Although mountain and road bikes are the most popular worldwide, BMX bikes are not far behind. BMX bikes are built to carry a certain amount of weight and take on rougher surfaces than other bikes. They are popular amongst children due to their distinctive qualities. However, picking a bike depends on how you intend to use them. So, it is essential to know the difference between these bikes to buy the one that fits your riding style.
This article will explore and explain all there is to know about mountain, BMX, and road bikes, which will help you make better decisions in the future.
What Are Mountain Bikes?
With tough and durable frames, mountain bikes are built for off-road cycling. They are heavier than other bikes due to their modifications to withstand the effects of riding on rough tracks and terrains.
For example, to make riding on uneven ground easier, they have suspension systems that help smooth the bumps when you ride over roots and rocks and stop the bike from bouncing around. They also have more powerful breaks and a variety of gears to make it easier to climb hills. These bikes are suitable for off-road cycling and climbing up hills.
Types of Mountain Bikes?
Mountain bikes come in different designs, and they include the following:
They are mountain bikes without suspension. They have straight handlebars and knobby tires. One of the benefits of a rigid bike is that it doesn’t require any maintenance like fluid and bushing changes, which can impact performance. The downside is that it does not guarantee a comfortable ride due to its lack of traction and control over technical surfaces.
They are usually people’s first experience riding off-road. Hardtail mountain bikes are similar to rigid bikes, but they have a suspension at the bike’s front forks. They are the best option if you have a limited budget. They are cheap and easy to maintain. This is because there are no bearings or bushings compared to a full suspension bike, so it costs less to maintain.
We suggest getting hardtail bikes if you are preparing to purchase your first mountain bike. They are perfect for practicing those little tricks you will use later.
Full suspension bikes
They are mountain bikes with suspension on both the bike’s front fork and rear shock. This makes them better on rough terrain than hardtails but less efficient on smooth surfaces. The rear shock operates by allowing the wheel to rotate the frame controlled by the rear shock. The designs are comfortable for pedaling while absorbing bumps.
What Is a Regular Bike?
Regular or road bikes are designed for transportation or cruising around the town. They have lightweight frames and drop handlebars that allow you to get into an efficient riding position so you can ride faster. They also feature things like lights, which make it easier to go from one place to another.
Types of Regular/Road Bikes
Even though regular bikes are all similar, they are still divided into different categories and have specific purposes. Let’s explore some of the regular or road bikes in the market.
They are lightweight and designed to go fast. They are made of carbon fiber to get as low weight as possible and provide maximum vibration reduction.
Endurance road bikes
Endurance bikes, also known as sportive bikes, are built for racing over rough road surfaces. They are not as fast or agile on smooth road surfaces as race bikes, but their extra comfort and stability make them faster and easier to ride on rough surfaces.
They are more comfortable riding because of the more upright riding position. They also have wider tires which give you more grip while riding. An endurance bike is also an all-rounder bike, which means it is suitable for commuting, winter training, and other long-distance activities.
Aero road bikes
They are optimized and designed for aerodynamics. This means they offer more speed but less comfort compared to other bikes. They have more weight but ride faster due to the bike’s geometry. The frames are made of carbon and the same materials as a race bike frame, ensuring a low and quick positioning. This bike is only recommended for professional athletes because it gives you speed at the expense of your comfort.
Time trial (TT) or triathlon road bikes
The time trial bikes are similar to the aero bikes because they are built with aerodynamics in mind, allowing them to move fast with less obstruction from the wind. They have a shorter wheelbase and a higher seat tube angle. The higher seat tube angle puts the rider in a lower position and places their body further over the handlebars, which increases efficiency.
Everything about this bike is about speed, and they are mostly used in competitive time trial races where riders try to race against the clock and the finishing times of their fellow riders. The time trial bikes aren’t designed to give you comfort or make handling easier, so they are only suitable for professionals.
A gravel bike is a mix of road bikes and cyclocross bikes. This means that they are suitable for both on and off-road riding. In general, the geometry is longer, much like a sportive bike. It has a single chain ring for weight saving and simplicity. A gravel bike has disc brakes which stops you quicker, especially in the rain or mud. This also benefits you from fitting different wheel sizes in the bike.
