Are mountain bikes good for urban riding? If this question has crossed your mind, then let me put it straight for you, you’re not alone, my friend.
Mountain bikes, as the name suggests, are designed to maneuver on rough terrains that consist of dirt and gravel filled paths and even some extreme roads.
Mountain bikes are built to tackle all the rocks and potholes in your way with ease. The dual suspension makes riding off-roads easy, as the fork takes all the beating and not your arms.
Apart from all that, the wider tires provide traction while riding on steep or loose roads. So all in all, Mountain bikes give utmost comfort while riding on rough terrain.
But what do you do if your daily commute consists of some off-roading as well as some on-roading?
This question has put numerous lives into the dilemma and has provided us with an opportunity to elaborate on it. In this article, you’ll find answers to all your questions that involve riding a mountain bike on pavements/urban roads.
That brings us to our first question.
Can We Use Mountain Bikes For Daily Commuting?
Yes, you can use Mountain bikes for daily commuting. If your daily commute route consists of some off-road and on-road riding, and you wish to have some adrenaline rush, then I’d suggest that mountain bikes are one of the best options available.
Commuting on urban roads is different for everyone, for some it’s driving through the traffic, or a series of walk and subway stops. But for some, it’s navigating through the rugged terrain as we find on mountain trails filled with loose stones, potholes, and gravels.
As we already mentioned, mountain bikes are specifically designed to ride on rougher terrains filled with dirt, but most people miss out on how they can be used on straight roads and pavements.
Strangely, mountain bikes can be the ultimate commute vehicle as you can create an alternate path to your destination. Either way, riding a mountain bike on the streets is no fun, so try to mix it up with some off-roading.
One of the best parts about using a mountain bike to commute is that you can ride like a maniac without risking anything or endangering anyone.
It’s one of the best ways to release serotonin in your brains and have a quickie of adrenaline rush.
Mountain Bikes For Commuting: How Does It Compare To Road Bikes?
Well, to give you a short, mountain bikes and road bikes have their own purpose of fulfilling. They have their own pros and cons as well.
Mountain bikes give you an upper hand in several situations such as it allows you to ride on a road filled with potholes, allows you to ride freely on and off the streets, due to its structure, your body stays upright, activates a lot of muscles while riding, etc.
Mountain bikes allow you to use an alternative route any time you want without the fear of falling, but you can’t do that in the case of road bikes.
The knobby tires of mountain bikes are broader than any road bike, providing traction to the road and dodge loose stones without any hinge.
These knobby tires help provide friction, which also means a lot of contact with the surface, hence losing speed. Whereas in road bikes, the tires are thinner, meaning less contact with the roads, thus provides a lot of momentum.
Even though riding a mountain bike on the road can be challenging, it gives you versatility, freedom, and always a sudden rush of adrenaline if you choose to take the high way.
Pros of Riding Mountain Bikes In The City
Wide Knobby Tyres
The knobby tires of mountain bikes are designed wide; due to their structure, they provide traction which helps you miss all the loose stones and potholes on the road without any hinge.
The Suspension takes all the hits for you.
Mountain bikes have suspension/shock absorbers, which gives a lot of control to the rider and the tyres remain in contact.
Gives you the freedom to deviate from the usual road
Having a mountain bike in a city has its own perks as it allows you to make your own path, jumping and bouncing over speed bumps, riding on rough terrain, and taking shortcuts.
Mountain bikes have an upright riding position which is always beneficial for short rides or riding in traffic. Even though the road bike provides better aerodynamics, the riding position of mountain bikes provides a better view of the surroundings.
Cons of Riding Mountain Bikes In The City
Slower than Road bikes
The tires of mountain bikes are wider than the tires of any road bike which also means a lot of contact with the surface creating a lot of friction between the road and the tire, hence loss of momentum. In road bikes, the tires are thinner, meaning less contact with the roads, therefore providing a lot of momentum.
Only two ways to hold the handle.
Mountain bikes have straight handlebars, which means there are only two ways to hold them while riding, i.e. either on the inside or outside of the bars. This will put a lot of strain on your arms when you ride for long.
Both front and rear suspension are not necessary for paved roads.
As you pedal every stroke, the suspension takes away some of the force from it and turns it into heat instead of pushing the bike forward; hence you don’t maximise your speed.
Heavier than other bikes
Mountain bikes are heavier than road bikes, making it harder for the rider to ride on an incline- It requires more effort than usual. The wider tyres make it even more difficult for the riders to ride uphill.
Securing your Bike in the City
For anyone who thinks parking your bike without any security is okay, I want to see the rock you’ve been living under. Bike theft is as common as drinking coffee in the morning.
To minimize this threat, you must follow this set of rules.
- In case you plan to park your bike outside a store for a short period, a combination lock is a must at a minimum.
- If you park for several hours, consider purchasing a heavy-duty, keyed U-lock in case of high threat zones.
- In the case of concerts, sporting events, or even markets, make full use of the parking services available.
- In case you take your bike to your workplace, consider parking it in the building, or the desired place for bike parking inside the building.
- Try and keep your bike accessories secure at every cost. If possible, carry them with you whenever away from the bike.
