Journal Du Wap

Cycling News & Race Results

Is Mountain Biking Harder Than Road Cycling? GMBN Vs. GCN

Is Mountain Biking Harder Than Road Cycling? GMBN Vs. GCN

♪ [music] ♪ – [Neil] As mountain bikers, we understand
that our sport is really hard. – [Mark] Like really hard, yeah. – But have you actually
considered how hard it is? – Yep. – You have? Well, compare it to roadies,
they have it easy. It’s true. – So, we’re going to actually test it out.
Go beyond the perception of effort and use a heart rate monitor and crucially, a
power meter to measure our ride. – So, a power meter’s been around
for a little while within mountain biking. I used to use one from time to time
when I was racing downhill, just to make my training a little bit more
effective. This Rex M Power from Rotor is super accessible and nice and
simple for everyday riding. – So, we’ve got our hands on a couple of
pairs. I’m going to go for a trial ride, a normal trial ride, quite hard and record
my heart rate and power data and compare that to a road ride of the same duration.
But what we need is a road rider. Where do you think we’re
going to find one of those? – Who’s that? – It’s Dan Lloyd. – [Dan] Hi, boys. Good luck
going out right then. Let’s get some wheelies going good. – Oh, no. Not Dan Lloyd. – I’ve never really liked Dan Lloyd.
Matt Stephens is my favorite. ♪ [music] ♪ – How was that? – Steady. – All right. Let’s see the data,
compare the two. Let’s have a look at the results. So this graph can look a little bit
confusing to begin with. But it’s just showing you the power I’m putting out at
any one time. And as you can see these are my results. It’s really spiky, the power’s
fluctuating massively over the ride. – One thing that you can draw from
the graph is obviously as you say, the spikes actually right up here, they’re
getting on to what’s your max power, so you’re putting out multiple
max power efforts. – Interesting that you can also see
there’s quite a few times when I’m not putting out any power at all, not because
I was being lazy, it’s because I’m mostly coasting on the downhills. But you quite
often see after these long parts with no power at all, there’s some really big
peaks where I’m actually putting the power down to get out of slow turns
and short shock climbs. – Good points there, Neil. Let’s compare
this to Dan’s graph and you can see that his power average jumps out
at you is higher than yours. Now, the reason for this is he can
sustain his effort for the whole ride. He doesn’t have any descent where he can’t
pedal. He can keep that power up, so he gets a nice average. Although,
there is no spikes in the graph, like your graph. – Far fewer spikes on
a mountain bike, right? – Yes, he doesn’t have to get on the
pedals and power up short sharp stops. He can carry his cadence into them.
Do you think it’s harder, Neil? – Yeah. I’m spending much more time at an
elevated heart rate and also those short sharp sprints are doing quite
a bit of muscle damage. – It’s worth saying that when you do a
cross country ride, it’s hard to be mellow and ride at a low tempo because simply
you can’t get around the course. – You can also see that even at those
points where I’m not putting any power to the pedals, my heart rate is still really
high because I’m having to pump the bike, turn, do all these technical riding
skills that actually keeps my heart pumping pretty hard. Okay, there’s the
data, but what are we actually going to do with this knowledge? – Well, it’s clear that every mountain
biker wants to get fitter, ride faster and make it easier. The truth
is, it’s never going to get easier. But from looking at the graph, you can see
that long endurance rides at low tempo will really be detrimental to what it
shows with the particular lap that we’ve done today. – Yeah, I’d actually be much faster to
work on my five seconds, say two minute sprints and actually as
well as that, try and get my body to recover as quickly as possible because
the downhills are much shorter in duration than the climbs are. So the great thing
about power meters really are they show you the exact demands of that particular
ride, so maybe if you live somewhere more mountainous than where we ride,
you maybe are riding 20, 30 minute climbs where the demands are going to be a
lot different to the short punchy climbs you’ve got here. And you can
use that data to train effectively. – Yeah, that’s a good point, Neil, and one
thing that I found really useful when using the power meter is you can actually
work out if you’re putting yourself into the red, i.e. your power’s too high when
you’ve set out and if you’re going for an hour, you can’t sustain that power all the
way through, so then you end up struggling towards the end. It helps you to learn
your body and realize where your weaknesses are. – If you want to see more videos from
GMBN, you can click up here for my how to train for Enduro video, that’s the first
of a series of training videos. – And another useful video is down here,
how to survive a climb, click down there. – Also, you can just click on my power
meter to just subscribe to GMBN. I’m off, put some power down. – Go on. – Oh, no, not Dan Lloyd. – I’ve never really liked Dan Lloyd.
Matt Stephens is my favorite.

