Can You Ride A Mountain Bike On Pavement?

The mountain bike happens to be one of the most popular bicycles around the world. Basically, these bicycles are designed for hilly and rugged trails. However, can you ride a mountain bike on pavement?

You can ride your mountain bike on pavements only that it will feel heavier and slower. Actually, the bike will be harder to pedal on the road than you are used to on the trails. On the other hand, riding on the road with the knobby tire will wear them out fast.

All the same, with a few modifications to your mountain bike, you can make it more road-friendly and maximize your road riding experience.

can you ride a mountain bike on pavement?

Can You Ride A Mountain Bike On Pavement – How To Outfit Mountain Bike For Road

We mentioned above in the intro, a traditional mountain bike would feel cumbersome on the road. However, with a few modifications, you can make your bike suitable for the road.

So what are the changes that would make the bike suitable for the pavement?

1. Change To Slick Road Tires

The first part to modify is the tires. The knobby mountain bike tires are ideal for riding over obstacles such as roots and rocks.

Unfortunately, the low-pressure tires are disadvantageous on the road. They have high rolling resistance. Also, the cushy tires absorb some of the force that would otherwise propel the bike forward.

To solve this problem, you need some sleek tires that will operate at high pressure and have low rolling resistance.

If you can afford it, the best option is to get a set of road wheels so that it becomes easier to switch from knobs to slicks.

However, if you can afford to purchase a set of wheels, you can go for 1.25” or 1.5” slick road tires that can fit on your MTB rims.

An excellent example that you can go for is the Serfas Drifter Tire with FPS, which uses multiple rubber compounds for durability. It also has inverted tread patterns to reduce rolling resistance.

2. Lock-Out The Suspension

The other feature on the mountain bikes that makes riding on the pavement inefficient is the shocks.

As you pedal, the shocks absorb some of the energy, making the whole riding experience difficult.

The shock absorbers are ideal when riding on the trails, but they become a liability on the road.

Therefore, to ride a mountain bike on pavement without losing so much energy, you better lock out the shocks or set them as stiff as possible.

3. Adjust The Seat And The Handlebars

Notably, a rider assumes an upright riding position on a mountain bike instead of the crouched position associated with a road bike.

As a result, the road bike rider experiences less air resistance. On the other hand, the mountain biker at an upright position has better control of the bike, which is essential on the trails.

However, the upright position becomes a disadvantage on the road as you will experience more air resistance when riding a mountain bike.

To ride your bike on the pavement with less resistance, you should lower your handlebars to allow you to assume a more streamlined riding position.

Remember to make any necessary adjustments on the seat position and alignment for comfort. Also, you can read more about this in an earlier post; “How fast can you ride a mountain bike on the road?”

can you ride a mountain bike on pavement? A cyclist riding a bicycle on the road

Is A Mountain Bike Good For Street Riding?

The main question today is whether a mountain bike is good for street riding. Some features make the mountain bike suitable for street riding, while others are counter-productive.

For example, the shocks and the low-pressure tires give the bike a cushy ride, allowing you to ride comfortably on various surfaces.

In addition, the upright riding position gives better control of the bike and allows you to ride far without much fatigue.

Unfortunately, these features also have some adverse effects.

First, the wide low-pressure tires plus the shocks make pedaling a mountain bike on the street hard. Also, the MTBs are heavy, which makes uphill riding quite demanding.

At the same time, the wheels have higher rolling resistance, while the upright riding position results in more air resistance.

Consequently, the mountain bike will be slower on the street than other bikes such as the hybrid and the road bikes.

Therefore, though riding a mountain bike on the streets isn’t wrong, it isn’t the best choice.

Is Riding A Mountain Bike On The Road Bad?

Riding your mountain bike on the street isn’t bad since it doesn’t pose any danger to you or other road users.

In addition, riding an MTB on pavement doesn’t cause any damage to the bike.

Therefore, you can ride your mountain bike on the road with much to worry about. Actually, if you are out on a casual ride, the comfy feel on a mountain bike over potholes and bumps makes the ride smooth and comfortable.

On the other hand, it is good to note that riding a mountain bike with knobby tires on the road will cause increased wear and tear. In that case, riding a mountain bike on the pavement is bad for the wheels.

Therefore, you can get a set of slick wheels such as the Superteam 50mm Clincher Wheelset (Link to Amazon) to install on your bike when you have to ride on the road.

How Long Do Mountain Bike Tires Last On Pavement

How Long Do Mountain Bike Tires Last On Pavement?

We had earlier mentioned that MTB tires experience increased wear and tear on the road. So, how long can mountain bike tires last on the pavement?

Generally, there is no sure way to determine how long your mountain bike tires will last on the pavement. All the same, it is possible to estimate.

You can get between 1500 to 2000 miles from a good set of mountain bike tires on average.

All the same, this depends on the quality of rubber used to make the tires. Surprisingly, some cheaper and harder MTB tires tend to hold on better on-road than the ones with soft knobs.

Notably, some riders have reported using the same set of MTB tires for 6-10 years.

All the same, if you are an aggressive rider who rides long-distance for an average of five days a week, you are most like to get less than

Can You Ride Long Distances On A Mountain Bike?

Biking is a constructive way to distract yourself from your regular daily routine. In addition, if you are the kind that likes touring, can you use a mountain bike for long-distance riding?

Yes, mountain bikes are excellent for road touring. First, they are strong and perfect for riding on rough roads.

In addition, you are less likely to get a flat when riding a mountain bike.

All the same, there are some conditions that you need to observe. First, go hardtail. That means that you should avoid back suspension or else, you will have a frustrating ride. If possible, lock out the front shocks too or set them to rigid.

Also, when riding for long-distance, you need to get butterfly handlebars such as the SUNLITE Northroad Touring Handlebar, since they are more comfortable and will allow you to change positions.

With a few modifications, you can ride a mountain bike for long distances on pavement surfaces.

SUNLITE Northroad Touring Handlebar

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

As you prepare for a road riding adventure with your buddies who own road bikes, you could be worried whether your mountain bike could keep up.

Well, road bikes are made for speed while the MTBs are made for the trails. In that case, a traditional mountain bike can’t keep up with the road bikes in a race.

All the same, is it possible to make your mountain bike as fast as a road bike on the pavement?

Yes, with a few tweaks on the bike, it can ride almost as fast as a road bike. You will need to change the tires, lock the suspension, and change the handlebars. Also, it would help if you switched to clipless pedals.

Final Take

At times, the lack of the right bike could discourage you from taking part in riding activities. Maybe you had been wondering whether you can ride a mountain bike on pavement.

Well, it is now clear that you can ride your MTB on the road without much to worry you.

All the same, you need to make a few changes to your bike to make it efficient on the road.

Therefore, don’t punish yourself since you don’t have a road bike; you can convert your MTB into a semi-road bicycle and enjoy the adventure.