What is the difference between a fitness bike and a mountain bike?
A mountain bike is a rugged and durable bike made for riding on narrow dirt trails. They typically come with flat, wide handlebars for control, two inch or wider tires that come with knobby treads to improve traction and hydraulic disc brakes for handling steep descents and steep climbs and wide range drivetrains. The wheels of a mountain bike are usually of a diameter between 27.5 to 29 inches. The women’s models usually have shorter crank arms and narrower handlebars, narrower and smaller grips and women specific seats. Most women’s mountain bikes will also have lighter suspension given that many women are lighter and smaller.
There are three types of mountain bikes which include:
Hardtail Mountain Bike : These typically come with a rigid frame and suspension forks. They are usually the most affordable even though you can find higher end versions that are usually used for racing.
XC Full Suspension Mountain Bike: These typically come with shorter rear suspension given that they are made to enhance efficiency under power and to prioritize bike weight under power particularly on steep climbs.
Trail Full Suspension Mountain Bike: These are mid suspension bikes that balance descending abilities with climbing efficiency. They usually come with greater stopping power from larger brake rotors, wider tires and some have conventional 19 inch wheels and plus size rubber.
Gravity Full Suspension or Enduro Mountain Bikes: Coming with 160mm or more on the rear wheels these bikes also have aggressive tire treads, and powerful brakes which provide maximum control on technical and steep descents.
Why Get a Mountain Bike
Depending on the style of the bike a mountain bike can be used for a variety of terrain for steep goat paths to unpaved roads. However, the more technical the trail the more rear suspension is needed. Smaller riders will also be better served with smaller 27.5 inch wheels.
A fitness bike is designed for fun and comfort though they are usually not mountain or road bikes. They are usually every bike in the board category that includes everything from beach cruisers to any flat bar fitness bikes. Some fitness bikes will have different touch points for the women’s versions. You may also include the step through and traditional diamond frame hybrid, comfort and cruiser bikes in this designation.
The different types of fitness bikes include:
Hybrid bikes: They take the name hybrid since they are a combination of mountain bikes and road bikes. They usually have an upright riding position, and flat handlebars of a mountain bike and broad range gearing for tackling hills. However they have narrower tires, lighter treads and some come with suspension unlike road bikes.
Fitness Bikes: These have the efficiency of road bikes but do not have the aggressive aerodynamic position. They usually come with performance parts, lightweight frames, flat handlebars and narrow slick tires for speed.
Comfort Bikes: These are epitomized by cushioned seats, lightly-treaded and wide tires and a very upright rider position with some coming with suspension.
Cruiser Bikes: These are the classic beach bikes with wide chopper style handlebars, 1-7 gears and fat tires for comfortable riding.
Why Get a Fitness Bike
The fitness bike just like the urban bike category covers a broad range of uses and you will have to pick your bike depending on what you intend to do with it. Fitness bikes are great if you are looking to workout, hybrid bikes are excellent for rambles on light dirt paths and paved roads while comfort bikes are great for Saturday morning spins to the mall or coffee shop.
Can you use a mountain bike for fitness?
Mountain bikes are excellent for fun fitness and exercise since they make it possible to go off road where you can work out a sweat. Unlike road bikes that tend to provide a cardiovascular workout, mountain bikes will activate more muscle groups because of the declines and inclines on the ride. You may also have to lift the bike over rocks and fallen trees which requires deft handling and strength hence you will get a better workout.
Some other reasons to use a mountain bike for fitness include:
Sturdier frame: This allows you to work harder on the bike as it can take the punishments. Working hard on the bike provides a better workout.
Upright posture: The flat handlebars means you are riding in an upright posture which strengthens the core muscles. The more comfortable position also encourages you to ride for longer and get a good workout as compared to the bending forward position that could result in back pain
More Effort Needed: More effort is needed to propel a mountain bike due to the tougher terrain that has steep inclines and may require jumping over rocks and fallen trees. Bumpy trails also mean you get to strengthen the core which is important for building muscle.
Which is better exercise mountain bike or road bike?
Overall mountain bikes are excellent for muscle building and developing endurance as compared to road bikes which are great for an all round body workout and cardio. The choice of bike will depend on what type of workout you want from exercising. It is important to take into account the risks and benefits of each one before tackling the intensity of the road or the tough wilderness terrain.
Do you burn more calories on a mountain bike or Fitness bike?
Road cycling is great for keeping fit but if you need to burn some serious calories then going off road is the best thing you can do. Riding on unpaved roads usually calls for more effort as compared to riding on paved surfaces as the rolling resistance will generally be higher.
Put simply, the rougher the terrain the better the workout and the more calories you will burn. In fact it has been shown that mountain biking can burn up to 100 calories more than a road bike ride.
Moreover, riding off road on trails means you do not have to slow down and stop for traffic lights or stop signs which can slow down your heart rate and reduce calories burned. Still we do not recommend heading to the advanced trails with an expensive standard road bike as it will not handle the rough terrain as well as the mountain bike.