100 thoughts on “Is Mountain Biking Harder Than Road Cycling? GMBN Vs. GCN

  1. I think road cycling is unhealthy. long rides, being hunched over, tons of pressure in pelvic and groin area. mountain biking is so dynamic, loads of changes on the body. minimal repetition, at least when compared to road riding.

  2. I took up bike riding at 71 on the local Bike Paths and roads max 24 km never really got out of breath , a year later went for my first Mountain Bike ride and within 100m of going up on a green track called Easy street was over the Handle bars  gasping for breath  with my Heart trying to jump out of my throat ! Yes Mountain  Biking is harder because when going up you have to make an effort with  no choice,  as in my legs are tired I'll think I'll coast for awhile.

  3. 0:20 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂.
    Road is shit mtb is the best.
    Road bikers come at me.

  4. This was so confusing. You guys barely specified which ride you were reffering to… "conclusion, is it harder? Yes it is blablabla.." well which one? You guys kept saying things about one being less healthy, and pros and cons, and so on, and i had no idea which one you were talking about.

  5. MB is no where near hard just take note i have done both on the road you have to look out fore traffic road acidents and people speeding or joy riding and trying to get away from police obstructions in bike lanes witch may cause you to have to build up momentum again and plus your having to put more power through the pedals where as MB all that you do is look fore treas an look along the root that you are going to take

  6. Think about it… Put a road biker on a mtb and send them on a trail, they'll probably hit a tree three seconds in.
    Put a mountain biker on a road bike, well it's always smooth so we obviously can do it. I know I know, your thinking, "well mountain bikers can't keep a steady pace!" Well… We can. I mean we have to keep a pace for those certain parts were the trail is flat. Or even if you riding uphill. Besides we constantly have to keep moving our bike around to keep ourselves from hitting anything and usually bursting loads of energy to keep going in small hills. That takes a lot of energy. Road biking is just keeping a pace and not stoping, and the only crashing is road burn not breaking all your bones due to a tree as it is in mountain biking. Also it takes a LOT of skill to be good at dodging trees and keeping on the trail, mostly when you trying to stay on the trail. Your also trying to constantly know witch part of the trail your going to ride on, it's called "Picking a line." It's usually confusing because you want to find the best one, and your always looking at the trail ahead then looking for you line. Basically what I'm saying is that mountain biking is obviously harder and more dangerous. No doubt about it.

  7. I have a mountain bike at the moment but I use it on the pavement/road. Can I get hybrid bike tyres to put onto my mountain bike and will the brakes fit right and will everything be smooth

  8. I do both, but to me MTB is harder. Two main things: 1) the technical part of MTB can get difficult-I had a bad crash when I was 13 and mentally it still makes it hard on technical descents. Also for me to sustain a higher output than to try to recover from repeated red zones.

    But MTB is way more fun. Even XC

  9. but if you gonna do a XCO race or a big marathon with an average of 100k each day MTB is way harder cuz the climbs are very very steep

  10. any off-road activity (biking, hiking, running, walking) expends more energy than on pavement/tarmac. The reason why roads were ever invented was to get places faster and spend less energy doing so. Not even a debate.

  11. No offense to anyone, but this is a silly dualistic question. What's better, Burger King or McDonalds? Coke or Pepsi? Come on guys. Let's evolve.

