The simple answer is yes you can use your mountain bike on-road. Mountain biking is a popular, fun activity that is versatile and stable. People of all ages can get on board with this high-performance and high-energy to have a decent ride to maintain their fitness level. Mountain bike trail ride is great for cardiovascular benefits.

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But there is a myth about not riding a mountain bike singletrack. For people who don’t have a road bike but a mountain bike, it’s obvious they use it on- road if needed. And they should because it has some benefits also. Don’t be overwhelmed by hearing it has advantages; some drawbacks are also there.

What are the benefits and the drawbacks of riding an MTB bike on-road? And the myth about avoiding MTB bikes on-road? 

This article will explore all the related information and different things you need to know about riding a mountain bike on-road.

Can You Use Mountain Bike On The Road

Yes, you can if you want, and it’s a good idea to save some money. If you get a mtb bike suitable for road riding you won’t have to invest money twice on a bike. Mountain bike frames are made to sustain all types of situations, whether you ride it on-road or off-road, it won’t disappoint you. And its suspension lockout is also strong enough to control by the rider on any traction. There is nothing to worry about being unsafe if you are a skilled mountain bike rider. You obviously know about how to do mtb riding on-road bike trails. It’s just that the MTB bike will run a little bit slower and louder; that’s it.

But it’s better not to if you want it for racing or regular use. It’s not possible to cover a long way on-road with a mountain bike. Because it isn’t an optimal bike or right bike to ride over the smooth pavement or singletrack cycling routes. Mountain bike is specially designed to ride over rigidity trails, gravel tracks, etc. Most MTB bike has rear suspension to smooth the bumps of the uneven road and additional weight to reduce the speed. And if it’s a dual suspension MTB bike, then it’s gonna be hard to move it on a flat road. But if you don’t have an option (don’t even only bike or hard tail), you have a trick to use for a better MTB bike road riding experience. Buy smooth and slick tires that are best for road use from any road bike accessories shop, drop the mtb bike wheels, increase their tire width, and replace them. Road tires will help you to go faster by reducing friction.

A Myth You shouldn’t Ride an MTB Bike on-Road

Our movement indicates our brain how to respond by using our nervous system. When we make a movement, our nervous system creates a program called “software” to make it more instinctual. Whenever we do a movement and repeat, our brain commands the nervous system to learn that movement pattern and refine it.

Why am I telling this to you? Because it has a connection with not riding an MTB bike on-road. How? Allow me to explain. 

When we ride a road bike, we ride it in different positions, feel lighter and ride faster. Our nervous system note down this riding style and creates a “software” program. The same goes when you ride a mtb bike, our nervous system will recognize our behaviour how we ride an Mtb bike and note down another different “software” program. 

While MTB biking and road biking seems similar, but not similar and our brain and nervous system understand this very well and take these two tasks as different ones. They ( brain and nervous) all our movement. So, based on this myth, some MTB bike coaches think this will lead to inept movement in the long run, as our brain can’t figure out the movement patterns when to respond how. This is how the coaches recognize the influence of the nervous system, and they felt this would badly affect an MTB biker riding performance

Which MTB Bike is Best For Ride On-Road? 

A Hybrid or hardtail bike is the best choice. If you wish to buy one bike and to use it for both Mountain biking and road biking, then go with a hybrid or hardtail mountain bike. These will allow you to ride over rugged terrains, and uneven flat roads without experiencing much resistance. Then you can go swiftly like a road bike. 

A hybrid bike or hardtail bike has less thick tires than an MTB bike but more than a road bike. But this mountain bike riding won’t allow you to go over too much difficult terrains but will run faster than an MTB bike on-road. You can do hiking trail riding and dirt tracks with them. They will have a little more inches of suspension travel than a road bike has, but don’t expect to get a supportive rear suspension lockout as you can get from an MTB bike. So going downhill on rocky trails or over the ditches will be more difficult. However, a hybrid or hardtail, whatever you choose, the bike is worth it; it’s something you should consider when you think of riding it both on-road and off-road; it’s a great compromise a commuter will love to do.

