A common misconception is that mountain bikes can only be used for adventurous weekends on bike trails and road bikes for commuting. However, it is fairly easy and common practice to use one bike that serves both purposes.
Mountain bikes are fully capable of riding on gravel as well as paved roads. It only requires some modification and a good bike. Here is how to get started on the process.
The most noticeable differences between the two bikes are their tires and weight.
The lightweight road bikes are built for speed, whereas the sturdier mountain bikes are able to withstand rough roads. Road bikes have an aerodynamic frame that allows for low resistance as well as a lower handlebar position. Their thin and smooth tires are more suited to speed compared to the knobby, wide tires of mountain bikes, which can travel over uneven terrain like rocks and woods.
The short answer is yes.
Most people buy trail mountain bikes in order to travel bike trails. However, not everyone can afford multiple bikes and would like to use the same bike for multiple purposes.
However, there are certain things to keep in mind.
Mountain bikes are designed for bike trails and won’t ride nearly as smoothly or fast as road bikes especially when you are pedaling uphill. Furthermore, the knobby tires of mountain bikes are prone to wear and tear from heavy road riding.
Nevertheless, it is possible to upgrade your mountain bike to make it more suitable as a commuting bike.
Mountain bikes allow you to save money on gasoline in addition to providing an excellent workout for your morning commute. The heavier bike allows for cardio strength training, which will help you in the woods.
Here are more reasons that should prompt you to get a mountain bike.
Mountain bikes are equipped to navigate through uneven terrain that includes rocks and woods. Hence they can easily travel through irregularities of roads littered with potholes and other hazards.
They also have complete suspension that also contributes to the superior riding experience.
While riding, an erect posture is more comfortable for long rides as opposed to hunched posture that is done to increase speed. Mountain bikes have flat handlebars to help maintain an erect posture.
Mountain bikes require less upkeep than their road counterparts because they have fewer gears. Fewer gears mean that they are easier to find and easier to maintain.
As opposed to other bikes, mountain bikes are designed for riding zigzag across bike trails; hence they can easily pass through traffic jams among jam-packed vehicles.
With the full suspension coupled with the sturdy design of mountain bikes, they are better equipped than road bikes to ride over an obstacle course of potholes, bumps, and other road irregularities. With a mountain bike, these obstacles will be a ‘ride’ in the park.
An economical and smarter choice for the frugal population is to stick to one bike that serves the purpose of riding across bike trails as well as pavements. This also saves money and time on maintenance.
Does your bike route involve roads, fields, parks, or various trails? Then the versatile mountain bikes are the perfect ride.
Finally, mountain bikes have better acceleration compared to road bikes, so you can be on the go as soon as the light goes green. Furthermore, they have better brakes, so you stop quickly and avoid hitting a sudden pedestrian.
The heavier mountain bikes are slower on the road. However, there are some minor changes that can be made to make your road rides more comfortable and safe.
Even though the suspension is important for going over rocks and dirt, it makes the bikes slower over roads. Make the suspension stiffer by locking it or adding air pressure.
Switch the knobby tires for 1.5-inch slick road tires so that you ride faster and pedal-less. It also makes it easier to make turns around corners.
Since you will be changing tires, it is wise to get a bigger chainring, especially if you are going to use your bike frequently. This will also help cope with the higher speeds.
Mountain bikes have handlebars situated to allow a more aggressive stance that is suited for bike trails with sharp corners and rough terrain. However, for the road, the height of the mountain bikes should be more relaxed. This can be adjusted by getting a higher bike stem.
Hand and wrist strain is a common complaint when riding bikes, and that is why investing in a pair of comfortable hand grips is well worth the money.
Even the pedals can make a difference in your riding experience. Talk to your local bike mechanic to find out the pedals best suited for your riding needs.
The answer to that depends on a multitude of factors, including your intended purpose of use for the bike as well as how frequently you wish to use it.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Does it suit your body type?
Can you reach your fitness goals with the bike type?
Whether the tires, gears, framework, brakes, and design suit your riding requirements. Remember that often different manufacturers are responsible for different parts, which can affect the riding experience.
Make sure to research thoroughly before settling on a bike. It is ideal if you can take your bike of choice on a test run prior to the purchase.
Quick Tips Before Riding
For a smooth and uninterrupted ride, be sure to follow these quick tips.
You must absolutely follow the road rules in order to stay safe and keep fellow riders and pedestrians out of a potential accident.
There’s no need to spend on modifications if you don’t intend to ride out frequently.
Go on practice runs around the neighborhood to get more used to the bike before heading out on the road.
Practice using the brakes to test out their efficacy and to be prepared for any situation the road throws at you.
Starting out with a mountain bike may present some ups and downs, but you will get the hang of it eventually. At the end of the day, a bike is a bike and how you ride is entirely up to you. Pay no heed to opinions and debates and focus on riding merrily along your way.
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