ROAD BIKE VS. MOUNTAIN BIKE: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

If you’re entirely new to the world of cycling and looking to get started, you might be asking yourself which of the hundreds of bikes for sale in New Zealand you should pick up. There are a few different kinds of bikes, and the two primary categories they fall into are the road and mountain bikes. But which one is right for you?

Read on to find out what kinds of terrain each bike is built for and discover which one will deliver the best ride for you.

Road Bikes – Smooth and Aerodynamic

A road bike is designed to deliver the fastest, smoothest experience possible for a cyclist while on a well-paved road. Almost every element of a road bike works to create a more aerodynamic shape, helping the rider to slice through the air and fly along the road at the optimum speed. The frames are made of materials like carbon fibre, titanium or aluminium to make the bikes as light (and simultaneously strong) as possible, and the tires are thin and smooth to reduce speed-sucking friction with the road. Road bike riding position also allows for the most leg power and lets the rider reduce air resistance.

Road bikes are typically best for open roads and long rides out in the country. As it happens, city streets can sometimes present a challenge due to uneven paving or unforeseen potholes, which would both throw a road bike off balance due to the lack of a rear suspension system. There’s a wide variety of options available within this category, and you’re able to customise most of the bike’s anatomy to perfectly fit your needs should they change.

If you’re looking to really get into cycling—perhaps even competitively—then a road bike should definitely be part of your arsenal. They can be a bit tricky for any beginner, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be zooming through the country. Block out your Sundays and take them out for long rides around the winding roads and rolling hills of Aotearoa’s countryside.

Mountain Bikes – Built for Punishment

If you’re going to head out to the woodland trails and off-road paths winding their way across the islands, this one is for you. A mountain bike is chunkier and far more durable than a road bike, with front and rear suspension designed to withstand tough roads. They can also work well for rougher city roads, as mountain bikes still deliver a fairly smooth ride. However, you’ll find them really in their element on some wilder terrain.

These bikes are not going to deliver as much on speed as a road bike, but they can definitely take a hit while keeping you comfortable. Some heavy-duty suspension stands between you and the juddering floor of a forest road, and the hard-stop brakes combine with wider wheels to provide stability at all times.

If you’re more into cycling for the biking scenery, or if you like taking the road not travelled, we’d recommend a solid mountain bike. The great thing about them is their versatility, so you can take them into the city should the occasion arise. Furthermore, they’re a fantastic choice for a new rider or a family of holiday-goers, because the inherent stability and support of this kind of bike will carry you all the way to the end of your journey with no trouble.

Hybrid Bikes – The Best of Both Worlds

Yes, there’s a third option! Walk into any reputable 99 Bikes store and you’ll find an entire section dedicated to these beauties. Hybrid bikes are designed to take on the mid-range of both environments, with a higher durability than your typical road bike and greater speed than your typical mountain bike. This is a fantastic option for anyone starting out as it lets you get a feel for various kinds of rides before making a choice.

Keep in mind that a “hybrid” bike will do slightly better on a road, whereas a “comfort” bike (which is still technically a hybrid) has better suspension and is therefore happier on a mountain than a standard hybrid.

If you’re unsure about which one to pick up, don’t worry! Come on into one of our stores and we’ll happily sort you out with the perfect option, along with a helmet and gear to prepare you for the trails. Get out there and start adventuring!

Find your perfect bike at 99 Bikes!

Looking to shop mountain bikes or buy road bikes online? Head to our online bike store and browse our huge range of quality brands or come and talk to us in-store for expert advice on your next purchase. We’re always keen to help another Kiwi get into the saddle!