Going out for a ride on your mountain bike is one of the many things that can help you clear your head. But what if you decide to go on a long-distance trip? Are mountain bikes good for long distance?
In today’s article, we’ll share with you five reasons why mountain bikes are perfect for long journeys. We’ll also give you some tips on how to prepare yourself and the bike for your trip.
So, get your helmet ready and read on!
If you’re thinking about taking a ride with a road bike or a beach cruiser instead of an MTB (mountain bike), think again!
Here are some of the main reasons why MTBs are more suitable:
Because mountain bikes were created for rugged terrains, as the name suggests, they were built with one thing in mind: durability.
So, the most common materials used in mountain bikes today are carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium. Each one of those has its advantages and is designed for certain roads—but what all of them have in common is longevity.
For instance, a mountain bike made with titanium parts is corrosion-resistant, can withstand extreme heat, and is lightweight compared to other metals. Not to mention, of course, it’s incredibly strong.
If you also take a look at any mountain bike’s tires, you’ll notice that they’re both wider and thicker than regular bikes. Additionally, they have wider rims to hold the tire and provide a good braking surface.
As a result, the wheels are much more potent than different bikes, which can help prevent incidents like broken rims and bent wheels.
Because MTBs are designed for the rough mountain terrain, they’re equipped with suspension systems, also known as shock absorbers. Basically, they make your ride more comfortable, so you can enjoy the scenery without being jostled about!
The suspension systems are made of gears and springs that extend or compress depending on the obstacles they’re dealing with.
Consequently, the bike soaks in any impact, which helps reduce muscle fatigue by taking the pressure off your body.
Furthermore, because most mountain bikes use flat handlebars, they allow you to move the wheels with minimum movement on your part.
In other words, you don’t have to put in much effort to steer your bike—something particularly handy on long journeys!
Besides the suspension system, mountain bike tires have a fantastic design that actually uses the obstacles on your trip to the bike’s advantage. How so, you might wonder?
It’s because MTB’s tires have viscoelastic properties that allow them to have both liquid and solid characteristics. This enables the tires to take the shape of whatever they tread on.
Take a pebble, for example. If you were to ride over one, the bike wouldn’t simply bounce it off or depend on the suspension system to just protect you from the shock.
Instead, it takes the rock inside of it and the rubber molds around it, allowing you to gain better control of your bike— which can help you maneuver it easily.
As a result, obstacles in your path are less likely to make you slip or damage your bike, which can make your trip much safer.
4. Allows You to Travel Freely
Unlike most beach cruisers or road bikes, mountain bikes open up the horizons for you because you don’t have to limit yourself to a particular trail.
Thanks to the excellent traction and suspension systems, mountain bikes have an excellent grip on uneven ground and can take you on various off-road journeys.
For instance, you can take your bike on rocky paths, gravel roads, or even muddy trails without worrying about the tires losing grip. The tries will simply conform to the ground and allow you to ride through it like it’s nothing!
This gives you a great opportunity to explore new places far away from the hustle on bustle of city life.
Sadly, some people cut their trips short or stick to specific bikes because they don’t want to risk getting stuck somewhere and having to carry the bike. This is quite understandable, as most bikes can be a bit heavy.
However, the difference between mountain bikes, road bikes, and beach cruisers isn’t that vast— at least not between the first two!
Most mountain bikes out there are 28 to 32 pounds (12.7 to 17.5kgs), which is much lighter than other bikes like beach cruisers–which can weigh up to 40 pounds!
So, even if you’re a beginner, it won’t be too hard to carry the mountain bike wherever you go.
While you may want to hop on your bike and begin your journey as fast as you can, it’s best to prepare it first! Here’s what you need to do:
One of the most important things to do before going off the road is to ensure that your bike is free of grime and dirt. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t used it in a while or kept it stored away; dust and grime always find a way in.
To clean it up, follow these steps:
- Bring a large bucket of warm water with dishwashing soap
- Submerge a soft-bristled brush in the water and use it on the bike
- Work your way from the bottom to the top
- Use a small toothbrush and some degreaser to clean the chains
- Rinse and repeat
In the end, use a clean microfiber cloth to dry any remaining water on the bike.
Once you’ve cleaned the bike, it’s time to look at the tires for any signs of wear. So, take your bike out in the sun and get as close as possible to the tires.
Now, examine them from all directions to see if there are flat spots or even small cracks. If you happen to find any signs of damage, it’s best to replace the tire immediately.
What’s more, you’ll need to check the pressure in your tires. That’s because too much or too little pressure can significantly affect how smooth your ride feels.
Some people use their thumbs and fingers to check the pressure in the bike’s tires. However, if you’re new to this, it might be hard for you to feel the difference. So, it’s best to purchase a digital pressure gauge to help you figure things out.
Keeping yourself safe is a paramount priority while riding your bike. To do this, you need to ensure that your brakes work properly at all times.
First, put your hand on the brake levers and pull on them as you usually would. They’d typically feel solid and firm with every pull. However, if the levers feel loose or floppy, you might need to tighten the brake cables.
Furthermore, there shouldn’t be any oil or fluid leaking from the cables. This could be a sign that you accidentally damaged them at some point, and they need to be replaced.
If you don’t see any clear signs of damage, take your bike for a quick ride and test its braking system live! This way, you could get more definite results about the condition of your breaks.
Last but not least, it’s time to give your bike some good oiling! Lubrication is vital to keep your bike running smoothly and efficiently by ensuring that no parts get stuck together or jam up inside.
You can use WD-40 on the chain, derailleur levers, and brake levers. You could also use the WD-40 to remove gunk, grease, and dirt from the small sprockets.
Preparing yourself for this trip is as important as preparing the bike itself. So, here are a few tricks to keep in mind:
Eating something that’s full of carbs and protein requires your body to use energy to digest it. Unfortunately, this could make you feel sleepy and tired before you’re even 20 minutes in.
So, stick to light meals, like salads, before heading out on the road.
Here’s a question for you: Are you going from a 2-mile bike ride to a 15-mile one? Or something close to those numbers? Because if your answer is yes, you’re in for a surprise!
Though you might think you’re used to riding for long periods, the truth is your body needs time to adapt. So pace yourself by going on slightly longer rides before hitting the big one!
Make sure that you know what the weather will be like on the day of your trip! Plus, it’s a good idea to pack extra water and food just in case. Lastly, keep a small first aid kit at hand in case of emergencies.
So, are mountain bikes good for long distance? Our answer is a resounding yes!
They’re durable, comfortable, and allow you to travel wherever you want without worrying about your path! Plus, they’re effortless to control and maneuver over challenging terrain.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your helmet, your bike, as well as your supplies, and hit the road!