  12. its just a matter of how hard you push yourself tbh…
    you could be rope jumping and if you push it hard enough and long enough its gonna be hard.
    I think thats most fun in our sport of cycling (in any sport, cycling cos I like it more), pushing our limits same goes for Mtb,Roadies or any other sort of cyclist.
    we all ride bikes ffs I dont get the need to bring out our dicks and measure them to see who has the largest.

  13. you guys should duplicate this test

  14. Xc hands down is harder. The power meters do not take into account any activity above the waste. I can street ride with my hands off the bars. I can't do that XC riding. You need to find a way to measure the amount of energy used to absorb the impact of the roughness of the trail on the upper body to make a complete and fair calculation of power used.

  15. I think it's a lot like weight training vs cardio. Some of both is great but I love mtb and weight lifting a ton more. Always changing, moments of almost 100% output then rest, way more technical and skill orientated, etc. Road and cardio is just unchanging to me, great for heart health for sure but I get bored fast. Wonder how many others have a correlation like this.

  16. doesn't look like a fair comparison to me, i suppose (MAYBE) that a fair comparison will be a technical mtbiking vs. criterium,, however i believe both guys were suffering and it's a different disciplines!

  17. In all fairness, the only area of mtb that can be compared to road cykling is XC. They both focus more on physical fitness than technical skill but depending on the level at which one performes, I think both can be just as hard. If you were to compare road cykling with enduro or dh, it's like apples and oranges. They both use a bike, and they are both fruit, but in a completely different way. Stop putting people in boxes based on how or where they ride, just be friendly and wave your hand or say hello to a fellow cyklist, wherever you might be.

  18. i am racing both mountain biking and road cycling and i hateeeeeeeee road cycling… just look at a road for two hours…..soooooo boring

  19. I'll join the choir and call for a test where both ride both disciplines (at the same time to accomodate for weather affects). Preferably two riders of similar dignity within their respective field. Still probably won't conclude which is harder, but it would be an incredible interesting thing to watch 🙂

  20. I think it’s just personal preference, really. You choose how hard you make whatever your discipline of choice is. Each sport has their pros and cons. Sure, it might take less “skill” to ride a bike on the road, but some of the world’s best professionals in either sport have spent time in the other. Maybe entry-level roadies require less skill, but I think at a professional level, neither sport requires more skill than the other. Just different skill. You need to be screaming fit as a professional mountain biker just as you do as a professional road cyclist. Just a different kind of fitness! Either way, I love and appreciate many aspects of both sports. Sometimes I want to look at the forest, other times I want to look in the forest.

  21. This is so stupid… both sport is f hard, mountain biking and road biking is just depends… road biking is just road biking.. if is mountain they have trail riding or XC riding races there's NO 2 weeks riding in long distance in each tour..

    I do both sport mountain biking and road biking.. and I say sorry but road biking is harder the mountain biking

  22. I am a mtb rider and I am fine with road bikers, as long as they stay on the side of the road and don't pretend they're cars

  23. Comparing them by power meter alone is like comparing a runner vs a soccer player in terms of running speed alone.
    You either need more aspects to compare, or just don't compare at all.
    I love both as they are.

  24. As one who rides both, MTB rides are harder physically, obviously, and no matter where you ride, you get intervals and automatic HIT training, which is perfect training for anyone over about 40. Also, moment to moment, MTB riding is generally just more fun.

    I do however feel like I can build more of a fitness base on the road bike though. I also feel that I can get true sustained redline intervals, or just anaerobic threshold or anaerobic capacity training on the road bike, on tough climbs for example, but only if I push it myself.

    You can find friendly people in both disciplines, but I also find road groups can be more naturally, or even artificially competitive. Where as on an MTB, there's a more relaxed atmosphere, even at races.

  25. I thought this was "hard" as in "difficult" and in that case I would say "What's so hard about riding a feather-light bike on a paved road compared to shredding a trail with jumps, roots, rock fields and stuff like that?"

