Are Mountain Bikes Good For Road

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Great Components An Affordable Frame Made With Women In Mind

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Just because a rider is young, doesnt mean that he or she isnt serious about powering through rugged rock gardens. Sure, there are more affordable kids mountain bikes on the market but if your kiddo is becomingor already isa serious rider, youll want to invest in a more rugged ride that candle the beating its surely about to get. Basically, this is just a smaller version of Diamondbacks do-anything adult-size hardtail mountain bike. Aluminum is used to keep the bike somewhat affordable while still ensuring a durable and sturdy construction.

The Line 24 by Diamondback is a dynamic hardtail mountain bike with stiff and aggressive 24-inch wheels that offers superb handling on punchy uphills and rapid descents. The Suntour fork gives 80-millimeters of front suspension travel, so despite its smaller size, it will still perform like a normal-sized bike. While intended for kids ages 8-12 years old, smaller adult riders who are 53-62 would also do well on this frame.

Lastly Perhaps Consider A Different Type Bike

MTBs are okay to use on the road in the sense that theres no danger or any premature wear when you ride them on the tarmac. But if you dont have a bike yet and thinking of getting one, perhaps its not the best option for road cycling.

Here are some alternatives if you want to ride primarily on the road and dont want a road bike:

Mountain Bikes Not Good For The Road Reasons

First, lets know why you should not go for the road ride with your mountain bike. You have to get the right bike for you to enjoy and have great fun. But, the mountain bikes are way too much for the roads in some aspects.

These bikes are designed to withstand off-road challenges. They are designed for hill climbing and rough surfaces. Consider following things before taking a ride on the road.

  • Effect on Wear and Tear
  • Changes you will need to make

Read Also: Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

Who Should Ride A Road Bike

Road bikes are ideal for those who want to ride quickly and efficiently on paved roads. Road bikes are lightweight and offer low rolling resistance thanks to the narrow and hard tires. They are also aerodynamically efficient due to the aggressive ride position. This allows you to cover more ground more quickly while burning less energy. Road bikes are fast and efficient.

Those who live in a hilly area often prefer road bikes due to their superior climbing ability. The handlebars and frame geometry give you excellent leverage for producing power. The light weight makes climbing easier. Road bikes climb quickly and efficiently.

Many riders also prefer road bikes because they feature drop bars. These give you multiple hand positions. You can grip the bars on the brake hoods, on the tops of the bars, or in the drops. You can move your hands to avoid fatigue. Those who enjoy riding long distances often prefer road bikes for this reason.

A road bike is also an excellent choice for someone who lives in a large city. Many people simply dont have any mountain bike trails near their home. Paved roads are more accessible to many riders. You can walk out your front door and start riding.

Is It Harder To Ride A Mountain Bike On The Road

Eurobike X1 Mountain Bike

In general, it is harder to ride a mountain bike on the road due to the wider tires with deep profile rubber that are very efficient when riding off-road but will heavily impact your speed when riding on pavement.

Bike performance is heavily impacted by the profile and type of tires with which it is equipped. Mountain bikes come with tires designed to offer you the best grip on ruff terrain but this is a big disadvantage when riding on the road.

When riding on pavement you what as little as possible contact with the road, the more contact with the road you have the harder you need to pedal to maintain or increase your speed.

The pedaling efficiency is drastically affected by your bike suspensions, the more suspensions the more of your pedaling power will be absorbed. For this reason, road bikes come without suspensions, the goal here is to achieve the maximum speed when pedaling.

If you what to know more about riding a mountain bike in the cities we recommend you read our in-depth article on the topic.

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Drop Vs Flat Handlebars

The most noticeable trait that separates gravel bikes from mountain bikes is the handlebar. Gravel bikes use curved drop handlebars, like road bikes, while mountain bikes use flat handlebars. Sure, flat-bar gravel bikes and drop-bar mountain bikes exist, but they are rare.

Gravel bikes are normally ridden at higher speeds on smoother roads and over longer distances. Drop handlebars provide more hand positions, allowing the rider to adjust their hands to improve comfort and reduce fatigue on long days in the saddle. The drops also provide a lower, more aerodynamic position and leverage for sprinting. Drop bars give gravel bikes versatility for riding at high speeds, as they are meant to transition easily between paved and gravel roads. Plus, these bars are also usually narrower than flat bars, making them better for riding shoulder-to-shoulder with other riders during group rides and races.

