bikes on hand...

    I'll add just to clarify that my road bike does fit as far as frame size goes, just needs some adjustments and a different saddle eventually. Realistically getting rid of it wouldn't make or break me as I'd only get a few hundred for it anyhow, and based on the responses it may be worth the few changes to get it right and keep using it for training.

    As far as the suggestions to keep riding my MTB - of course! During the week I have some shorter rides scheduled in my current base phase, which often will be on the trainer due to work, sometimes on the road, and here and there on the trails on the MTB. The longer weekend rides I am planning on splitting between road and trail until it gets closer to race time, at which point I will dedicate more time to the trails.

  9. #9
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    Here's an alternate course of action.

    Get another set of wheels for the MTB. Throw on some 28-30mm slicks. Do group rides, long rides on the road, etc.

    That way, you can dial in your fit, and make sure your body is getting a lot of miles on your bike in that position.

  10. #10
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    Train on MTB only or keep Roadie?

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Here's an alternate course of action.

    Get another set of wheels for the MTB. Throw on some 28-30mm slicks. Do group rides, long rides on the road, etc.

    That way, you can dial in your fit, and make sure your body is getting a lot of miles on your bike in that position.
    Actually my original thought was halfway there - I already have a 26" wheel with a slick for the rear that I can throw on the trainer, I just would need a 10 speed cassette. But the idea of keeping the road bike for longer mileage isn't a bad thought either.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT5050 View Post
    Hi All,

    First a little background, I dabbled in some XC racing this year and found out that I:
    a.) Sucked (Not skill wise but fitness) and
    b.) It's truly something I want to try and push myself to improve at.
    Since you sucked fitness wise keep the road bike. It will get you fitness. If you had fitness, but lack tech skills I would say focus on the mtn bike. Road bikes are perfect to build fitness.

    I bought I use road bike for weekday fitness. I have 680 miles on the road bike and the only maintenance has been pumping up the tires (80-100psi tires can lose pressure over a week) and I lubed the chain. My mtn bike spends a lot more time in the workstand for 600 miles of riding. That is just due to the nature off-road riding. The place where the road bike pushes you is that you ride the flats hard, ride the hills hard and even the gentle descents get ridden hard. Very little coasting in road riding and most all the speed is determined by legs and lungs.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  12. #12
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    keep it - having just started mtb'in back in sept '12 I neglected my roadie for a long time so that I could develop my technical ability, alas such treatment garnered jealousy from my roadbike and I can def tell I've slid back fitness wise (albeit now that I've gotten back on roadie a few times a week, holy moly do my legs feel stronger!)

  13. #13
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    I have a super cheap cyclocross bike that I use as a road bike. This bike gets no love and I have no desire to make it fancy. I don't race road.

    I ride my cross bike when the trails are too wet to ride or doing group rides on the road.

    I like having both. A mountainbike makes a pretty crappy road bike and I would rather spend more time riding then switching wheels and adjusting brakes.

    It also depends on how seriously you take training. In a forum post in the passion section a guy posted that "Riding a road bike a lot on the road bike to get good at mountain biking is like eating a lot of cauliflower to get good at eating pizza". I have a similar stance at this as well. My order of enjoyment is A. mountain biking and B. riding a bike and C. being outside

  14. #14
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    I just race xc and cx, I'm nearly done putting together a road bike so I can go on road rides with a couple of different friends for some workout variation. To echo everybody above, it's good to workout on both road and mtn.
    Also, fall racing preparation starts in December; I really think staying fit through the winter is extremely important.

  15. #15
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    Keep the road bike. I got one a few months ago to train with a local pro and my fitness has gone to another level. I just won my first 12 hour mtb race, and have found a new passion for road riding. I love riding road now. I just split my training between road and mtb to keep things in check.

  16. #16
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    Train on MTB only or keep Roadie?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I just race xc and cx, I'm nearly done putting together a road bike so I can go on road rides with a couple of different friends for some workout variation. To echo everybody above, it's good to workout on both road and mtn.
    Also, fall racing preparation starts in December; I really think staying fit through the winter is extremely important.
    Well this is going to really be my first season except for the races that I dabbled in. Since December, really November, I've been steadily improving. Now I'm focusing on more of an actual plan to make the time on the bike as efficient and effective as possible as I'm roughly 26 weeks out from my first race.

    But as my season starts in October, December is actually mid-season for me.

  17. #17
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    Whilst I never really enjoyed road riding like some the benefits are undeniable. Keep it, make the adjustments needed to make it comfortable and get to work on the fitness.
    Cul is a regretted trademark of the CulBaire Co'op Pty Ltd, as are his random ramblings and associated ********.