  26. Moutain biking ia more of a full body work out aince you using your whole body for manuals, bunny hops, and other technical akills

  27. I’ve cycled all my life road and mountain I’m 42 now and two years ago I sold my road bike and I’ll never own another.
    These dickheads today piss me off as a motorist they think they own the road and show no consideration for anyone else’s on the road.
    Our council has just spent 2 million on cycle paths in and around the city yet the Lycra brigade still ride three wide on the road.
    Ass holes

  28. I've done both at a competitive level and I can say without a doubt mtb is waaaaaaaaay harder. Keeping that maximum effort while dodging trees and staying alive is a whole other level of difficulty

  29. First we need to define what the term “Hard” means. If you are thinking skills and bike handling then Trail ridding a mountain bike is more difficult as in harder. I am thinking of the balance required to ride skinny brides where going off is certain injury. Then you need to learn to jump the bike up onto and over obstacles and retain your balance. A hard road ride like a Century (100 miles) requires endurance and the ability to be in the saddle for about 6 hours if you can average 15-18 miles per hour depending on hills and wind. I have done.both types of cycling and found the learning time for road was much faster. I you are already in good physical condition learning to handle a road bike is much easier in my experience. By the 6th month of road I did a 50 mile half century ride. My second season I did a full century. On the other hand it required several years of experience to ride and race on my local trails. My first 18 mile Sport class Mt. Bike race felt like my first Half Century. I just turned 70 years old and trail ride 3 days per week with an occasional extra road or gravel ride to build up the endurance. The road is a breeze if you get the meaning. Started riding in 1984 and still love being on either type of bike.

  30. RB is about Endurance, Power and Technical skills, MTB is about Endurance, Power and Technical speeds. Same thing using different muscle groups. MTB riders have more muscles than roadies but don't expect them to race you for 6 hours on FTP they just won't catch up. But don't expect roadies to race you on the trails for 6 hours as well, we just won't catch up either. Roadies are built to endure long hard rides that damage the legs and lower back. MTB riders are built to endure Technical Tracks that damage the core and arms. Basically as tiring as each other but in different places is all I'm saying.

  31. The ex pro has higher wattage because he is fitter than the mountain biker. Road riding is a great way to get stronger on the mountain bike. I think mountain biking is a better total body workout for most riders because it requires more skill, balance and is more of an upper body workout not just the legs. Road racing is harder at the highest levels because the best cyclists in the world race on the road. They are both as hard as the rider pushes themselves.

  32. Perceived effort is def different. I do both. Mtb bike is more fun so feels like less energy
    Road biking is more efficent for power output also

  33. Mtbing is harder by far. Your not just using your legs, your using your whole body to move around, whereas on a road bike your just using your legs for most of the ride with your arms for balance and a little turn of the bars for steering. (I've done both)

  34. Cool video, but it is not accurate the only way it would be is if you rode the road bike. I do agree mountain biking is harder we use so much more power just rolling down a trail that is slight technical, moving the bike around keep balance etc, than rolling along on a flat paved surface.

  35. I do both road and mtb, I love 2 both but man… road is another level, when you’re trained for road mtb is a joke

  36. I use and love both, mtb and road, different experiences. I was just thinking now that a hunting bike should be invented, silent, for forest terrain, able to sustain heavy load when a successful hunt 🤔 Bowhunting on bike, that should be fun 🤣🚲🏹

  37. Road riding is so much more boring to. I haven't even touched my road bike since I got a mountain bike.

  38. I have a lot of years as a roadie. Just went for my first couple MTB rides on my new hardtail. Not sure if mountain biking is “harder” but it was a helluva workout! Hard to compare the two fairly IMO. Ride on, friends!

  39. Everything is about opinions and criteria, I practice both, MTB and Road, and I love them, I love cycling, I love being in a bike, I don't like to compare them, I don't like saying who's better, who's toughest. Both are beautiful, cycling is the most beautiful sport in the world.


Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.