Can You Put Road Tires on a Mountain Bike? (Is It Safe?)

Seeing a mountain bike on the road isn’t common, but it happens. If you love mountain biking and already have an MB, buying a special road bike doesn’t make sense.

As a mountain biking enthusiast, you might have a lot of questions regarding customizing your mountain bike. Of course, a good-quality MB will also work on the road, but can you put road tires on your mountain bike? Is it going to be safe? Our experts will answer these questions, so keep reading.

Can You Put Road Tires on Your Mountain Bike?

The short answer is yes. You can definitely replace the tires on your MB and add road tires. But you should make a few adjustments to your bike before replacing the tires.

Why Should You Use Road Tires on Your Mountain Bike?

Taking your mountain bike for a ride on a challenging trail is fun, but if you plan to take your bike for a road ride, then replacing the knobby tires with road tires makes more sense. Here are some reasons why you should do this.

Faster Rides

Your MB comes with knobby tires to provide a better grip on slippery trails. However, installing smooth road tires will allow you to speed easily due to the absence of resistance.

MB tires are sturdy and heavy to help secure your MB on any trail, and it doesn’t slip. By replacing them, you’ll notice a significant decrease in the bike’s weight and speed. Moreover, the diameter of the tires is suited for road rides.

Quieter Rides

The knobby tires of the mountain bike will result in a humming sound when you take the bike for road rides. If this bothers you, then switching to road tires will provide you with a smoother and quieter ride.

Easy Turns

Road bike cornering

Once you install road tires on your mountain bike, you’ll notice that it takes less effort to turn your MB. This is because mountain bikes are designed to provide a better grip on steep hills and slippery trails; you don’t need this when riding the bike on a regular road.

As a result, you’ll find your rides more accessible and more fun. You can also maneuver the mountain bike easily to avoid obstacles.

Less Maintenance

MB tires will wear faster when you use them on the road. By installing road tires, they’ll wear less, so you won’t have to replace them often.

Cheaper Option

In general, road tires cost less than the knobby MB tires. There are several types of road tires on the market, but they’re typically less expensive than MB tires.

Is It Safe to Use Road Tires on Your Mountain Bike?

Using road tires on your mountain bike is safe, especially if you want to take your MB for road rides. Yet, some adjustments might be necessary. So, before switching the tires of your mountain bike to road tires, here are a few things to consider.

Correct Size

You need to ensure that the tires match the mountain bike’s size. If you have a 29-inch mountain bike, you should install 700cc road tires.

The 650cc road tires work for 27.5-inch mountain bikes, while 26-inch tires work for your 26-inch mountain bike. The wrong tires won’t fit and can be extremely dangerous.

Right Fit

The tires should seal perfectly sitting on the rim’s far edge, or you won’t manage to install them. In most cases, tires will fit perfectly on the rim of budget-friendly mountain bikes. However, if you have an expensive model, you might want to ask for professional help.

Proper Inner Tubes

Before you attempt to install the tires, make sure that the inner tubes won’t pinch them. Mountain bikes typically come with bigger inner tubes, and they should match the valve. However, these inner tubes are big enough to pump the tires to the right size, so they might be too big for road tires.

What Are the Cons of Using Road Tires on an MB?

Although road tires offer many benefits when you take your MB for a road ride, there are some disadvantages you need to consider.

  • Road tires will cancel a mountain bike’s off-road abilities, so it won’t be possible to ride your MB on a steep trail unless you install the original tires.
  • The original mountain bike tires have less pressure to roll over obstacles, so they’re more comfortable than road tires. You’ll realize that road tires have more bounce and aren’t that comfortable.
  • The MB’s frame has a big clearance for the original tires. So, the narrower tires will look a bit odd.
  • Using narrow tires puts more pressure on the spokes. So, if you end up using your MB for road rides more often, you’ll have to replace the spokes.

How to Adjust Your Mountain Bike for Road Rides?

You need to make a few adjustments to fix your mountain bike before installing road tires.

Adjust the Suspension

Mountain bikes come with full suspension systems to help secure them on slippery trails. Unfortunately, this suspension will slow down the mountain bike when you take it for road rides.

Some MBs come with a lockout option that to cancel the rear suspension. If your mountain bike doesn’t have one, you should increase the suspension’s air pressure.

This will help stiffen it and make your mountain bike more suitable for road rides. In addition, you’ll feel that your MB is lighter and pedaling is easier.

Pedal Differently

A road bike has more gears than an MB, so you can change them in smaller increments. Since your mountain bike has fewer gears, you’ll have to adjust your pedaling style. This means that you need to pedal fast once you reach the desired speed.

Change the Handlebars’ Position

Before taking your mountain bike on a road ride, you need to adjust the handlebars to be better suited for longer rides. This will keep you more comfortable and reduce stress on your lower back. It’s easy to lower the handlebars, but you might need some time before adjusting to this position.

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