What’s the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike?

In essence, the differences are simple: Mountain bikes are designed to be ridden more slowly, on more varied terrain, and with more emphasis on control over speed. Road bikes are ridden on smoother and less varied terrain and tend to prioritize speed over control. In practice, this means mountain bikes generally have larger tires, suspension, a wider range of gears with a lower top gear (since you dont tend to go as fast on dirt), flat and wide handlebars, and geometry that puts the rider in a more upright position. Road bikes generally have a tighter range of gears, curved and narrow handlebars, rigid frames and forks, and narrow tires. Each one is designed to do a specific job, but they can each vary in features.

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