Many pro Motocross riders use Mountain Bikes to further enhance their training and endurance on a dirt bike. These bikes, as we discovered in A Dirt Bike Riders Guide to Mountain Bikes, offer an alternative to conditioning for dirt bike riding.

Mountain biking offers the next best thing to riding on a motocross track when you're not on your dirt bike. However, not all pro riders specifically use mountain bikes for training instead they use road bikes.

Road bikes, much like their Mountain bike counterparts, allow you to pick up and go, and ride just about anywhere. No need to hitch up the trailer, load your dirt bike and drive somewhere. Road bikes are designed for riding on paved road for long distances and help with cardio conditioning. It is a low impact alternative to Mountain biking and running.

James Stewart on a Road Bike Photo: Courtesy RacerX

Aldon Baker who currently trains Ryan Villopoto and trained Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart is a big advocate in cycling. In an article for RacerX, Baker states cycling is the best form of outdoor training for Motocross. He said Mountain bikes may correspond more to the Motocross track, but he prefers road biking because of its more consistent workout.

Road bikes, like Mountain bikes, come in a variety of styles each providing a different set of characteristics intended to address the type of riding and what you're trying to accomplish. There are five primary types of Road bikes:

  • Traditional
  • Endurance
  • Flatbar
  • Cyclocross
  • Touring

Overall, Road bikes typically are lighter than Mountain bikes and made with a number of metals including steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. Road bikes also have two handlebar styles:

  • Dropbar handlebars: Provides a more aerodynamic ride, more riding and hand positions; can strain your back.
  • Flatbar handlebars: Gives a more upright and relaxed riding position; reduces strain on hands, wrists and shoulders but creates more drag.

Traditional Road Bike

Just like their title, these traditional bikes are light and modeled after the forefathers of the modern road biked. You'll get the most aerodynamic ride from this bike but also the most back, shoulder, hand and wrist strain thanks to the dropbar handlebars designed to sit lower than the seat.

Photo Courtesy: Competitive Cyclist

Endurance Road Bike

The Endurance bike replicates the Traditional in design but provides a more upright riding position to reduce the strain to your back and other extremities. The dropbar handlebars match the seat level in height and the bike is designed to give a more comfortable ride with a redesigned frame and fork and longer wheelbase. Endurance Road Bikes are designed for long rides that balance comfort with performance.

Photo Courtesy: Fujibikes.com

Flatbar Road Bike

The Flatbar bike is similar to the Endurance but uses a flatbar handlebar, the style used on Mountain bikes. The Flatbar is a great choice for commuting and daily riding.

Cannondale Flatbar Road Bike

Cyclocross Road Bike

The Cyclecross bike is a Road bike designed for off-roading. It's as close to a Mountain bike as you'll get from a Road bike. It comes with knobby tires, like a Mountain bike, and is designed more for dirt roads a traditional Road bike cannot handle very well, but not for true Mountain biking.

Photo Courtesy: Competitive Cyclist

Touring Roadbike

This modified version of the Traditional Roadbike allows you to carry bags and other cargo via panniers or baskets.

Photo Courtesy: Fujibikes.com

Sites like Competitive Cyclist and Backcountry.com sell these and similar bikes complete or you can create your own customized Road Bike. The descriptions above give you an idea of the style of bike that might best suit your needs. Putting together exact specifications for Road bikes is a bit more difficult because of the various metals used to manufacture the frame.

Like Mountain bikes, the cost for a Road bike various from under $1,000 to $5,000 and beyond. Road bikes don't have suspension so your primary concern when choosing involves costs and comfort level. If you have a tendency to strain your back then you might want to opt for an Endurance or Flatbar.

If you're on the fence on the style of Road bike or even debating between a Road bike and a Mountain bike, its best to check these bikes out in person. Talk with other Motocross riders to see what bike, if any, they train on. A test ride is your best bet so try and ride a fellow rider's bike or see if your local bike shop will allow a test spin.

Written By: AndrewT