Mountain Bike And Road Bike Differences

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The terms “road” bicycle and mountain bike are probably the most common for this type of pair of road rides. Even though these bikes look similar, they have different weights, rolling resistance, tires, geometry, control, position, comfortability, speed, and overall performance. Both will suit your lifestyle perfectly, but road bicycles take you on the pavement at higher speeds while mountain bikes let you have fun in the wilderness. The purpose is totally different from one another, allowing it to perform well under all conditions and uses.

  • Road bikers have more stopping ability than mountain bikers because road riders can operate their brakes laterally, which is very helpful for emergency braking exercises. The mountain bikes have a much smaller linkage system to allow you excellent speed control at slow speeds.
  • The mountain bike speeds are usually lower than road speed because climbing angles are irregular with a backpack, and they touch exactly what lies ahead following a trail that requires caution at all times.
  • A road bike riding position gives you maximal power and aerodynamics for a better riding experience. At the same time, an MTB bike provides you with great power to control and agility.
  • Road bikes offer you two geometries – ‘cadence’ or ‘drive.’ The former consists of smaller wheel areas for fast acceleration. In contrast, the latter uses its bigger wheel elements with the same square tubing.  While mountain biking gears are considerably smaller in dimension, their uses do not differ vastly. The difference is that mountain bikes have to concentrate only on the terrain rather than the convenience of being used over all terrains.
  • Mountain bikes are extremely cost-effective in mountain locations. In contrast, road bikes flex under the protection of asphalt roads, where they keep up solid and unpredictable maneuvers on rough terrain spaces. 
  • A slight difference in the tire’s width on your road bike will make a huge difference;  the lightweight rubber bends will allow you to gain speed and run more miles than a mountain bike.

Advantages of Riding an MTB Bike On-Road

While mountain biking is primarily a sport in the mountains, the advantages of riding an MTB bike are not limited to mountain biking. That’s why commuters believe mtb bikes are the best bikes and love to ride them on road too. Here are some reasons why you should consider taking your mountain bike out for a spin on the road. 

Safety:
MTB bikes absorb the road’s bumps, so you won’t feel shaky or lose balance while riding it on-road. It will provide excellent traction and the sidewalls will ensure there won’t be any slides or punctures

Capabilities:
MTB bike has a suspension system; you can ride it whenever you want. It will take you the power to full control. You can also do jumping on-road to deal with curbs if you have enough skill.  It efficiently absorbs all forces from every braking and impacts various roads conditions with ease.

Stability:
MTB bikes are a little heavier than road bikes but offer peerless stability, making their riders fall in love. It will give you enough confidence with its solid bike frame that is more valuable than a lightweight road bike or a hybrid bike.

Comfortability:
Road bikes are perfect for speed riding on-road but make you feel uncomfortable with their aerodynamic positions. In contrast, an MTB bike keeps its rider upright in a comfortable position (high-quality saddle) for an easy ride.

Versatility:
Most of us know that an MTB bike is a versatile bike that allows us to trails vary greatly on any type of terrain. We can ride an MTB bike over a pavement road, a rough city road, or a flat highway road. If we go a little deeper, we don’t even need a road to ride an MTB bike; we can get more creative and ride it by making new paths down drops, and steps. 

Disadvantages of Using MTB Bike On-Road

Although there are a lot of advantages that come with owning an MTB bike on the road, MTB bikes are definitely not the best option when it comes to riding on road. There are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of. For example, a standard road bike has a significant weight penalty for most riders. 

Low efficiency:
MTB bikes do not give efficient power transfer like road bikes, which losses more energy on the handlebars than carrying by your shields, resulting in less speed. It can be dangerous when you are alone riding down on busy roads, requiring you to ride at 60 km/h, too fast. With this low speed, you will likely encounter the risk of training, fearing the other side would SIO (Swiftly Intermittent Oncoming), leading to off-track riding, damage to your tires, and a high risk of crashing.

