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Tips to City Biking With a Mountain Bike

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A road bike is designed to be used on…well the road. A mountain bike is designed to be used almost anywhere your pedaling takes you. Although a mountain bike may be designed for riding off-road and on singletrack trails, there is nothing that stops you from riding it in the City. If you will mainly be riding your mountain bike in the City then here are some tips to help you have a more enjoyable experience.


Replacing the knobby off-road tires on your mountain bike with a set of slicks will help you to go faster. There will be less rolling resistance. The same amount of pedaling will get you further along as opposed to knobby tires designed to grip on dirt.

OMG…what about traction? Fear not my city mountain bike riders; because a slicked tire will actually give you better traction then knobby tires on pavement. Yes, slick tires do provide better overall traction on pavement when compared to mountain bike tires. There are exceptions though. If it is wet and rainy you should be careful when cornering at high speeds and not lean too much.

Proper Tire Inflation

Many times when riding rough singletrack on a mountain bike riders will keep their tires only partially inflated. When you are riding in the City there is no need for this. When you are riding the city pavements you should keep your tire maxed out on the PSI level. Look at your tire and it will give you the maximum PSI you can use in that tire. Fill it up with air to the max level and the regularly check the PSI. A full inflates tire will roll much more efficiently on pavement then a partially inflated tire.

Trek City Mountain Bike

Front Suspension

So you got a 100MM of fluid travel in your front suspension shock eh? Well, do you really need it for your city riding? Unless you are constantly bombarded by unavoidable potholes and crackheads sleeping on the sidewalk then you should consider replacing your front fork suspension with a non-suspension fork. You can also choose to “lock-out” your front shock if your shock has that feature. If your bicycle does not have“lockout” ability then your shock may not be as good as you think anyways so you might as well replace it with a non-suspension fork.

By replacing the suspension fork with a non-suspension fork you can have more power with less ease. When you use a suspension fork you lose a lot of power in your pedaling stroke to the front-suspension. Replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork or at least use the lockout feature on your front shock. It’s simple, lock you suspension fork and gain momentum.


A mountain bike will generally have you sitting more upright then a road bike. By sitting more upright you are able to see traffic and the things around you easier. Seeing cars is very important for city riders. You may also choose to increase the height of your bike handlebars so that you can sit in an even more relaxed position.

Slime and Thorn Resistant Tubes

Goatheads. F*$&*G Goatheads! Nothing can stop a ride faster then goatheads. Stop goatheads from ending your rides by using thorn resistant tubes and slime. Slime helps to immediately seal up tiny holes so you can keep on riding. Yes it adds a little bit of weight, but who cares. You’re not a “weight weenie”! I know you’re not because if you were you would instead be city riding on a super-light carbon fiber road bike instead of a steel or aluminum framed mountain bike.

Slime 10004 Tube Sealant - 16 oz.
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Ride Proudly You may only be able to afford one bicycle and that is why you decided to buy an entry-level mountain bike from your local bike store. Ride proudly, even if the roadies may give you funny looks. You have a mountain trail capable bike and are choosing to ride it in the City. When winter comes then you can put the knobby tires back on and keep riding it. Do many roadies ride their carbon fiber Trek Madones in snow and ice? You own a mountain bike. A mountain bike is the go anywhere bike. It might not be the fastest bike in the world for city riding but it will definitely get you to your destination. Even in the snow and ice.



Mar 12, 2014 4:48am
Great article, tho I can't agree with statement that 'A mountain bike is designed to be used almost anywhere your pedaling takes you' ;) it's comfortable almost everywhere because it is designed to be used in off-road and after switching to road riding it feels like heaven and earth (it is soooo easy to pedal on the regular road without roots etc.
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