Most people choose a mountain bike for their off-road adventures. After all, these bikes are great when it comes to riding on the trails. But there is a significant number of people who want to know if they can ride their mountain bikes on paved surfaces or roads!
This guide will settle the debate of “can you ride a mountain bike on the road” once and for all. Whether you are looking to ride your bike around the block or on your way while doing errands, you have a valid query.
Maybe you will be riding your bike on the road to the trail where you want to test your skills and enjoy your mountain bike ride. A simple answer to this question is yes; you can do so. Mountain bikes are for riding off-road, but you can ride them on paved surfaces as well. However, don’t expect too much in terms of performance.
So, keep reading for a more detailed answer.
Riding a Mountain Bike on the Road
Your mountain bike is just a mountain bike, and similar is the case with other bicycles like road bikes or hybrid bikes. It means you can ride a road bike in off-road conditions and a MTB on the streets.
But don’t expect too much in terms of performance. Don’t expect your road bike to perform like a mountain bike on the trails, and don’t expect your MTB to work like a charm on paved surfaces.
Shoes are a good example to understand this. There are different shoes for different types of activities. You don’t wear dress shoes or heels when you’re playing tennis. Walking shoes are best for walking, while running shoes are best for running.
You can travel and reach the trails, where its performance will be at its peak.
Performance Effects of Riding a Mountain Bike on the Road
You might be thinking, will riding a mountain bike on the road damage the bike? And to much of your satisfaction, no, you can’t damage your MTB that way. But you need to consider various factors.
Any wear and tear can be considered intentional damage in this regard. So, riding on a paved surface will damage it up to some extent. This bike has a gearing system directed towards rough terrain.
As soon as you start riding on a concrete surface, the wear and tear will occur at a quicker rate. Consequently, you will have to replace your tires with new ones if you continue to ride the roads with your MTB.
But when you ride your mountain bike on the road, your brakes, suspension and gearing system are not going to take that much of a toll. Rough terrain is super tough for these systems of your bike. Therefore, the wear and tear will directly effect your tires.
Pros of Riding Mountain Bike on the Road
Some of you might find it a bit surprising, but there are benefits of riding your mountain bike on paved roads or the streets. Many people buy this type of bike for riding on the streets.
Streets and neighborhoods in an ideal scenario must have smooth roads with no obstacles. But such ideal neighborhoods rarely exist. There are different impediments along the way as well. Rough edges, potholes, tall curbs, and bumps are all over the place.
This is where your mountain bikes will perform like nothing else. These bikes have the right kind of shocks and tires to handle these potholes. But it doesn’t mean you are allowed to stomp every pothole available with your bike. If something takes you by surprise, your MTB will take care of it.
Your mountain bikes drivetrain is perfect for acceleration, and you will gain speed faster as soon as you want. The brakes that are on a mountain bike can aggressively stop you, which will be helpful for you to stop instantly if someone pops out of nowhere. These advantages are entirely unintentional, but they are there for you to take.
Tips for Riding the Road with Your Mountain Bike
Looking for some useful tips to ride your mountain bike on the paved surface? Here are a few to get things sorted out for you.
- You need to follow the rules of the road and try to ride it like a road bike. It means that you should avoid those curves and potholes at all costs. Your bike can handle anything that takes you by surprise. But don’t go into the obstacles intentionally.
- It is recommended that you should go for a few modifications. This is especially the case if you are looking to use your MTB primarily on the road.
- Many riders are very concerned about what others will think or perceive about them. There is nothing wrong with riding an MTB on the road, and you might have learned it after going through the above section of this post.
- If you are not going to ride too much on the road, you don’t need to go with any modifications.
Mandatory Modifications for Riding Your MTB on the Road
You need to go for some minor but mandatory modifications when bringing your mountain bike on the road. These changes will make your ride much more comfortable and safe.
- The first thing that you need to do is adjust your handlebar and seat height. When you are stomping the trails, you might have your seat in a very aggressive position. When you are riding the streets, you need to have your seat a lot more relaxed. This is because you are not going to corner hard on the roads. You will remain a lot more comfortable while riding.
- It is advisable to replace your trail tires with a pair that is designed for roads. The standard MTB tires handle rough terrain and have gripping surfaces. But if you are going to use your MTB on paved surfaces, you will need to go with road tires that will perform better on your MTB, and the wear tear will be less.
- You need to make adjustments to your bike’s shocks. In their default position, they are designed to take on a lot of force. Since you will ride your bike, you need to adjust the shocks and work on the raid. Make your suspension a bit stiff as well.
What’s the Ride Experience?
You might be thinking that the ride experience will be fun. But that is not the case because your MTB with the proper modifications will feel comfortable on the road. Even if you use your trial tires, the ride is going to be fantastic. You will only have to change the tires to keep the wear tear on the lower side.
As long as you keep riding your bike comfortably, nothing terrible will ever happen to it or any of its components. But make sure that you don’t do too many stunts or ride aggressively on your mountain bike while riding it on the road.
Turning a Mountain Bike into a Road Bike
After going through all the text, you might be thinking, can I turn my mountain bike into a road bike? The good thing is that you can convert it easily, and there are so many modifications that you will have to go through.
As we mentioned, you need to change the seating and handlebar on your MTB and make it less aggressive, and then, of course, you need to change the tires from trail to road.
Replacing the tires is the first and most important, but you might ask if you can put road tires on a mountain bike!
You need to replace the MTB tires with a pair of slick 1.5-2-inch tires. You can comfortably find the right pair according to your needs as gravel riding, and 29ers have become quite common. Moreover, you can always have an extra pair so you can change the tires and ride according to the conditions.
But how long do mountain bike tires last on the pavement? You will have to make the change because your MTB tires will not last long on the road. Mountain bike tires last for around 4000 to 8000 miles on the trails. When you use them on the road, they will only last for about 1000 miles. So, you need to change them if you are going to use your bike more on the road.
There you have it. Now you know the answer of can you ride a mountain bike on the road. Yes, you can do that. And in the process, you won’t end up damaging your bike or any of its components.
There are a few ups and downs. For instance, you need to keep in mind that you don’t need to expect too much high performance. Your MTB on the road without some modifications.
Moreover, your tires will get the worst of wear and tear. Because they are for rough terrains and not for paved surfaces. But wearing will be a lot less when it comes to your bike’s suspension, shocks, and brakes. This is because they can handle more challenging conditions. But you are going to use them in much smoother conditions.
With proper modifications like using road tires instead of trail tires, you will be able to get the most out of your ride and for a long time to come.