Top 3 Reasons to Leave the Skinny Tires to the Roadies! – Part 2

Last week I dove into the top reasons I think you should leave the skinny tire riding to the roadies. In the first part I covered how the nervous system views mountain biking and road biking and why road biking does not help you out much from a movement pattern standpoint. If you missed part one you can find here –

This week I want to cover part two…

2) It increases the risk of overuse injuries –

Every sport in the world has the potential for overuse injuries. Anytime you constantly repeat the same movements in the same way you start to develop strength and mobility imbalances. These imbalances eventually add up to the point of causing a breakdown in the body. Sensitive joints like knees, shoulders and the low back tend to be the target for most overuse injuries.


Cycling of any kind has a higher risk than most sports because of the extremely repetitive nature and shortened ranges of motion it requires. The more you find yourself pedaling a bike the more likely you are to end up with knee and/ or lower back issues.

This is just the nature of the beast and you ignore it at your own risk. Strength and mobility training are important parts of the picture since they are some of the only ways to restore and maintain balance around sensitive joints. Another way is to engage in cross training and avoid excessive training miles on a road bike.

Road cycling is not true cross training since you still find yourself locked into a very similar range of motion. It is not the exact same motion, which is why your nervous system does not directly benefit from it, but you still have shortened hip flexors, pecs and deltoids and take your knees through a very small and repetitive range of motion. This just adds to the wear and tear brought on by mountain biking.

In fact, since your position on a road bike tends to be deeper than on a mountain bike, any issues you have will actually be magnified and worsened. From my perspective the off season should be spent addressing imbalances and building tolerances for the amount of riding your will be doing during the season. While you need to ride a bike you do need to recognize that the more you ride the harder it will be to create positive change in your body in order to become more efficient and injury resistant during the off season.

For this reason I think that you should minimize your cardio training on a bike during the off season, not add to it through road biking. Sometimes the best thing to do as an athlete is to work the opposite patterns you use during your sport and things like sprinting, rowing, jump roping and dumbbell combo drills allow you to build cardio capacity while not adding to your long term injury potential.

Keep an eye out for my next post on this subject where I’ll cover my final reason to leave the skinny tires to the roadies…

-James Wilson-

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  1. Al says:


    What are your thoughts on the larger gearing of the road bike as a training tool? I’ve noticed for me specifically that my MTB Rico g/Ravi g is at its best when I am consistent with my road bike training.

    I honestly feel it is due to the larger gear ratio on the road bike. I’ve also noticed that the road riding also doesn’t take as much of a toll on me as well.

    I will tell you that two weeks of flat pedals has made a huge difference in my road riding. I’m pedaling more efficiently and knocking our PR’s left and right! To the point where I’ve picked up a set of Straitline Amps. Pretty light, and so far so good with them.

    Reply • September 10 at 1:21 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      I think the larger gearing is just forcing you to learn to feel comfortable producing more tension with your pedal stroke which translates well over to the trail since there are so many low RPM grind efforts on it.

      Reply • September 10 at 2:24 pm

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