Can you ride a Mountain Bike on the Road?

can you ride a mtb on the road

Although I initially started with Mountain Biking, I also enjoy riding on my local Greenway and even the local roads near my house. Knowing that there are bikes specifically made for riding on road and pavement, I would often wonder “Can I ride my Mountain Bike on the road?

Mountain BIker pushing bike up hill on road

The answer is Yes.

And after a little research, I found that it was actually pretty common for people to ride their Mountain Bikes on the road.

Some riders, especially commuters, prefer the versatility and stability a Mountain Bike offers as opposed to Road Bikes. Studies have even shown that riding your Mountain Bike on pavement can be more beneficial than Road Biking in certain situations. But there are a few drawbacks to riding a Mountain Bike on the Road, so let’s explore this further.


Like I said, there are a few drawbacks to riding your Mountain Bike on the Road. None of these issues are huge deal breakers, but these areas are definitely where Road Bikes prevail.

  • They are slower

Obviously, Mountain Bikes are made for the challenges associated with a trail, so expect these bikes to withstand a beating. That ruggedness comes with a major drawback when it comes to riding on the road, as Mountain Bikes are a lot heavier than Road Bikes.

As well, Mountain Bikes are equipped for strength, as opposed to how Road Bikes are equipped for aerodynamics and weight reduction.

  • Requires more energy to ride

Following suit with the previous drawback, Mountain Bikes will require a lot more energy to accelerate and maintain speed compared to Road Bikes, so don’t expect to be able to keep up with tight groups.

  • Less traction

A surprising issue with riding a Mountain Bike on the road is the fact that the tires do not grant the same traction that a normal Road Bike tire would.

Mountain Bike tires often have rubber knobs intended to grip the trail, however, these knobs can prevent your tire from fully gripping the surface when riding on the road.

So make sure you exercise caution on the turns!


Now there are quite a few benefits to riding your Mountain Bike on the Road. In fact, these few reasons have made Mountain Bikes popular for commuters.

  • Stability

Although Mountain Bikes are a little heavy for your everyday commuter, they offer unparalleled stability compared to most bikes.

You will feel a lot more confident on a solid Mountain Bike Frame compared to some of the super light Road Bikes and Hybrids out there.

  • Comfortable

Road Bikes are perfect for keeping speed on the Roads, however, they often keep your body in really uncomfortable “aerodynamic” positions.

Mountain Bikes keep you more upright on the bike and in a less aggressive position when you are just looking for an easy ride.

  • Versatile

It no mention that a Mountain Bike trail can vary greatly, so Mountain Bikes are made to handle all types of terrain.

This versatility translates well to the Road, as most cities are filled with rough roads and obstacles that can seriously limit the use of Road Bikes.

You can even get creative when Mountain Biking on the Road, as your bike can make new paths down steps and drops.

  • Possibly more traction

Depending on where you ride, a Mountain Bike may be the best bike for keeping traction on the Roads you encounter.

Like I said, there are a lot more Roads filled with obstacles compared to smooth pavement. You may need to hope off the Road temporarily to let cars pass or even maintain a lane in the grass when traffic or roads prevent riding.


In conclusion, Mountain Bikes are definitely safe to ride on the road. Although Road Bikes win in some categories, Mountain Bikes can be a better choice in some certain situations.

If you have any additional input, or possibly a question regarding this post, please comment below.

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