Can A Mountain Bike Be Used On The Road? (Solved!)


Riding a mountain bike on the road might sound odd, but it is a fairly common practice, especially since mountain bikes can ride well on both flat and rugged terrains.

Mountain bikes can be ridden well on streets and roads, but this is determined by the type of bike chosen. Mountain bikes have good advantages on roads that other bikes don’t such as being able to quickly mount curbs and having a good grip in inclement or icy weather.

I’ve commuted on a mountain bike quite often in the past, and I’ve seen the full range of benefits that they can bring.

In this article, I’ll look at exactly why you might want to take a mountain bike on the road, how to convert your mountain bike for road use, and also look at the best types of mountain bikes for successful road use.

Mountain bike parked on the road

Why Take a Mountain Bike on the Road?

1. Uneven Surfaces

Today’s roads and streets are susceptible to easy damage, with potholes and other hazards everywhere. These are no problem for a mountain bike!

I believe that mountain bikes are more equipped to cope with the irregularities of existing roads. These bikes have complete suspension, which contributes to a better riding experience.

In addition to this, the conditions on the road are smoother, reducing the rate of wear and tear on bike parts substantially.

So riding your mountain bike on the road makes brakes, gears, and shocks last much longer than they would if you rode it on rough terrain.

Pretty much any mountain bike can take on a standard uneven road or street.

Full-suspension versions are best suited for the toughest trails, such as twisting mountain single tracks whereas ‘hardtails’, which sport front suspension exclusively, are ideally suited for much less complex territory, such as rugged fire roads and swampy country roads. 

2. Body Posture

Countless riders prefer mountain bikes because they have flat handlebars and a more erect body stance. Some riders say this helps their back, and just generally seems more comfortable.

3. Less Gears

Most mountain bikes have fewer gears than other types of bikes, which lowers their upkeep.

Also, it makes the process of finding a gear simpler for many.

Some riders might say that having fewer gears actually makes the process of finding the right gear that suits you best more difficulut. But grind them until you find them, right?

4. Weaving Through Jams

In my opinion, a mountain bike ride is an excellent way to get through a clogged traffic jam.

They just have that added ability to bob and weave more gracefully than most other types of bikes.

5. Makes Obstacles More Enjoyable

Another incentive to choosing to take a mountain bike on the road is that it allows you to enjoy a wonderful ride when you have to struggle with bumps, potholes, and other obstacles while using a regular bike.

It’s just not as much fun going over jarring potholes on a road bike.

6. Only One Bike Is Required

A winning argument is that instead of getting two separate bikes for the road and mountains, getting one that fills both needs is much more economical for you in both financial and functioning terms.

7. More Routes Become Available

Want to ride on a road, cross a field, then get back onto the road? Good luck doing that on a road bike!

Mountain bikes help you plan quicker and more varied routes. You can hop across parks, gardens, fields, and whatever else is in your way, before meeting the road again like nothing had ever happened.

Only mountain bikes have this versatility.

Pros of Using a Mountain Bike in the City

Commuting on metropolitan roadways is a different experience for everybody; for some, it is a sequence of walks and metro stops; for others, it is racing through traffic.

Maneuvering through the difficult terrain found on mountain routes, which is riddled with small rocks, potholes, and gravels is also an adventure for some people, which can be appeased with the right bike. 

As I have already stated above, mountain bikes are specifically built for riding on tougher dirt terrains, yet most people overlook other ways to utilize them on roads and pavements.

Riding your bike through different terrains is one of the best ways to activate serotonin for you and to surge your adrenaline quickly.

Now let’s get into some of the true benefits of riding your mountain bike in the city:

  • Mountain bikes require only a narrow route to pass through. On the off chance that you’re stuck in traffic, you can always ride in the cycling lane, between the vehicles after exercising caution, or perhaps even along the curb as long as you are mindful of pedestrians. 
  • You can also carry your bike inside the facility you’re going to, automatically getting rid of the need to find parking like you would with a car. 
  • Riding your mountain bike in the city streets can be an excellent workout for you. Just think about how many calories you will burn while zooming through traffic on your bike. 
  • It is much less expensive to travel on a mountain bike than it is to constantly buy gasoline for a car.

In comparison to road bikes and other methods of travel, mountain bikes allow you to ride in a more upright stance, making it much easier to see your surroundings.

Trust me, it’s an advantage seeing a bear before it sees you!

How to Convert Your Mountain Bike for the Road

Though just about any mountain bike can be used on the road, there are several modifications or accessories you can use to make that journey more enjoyable. 

For starters, ​​the tires make a significant impact on the functioning of the bike.

Road tires are usually designed for low-resistance riding but do not provide good off-road grip. Nevertheless, if you’re heading out for a day of all-pavement riding, installing on-road tires on your bike will help make your ride smoother.

The suspension is another important adjustable feature on your bike. However, road bikes have little to no suspension movement since vertical movement on shocks reduces overall velocity.

My advice to you in this regard would be to lock down the back suspension similar to the way it’s installed on a hardtail bike and allow 3 to 4 inches of torsional stiffness in the front end to handle surface irregularities such as potholes or cracked roads.

What Type Of Mountain Bike Is Good For Road Use?

Mountain bikes have always been associated with action and adventure. The three possible tire sizes ranging from 26 inches, 27.5 inches to 29 inches provide a variety of riding options for those seeking adventure. 

