Mountain bikes and road bikes are designed to ride on separate landscapes. While the road bikes are for maneuvering around the hustle and bustle of city life, mountain bikes are designed to handle tough terrains and to climb the steep hills.
Road bikes need to have faster and aerodynamic features whereas mountain bikes require more control and balance. The main difference between a MTB and a road bike is in their speeds and endurance features. Unlike the mountain bikes, the road bikes are designed to cover long distances at high speeds.
Therefore, you can convert your mountain bike to a road bike, only by changing the components which will aid the bike to increase its speed. However, you cannot entirely convert the mountain bike because its frame will always be a little heavier than the road bike and you will be left with too many gears that you may not even need.
Benefits of Converting a Mountain Bike into a Road Bike
Here, we will discuss some of the reasons for converting a MTB to a road bike instead of purchasing a new frame and wheels.
It saves money: As buying new bikes may cost you a good amount of money, it is much wiser to replace some elements of the bike and make it functional in your desired way. So, even if it requires more time, effort, and research to find the best parts for your bikes, it will cost less than purchasing a new bike.
It saves space: Free space is always a precious thing for a metropolitan citizen and buying a new bike definitely takes this free space away. Hence, it is better to purchase necessary parts that you can easily hang on the walls or stick them in a small cupboard.
It teaches you about the bike: Many people ride bikes but not all of them fully understand the mechanisms of it. So, through this conversion process you will be able to know about tires, handlebars, gears and most importantly you will know how to make best use of the things that you already own.
Things to Consider While Converting the MTB to Road Bike
Whenever you want to buy parts for a mountain bike, make sure they are compatible with your MTB. So, following is the list of elements that you will need to keep in consideration while converting the mountain bikes to road bikes:
Tires and Tire Pressure
Tire change is one of the most important steps while converting a mountain bike to a road bike. As mountain bikes are made for off-road cycling, the wheels of these bikes are generally heavier, thicker and have knobs.
Besides, MTB tires have lugs and less air pressure which allow the bikes to have more grip and traction. These features of MTB tires give them more rolling resistance and hence make the bikes less speedy.
In order to make the bikes road-friendly and speedy, you need to have tires which are not thick, lightweight and have more air pressure. So, there are two ways to make your MTB work like a road bike such as adjusting tire pressure and changing the tires.
Adjusting tire pressure
To roll the tires swiftly on the roads, the tires need to have air pressure around 60psi. So, pumping more air in the mountain bike tires can be an easy and cost efficient process to convert the bike into a road bike.
You can fill the tires of MTB up to 40-50psi and it will be enough for the tires to roll smoothly. However, before inflating, you should check the maximum PSI on the sidewall of the tires.
Changing the tires
If you want to have more speed in your MTB bike, you can also change the tires into narrower tires. But you need to find the wheels at the same size as your mountain bike wheels.
For example, if your mountain bikes have 29 inch tires, you have to find 29 inch narrow tires. Besides, 1.5 inch slick tires like Kenda Kwest Tire with Wire Bead (24 x 1.50-Inch) can also be a good fit for your MTB.
Changing the Suspension System
The suspension in your mountain bike helps it to absorb the impact of the rocks, roots and the terrain. But a suspension fork is not necessary for a road bike as it makes paddling harder. So, in this case, your first option is to replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork because it will make your bike lighter and stiffer for road riding.
However, if you don’t want to spend money on it, your second option is to lock-out the suspension fork. This will reduce any bobbing while you pedal the bike or stand to climb. The process will be the same for rear suspension because it will also make your bike stiffer.
Lastly, in case you don’t have a lockout, you can increase the air pressure in your suspension and eliminate as much of the sag as possible.
Changing the Gear Set
Mountain bikes are not designed for high speed so they have many gears to have easy paddling hill steeps. However, in road bikes you need gears that can give you as much speed as possible.
So, in order to provide the required speed to your MTB, you have to change your chainring or you can use small gears with bigger teeth. By doing so, your bike will have less resistance and it will even weigh lighter.
But before changing the gears you need to see whether your bike is compatible for the gear change or not. Alternatively, you can change the cassette of the rear wheel which is a much easier and faster process to speed up your bike. The cassettes which are generally used on the road bike have more gears in a close range, this helps you to adjust your cadence in smaller increments.
Replacing the Handlebars
Mountain bikes mainly have straight handlebars whereas road bikes generally use lower handlebars. When the straight handlebars help the mountain bike riders in handling, the lower handlebars improve the aerodynamics of the bike.
Besides, lower handlebars help you to lean forward and make your road bike riding easier. So, if you want to have a comfortable riding experience with your mountain bike, you must change the handlebar and replace it with a lower handlebar such as a drop handlebar.
In the end, the purpose of using the mountain bikes and road bikes is different from each other. While mountain bikes help the riders to enjoy the hill tracks and rocky landscapes, road bikes enable them to roam around the city roads and cover long distances in a shorter time.
So, after using the mountain bike, if you now want to have fun with a road bike, you may not necessarily have to buy a new bike. You can easily have road bike experience by changing some components like tire, suspension, gear and handlebar from your mountain bike.