Road tires on a mountain bike are not an entirely alien concept. You might have seen or heard people doing it. But is it a recommended practice? We are going to find all about it in this article.
Most people looking to use road tires on a mountain bike want to use these trail bikes to commute or run errands. But road bikes are completely different from mountain bikes, so can you go for road or street tires on a mountain bike? Scroll down to read everything you need to know about it.
Can You Put Different Tires on a Mountain Bike?
In short, yes you can use road tires on a mountain bike and start rolling the streets. But as we just mentioned, road bikes are different from mountain bikes in their design and structure. So, you might have to make a few adjustments.
If you can make these adjustments correctly, the transition will be smooth, and you can make your ride more versatile. Now, what are these adjustments? Here is a checklist for you to consider.
Recommended Road Tires for your Mountain Bike
The Grifter is a top choice for your mountain bike, and it still comes with enough cushion to ride comfortably. You can improve your pedal efficiency when you lock your suspension out, and your MTB will start riding hard.
Road bikes have their suspension in their frame and forks, and they work by flexing. On the other hand, an MTB is made for strength, and you will feel it during your ride.
The Grifter is heavy on its sidewalls and has thick treads. These features keep wearing to a minimum and keep your tires puncture-free.
However, these tires will not be quick because they are not lightweight. But they are excellent for a converted MTB. But remember, this tire is not tubeless, so you will have to think about an extra wheelset.
If you want more speed while commuting or running errands, consider going for the WTB Slick 2.2. This tire is lightweight and fast as it features a smooth center.
You will not notice any rolling resistance. However, this tire has a thinner main thread and sidewalls, so you might have to deal with a few flats.
Going off-road with this tire will not work out well for you. As they feature thin tread, they will slide in the dirt, the same feature that makes them fast on concrete surfaces.
However, if you ride long distances for a commute or running errands, this is the tire that you must go for.
The tire is made of DNA rubber which is a proprietary 60A compound. This tire is a perfect blend of smooth riding and a decent cross-country trail riding experience. DNA Rubber is all about durability and versatility.
Can Road Tires Make a MTB Go Faster?
Road bike tires on a mountain bike might seem to produce faster speeds. And they do make your MTB roll much faster than it used to on pavement. But, of course, you will have to pedal harder and faster for more speeds.
But with road tires on a mountain bike, they will handle higher pressure with less rolling resistance due to smaller ground contact. Apart from that, road tires are much lighter than MTB tires, so you are shedding a few pounds from your bike, making it lighter to zip around faster.
When you feel the hardship of pedaling your MTB when the tire pressure is low, you can think of it. That is easy enough to understand why road tires will increase the speed of your MTB on concrete.
Take a look at your suspension because you will have to lock it out to extract more speed. Full suspension is excellent when it comes to absorbing rocks and drops. But it absorbs some of your pedal power too.
Another way to increase your speed is to inflate your tire pressure a bit more. You can safely put 50 PSI in your MTB tires with heavy treads. But it will reduce traction when you go off-road. So be a bit more careful when riding the dirt with pumped-up tires.
How Can I Make My Mountain Bike Better on the Road?
There are a few things that you must consider before installing road tires on your MTB. these are as follows:
- Ride quality
When you pump up your road tires to 50 PSI, it will result in a harsh ride than the under 35 PSI for your trail tires. Therefore, you will feel those potholes and rocks that come under your tire.
Road tires come with small knobs and have a smoother center. This design makes them less resistant to rolling. The contact patch becomes much smaller with high pressure in a road tire. It is excellent for speed, but it significantly reduces traction.
- Tire width and weight
Road tires have a much smaller width compared to MTB or trail tires. Therefore, they are much lighter than trial tires and can go pretty fast.
You have to determine the size of the road tires for your MTB. There are three sizes commonly used on mountain bikes. These include 29-inch, 27.5-inch, and 26-inch tires. The width of these road tires is much lesser than trail tires.
But Maxxis Grifter road tires are best for MTBs as they are available in two different widths, including 2-inch and 2.5-inch. You should look for a tire that is more than 1.75-inch in width. These widths are more readily available now as gravel riding has become huge.
You can go for a second wheelset with your road tires if you can afford it. It will allow you to swap your road tires with your MTB tires whenever you want to make a transition. But make sure that you check your brakes and derailleur.
If you want to purchase a second wheelset, make sure to upgrade your emergency tire kits and tools with tubes for accommodating new tires. Another factor that you must cater to is determining whether you will be sticking to smooth roads or not.
It will help you decide whether you should stick to a lighter wheel or not. However, it’s a delicate balance that you will have to make, so we recommend you stick to those smoother tracks.
Gearing is different in road bikes and MTBs. Road bikes have their gears with closer ranges for smaller speed increments. With these small increments, you can adjust to various inclinations for guaranteed smoother rolling with ease in pedaling.
On the other hand, MTBs have gears with higher increments; they will have to deal with steep terrain at slower speeds. Therefore, you will have to pedal faster on an MTB to reach an optimal speed with higher gear ratios.
If you want to change the front ring or the rear cassette, you must check the chain length. Front rings with taller gears will need a longer chain, or you will need to install a master link.
The good thing is that modern bike engineering has made it easy to switch out your cassette with the one tailored for road biking. Most MTBs come with single chainrings that you can swap with bigger ones. Or you can go for an entirely different crankset if you wish.
Additional Tips to Make Your Mountain Bike Better on Road
If you want to do a lot of road riding on your MTB, you must lower your handlebar. It will help in keeping the wind resistance to a minimum. A lower handlebar is a critical feature of any road bike.
MTBs have high handlebar settings because they offer better control when riding off-road. And the best part is you can make this change happen in a few minutes.
Your seat height will require an adjustment too. You should raise your seat height to ensure optimal performance and comfort for much better performance. You can do this change in short increments and see which height setting is best for you. Make sure you don’t go too high or feel the pain in your hips.
Adding these fenders and mud flaps will be a good idea to prevent any adverse weather conditions. It will help you remain presentable, especially if you are commuting to work or even running errands.
You don’t have a mud strip on your back when you arrive at your destination. There are all kinds of fenders and mud flaps available on the market, and you can add or remove them whenever you need to.
It might seem a bit awkward for off-road bikes, but you can add a rearview mirror to see the flow of traffic coming up on you from behind. If you want to go on long commutes, this might come in handy to keep you safe on the road.
What is the Perfect Trail and Street Mountain Bike Tire?
If you want to balance your trail and street tire in one, you will have to compromise on a few things. First, heavy treads can be excellent for traction, but they have high rolling resistance.
MTB tires have low pressure for better traction, but they have high rolling resistance. But if you want to go down the 2-in-1 route, you should choose the Continental Cross King MTB ProTection Tire.
It is a tubeless tire and is available in 26-inch, 27.5-inch, and 29-inch sizes. It is a highly versatile tire with a brief rolling profile and adapts to any surface. Thanks to its tubeless features, it offers excellent puncture resistance.
These tires offer a decent ratio without any compromises on speed. The tire comes with the black chili compound to reduce mileage and improve rolling on concrete.
Road tires on a mountain bike is a transition that is not too hard to make. We have mentioned all the changes you need to make to your MTB to make it road-ready. It is a good option if you don’t want to spend more money buying a ride for commuting or running errands.