  18. #18
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    Nothing ground breaking from me because I'm in complete agreement to keep the road bike. Here is my personal opinion from experience....

    I'm a dumb@ss and always had a "thing" about owning a road bike because I've been on a mtb since 7th grade, almost 25 years ago. I decided 1.5 years ago I wanted to be faster and the way that was going to happen was commit to doing a race series, thus forcing me to up my game. So I bought an extra set of wheels and put slick tires on them instead of buying a road bike. Some people might disagree but for me, riding the mtb on the road was only slightly enjoyable and as distances increased it became much less enjoyable.

    So last June I bought a road bike and instantly liked riding on the road. It was so much more efficient feeling, which made riding more enjoyable. I would be nowhere close to the condition I'm in now if I didn't have the road bike. Part of that is due to lack of trails and miles in my immediate area to mtb on. But, also when I'm crunched for time it's a lot faster hopping on the road bike and getting a ride in from my house then it is to go for a mtb ride.

    As your endurance improves, which it will as you get better, the road bike will be invaluable to have just to get long miles in that you might not be able to do on the mtb. It will also keep miles (wear and tear) off your mtb.
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  19. #19
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    Awesome feedback guys - you've talked me off the ledge. Great hearing the personal experiences too, really puts a perspective on things that I was perhaps missing in my initial impulse to have one bike do it all.

  20. #20
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    Train on MTB only or keep Roadie?

    On a related note - you guys who have road bikes to train with but are mainly MTBers, do you have different shoes and road pedals? I am currently using MTB Shimano SPDs on my road bike and just use the same shoe as I do on the trails. Wondering if it would make any difference or any sense to buy a dedicated shoe/pedal combo.

  21. #21
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    To reinforce what I said previously:

    Get some road wheels/tires, throw them on your MTB, and hit the local group ride scene. Wednesday Worlds, weekend long rides, etc.

    I don't know why some people think it is impossible to do road miles on an MTB, but, to each is own.

  22. #22
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    I don't think anyone said it was impossible to do road miles with the mtb, I clearly said that that is how I started out. But he already has the road bike, why spend money on a road set-up for his mtb when he already has a road bike?

    If he can keep up with road riders on his mtb than he is a lot farther along in his training than he realizes. When I tried going on 3 different rides with other people with road bikes and I had my mtb, I was a minimum of 2mph slower and they were out of contact really quickly. That was blowing myself up trying to stay with them.
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  23. #23
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    my 2 cents, i race cyclocross, mtb, road (in order of importance). most of my training is done on the road bike(70%), it is just so much more convienent and less time consuming to jump out my front door and get the necessary workout in. it is very important to train specifically on the bike your racing, just not all the time. with mtb the closer i get to my racing events the more time i spend riding my dirt bike and it helps. my body just cant take the abuse off road riding puts on it over and over again.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post
    I don't think anyone said it was impossible to do road miles with the mtb, I clearly said that that is how I started out. But he already has the road bike, why spend money on a road set-up for his mtb when he already has a road bike?

    If he can keep up with road riders on his mtb than he is a lot farther along in his training than he realizes. When I tried going on 3 different rides with other people with road bikes and I had my mtb, I was a minimum of 2mph slower and they were out of contact really quickly. That was blowing myself up trying to stay with them.
    The point of riding his MTB with road wheels is so he can continue to dial in his position, and get used to hard efforts in THAT position. Not on his road bike. If you're racing MTB, why not always ride your MTB, but on different surfaces?

    There are pictures of Nino Schurter, and other WC pros, riding their MTBs with skinny tires all over the internet. I'm guessing there is something to that.

    If you can keep up with a spirited, hard road group ride, then attack. If you can attack, stay away, and make them catch you. Repeat as necessary. Realistically, there is neglible difference in rolling resistance between a 23mm tire and a 28mm tire. Bend your elbows, lean forward a bit, and you have 95% of the difference covered. After that, it's on you.

  25. #25
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    Train on MTB only or keep Roadie?

    Quote Originally Posted by GT5050 View Post
    On a related note - you guys who have road bikes to train with but are mainly MTBers, do you have different shoes and road pedals? I am currently using MTB Shimano SPDs on my road bike and just use the same shoe as I do on the trails. Wondering if it would make any difference or any sense to buy a dedicated shoe/pedal combo.
    Naw... You can use spd pedals and your same shoes and save some money.
    Keep the road bike. My local mtb loop is about 9 miles, I usually do about 2 or 3 laps before I go "meh" and decide to quit. With the road bike I pick a destination and go there, the thing is that once I'm there I have to come back, definitely a good way to work on endurance.

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