However, there are too many options to declare one mountain bike superior to another when it comes to riding on paved roads.

In addition to affordability, it all depends on whether or not the geometry, form, and design fit your idea of a good bike. You need to know more about all the different factors of a bike before you invest in one.

Is it appropriate for your body type?

Do you know what you want to use this bike for?

What level of fitness is being offered?

These are only some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when investing in a bike. 

Most brakes, gears, shocks, tires, wheels, and seats are not produced by the same manufacturer that builds the framework, which will be another factor for you to consider before your purchase.

Depending on the bike, it is possible that the higher-end parts are not produced by the same company that produces the frame.

Because of this reason, each mountain bike is bound to offer you a different experience, especially if you’re taking it out on the road. 

This is why I would strongly advise you to go out and research as many mountain bikes as you can before you settle on one that suits your needs.

Countless bike stores let you rent or test out bicycles before you buy one. I suggest that you inquire and ask as many questions so you can get answers to any concerns you may have.

You must decide on what you want to use the bike for before you take this step. The perfect mountain bike for road use will be different to the best one for use on hills and mountains. 

If you’re interested in my opinion, I’ve listed here my three top choices for the best mountain bikes for road use:

What Road-riding Mountain Bike Choices Are Available?

Choose your favorite from this list of the finest mountain bikes perfect for a ride on the road:

Santa Cruz Highball 29D

The Highball is a tough XC boot camper with a 100mm suspension fork that is engineered to last.

This sturdy hardtail bike has no room for inefficiency and focuses energy directly on the drivetrain.

If you’re searching for a bike that will last you multiple seasons or even just a tough mountain bike which is also ideal for the road, then Highball is the way to go. 

The Santa Cruz Highball 29D, with its sharp head tube inclination, performs swiftly while retaining stability. Its acceleration is perfect for a fast ride through the city, and its spacious cockpit offers you plenty of room to maneuver on slopes and difficult terrains.

The Highball is incredibly fast and offers an enjoyable ride. Furthermore, it looks and rides like a Santa Cruz mountain bike. 

The Highball has been the perfect hardtail mountain bike for the sort of riding I enjoy, and I’ve had a great time using it.

I’m a rider who loves to go overseas for traveling purposes, and I needed a mountain bike that would not only be easy to maintain but would also perform perfectly on paved roads.

Fortunately, the Highball met my unique needs flawlessly. Considering the tough use I have gotten from my mountain bike, I’ve had no mechanical or technical issues so far, which is remarkable. 

Specialized Rockhopper Comp

The Specialized Rockhopper Comp sports a 2x drivetrain and no dropper post, but it does include cable routing for the latter.

It also includes excellent features, such as internal channeling for the gear wires and rear brake hose, which result in smoother lines, and a distinctive ‘RxTune’ for the Suntour fork, which is open to alteration depending on frame size.

The 650b (or 27.5in) wheels are used on the XS to M bikes, whereas the M to XXL are 29ers.

The Rockhopper has a gold core and is placed in ultralight yet sturdy Premium A1 Aluminum. It includes butted aluminum tubes to keep the weight moderate and maintain its durability while giving improved stand-over clearance.

The manufacturers coupled every Rockhopper frame size with the appropriate tire size to ensure that the Rockhopper provides the greatest fitting and efficiency for all riders, so it is very versatile.

There is a Rockhopper built to accommodate every cyclist, and it comes with the certainty that each Rockhopper is fit with best-handling tires exclusively made for its body frame.

Vitus Nucleus 29 VR 

The Vitus Nucleus 29 is ready for the road right out of the box and encompasses all features that a bike needs to handle while on the road.

With its on-point design and fantastic specification, particularly the wheels, the Vitus is ready for action and excels on the road.

Although it does not last not nearly as long as some of the other bikes I have tried out, the Nucleus’ alloy framework has a terrific design, with a range of 450mm on the larger size. 

The bottom bracket is positioned low beneath the wheel axles for a steady ride, and the head tilt is rather loose for a trail 29er, resting at 67 degrees.

Exterior cable routing facilitates maintenance, and there is an option for a dropper post cable or nozzle if you choose to update to one in the future.

Although it just has 100mm of travel, it makes excellent use of all available features, and the bicycle is never hamstrung.

It also includes a simple bolt-thru axle, which provides the 32mm frame a stronger feel while permitting rapid wheel removal, making it one of the best mountain bikes for road use. 

The Vitus effortlessly addresses all of the road challenges on my testing loops, pushing riders to go harder and faster. It proved to be competent, whether darting through bends or open, flat-out passages.

Wrapping Up

Mountain bikes offer you an advantage in a variety of scenarios, such as allowing you to bike on a roadway with potholes and bumps without a hitch, letting you ride safely both on and off-road, and giving you an excellent work-out.

Mountain bikes let you choose an alternate path whenever you want with a reduced danger of crashing, whereas road bikes do not. 

At the end of the day, while riding a mountain bike on the road might be ideal in the beginning, it provides adaptability, independence, and a feeling of excitement if you’re looking to take it up a notch.

Martin Williams

Martin has been tearing up all sorts of trails on a range of bikes ever since he was young. He once cycled across France, and once fell into a canal on a hybrid. He writes about everything to do with cycling on our site. You can find out more about him at bicycle2work.com/about-martin-williams/

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