Mountain bike vs Road Bike vs BMX: Key Differences

Mountain bikes and road bikes are among the most prominent bikes known for their dedicated tasks and uses. For every possible kind of ground, there is a bike devised to handle it. Pavements and trails have a different surface that requires a specialized type of bike. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road cycling especially on the non-paved kind of pathway and location.

On the other hand, road bikes are designed for the paved road cycling while BMX bikes are designed for smooth surface linking large jumps in short human-made tracks. The three bikes differ in their shapes, designs, tires, brakes, and weights.

Let’s find out why the three different types of bikes.


Road bikes are much lighter than mountain bikes since they have narrower tires with much high pressure. Since road bikes were designed for the road, the materials used to make them allows strength and flexibility on the roads. This enables the rider to have much less rolling resistance on the way.

Mountain bikes on the hand are designed to ride in rough unpaved terrain since it can shuffle over roots and rocks due to their higher strength. However, BMX is lightweight and easily transportable thus makes them suitable for kids and fun rides.


Mountain bikes tires differ in size and are thicker and more durable than road bikes. They have lots of nubby rubber to increase friction, and the surface area of the tires are wide. These facts aid the rider to direct control of the bike, especially down the hill. On the other hand, road bikes have thin and smooth tires. The tires rely on the surface of the rubber and help the rider to maintain friction between the road and the bike.

However, BMX bikes have got slightly slender tires compared to the two types of bikes discussed thus making them lightweight. A unique feature makes them suitable to be ridden by kids on the park and the streets for fun.


Mountain bikes have narrow frames, thin tires and flat handlebars to emphasize their stability and controls on terrains. They are regularly used for cross country biking through rough forest paths, smooth roads, and single tracks. Also, they are used as free-ride biking and biking downhill on steep slopes with no prolonged climbing regions.

Road bikes are mainly designed for speed on open roads and are ideal for health fitness. They are also used for touring desires, can carry heavy stuff and weights. Due to their flexibility feature, these bikes are more rigid and tough on the roads that are making them suitable for running errands and high speed. However, their handles are curled to aid with speed setting unlike those of mountain bikes.

BMX bikes, on the other hand, are made for different types of riding like street racing, dirt jumping, and model stunting along the park. They have smaller frame compared to their counterpart thus offering them unique leverage for flatland tricks.


BMX bikes brakes are merely designed to work efficiently thus enabling the rider to spin the handlebars countless times without the urge of untangling cables afterward. Most BMX bikes only have rear brakes mostly used for freestyle tricks like dirt jumping, street racing among other methods.

Mountain bikes brakes use hydraulic fluid to convey the force from the rider's hands to the bike's brake. It then runs through a cable from a lever on the handlebars pulling the two bars of brakes together squeezing the brake pads against the outside of the wheel.

However, road bikes brakes work differently in that they control the speed of your bike by either slowing it down or bringing to a complete stop. The best standard type of brake used on road bikes is the caliper brake which is mounted on the wheels of the bike.


The three types of bikes discussed vary in the size of tires, brakes, designs and their weight. However, the BMX regular biking serves as an excellent aerobic for workout exercise thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

For road bikes, they are designed to give you better efficiency since they have narrow tires for your speed unlike mountain bikes designed for off-road riding and downhill biking.

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Deirdre - April 21, 2020

It is very informative post. Is Dirt bike and mountain bike similar? Thank you for the post.

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