When it comes to an activity that you can do with your child, there is perhaps none better than riding bikes. It’s a fantastic outdoor activity that gets you exercising and enjoying the scenery.
But this is often done using mountain bikes. You may be wondering at this point though, is it okay to ride mountain bikes on the road?
The short answer is yes, you can ride a mountain bike on the road, but their features may not be suitable in all conditions.
Our guide below will look at whether or not you can ride a mountain bike on the road and the alternative.
Mountain Bikes And The Road
As we said, whilst it’s entirely possible to ride a mountain bike on the road, it is not always the right decision to do so.
With a mountain bike that is specifically designed for off-road riding, the features may not be compatible with the terrain of a road.
Let’s start by looking at the tires.
Mountain Bike Tires
Mountain bike tires are usually wider and therefore have greater resistance, meaning it can take a lot more energy to move the bike across road surfaces. It can be dangerous to ride these bikes on the road.
If a vehicle comes and you need to get out of the way, your child may need to work much harder to move over.
Mountain Bike Weight
Mountain bikes are built much heavier than road bikes. This is so that they can deal with the stresses and strains that come along with the unpredictable terrains off-road.
This weight generally comes from the frame which is much sturdier and tougher than you’ll see with road bikes.
This means that it can be much more difficult for your child to maneuver the bike around on road surfaces.
Mountain bikes have features that road bikes do not require, making riding on the road a real nightmare. Suspension and larger brakes can make movement on the roads much more difficult and completely unsuitable.
Similarities Of Road Bikes And Mountain Bikes
Despite all of their downfalls, some mountain bikes hold a few similarities to road bikes. First, both bikes can be used on the roads.
In fact, mountain bikes arguably can be better on some roads, depending on where you live. This is because some roads have lots of potholes and hills.
Due to the gears, mountain bikes can be handy on this type of terrain, but that will come down to where you live specifically.
Another similarity is that some mountain bikes have a lock-out system, which means you can “lock out” the suspension for riding – which then acts as a road bike would.
What we must look at, though, to really understand their similarities and differences is examining a hybrid.
A hybrid bike is a mixture of a mountain bike and a road bike. They vary from model to model; some are much closer to one type of bike than the other.
These can be excellent choices for you and your child if you live in an area where the terrain changes from, for example, mountainous areas to flat roads.
Can Mountain Bikes Be Okay On The Road?
Whilst there are lots of reasons why mountain bikes aren’t recommended on the roads, there are some times that a mountain bike can actually be useful on the road.
As we mentioned about the unpredictability of the roads, mountain bikes are well-designed to deal with almost any surface area. A mountain bike can easily deal with potholes, uneven surfaces, and weathered roads easily.
Assuming your child doesn’t have a hardtail bike, the suspension can actually increase the ride’s enjoyability.
Additionally, it’s arguably easier to maintain grip on a mountain bike due to its handles. Unlike road bikes, the handlebars on a mountain bike are flat and covered in rubber, designed for your hands to stay comfortable and tight to.
This can make it much easier for your child to deal with some of the less-than-stellar road surfaces that can occur in many areas.
Does My Child Need More Than One Bike?
You may now be thinking to yourself if your child can ride a mountain bike on the road – is it worth getting your child another bike? Will they need one?
Overall, it depends on where you live and how capable your child is with their riding. However, it is recommended that your child has bikes specifically for whatever they are planning to do.
While hybrid bikes can be useful, they are not always the better option, and it can often be better to purchase multiple bikes for your child instead, particularly if they’re interested in road racing.
In other words, if your child is going to use the roads and will also be using a bike off-road, you’d be better off purchasing both a mountain bike and a road bike as they have two very distinct purposes and design features.
Not to mention, if you want to spend days out with your child on your bikes, you will want to have the best bikes, which can make your ride much smoother and more enjoyable.
Are Mountain Bikes Safe?
Mountain bikes are indeed safe, and so are road bikes. As long as you purchase from a reputable seller, these bikes are designed for their purposes.
It’s more about how well the rider uses these bikes and how well they look after them too. Remember to remind your child of the importance of their tires and overall bike health to maximize the life of the bike.
The Bottom Line
Yes, you can use a mountain bike on the road, but it does not mean that you always should. Instead, consider purchasing your child a bike designed for the road!
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