Mountain bikes are the most common bikes available on the market today, and this makes them some of the more affordable as well. A good mountain bike would offer you versatility, and you won’t need to break the bank to buy one. However, you might wonder if it is harder to ride a mountain bike on the road.
Is it harder to ride a mountain bike on the road? A mountain bike is harder to ride and slower on the road. You can easily take your mountain bike out on the road. However, it might not offer the same performance and functionality as your road bike. The suspension and additional weight will make it slower. You will also find that you need to put in far more effort when pedaling.
As a child, the first bike I ever got after breaking free from the training wheels was a mountain bike. Whilst mountain biking wasn’t a passion yet; this bike allowed me to ride wherever.
It is only as we grow older that we understand the differences, and this is where we can see that it is not as comfortable to ride a mountain bike on the road.
If you are considering your Mountain Bike For Commuting, I wrote a whole article discussing the 10 Pros And Cons of using a mountain bike for daily use.
Why Is It Harder To Ride a Mountain Bike On The Road?
When designing an article, you often start with the benefits and why riding a mountain bike on the road is possible.
However, there are a few significant drawbacks to this, and you should understand them. Yes, riding your mountain bike on the road is much harder, but why? Let’s Find Out!
One of the main issues is the tires. Mountain bike tires are designed to be wider and have a knobby surface. Due to the additional width and size, they are also heavier. This means that it would take more effort to roll these tires forward. You will need to put in a bit more effort to make them roll at the same pace as smooth road tires.
2- Overall Weight
Mountain bikes tend to be more resilient, which means that they are far more durable than their road bike counterparts. Due to the additional weight of these bikes, they are harder to move.
Mountain bikes need to deal with more bumps and climbing terrains, not to mention the dangers of going downhill. Most mountain bikes are heavier than road bikes to accommodate the extra durability needed.
Another benefit or drawback, if you could call it this, is the suspension system of the mountain bike. If you are dealing with bumpy terrains and difficult climbs, the suspension would alleviate some of the pain you ought to feel. The suspension is a drawback when considering the open road, and you would find that it causes drag.
Mountain bikes are commonly found with one of two suspension options. The hardtail option is best for climbing due to the lack of a rear suspension.
Alternatively, the dual suspension bike will have a rear suspension, which is bound to hold you back, and this would make the bike more uncomfortable to ride.
If you want to ride competitively on the road, the mountain bike’s aerodynamics are nowhere to be found. These aerodynamic deficiencies are what separates the mountain bike from the road bike.
The road bike is not designed to go as fast as the road bike, which means that aerodynamics would not be needed to increase the speed.
You might also enjoy reading: Gravel Bike Vs. Mountain Bike: Which One Is Better?
Are There Some Benefits To Taking The Mountain Bike On The Road?
Now that you have seen some of the drawbacks, we should look at what the mountain bike offers when it comes to making it suitable for the road.
The following benefits would make it possible to take your bike out on the road. However, these do not reduce the downsides that we have seen in the previous section unless you make modifications:
1- Road Variations
Unfortunately, there are no perfect roads, and since there are no perfect roads, it becomes increasingly difficult to have the perfect ride on your road bike. A mountain bike is set up to deal with these imperfections, and the suspension will reduce some of the strain you might encounter from the bumps.
Additionally, you might need to deal with the pavement as well. The pavement is an uneven surface and often contains many imperfections on the side of the road. Your mountain bike should be efficient at dealing with these issues.
2- A Mountain Bike Will Get You Through Traffic
One of the main benefits of riding a bike is that you don’t need to sit in your car and follow the traffic. Even if the mountain bike is not the best bike for driving on the tarmac, it would get the job done.
Yes, the knobby tires could wear out more rapidly, but you will still be much faster through the traffic and also improve fitness.
As noted at the start of this article, the mountain bike is far cheaper than similar road bikes, making it a great investment.
If you don’t plan on competitive cycling competitions, you don’t need the road bike, or you will only be limited to tarmac surfaces. Not all roads in the world are as perfect as the Netherlands for cycling.
Typically, a mountain bike is affordable and offers you plenty of versatility. This means that you can comfortably drive the bike without any worries, and won’t break your back.
Due to the versatile nature of the mountain bike, you can make modifications to have it fit all your specific cycling needs.
See also: Cruiser Bike And Mountain Bike: Differences And Similarities, Which One Is Better?
Top 3 Tips For Riding Your Mountain Bike On The Road
If you have settled for riding your mountain bike on the road, there are a few things to keep in mind. These benefits would make it possible to reduce some of the drawbacks and improve your cycling capabilities on the road.
If you want to ride your mountain bike on the road, you should be sure to keep the following in mind:
1- Changing Your Tires
The great thing about your mountain bike is that you will still have some versatility when it comes to your tires.
While traditional mountain bike tires are the way many of these bikes are sold, you can change your tires to comfortable road racing tires. However, touring bike tires would often work best for mountain bikes.
2- Choose Hardtail
As previously mentioned, road bikes don’t have any suspension. However, most mountain bikes have a sophisticated suspension system, which often causes a lot of drag on flat surfaces. It is best to choose the hardtail bike for riding on the road.
Since the only suspension is in the front of the bike, you can use it to get over a few imperfections in the road.
Another option worth considering is the mountain bike suspension lockout. This gives you the versatility to activate the suspension or lock the suspension.
If you are riding your mountain bike on the road, you want to lock the suspension to ensure that it does not frustrate you and to keep it as stiff as possible.
3- Choose Carbon Fiber
Mountain bikes are made from various materials, but the most expensive options feature a carbon fiber frame and fork.
Yes, this might make the bike very expensive, but it also significantly reduces its weight. You should consider choosing a carbon fiber frame if you are looking to keep the weight down and generate more speed.
See also: Is a Mountain Bike Good For Long Distances? (Yes, and here’s why!)
Should I Choose A Mountain Bike For The Road?
Ideally, you want to stick to a road bike when riding your bike on the road. However, you might occasionally find that it is not that easy and many of these bikes are very expensive. A mountain bike offers the perfect balance between functionality and performance while allowing you to deal better with imperfect surfaces.
- A mountain bike would be your best option if you are not doing any professional races. However, the cyclocross bike might work even better and give you the perfect blend of features from the road and mountain bike. You might not be able to do those impressive jumps, but you will have some performance.
Additionally, the mountain bike is one of the best options for learning, and many people would recommend them for this purpose.
- If you buy your first bike, a mountain bike enables you to understand the different terrains better, and you can try your luck at each. This allows you to find your passion when deciding the bike discipline you should choose.
How Much Harder Is It To Ride a Mountain Bike On The Road?
A road bicycle is typically about 10 to 30% faster than a mountain bike. In addition, on average, a road bicycle is 15% faster on smooth and paved surfaces. Road bikes are mainly faster than mountain bikes because of their geometry and weight.
So, how much slower is a mountain bike on the road? A mountain bike averages between 31 and 37 mph, whereas a road bike averages between 43 and 49mph. And generally, road bikes are designed for speed, with gears set up to ride faster.
See also: Is Mountain Biking Dangerous? (With tips on how to avoid injuries!)
Your mountain bike is one of the best buys you could make, and it would serve you over various terrains for many years. It might be a bit harder to traverse certain tarmac terrains, but this should not hinder you from having fun.
I would love to see if you have found any benefits to riding your mountain bike on the road in the comment section.