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Can I Use A Mountain Bike On The Road?

If you’ve got yourself a good mountain bike, but interested in doing some road cycling, then you might be wondering if you really need to get a road bike for that.

Maybe you don’t have the space for a second bike or don’t have room in your budget.

You might just want to ride your mountain bike on the road.

Can you do that?

Should you ride a mountain bike on the smooth pavement of the road?

And why or why not?

We’ve got the answers to all those questions for you below.

So, if you wanna ride your mtb on the road, then keep reading.

The Disadvantages of Using A Mountain Bike On Pavement

mountain bike on road

As I’m sure you already know, there are some distinct design differences between road bikes and mountain bikes.

And the tires are one of the best examples of these differences.

Your mountain bike has tires designed to grip that uneven surface, which means that the tires are a bit knobby. 

The road isn’t going to be uneven like the mountain bike trails, which means that those tires are gonna result in a lot of resistance as you’re riding on that smooth pavement.

So, they’re gonna create some drag the slows you down.

This means that will be moving slower and less efficiently than when you’re on a trail.

That might not seem like a big deal, but it also means that you will get tired more quickly than when you’re riding the trails.

Your average mountain bike frame is also not as aerodynamic as your average road bike. So again, you’re not going to be able to pedal as fast as you would on a road bike.

It’s actually all about the geometry of the bike. 

The mountain bike’s geometry puts you in a position of rough off-road control and agility. The road bike’s geometry puts you in a position of maximal power and aerodynamics.

And probably the biggest disadvantage that you’ll have riding a mountain bike on pavement is the weight of the bike.

Typically a mountain bike is heavier than a road bike (remember the aerodynamics!) and that means you’ll move slower.

But it’s not just slowing down that results from a heavy mountain bike frame.

Pedaling up hills will be more of a challenge due to the higher weight of the mountain bike.

So, if you’ve been wondering are mountain bikes good for uphill, then the answer to that is ‘no.’

So, if you’re commuting on a lot of step hills, then definitely avoid the mountain bike.

The Advantages of Using A Mountain Bike On Pavement

Despite the problems mentioned above, there are some people who prefer riding a mountain bike when road cycling.

You might even end up being one of them!

One of the biggest advantages of riding a mountain bike on the road is that you can go off-road at a moments notice.

This is really beneficial if you want to take a shortcut or there is something on the road that you have to go around.

If your local roads are a bit bumpy, then you will likely prefer riding a full suspension mountain bike over a road bike.

With a FS mountain bike, you can more easily hit those potholes and bumps in the road without worrying about getting ejected off your bike.

That suspension also is good for less joint fatigue when you’re cycling on a bumpy road.

Final Thoughts

While there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a mountain bike on the road, there is actually a solution that makes the mountain bike the ideal choice for road riding.

You can switch out your mountain bike tires for slicker city tires so that you won’t have all that resistance when pedaling.

This seems to be the perfect compromise for people who want to use their mtb for road riding.

So, can you ride your mountain bike on the road?

Yes, of course you can, but you just cannot expect it to handle the way that a road bike does or even the way that the mtb does out on the trails.

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