Mountain bike flat bars are wider than drop bars and provide stability and leverage on rough and technical singletrack trails. Flat handlebars often give the rider a more upright position with their hands further apart. This can be more comfortable, but it makes you less aerodynamic for higher speeds on smooth, open roads. Flat bars are best for the slower speeds encountered on singletrack trails.

Wheel And Tire Sizes Considerations

Fat bike wheels come in two diameters: 26 and 27.5. The ideal size depends on a number of factors including, the terrain you plan to ride, your height, and tire width you plan to use.

Larger diameter wheels perform better on uneven terrain because they have better rollover characteristics. They dont get hung up in holes and bumps. Keep in mind that larger diameter wheels make the bike sit almost 1 taller, assuming all else is equal. This is worth considering if youre a shorter rider. 27.5 wheels are better for taller riders.

Most fat bike frames can fit a wider tire when you use smaller diameter wheels. This is because the fork arms and stays widen as they approach the hubs. If you want to use 5+ wide tires, you may have to go with 26 wheels.

When it comes to fat tire width, you have a range of sizes to choose from all the way from 3.7 to 5+. The ideal size depends on the weight you plan to carry. Wider tires can support a heavier load without sinking in because they distribute the weight of the rider, bike, and gear over a larger surface area.

If youre a heavy rider or you plan to go bikepacking fully loaded with gear, youll want a larger tire in the 4-5 range. Lighter riders can get away with lower-volume tires that measure less than 4 wide.

Mountain Bike Wheels and Tires

Mountain bikes come in 26, 27.5 , and 29 wheel diameters. Larger wheels offer better rollover characteristics and less rolling resistance. For more info, check out my wheel size guides:

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So Are Mountain Bikes Good For Road Riding

So, the bottom line, are mountain bikes good for road riding?

Well, just because theyre not specifically designed for it that doesnt mean they cant be ridden on the road.

If youre just using your mountain bike for a short commute, for a day out with the family, or as a way to get around town, theyll be fine.

However, if youre planning on covering longer distances, or you want to focus on speed or fitness, then a road bike will certainly be a better choice.

Whatever you choose stay safe and happy riding!

Is It Ok To Ride Mountain Bike On Road

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Mountain Bikes can be used safely on the road, but you should remember to stay vigilant about your surroundings. You should look both ways before crossing a road, and you should ride at a moderate pace. Also, make sure you wear a helmet and protective gear, such as knee and elbow pads. Its also a good idea to drink plenty of water and eat well.

The tires on a mountain bike are wider than those of most other bikes, which means that they can handle rough terrain better than the average bike. While this can be advantageous for your safety, it can also put a strain on the tires. They wear out much more quickly on concrete surfaces and sidewalks.

You should also wear a helmet while riding a mountain bike on the road. A proper helmet will protect you from injuries, even if you dont crash. If youre new to the sport, dont ride for long distances at first. Try to stick to 20 or 30 miles. A little bit of experience will go a long way, and youll know when youre ready for a larger distance.

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Gravel/ Adventure / All

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Overlapping with the touring category, gravel bikes also known as adventure bikes, all-road bikes or bikepacking bikes are becoming very popular and fashionable, and its easy to see why.

Gravel bikes combine road bike looks and speed with loads of frame clearance for fitting fat, knobbly tyres that can sometimes be 35mm-wide or more to get you across almost any terrain, including terrible tarmac, gloopy mud, bridleways, gravel paths and more.

Adventure bikes frames materials can be steel, aluminium, carbon and titanium, and at a range of prices from the affordable to the aspirational.

Many will include eyelets for fitting mudguards and pannier racks, disc brakes for better braking, and more relaxed geometry than a road bike to deliver better handling on a range of surfaces.

Theyre also a great bet for road riding in winter, just fit some puncture-resistant tyres and youre good to go.

Adventure bikes that take luggage are used for bikepacking, which is essentially touring, but with perceived better fashion sense and hashtags.

Interested in a gravel bike? Our list of the best gravel bikes will help you find the perfect one for your needs.

Pros: Fast, comfortable, practical

Cons: Sometimes on the heavier side, attractive to thieves

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 youre 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.

If youre interested in my opinion, Ive listed here my three top choices for the best mountain bikes for road use:

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How Is A Mountain Bike Different Than A Road Bike

Mountain bikes are designed to work both on-road and off-road. Most times, its what type of trails can it handle. For instance, cross country bikes are for mild trails, dirt roads, and paved roads in normal use. Trail bikes tend to be trails from mild to wild.

Mountain bike tires tend to be made for traction in less than ideal situations, but at a price of creating rolling resistance. For off-road use this is not an issue at all and actually highly desired.

