Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances? (Yes, and here’s why!)

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Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances
Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances? (Yes, and here’s why!) –

When it comes to riding excessive distances on your bike, many people often refer to it as touring. You can even find dedicated touring bikes for riding out these longer distances, which provide extra comfort in the design. However, you might be wondering if a mountain bike is good for long distances or if would it be uncomfortable.

Is a mountain bike good for long distances? A mountain bike tends to be a great bike for longer trails, but it might be uncomfortable for touring. The durability means you can take on every terrain and deal with rough roads. However, you will find that you require a bit more pedaling, which can strain energy consumption.

Ideally, you would want to consider a dedicated touring bike, but if you want to follow in my footsteps and do a 50km trail on your mountain bike, there are a few important things you should keep in mind.

I will reveal some of the tips that I picked up along the way whilst doing a 50km trail and show you how good a mountain bike can be.

If you are interested in exploring the differences between Cruiser Bikes and Mountain Bikes, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.

What Makes The Mountain Bike Good For Touring?

I had some suspicions when selecting a mountain bike for this trail, and they often proved to be correct. However, the bike’s versatility allows you to overcome almost every obstacle you might face.

The following benefits will be what you could expect when you choose to use your mountain bike for touring purposes:

1- Upright Geometry

One of the first benefits comes from where you sit on the bike. Compared to road bikes, the mountain bike features an upright geometry, which forces you to remain more upright in position.

This will provide a comfortable seating position, enabling you to reduce the strain on your legs and energy consumption.

2- Large Tires

Most of the top mountain bikes will give you 27.5-inch tires or 29-inch ones when you are riding your bike.

One of the great things about a mountain bike is that these large tires provide plenty of clearance for the bike. The clearance also means that you can overcome certain obstacles that other bikes, besides touring bikes cannot.

I should also mention that I only got two punctures whilst doing the trail. This proves that a mountain bike can provide stable and durable tires, which do not need as much maintenance as many of the other bikes.

Only dealing with two punctures is a blessing, and using my Bicycle Repair Bag & Bicycle Tire Pump, only took a few minutes to be back on the trail.

3- Flat Handlebars

Many other fancy bikes will have drop-bar handlebars or some unique shape to make them more competitive. Whilst you can find this on your traditional mountain bike, the most common bikes will have a standard flat bar. The great thing about these flat bars is that you can easily scale mountains, which improves climbing.

Having had the fortune of using the Ibis Rimpo V2 XT bike, which might not seem the best to many people, I also had the fortune of testing this bike.

Aside from having to pedal more when you compare it to the traditional mountain bike, it had all the features I could use to improve my overall performance on the trail.

4- Versatility

Whilst discussing the wheels, I already touched on versatility, but being versatile is one of the main reasons that a mountain bike works so well. Touring bikes are often designed for flatter surfaces; when you encounter steep sections, they can be difficult to climb. However, you will benefit from doing so at a lower cadence.

The mountain bike is a bike that comes alive in a wide variety of terrains. It is agile, which makes it slightly better than your traditional touring bike and significantly improves the bike’s overall performance.

The versatility would ensure that even when traditional road surfaces appear on your trail, you could still use them.

You might also enjoy reading: Gravel Bike Vs. Mountain Bike: Which One Is Better?

Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances
Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances? (Yes, and here’s why!) –

The Pains Of Riding A Mountain Bike On Touring Trails

Much like there are incredible benefits to choosing the mountain bike, some of the drawbacks might be frustrating, and you often want to avoid some of these pitfalls.

Whilst riding, there were a few issues that I encountered. If you plan on doing the same, you ought to be prepared to deal with some of these possible issues.

5- Saddle Pain

Unfortunately, the mountain bike saddle is not specifically designed for touring. Yes, you can change the saddle and make a few upgrades that would make it more functional, but for this experiment, I kept it at the standard option. Due to the smaller nature of the saddle, it is not comfortable for prolonged periods.

If you buy a brand new mountain bike, the first bit of advice would be to break in the saddle. Yes, you will feel some pain, and it will certainly be frustrating to ride your bike with this pain.

However, you will eventually break in the saddle, which means the bike will be far more functional and reduce your pain.

6- No Mudguards Present

You will probably encounter a section with some mud at one point or another, and this is something to keep in mind. The traditional mountain bike does not have mudguards, meaning you should either add some or be drenched in the mud.

I felt that it made the trail more challenging and I had some fun whilst playing with the bike in the muddy conditions.

7- Mountain Bikes Have A Suspension

Whether you choose the full suspension or the hardtail mountain bike, your suspension would be something that might be a drawback on certain terrains. The main reason we don’t see road bikes with suspension is the level of drag they require. Yes, they will pull you down, and you will have to pedal much harder.

However, the suspension proves to be very useful when you encounter some strenuous terrains, and this would make it much easier to overcome certain obstacles.

8- Increased Pedaling

One of the most frustrating things is that you will pedal more. Traveling on a mountain bike is much shorter than on a touring bike, which could be frustrating to deal with.

You might need to deal with the lack of travel, which would constitute more energy consumption and cadence on the bike.

If you are worried about mountain bike safety, I wrote a detailed article. Check it out.

How To Make A Mountain Bike Better For Touring?

Now that you have seen the various benefits and drawbacks, there are a few things you can do beforehand, which should make the trails flow more easily.

Having found out the hard way, here are a few things I would suggest you do before using your mountain bike for touring:

1- Adjust The Saddle Of Your Mountain Bike

You will have one of two options regarding the saddle of your mountain bike. You can either replace it with one dedicated to providing comfort for touring, or you can settle for a saddle and go through the break-in period.

The fact of the matter is that you need to find a way to make it more comfortable for yourself.

2- Consider Touring Tires

Mountain bikes have traditional knobby tires, which are not always required on touring trails.

Another adjustment you could make is changing these tires for dedicated touring tires to ensure that you have a smoother ride. It could reduce some of the weight as well.

3- Choose Hardtail

Mountain bikes are broken into two categories. You can choose the hardtail bike or the dual-suspension mountain bike. It is best to consider the hardtail bike with a single suspension in the front of the bike.

This would reduce the drag when you are on flat roads. Many of the best touring bikes on the market today do not have any suspension.

4- Consider Some Storage Set Up

When riding a longer trail, you will need something to eat and something to drink. Additionally, riders might split it over two or three days, which means you need some gear.

The problem with carrying a backpack for such prolonged distances is that it is uncomfortable and will often throw you off balance when riding.

You should consider some form of a storage setup, which makes it easier to put your gear on the bike and continue to pedal comfortably.

Numerous adjustments and accessories would work wonders when you set them up on the rear of the mountain bike. These would certainly improve your performance.

Final Thoughts

Using a mountain bike for touring is not the best option when you don’t have experience. Aside from needing adequate levels of fitness to ensure you can make the trail, it could be much harder for some to do.

Let us know in the comment section what your experience has shown when it comes to using a mountain bike for touring.

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Hello fellow bikers, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind I am a biker and very passionate about reading, sports, and all things outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting

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