- Quick-release wheels are more comfortable to remove for thieves as they are to the owners. Consider locking the skewers since it takes away all the opportunities to steal a bike.
On a final note, thieves are getting more innovative to steal bikes, don’t rely on locks only, keep an eye on your bike if possible, especially if that bike costs a fortune.
Things To Consider Commuting On Mountain Bikes
Commuting with a mountain bike is fun, but it’s more fun if you consider adding these to the list.
Safety: Helmet and lights
“Better safe than sorry.”
It is advised that the rider must wear a helmet at all times while riding. At all costs we must remember that Mountain bikes aren’t a toy, it’s a vehicle. As healthy as it is to ride a bike, it’s a risky business.
The best way to ride a bike is to use proper gear such as helmets, lights, and a cycling suit when necessary. If possible, equip your bicycle with reflectors on the front as well as the rear side. The use of subtle hand signals goes a long way in safety; it gives the other drivers around you a sense of where you’re heading.
Stay visible to the drivers around you, wear a white helmet or a flashing suit. Follow the traffic rules at any price and ride in the cycling lane wherever possible.
Recommended: POC, Tectal, Helmet for Mountain Biking ( Check Price On Amazon )
Consider adding a Mudguard.
What is Mudguard? A curved safety guard covers your bike’s wheels and prevents the bike and the rider from getting dirty by mud/water.
Mountain bikes are designed to ride off-roads and where’s the fun if you don’t go off trails. But the worst part of going off-trails after a rainy night is the mud and muddy water, and whats better if they get printed on your outfit. This is exactly where mudguards come handy and save you from all the washing.
Not using a mudguard during other seasons might work, but after a drizzly night, it’s a must. Although it is advised to use the mudguards at all times, the decision remains in your hands.
Be sensible around traffic.
Riding a bike in traffic can be stressful and tedious, but that gives us no right to break laws. There are three best ways to ride a bicycle in traffics.
Be foreseen: The other riders must see you. Wear a bright-colored suit and a helmet that flashes right in the traffic- Again, “it’s better safe than sorry.” Get your bike equipped with front and rear reflectors as they shine bright when flashed.
Be obvious and predictable: You don’t want to scare the drivers around you. If possible, provide some hand signals before taking a turn, that gives the drivers around you an idea of where you’re heading.
Follow the rules: If you own a bike and are reading this, I’m sure you already know the basic traffic rules. Adhere to the basic traffic rules.
Ride in a single lane and if possible, ride in the biking lane to avoid any mishap. Sometimes, riding bikes on the sidewalk may seem safer, but not from the pedestrian point of view, stay alert at all times.
Consider insuring your bike.
Even though we covered how to secure your bike, it is advised to ensure your bike, especially if it costs exorbitant. It’s always better when you don’t have to pay the full money from your pocket, isn’t it?
Your bike is prone to all kinds of risks, like bike theft, accidents, etc. We’re not trying to scare you here but aware you of all the possibilities.
Riding a mountain bike is always risky as you tend to drift away to the nature trails rather than roads. Riding on bumpy roads can inflict a lot of damage to your bike and ensuring it would be the wisest if you ask me.
Things You Should Consider When Buying Your Bike
Your location and your route preference will mostly tell you what kind of bicycle you need. If you live around a block with straight roads and choose to take a refined way to commute, then a road bike is preferable.
If you pave your own path, even if it means off-roading, hitting grass, dodging through the traffic, then you may find mountain bikes more suitable.
How well do you maintain your stuff, how much willing are you to follow a maintenance routine, it all comes into consideration when choosing a bike.
Just as we need food and sleep to recharge our batteries, bikes need theirs too. If you wish to take your bike through the high road and pretend not to care about it, you may as well choose a mountain bike.
3. Size and Fit
What the point if you can’t touch your feet on the ground while you’re on your bike? Size and fit are one of the most critical aspects when choosing a bike. Since you’re planning to invest in a bike, you may as well invest in long term comfort.
No matter what we prefer, there’s one thing which holds us back from getting the perfect bike- Budget. Consider your budget when buying a bicycle. Dreaming to buy a hi-tech mountain bike with 200 dollars in your pocket is a little too wishful.
Riding Mountain Bikes In City Can Be Fun
Riding a Mountain bike on urban roads can bring a slew of adrenaline rush and thrill. If your daily commute includes some riding on the grassland or jumping over some speed bumpers, or you simply love exploring new shortcuts to your destination, then I’d say Mountain bike is your way to go.
I personally use my mountain bike to commute often to keep changing between my bikes. This not just helps me explore but also make my riding experience a lot better by mixing different bike types.
Unless you worry of the tires ( They really do wear out faster on roads than on trails ) mountain bikes can be great to express your feelings as you return from your day job.
You can do more things with it, either freestyle riding, sticking to roads or you want to take it off road making your own way cutting the traffic like a knife cuts through butter. It simply works better!
At last the time you lost going a little slower than road bikes is easy covered up by time it saves doing both on road off road biking finding the quicker direct ways to reach a destination.
While a road bike can take you fast a mountain bike will make your journey more fun! Whether you choose to ride a mountain bike or a road bike, both seem to have their own pros and cons. No matter what we prefer, there is good reason to start commuting and contribute to a greener earth.