How Many Calories does Mountain Biking Burn?

Did you know an average person burns 450 to 750 calories per hour cycling? Calories are units of energy needed by the body to function. While calories are important to enable us to live, carry out our daily activities and even breathe, it is something we should watch. Excess calories can lead to excess weight which can cause serious health problems such as heart disease and increase your risk of diabetes.

An average woman needs about 2,000kcal a day while an average man requires about 2,500 kcal a day to maintain a healthy body weight.
Gauging the exact number of calories burnt during a mountain bike riding can be difficult. This is because it depends on a number of factors. Here, we cover the different amount of calories burnt during mountain biking putting each factor into consideration.

How does mountain biking compare to other activities in burning calories?

Mountain biking vs. trail, road, track and stationary biking
Mountain biking and trail biking requires more physical exertion thus would burn more calories. Road biking burning entails riding on flat terrains mostly thus burns fewer calories while the amount of calories burnt during road biking varies with bike setting.

Mountain biking vs. running and walking

Running burns more calories compared to walking and mountain biking. However, maintaining a consistent routine is key to burning more calories. Most people find it easier to ride a mountain bike compared to running or walking making it the most effective of the three.

how many calories MTB riding


How many calories does mountain biking burn?

As discussed, mountain biking does not have a firm guideline for burning calories. You can, however, estimate the number of calories you have burnt based on a number of factors as shown below;

People of different weights burn varying units of calories. The more your weight, the more energy you need to move your mountain bike. This leads to more calories being burnt. Below is a table showing how different weights (in pounds) burn calories at different speeds on a moderate terrain;
150lb. 175lb. 200lb. 250lb.
5.5 mph 250 292 333 417
10 mph 486 567 648 810
12 mph 572 667 762 954
16 mph 857 1,000 1,143 1, ,429

Size of your mountain bike
How heavy or light your mountain is, affects the number of calories you burn. A heavier bike means more weight than you are carrying around thus more calories burnt.

Riding up a positive incline is harder compared to riding downhill (a negative incline). Someone riding a mountain bike on a flat surface needs to cover a longer distance than someone riding uphill so as to achieve the desired goal.

Cycling on a positive incline increases your endurance since it requires more speed and balance. This exercises your upper body burning more than average calories. Your increased speed also helps you cover more miles quicker.

Mountain biking faster enables you to burn more calories within the same period of time. You need to note that covering a distance faster than someone cycling with you does not mean you have burnt more calories. This is because of factors such as weight. Exercising quicker than other people in your group within a fixed time burns more calories.

The table below shows how calories burnt varies with different weights at different speeds;
150lb./68.1kg 175lb./79.4kg 200lb./90.7kg 250lb./113.3kg
5.5 mph 250 292 333 417
10 mph 486 567 648 810
12 mph 572 667 762 954
16 mph 857 1,000 1,143 1,429

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You will burn more calories if you cycle for longer. This is because you have done more work leading to higher level of physical exertion. You should always start with less biking period then increase gradually to make progress in your calories burning. This prevents you from injuring your body by pushing it to cover a long distance all of a sudden.
See the table below;
150lb./68.1kg 175lb./79.4kg 200lb./90.7kg 250lb./113.3kg
10 minutes 95 111 127 159
30 minutes 286 333 381 476
1 hour 572 667 762 954
2 hours 1,143 1,334 1,524 1,905

Mountain biking over a longer distance burns more calories. The best way to get yourself to cycling long distances is by increasing your distance gradually. This prevents injuries from pushing yourself too hard. As shown in the table below, the further you cycle, the more calories you burn;
150lb./68.1kg 175lb./79.4kg 200lb./90.7kg 250lb./113.3kg
1 mile 48 56 64 79
5 miles 238 278 318 397
15 miles 714 833 953 1,191
30 miles 1,429 1,667 1,905 2,381

More calories are burnt when more effort is put in your mountain biking. This is due to the higher level of physical exertion. Your weight will also determine the number of calories burnt since it takes more work to move heavier weights.

how many calories cycling

Age and heart rate
Maximum heart rate declines gradually as you grow older. Aging also causes loss of muscle tissues slowing down your metabolism. Mountain biking helps maintain muscle tissue leading to an increase in the rate of metabolism.

Maximum heart rate is calculated approximately by subtracting your age from 220. The heart rate of an average resting individual is always between 60-100 bpm.

Use heart rate monitors to measure heart rate since online calculator cannot.

Did you know gender partly determines the number of calories you burn? Men burn more calories than women during mountain biking. This is because they have more muscle tissue and less fat.

Sitting vs. standing
Sitting while cycling your mountain bike burns more calories compared to standing. This is because standing increases your heart rate and develops upper and core body strength.

Factors you need to consider when mountain biking to burn calories
• Take a meal after your mountain bike ride
• Mountain bike in different quantities
• Try to get the most out of cycling but at a gradual pace
• Ride your mountain bike with a number of people for motivation
• Maintain a consistent mountain biking routine

Although affected by various factors, mountain biking is without a doubt an effective and fun way to burn calories. We have carefully covered the factors that will determine the number of calories you burn mountain biking. You can now comfortably calculate how many calories you burn during each ride.