Sometimes, you just want to go out to bike, but what if the only bike you own is a mountain bike? Can you use a mountain bike on road?
Mountain bikes are made for rugged train so it would make sense for them be able to handle something as inconsequential as biking on the road.
You can use a mountain bike on the road, but it probably won’t do as well as a road bike. Since mountain bikes are designed for bike trails, which are significantly more rugged than paved roads, it can be difficult to ride them. But while difficult, it is still very much doable.
While a yes or no answer can be enough, there should also be some things to remember when it comes to riding a mountain bike on the road. Will it cause any damage? Or is a mountain bike actually a good replacement for your regular bike?
To find the answer to all your questions on the topic, we rode our mountain bikes on the road and collected the information in one place.
Can You Ride a Mountain Bike on the Road?
Different bikes are made for different things.
Similarly, a mountain bike would be made for riding bike trails on the mountain. These bikes would be designed to handle the ruggedness and imperfections of the bike trails, and are meant to give riders more mobility. With all the bumps and different kinds of surfaces you can find on a mountain – not to mention rocks and sharp objects – you’d have a lot of trouble with a regular bike.
On the other hand, roads are paved and smooth, with very few hurdles. By that logic, it should be easy to ride a mountain bike on the road and not face too much trouble. While this is true, mountain bikes are not as easy to ride on paved surfaces as your regular road bike. Again, mountain bikes are meant for bike trails, so they will have some features that make riding on bike trails easier.
As an example, mountain bikes have very tough tires that are supposed to grip the unsteady terrain and keep you from slipping and falling. These bikes will also have the shocks set to a higher level to absorb a much higher amount of force than you’d need it to on the road. The seat and handlebar will also be set to a position that makes it easier to turn rough corners on the trails and help with your body movement.
Mountain bikes are also heavier since they are meant to deal with the stresses of the uneven bike trails. This means that you may need to put in more effort into pedaling than with regular bikes. This, along with the grippy tires can actually make mountain bikes very tough.
All of these features are meant to make the bike safer to ride in rough areas, and this can actually hinder your ability to ride them in smoother ones. While not impossible, it becomes a lot more difficult to ride the bike on the road.
Can You Adjust Your Mountain Bike for the Road?
Not everyone wants to have two separate bikes for the different activities that you do. Regular bikes are not safe for bike trails, but you can adjust your mountain bike to make it suitable to ride on the road.
Firstly, since the handlebars and seat will be set at a more aggressive height, you can adjust it for a more relaxed ride. This way, you’d be much more comfortable riding it on the road and will also be able to see better.
You can also adjust the shocks. Manufacturers of mountain bikes will naturally assume that you’re using it for riding on rougher ground and will set the level accordingly. On the road, you don’t need that much shock absorption, and keeping it at the same level can actually ruin your biking experience. If you adjust the suspension to make it a bit stiffer, your bike becomes better for the road.
Lastly, if you don’t plan on heading out to the mountains anytime soon, you can replace the tires with standard road bike tires. Since the tires for mountain bikes are meant to increase the grip, you’ll find that on the road, you’d end up putting more effort in riding your bike than you need to. Your speed may also be affected. By replacing the tires with slicker ones, you can go much faster on the pavement without having to pedal much, and your corners will become much easier to turn.
Does Riding Your Mountain Bike on the Road Cause Damage?
Riding your bike on the road doesn’t actually damage the bike, but there are some things to keep in mind about this.
The tires and features on your bike are made for use on bumpy bike trails so using these on the road can actually wear them out much faster than they would otherwise. If you use your mountain bike on the road very frequently, you may end up having to replace your tires much faster than you would otherwise.
On the other hand, and this may even seem a bit contradictory, there is also a damage control aspect to it. Because bike trails have so many hurdles, you will usually end up making a lot of hard brakes around them. This encourages it to get worn out faster!
On the road, the pavement is smooth, and you won’t be braking as often as you would on trails, and your bike will face less wear and tear. So, while the features for mountain bikes will face some damage on the road, they will also reduce some damage on the road.
Overall, you don’t have to worry about any significant damage to your bike if you choose to ride it on the road.
Why Mountain Bikes Can Be Good for Roads
While mountain bikes are not meant for roads, it’s undeniable that there are actually some ways in which they outdo road bikes.
Road bikes are designed for smooth, paved surfaces with little to no hurdles or bumps, but this is not what roads are really like. In fact, most roads have many hurdles on them, from potholes to rough edges or tall curbs, which can make your road bike tougher to ride.
The way tires and shocks are designed on mountain bikes is actually perfect for all these lumps and bumps. Usually, you’d avoid these things when you see them, but sometimes they may catch you by surprise. In such cases, the mountain bikes would be great for absorbing the shock that comes when you run over a pothole and keep you from getting hurt.
On top of that, mountain bikes also have great acceleration, which can help you when the light turns green and you need to hurry. They also have very aggressive brakes, and the grippy tires can help you stop quickly, especially if a car or person pops up out of nowhere.
These features may be made for completely different things, but they can be very useful on the road, too!
At the end of the day, a bike is a bike. Technically, you can ride any bike anywhere.
Of course, based on their purpose, different bikes will have their ups and downs based on the situation, which you can adjust for.
If you want to ride your mountain bike on the road, you can do so easily.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson