Can You Ride Mountain Bikes On The Road? (Things To Take Care Of!)

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Mountain bike on the road

Over the past few years, the number of people who went mountain biking has slightly increased. So, if you’re considering trying this outdoor activity, you might have some questions, and our experts will gladly answer them.

So, can you ride mountain bikes on the road? What are the pros and cons of using an MB for road rides? What are the things to consider? Keep reading to find the answer to your questions.

Can You Ride Mountain Bikes on the Road?

Yes, you can definitely ride your mountain bike on the road. As a matter of fact, a lot of people would choose an MB over a road bike because they can ride it for regular commutes and can also take it off the road whenever they want to.

Yet, this depends on the type of mountain bike itself. Some mountain bikes will perform well on the road, while others won’t. There are also some drawbacks that you need to consider.

What Are the Benefits of Riding a Mountain Bike on the Road?

Mountain bikes have bigger tires with more treading to provide better traction on various surfaces. This is why people choose to take them on the road, as they provide several benefits.

Perform Well on Uneven Surfaces

Mountain bike on uneven surface

Some roads aren’t silky smooth. So, using a mountain bike makes more sense if you’re discovering the country.

Moreover, uneven roads are still less challenging than off-road trails. So, taking your mountain bike for a ride on the road will put less strain on the suspension, gear, and tires.

Can Handle Obstacles

A mountain bike is designed to handle different obstacles, so you can quickly get on the curb, compared to a road bike. Bumps, potholes, small rocks, and other obstacles found on the road don’t represent a big issue when you’re riding a mountain bike.

Fewer Gears

Mountain bikes have fewer gears than the ones found on road bikes. Many people believe this is easier as they don’t struggle to find the right gear while riding the bike.

Perform Well on Uneven Surfaces

Mountain bikes require a narrow path to pass through. They’re perfect for riding through traffic jams and crowded streets. So, if the cycling lane is blocked, you can still find a way to pass through. In several cases, you can ride your MB on the sidewalk without bothering others.

More Roads Are Available

Using only one bike, you can explore different roads and paths without ending your ride too early. So, you can ride your MB on a smooth road, cross a field, ride through the forest, explore a park, and then get back on the road.

If you’re short on cash and can only save money for one bike, then picking a mountain bike makes more sense. It can easily maneuver various obstacles because of the bike’s flexible design. 

What Should You Take Care of When Riding a Mounting Bike on the Road?

Despite all these benefits, there are a few things you need to take care of if you’re riding a mountain bike on the road.

Uncomfortable Posture

Posture on a mountain bike

Some people feel that the flat handlebars of a mountain bike aren’t as comfortable as the drop handlebars on road bikes. Taking the bike for long bikes can cause back pain and overall discomfort.

Road bikes have a more relaxed setup. So they’ll be more comfortable to use during long commutes and rides.

Slower Rides

Mountain bikes have knobby tires with more resistance. So, it takes more effort to push your MB forward, and it will typically be slower on the road compared to a road bike.

Moreover, the suspension system is designed to slow your rides on slippery dirt roads and uneven trails. This will be inconvenient when you want to enjoy a fast ride on the road.

Heavier Bike

A road bike is easier to move around because they’re lighter. However, mountain bikes deal with more stress on the frame as they ride through challenging trails, so their frames are designed to be heavier and sturdier.

Moreover, they have a bigger and more durable suspension system with thicker brakes to withstand challenges. All these factors lead to a bike that weighs a lot more than a regular road bike. As a result, it’s generally more challenging to pedal, push forward, and carry around.

Tires Wear Faster

The knobby tires of mountain bikes are designed to provide good traction on various surfaces, but riding them on roads will cause them to wear faster. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to replace them more often.

How to Make Your Mountain Bike Suitable for Road Rides?

There are several mountain bike models on the market, some of which will be better for road rides than others. You can also make several adjustments to your MB if you plan on riding it on the road.

Of course, you can ride any mountain bike on the road, but some modifications will make your job easier and more fun. Here are some things to consider.

  • Always try a mountain bike whenever possible. However, remember that the best MB for the road won’t be the best for exploring hills and mountains.
  • Avoid heavier bikes if you want to use yours on and off the road. A heavier MB will be more difficult to maneuver and more challenging to ride on a road.
  • Stay away from specialized mountain bikes like downhill ones, as these perform better on hills and mountains. Instead, go for a cross-country bike.
  • Hardtail bikes that lack rear suspension are more suitable for road rides than full-suspension bikes. They’re also suitable for jumps and other tricks and will be lighter and easier to control.
  • If you prefer a full-suspension mountain bike for off-road rides, activate the lockout option that cancels the rear suspension.
  • Make sure that you have two pairs of tires. When it’s time to take your bike for a road ride, install the road tires and put away the MB ones.
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Paul Tuthill
Growing up in Scotland, Paul developed a love for the outdoors and a desire for adventure from an early age.