Can You Ride a Mountain Bike on a Road? – Detailed Guide

Your love for mountain biking compelled you to buy a mountain bike. You have explored all sorts of terrains with it and enjoyed every bit of your journey. Now what? You want to use it for the roads too OR you no longer go mountain riding with your bike and have two options; whether to sell it or reuse your MTB bike for the road bike riding. 

So in both cases, the question that pops into your mind is: can you ride a mountain bike on a road? Is it safe to do so? I am here to answer that. If you are interested, give this article a read. 

Can You Ride a Mountain Bike on a Road? 

Can You Ride a Mountain Bike on a Road

Yes, you can. But, this is not the complete answer to your question. You can decide for yourself by looking at the pros and cons of riding a mountain bike on the road. So without any delay, let’s have a look at the pros and cons. 

Merits and Demerits of Riding Mountain Bikes on Road

Although all mountain bikes serve different purposes such as a downhill bike is only for riding down the hill, trail and XC bikes are for unpaved and rough tracks, and so on. However, their major common purpose remains the same: off-road biking, which is not possible with any road bike. 

Benefits of Mountain Bikes

Down below are some of the benefits of a mountain bike for road:

  • Mountain bikes do not damage easily as their frame is sturdy enough to overcome obstacles.
  • The suspension on mountain bikes absorbs the impact produced by curbs and potholes, making you feel less bumpy during the ride. 

Drawbacks of Mountain Bikes 

Here is how the geometry of mountain bikes hinders speeding on flat roads and measures that need to be taken to make them road friendly:

Drawbacks of Mountain Bike

1. Height of Seat and Handlebar 

For mountain biking, the height of both the handlebar and seat is such that it allows quick turning over and helps keep your body position optimized. Now, this height allows better handling but does not bring comfort to the rider particularly roaming around in the city. 

Besides, the handlebars are wider than the road bikes which are not recommended for city traffic. 


Even though you cannot do much about the broader handlebars, you can adjust the height of both the seat and handlebar to your comfort level and enjoy biking in your locality. 

2. Tires Shape 

The tires of every mountain bike are wide, tough, and heavily threaded. This is for the sake of traction on difficult terrains and to prevent bike slipping. Yet, it affects speed which is necessary when traveling on paved roads. Whereas a road bike has narrow and smooth tires that assist in speeding up. Also, the tires of a mountain bike will soon wear off during on-road riding.


Replace the knobby tires of your mountain bike with thin and smooth road tires to attain maximum speed and longer durability. Also, make sure to have appropriate mountain bike tire pressure.

Here is a tip: You can always keep a spare set of road tires and change them whenever going for paved riding.

If you’re new to cycling then you ay also be interested to know how long does it take to bike 5 miles

3. Suspension 

It is rare to find a mountain bike without suspension. While road bikes have zero suspension travel, all mountain bikes have at least a front suspension and some of them even have a rear suspension too. Suspension acts as a shock absorber and thus prevents the biker from feeling the reaction of rough terrains. 

However, it does add extra weight to the mountain bike and thus affects pedaling. As a result, it slows down the mountain bike. 


Shorten your suspension travel keeping the frame of your bike into consideration. Also, lock out the rear suspension if any as that is mainly for absorbing impact during climbing. Whereas on paved roads, the probability of climbing is little to none.

You can also read about post mount vs flat mount disc brakes comparison.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What biking options do you have for On-road bike riding?

Although you can use every kind of mountain bike as a road bike, I would suggest you get a cross-country (XC) bike as it is best suited to both on-road and off-road biking. plus, prefer the bike with front suspension and without the rear suspension. The front suspension will help you overcome jumps and obstacles. On top of that, you’ll still have to compromise on the speed a little. 

Are road bikes hard to ride as compared to mountain bikes?

No, road bikes are comparatively easy to ride as they lack suspension. Due to the absence of suspension, pedaling become a child’s play. However, they are not suitable for off-road riding due to their thin tires which will cause the rider to lose traction on the track. On the contrary, mountain bikes need an effort to pedal. 

Can you put road tires on a mountain bike?

You can. However, it depends on the purpose you are going to be using your bike for once you replace the tires of your mountain bike with road tires. If you want your bike for on-road riding, then this would be the best decision as mountain bikes soon tear apart on the pavement. But, if you want it for uneven terrains, then road tires can never be your friend. 

Are mountain bikes fast? 

Probably not. A mountain bike is not for speeding but for exploring uneven landscapes and having better traction on them. Their slowness is due to the following reasons:

  • Due to their increased weight, pedaling requires more force which in turn affects speed. 
  • The wide tires have low pressure for better hold on unpaved paths, making them slow. 
  • You won’t find a mountain bike without a suspension. But, suspension decreases the speed of the bike by absorbing the impact generated by pedaling. 

Concluding Answer to Riding Mountain Biking on Road

I hope I was able to answer your question (can you ride a mountain bike on a road?) properly, leaving the rest to you. Here is one thing you should keep in mind, a mountain bike for the city is possible but you cannot think of a road bike up in the mountains. So, instead of selling your bike and purchasing a new road bike, reuse it as a road bike while still having the option of going mountain riding again!

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