Can You Put Road Tires On A Mountain Bike?

Yes, this changeover is possible using the same size tires and some adjustments that ensure a comfortable ride. However, there is also the uncertainty of its being either advantageous or disadvantageous. So when any mountain bicycle rider asks whether it is feasible to replace his bike tires with those of a road bike for normal day-to-day commuting, he has to first find out the practicalities of the desired outcome. If you settle on swapping mountain bike tires with road bike tires, then you have to start thinking about how to make the best use of the alteration.

There are several differences in the design and uses of mountain and road bikes, and their tires also play different important roles. Mountain bicycle tires offer rough surface riding capabilities with good grip on irregular and even muddy paths, whereas the narrower and aerodynamically-built road bike tires with fewer treads have smooth texture well-suited mainly for tarmac roads.

Considerations for a tire change

can i put road tires on a mountain bike

The installation process of new tires can be quite easy. However, first of all, you need to ensure that you select the tires correctly. Take your time to do this to ensure that your bike can function soundly. If you are unsure about your selection, then consult a bike mechanic to help you choose the right tires and tubes for your bike. Selection of correctly-matched tires is essential for overall riding safety and efficiency with the following considerations:

  • The tires must be of the correct size.
  • Tires must get fitted onto the wheels properly with tire beads set up evenly on the wheel rim.
  • The inner tubes of the tires must have a precise size for being inflated up to a suitable pressure.
  • Tire change must be fully adapted to your riding style and needs.

Related Article: What are tubeless mountain bike tires

Switching process of mountain bike tire to road tire

Here are the required steps for this changeover:

  1. Ensure that you get the correct size tires with the right size inner tubes.
  2. Insert the tubes fully well into the tires.
  3. Next, put the tires properly on the rims of the wheels.
  4. Inflate the tubes to the correct requirement.
  5. Lock the suspension if the mountain bike is fitted with it. This will ensure optimized and bounce-free pedaling.
  6. Change the mountain bike gearing to a suitable one for road biking. Ideally it will be a higher gearing.
  7. Adjust the handlebars such that they are set nearer to the seat level leading to further comfort for your riding experience.
  8. If needed, make other changes like the seat, pedals, etc.

Advantage and disadvantages of mountain bike tire switching

putting road tires on a mountain bike

Here are the main advantages:

  1. Speedier traveling, which is desirable especially for road riding.
  2. Experience of quieter rides on roads without the bothersome noise of mountain bike tires.
  3. Lesser effort for the bike handling, mainly due to the design of the tires.
  4. Longer lasting with low maintenance, thereby giving greater mileage.
  5. Availability of more variety of road tires at lower prices.

Tire alteration comes with some disadvantages too as given below:

  1. Loss of rough terrain riding ability since road tires are unsuited for traction on such tracks and more prone to slipping, which can be dangerous.
  2. Loss of some comfort since the thinner tires can be bumpier with every irregularity on the path.
  3. Extra pressure of weight on the wheels, and so they may wear off more easily.
  4. Odd looking, since the bike appears off-putting to others. This is because the tires are much narrower than what’s typically used on a mountain bike.

Tips on riding your bike efficiently

Here are some tips to try with your converted mountain bike to optimize your riding experience:

  1. Install the narrower road tires with less tread since pedaling gets easier with them on roads.
  2. Lower your saddle level. With a lower position you will be able to pedal more powerfully.
  3. Use a higher gear set. On paved roads, higher gears bring more efficiency.
  4. For uphill cycling or acceleration, try standing up on the pedals to gain added pedaling power.
  5. Make sure you have a rear-view mirror fitted to watch oncoming traffic from behind since safety is high priority.
  6. Also, get mud-flaps and fenders fitted on your bike for adverse weather situation needs.
  7. Mingle into traffic to keep yourself more visible, because this can prevent accidents.

The tips given above will greatly help you to remain in the most favorable position to get the most out of your bike riding experiences.

Questions & Answers

1. Are mountain bicycle tires likely to wear off quicker on paved roads?

Yes, you will find that mountain bike tires get worn out faster on roads than the road tires. For this purpose you may opt for hard-pack tires but they perform well only on dry surfaces and not on muddy and wet tracks.

2. What are the factors that can make my bike more road-worthy?

When you plan to ride your bike considerably more than what is normal, then you need to fix your handlebars to a lower level to keep wind resistance minimized. You can make this adjustment in a matter of minutes. You may also have to raise your seat level for your required comfort and efficiency. Check out what’s the best height for you so that it is just right in order to avoid rocking your hips when biking.

3. How long are new tires likely to remain functional?

After manufacturing, any new tire can remain in best performance condition even up to 5 years. But when it sits on the shelf for longer than that, it starts to deteriorate gradually leading to dry rot, cracking up of the rubber and perhaps separation of the treads or even blowout.


Replacing mountain bicycle tires with road bike tires will give you improved maneuverability and stability on smoothly paved surfaces, but it is unlikely to be a very good coping mechanism with irregular, muddy or even sandy paths.

However, when you need to cycle on both kinds of surfaces, then switching mountain bike tires to road tires can be a suitable choice. Road tires give you the advantage of being less expensive and longer lasting.

Making this conversion by appropriately using the ideas, hints and tips given above with the right approach will help you set up your mountain bike for safe, comfortable and enjoyable rides. We hope this will reset your traveling experiences into a rejuvenated one! So get going confidently for more traveling experiences!

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