Road bikes are designed on be on-road only, and usually very smooth roads at that. They are designed to be used on pavement and you can see this in the tires that it uses. Road bike tires are thin, smooth, and have low rolling resistance. Consequently, road bike tires lack the traction to be used on trails.

While there are many smooth roads, a vast majority of roads have potholes, rough sections, and broken pavement. So on the question Can you ride mountain bikes on the road?, it becomes obvious that a mountain bike is desirable to use on the road. Actually when you consider it, if you are riding alongside cars and you hit a pothole, would you rather bounce of it and possibly lose control in the road or have your bikes suspension absorb it? I know Id rather be riding a mountain bike and have it absorb it to have my muscles ache and also not put me into the line or danger as I can keep control with a mountain bike.

For more information, see my article on Mountain Bikes vs Road Bikes.

Road Bikes Are Harder To Maneuver

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Most road bikes come with drop bars. Some new riders find that drop bars make the bike a bit harder to control compared to flat bars that come with most mountain bikes.

The main reason is that drop bars are more narrow than flat bars. They cant give you quite as much leverage. This makes it more difficult to steer the front wheel precisely. A smaller movement of the handlebars creates a larger movement of the wheel. You also cant turn the front wheel quite as quickly because the narrow drop bars provide less leverage. This makes it a bit harder to balance while riding at low speeds.

While riding a road bike, you also put more bodyweight on the handlebars due to the aggressive frame geometry. This makes it a bit harder to steer quickly and accurately because youre putting more pressure on the handlebars while you ride. Road bikes are harder to maneuver for these reasons. They are designed for cornering at speed, not precision steering at low speeds.

I remember when I first started riding drop bars, I felt unstable. Particularly while riding at low speeds. I couldnt control the bike quite as accurately as I was used to. While riding at speed, the steering feels smoother.

The lack of suspension also makes road bikes harder to control while riding over a rough surface. You cant control the bike as well when its bouncing around violently under you.

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Dont Break The Bank On Your First Set Of Wheels


For beginner riders excited to try out off-roading without breaking the bank on a new bike, the Huffy Stone Mountain cant be beat. This entry-level mountain bike has a durable steel hardtail frame that can handle some serious abuse as you slowly gain confidence on the trails. A twist shifter on the right grip lets you toggle through 21 different speeds to make tackling hills a bit easier, while front and rear pull brakes ensure you can stop quickly and safely whenever needed.

A slight rise in the handlebars puts you in a more upright riding position to ease the strain on your back and shoulders, which can be especially important for new riders who are still learning proper positioning. A front suspension fork, 1.95-inch tires and a padded saddle lessen the impact of all those bumps and dips in the road or trail to deliver a smoother ride.

The quick-release seat post can be easily adjusted up or down on the fly to deliver the perfect fit for each rider. The Huffy Stone Mountain bike is available in both a mens and womens version and comes with all the required tools to assemble it, so theres no need to hire a professional bike mechanic. That said, if youre brand new to biking, it wouldnt hurt to swing by your local shop to have them look over your work .

Road Bikes Are Better For Climbing Hills

Road bike frame geometry and drop bars allow you to achieve a powerful climbing position. Particularly while standing.

The drop bars give you good leverage to lean the bike back and forth as you pedal. You want to lean the bike away from the foot that is delivering power on the downstroke. This helps you move your body weight from one foot to the other. When you do this, youre using your upper body to help you pedal.

Road bike frame geometry also makes climbing easier. The riding position allows you to lean your body forward slightly while pedaling. This can help you deliver more power while climbing.

The lighter weight of road bikes also makes climbing much easier because youre moving less mass up the hill. If you ride in a hilly or mountainous area, a road bike may be a good choice because it will allow you to climb much easier.

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Road Bikes Offer Less Traction

Narrow road tires make a smaller compact patch with the ground than wide mountain bike tires. This reduces traction because the tire cant create as much friction with the road. Road tires also need to be run at higher pressures than mountain bike tires to prevent pinch flats and rim strikes. This reduces traction by preventing the tire from deforming at the contact patch. Less tread touches the ground. Road bike tires also tend to have less tread than mountain bike tires. Most riders run slicks. These offer good traction on smooth roads but can lose traction if there is gravel, sand, or other debris on the road.

This lack of traction makes it difficult to ride a road bike on some surfaces. Youll have to be extra careful while riding your road bike on loose surfaces such as gravel or dirt roads or sandy patches. Slippery surfaces such as wet roads can also be challenging to ride. You wont be able to corner, brake, or accelerate as hard on these types of surfaces because your tires can slip more easily.

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