Anonymous asked in SportsCycling · 1 month ago

Were road bikes with drop bars in danger of extinction when mountain bikes became wildly popular in the 1980s?

8 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    Not even close. I seem to remember road bikes were booming throughout the 80s and mountain bikes were just a steadily growing niche.

  • D50
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    I bought one in about 83 as part of the fad. They did outnumber road bikes in the shops, but I had no intention of getting rid of my Atala.

  • Jon
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No. They have such totally different functions that no-one wanting to do something where one was the obvious choice would choose the other. (And for many riders neither was an ideal design, hence touring, city, roadster, and other types stayed around as well).

  • 1 month ago

    No.  Here is why.  MTBs are about control and the sit up and beg works better for balance off road.  However, bars got wider to allow for more control, especially around roots and rocks.  But this is a bad set up for road, especially for distance road.  Yes sit up and beg is still a thing for many hybrids, but if you are looking at a 40 mile afternoon ride, then you need to adjust your ride position to make it more comfortable, or to be able to climb/descend.  Also, drop bars allow you to get more aero  than the mtb.  This is massive for road racing.  I have ridden both mtb and road.  The drop bars give you more options.  Also, even though I use ergo grips on my mtb, the riding position still give me numb hands if I ride for more than a couple of hours.  I don't get that on the road bike.

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  • 1 month ago

    In the 80's a few tv series police shows made mountain bikes very popular. However any true paved road cyclist quickly figured out mountain bikes aren't good road bikes. 

    In other words NO, road bikes nor drop handlebars were ever in any danger of extinction. Mountian bikes for street use was just a passing fad. The same thing happened with fixed geared bikes and BMX bikes true paved road cyclist quickly figured these bikes aren't good road bikes either.

    Source(s): Motorized bicycle owner and builder.
  • 1 month ago

    A lot of this depends on where you live.  For city dwellers like myself, why the hell would I want or need a MTB?  MTB's have wider off road tires which only add to rolling resistance & suspension parts which only add weight - both slowing the bike down.  

    Always buy a bike designed for 'Where & How' you plan on riding.  To buy a MTB for strictly riding on paved surfaces borders on insanity.  Conversely, expecting a road bike to handle an off road trail is ludicrous.  My 2010 Raleigh Clubman has been going strong for 10 + years.  Let's see a heavily used MTB going off road all the time last that long.  Although it's not a 'racing road bike', it's still one hell-of-a daily commuter bike. I pass kids on their MTB's all the time & laugh.            

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  • 1 month ago

    So?  Just about every type of bicycle goes through a 'fad' or phase where it becomes wildly popular for a while.  When I was a little kid it was Schwinn 'Krate Bikes', most of which had a 5 speed shifter on the top tube.  Later, this type of shifter was outlawed because too many kids were crushing their scrotum on it.  There's a direct link between these bikes and the BMX style bike craze.

    Just a few years ago, the fixed gear or 'fixie bike' was all the craze.  Thank God that didn't last long.  These bikes could come with either a flat handlebar or drop bars.  Fixed gear or 'Track Bikes' are still used today on Velodrome tracks, most of which are indoors.

    Today, the latest craze is 'gravel bikes'.  They're similar to both road bikes & CX (cyclocross) bikes with drop down style handlebars.  They have wider on/off road tires like the CX bike but a more relaxed frame geometry for longer rides.

    No, road bikes have never been near extinction and in my estimation never will be either.  Before COVID-19, you could look on the USA Cycling website ( and find tons of local amateur races in just about any part of the country.  Not to mention the long history of professional races like the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España, Italy, France & Spain.     

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I remember buying a new bike in 1989 and I was told that I should buy a mountain bike and the store was not even selling road bikes. 

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