Road Tires for Mountain Bikes

By: Alex Bristol

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Road Tires for Mountain Bikes

When comparing road bike tires with mountain bike tires, you will find that they are a bit different. Mountain bike tires usually have more aggressive tread patterns since they are made for different terrains. On the other hand, road bike tires are usually smooth since they are purely made to be used on the road. However, at times you may need to use your mountain bike for road cycling. Since they are usually faster on the road, you may need to replace your mountain bike tires with road bike tires. In this article, we shall explain how you can go about it.

1. Size

The first thing you will need to consider is the size. You should ensure that they are of the same size. Since the rims on the mountain bike tires are usually large, you need to ensure that the road bike tire will fit perfectly on the rim.

2. Brakes

The bike systems on a mountain bike tire are a bit different to those used in road bikes. In case the brakes do not fit on the large tires, you may need to replace them. Most of the mountain bike use V brakes but there are some advanced models which use the cantilever brakes which are usually common in road bikes. You should also be aware that road bike brakes are not as reliable as those in mountain bikes. The important thing is to ensure that the brake system in your bikes will work perfectly with the road bike tires.

3. Set up a tire and cassette combo

If you will need to replace your mountain bike tires with road bike tires, the best thing would be to set up a tire and cassette combo. The cassette is usually located at the rear and it contains many circular metal discs. These discs contain sprockets or teeth which matches the number of gears. Mountain bikes require a wide range of gears which road bikes do not need so many gears. This means that you transitioning from a mountain bike to a road bike will be very smooth.  However, you should ensure that you have instead a cassette with larger gears at the rear of the mountain bike tire. You should also install a road bike cassette when using a road bike tire.

This means that when transitioning from road to trails, the cassette and the mountain bike tire will be easy to switch. Setting the tires for a quick switch also prevents wear and tear.

4. Frame

Changing your road bike into a mountain bike is a great idea but you also need to consider the terrains. When riding on gravel, you may find that stones that flick up will scratch off the paint if you are not careful. However, you can protect this by using a frame tape.


Can you use road tires on a mountain bike? The answer is yes. Since mountain bike tires are available in different sizes, you need to ensure that you are using the correct road bike tire size. The best thing about road bike tires is that they are faster as compared to mountain bike tires. However,  if you will be riding the mountain bike on rough terrains, using road bike tires will not be a good idea since they do not provide the required grip and traction.


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