The Difference Between a Regular Bike vs Mountain Bike
- The tires and handlebars: A mountain bike has a straight handlebar and fatter tires, which means it can take on rough surfaces and potholes due to the size of the tires. On the other hand, the road bike has a dropped handlebar with slimmer tires. This means that it wouldn’t provide the same level of comfort as a mountain bike when it encounters a pothole because you will feel the impacts as you ride due to its slimmer tires.
- Comfort: The handlebars are another distinguishing factor between these bikes. A regular bike provides more comfort than a mountain bike. This is because the dropped handlebars provide you with multiple positions to hold on to and interchange while riding, unlike a mountain bike’s straight handlebar, which gives you only two positions.
For instance, with the dropped handlebar, you can hold on to the center, below, sideways, and even the upper part of the handlebar, whereas you can only hold on to the center and sideways of straight handlebars. So, in the process of long rides, you are more able to relax your arms when you change your positions on a regular bike than on a mountain bike.
- Speed: A road bike is faster than a mountain bike because it is lightweight.
- Costs: Mountain is more expensive than road bikes because of the additional modifications to increase their durability and performance on terrains. For example, a mountain bike has a front fork shock absorber (suspension) that absorbs any shock you encounter when riding over rocks and other rough surfaces. This absorber costs between $500-$1,000, but a road bike only has a fork but no shock absorbers.
What Are Bmx Bikes?
They are those bikes designed for stunting and tricks. They originated in the 1970s and are built with stronger wheels and frames that enable them to endure any impact when riding and stunting. They also come in various types designed for different riding styles.
What Is the Difference Between BMX vs Regular Bike?
Now that you are familiar with BMX and regular bikes let’s look into the factors that make them differ.
- Frames: The BMX bike has lighter and smaller frames than a regular bike, but this doesn’t make it more prone to damage. It is strong and can withstand any impact caused by terrains or crashes. The frames are small to reduce the bike’s weight, making it easier for riders to pick up short speed distances to perform jumps and tricks.
- Durability: BMX bikes are more durable and have fatter tires, enabling you to pull off tricks while riding. On the other hand, regular bikes are less durable, and their slimmer tires make them unable to perform stunts like BMX.
- The tires: The BMX bike has knobby tires, which makes them perfect for gripping the dirt on off-road tracks, while regular bikes have slimmer tires made for riding on asphalt surfaces and wet surfaces. A knobby tire doesn’t have enough traction on dry and wet asphalt surfaces.
The Difference Between a Bmx Bike vs Mountain Bike
It is easier to distinguish between regular bikes and these bikes because BMX and mountain bikes all have bigger tires. Even though BMX tires are similar to that of a mountain bike, they still differ in terms of quality and purpose.
- Brakes: A BMX bike uses a V-brake, which operates slowly to avoid interfering with stunts, but a mountain bike uses disc brakes because they are more powerful and can work well in any circumstance.
- Gear: A mountain bike has up to 24 gears, whereas a BMX bike only has one. A mountain bike has multiple gear selections to enable the bike to pass through different terrains. For example, higher gears are required when you wish to accelerate, while lower gears help climb steep hills.
- Frame: A BMX frame is always strong because of its intended purpose. A mountain bike frame is also strong, but it concentrates more on shock absorption due to the rough surfaces it passes through. A mountain bike frame offers a place to attach water bottles, lights, and so on, but a BMX bike frame is always simple and does not allow such things.
- Wheel: BMX bike wheels are between 12 and 24 inches, while mountain bike wheels are between 26 and 29 inches.
- Suspension: Unlike BMX, mountain bikes have suspension, which makes for a smoother ride. Since BMX is lightweight, adding suspension will make them heavier and make performing stunts more challenging.
- Tires: A mountain bike has knobby tires, which are only appropriate for rough surfaces, while BMX tires are made to operate on smooth surfaces and can endure hits from stunts.
Bmx vs Other Bikes Comparison Table
All these bikes are great, and even though they share properties like wheels, handlebars, and frames, they still differ, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. So, it is best to choose the bike that suits your riding style.
BMX vs. MTB: Which bike is best for you? | Redbull MEA