Hard to Handle:
To keep up with MTB, we will need to put more effort into pedaling, which means more effort on the brake, and without energy feed from your 8-speed cassette, you can run less km/h safely. If, by any chance, an unfriendly road slope, you have to face the risk of off-track riding by trying your best on changing gears, making it harder and more reluctant to do so if up against a gradient which makes it impossible.

Knobby tires:
When MTB’s tires inflate, they form knobs on the road that cause discomfort while riding. As the air molecules bounce around inside these ridges on hard surfaces like asphalt, you will likely deal with flats (pothole) every time your bike gets punctured. 

Not good for bumpy road trail:
MTB tires have a low volume. It does not prevent wheels from being displaced aerodynamically when going over bumps, rocks, and gaps in the trail where road bike tires are designed for ultimate cornering performance. 

Hard to control brakes matter:
You cannot apply your hand brake on most mountain bikes because they’re too close to the pedals, making it hard to press your brakes at slow speeds. Unless you can break really gently with your hand, perhaps using one finger on each of them is enough for gas consumption reduction.

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to this question, you can definitely use your mountain bike on-road, but it’s not the best choice for all time. It’s important to remember that you’ll need a road-specific bike if you’re going to do so. A hybrid might work well for commuting on the road. Remember, use it only when you need it; mtb bike on road is safe but also dangerous as it moves slowly and takes hard effort. And if you aren’t an experienced mtb rider, forget about taking it on-road; you won’t be able to handle it. So, are you ready to start riding?  Let me know below comments.

FAQs

Is It Harder To Ride a Mountain Bike On Road?

Obviously yes. Cycling with an Mtb bike on the road is more challenging than riding a road bike because mountain bike tires are thicker, heavy, and produce friction, making it challenging to go ahead on flat pavement.

Is It Bad To Ride a Mountain Bike On Road?

Absolutely not; riding a mountain bike on the road is safe. It won’t cause you any damage or harm; just the tires will be worn and torn faster.

Can I Use a Mountain Bike On The Street?

Yes, you can use a mountain bike on the street. But you can’t ride it faster like a road bike; it will take lots of effort to pedal as it has wider knobby tires.

Are Mountain Bikes Good For City Riding?

Yes, mountain bikes are good for urban riding. But it should be a hardtail mountain bike; they are faster and efficient, making them capable of urban riding.

Can a Mountain Bike Be As Fast As a Road Bike?

No, a mountain bike can’t be as fast as a road bike. A road bike is 10-30% faster than an mtb bike. An mtb bike has thinner tires that are specially designed to ride over difficult terrains. So it becomes a little slower, not a little bit but on average 15% slower than a road bike on smooth pavement. 

Are Mountain Bikes Good For Sidewalks?

Mountain bikes don’t affect the pedestrians till they are ridden over the pavement. But as it becomes harder to ride over singletracks, some riders choose to ride it over sidewalks that becomes a hurdle for pedestrians.

Do Mountain Bike Tires Wear Faster On-Road?

Yes, mountain bike tires wear faster on the road. As mtb tires are solid, it takes hard effort to move forward, making the tires wear down soon.

How Can I Make My Mountain Bike Better On-Road?

To make your mountain bike better on the road, you can replace its tires with a pair of road bike tires. Road bike tires will help the mtb bike ride faster and smoothly on the road.

Why Are Road Bikes Faster Than MTB?

Because road bikes are designed for faster speed, their riding posture, frame geometry, rolling resistance make them efficient, lightweight, and easy to handle on-road. A road bike is 15% faster than an mtb bike on average. 

What’s The Difference Between a Mountain Bike And a Road Bike?

An mtb bike is designed heavyweight with wider knobby tires to ride over difficult terrains, and a road bike is lightweight with a higher speed to ride on flat pavement.