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Are Mountain Bikes Good for Long Rides? Pros & Cons

You’re planning on getting yourself a mountain bike, but before that, you’re wondering if it suits your lifestyle. You happen to love long rides, so are mountain bikes suitable for riding long distances?

Mountain bikes are good for long rides in off-road areas; you can reach great distances without worrying about durability and function. However, if you’re using mountain bikes on pavement, you may find yourself pedaling harder yet you are not going much faster.

This article will discuss why mountain bikes are perfect for long rides. At the same time, it will weigh the pros and cons of using a mountain bike to travel long distances on different road types. It will also tackle the benefits and drawbacks of mountain biking and provide you with a few tips to prepare for long rides.

Advantages Of Mountain Bikes On Long Rides

Mountain bikes are well-known for their durability. After all, if a bike can traverse rocky roads and mountain trails, it should possess great sturdiness and a good deal of reliability. Besides this, mountain bikes also offer a lighter weight to easily allow their rider to climb and wade through unpaved roads.

Mountain Bikes Are Perfectly Suited For Unpaved Roads

If you’re planning on a long ride on a dirt road, a trail, or any other uneven path, you’ll benefit well from using a mountain bike. With mountain bikes, you’re free to explore as much of nature as possible while riding, instead of walking or pushing a standard bike through unpaved roads.

Mountain bikes excellently traverse uneven paths because they feature wide, knobby tires that offer excellent grip and potent shock absorption. Likewise, most mountain bikes provide front and sometimes even rear suspension, which ensures you’re sufficiently elevated for your long ride.

Modern Mountain Bikes Are Becoming More Lighter

Mountain bikes also suit long rides with their lightness, enabling you to accelerate better even on rocky roads and others. Similarly, you can rest assured that mountain bikes can help you climb trails when you’re traveling a long distance. In turn, this reduces your fatigue and allows you to enjoy your trip better.

Disadvantages of Mountain Bikes on Long Rides

Mountain bikes were named that way because they’re meant for heavy use, often in mountain trails and the like. So, one disadvantage of using mountain bikes for long rides is when you use the bike on pavement or smooth roads. Likewise, you may find yourself in an uncomfortable ride as you travel a great distance with a mountain bike.

Mountain Bikes Are Slower on Pavement

Mountain bikes’ broad and knobby tires benefit riders on off-road paths and bring about their downfall when driven on pavement. This happens because knobby tires find the pavement hard to maneuver through compared to the softer unpaved roads.

So, if you decide on a long ride on the pavement with a mountain bike, prepare to possess a significantly slower speed and put a considerably greater effort into pedaling. Remember, mountain bikes feature excellent grip off-road, but the same feature brings difficulties when on the pavement.

Mountain Bikes Feature Hard Seats

One of the things you should consider crucial when going for a long ride is your comfort level. In the case of a mountain bike, you may find yourself discomforted by its seat. Mountain bike seats often cause saddle pain, so riders tend to improvise for it. For example, some riders may add more cushion to the seat or wear heavy, padded pants when biking long distances.

General Benefits and Drawbacks of Mountain Biking

Here are a few benefits of mountain biking with or without going for long rides:

  • Mountain biking allows you to exercise your whole body. This actually applies to biking in general, but mountain biking grants you better benefits since your entire body places plenty of effort to get yourself moving through the trail. So, all your body parts, including your arms, back muscles, internal organs, and even your brain, benefit from mountain biking.
  • Mountain biking decreases stress. Stress relief can come from moving, and nothing works better than biking to get your energy flowing. Similarly, biking in a natural environment allows you to breathe plenty of fresh air and clear your mind better. It also helps to have a break that requires you to focus on a task instead of simply trying to think of nothing.

Meanwhile, the drawbacks of mountain biking on both long and short rides are:

  • Mountain biking consumes plenty of time. Whether you decide on a short or long ride, you’re still on an uneven path, and sometimes even a mountain trail, which means traversing through that path isn’t exactly straightforward. Hence, riders who enjoy a fast-paced way of things may find mountain biking too time-consuming.
  • Mountain biking can be an expensive hobby. Good mountain bikes typically cost around $1,000 or even more, so some people may find this expensive for a hobby. Additionally, while mountain bikes are durable, there will come times when you need to repair them, which will cost quite a lot.

Should You Use Mountain Bikes for Long Rides?

You should use mountain bikes for long rides, especially if you’re biking in off-road areas. They offer excellent durability and lightness, allowing you to focus more on enjoying your long-distance riding than worry about your bike. They also grip the uneven roads better than other bikes.

You can also use mountain bikes for long rides on pavement, but prepare to wade through some resistance as the bike’s tires find flat ground hard to maneuver through. However, the tire issue is easily fixable by replacing your knobby tires with more pavement-suitable tires.

How to Prepare a Mountain Bike for a Long Ride

If you’re going for a long ride, it’s best to prepare your mountain bike beforehand. Here’s a list of a few things you should do:

  1. Pack a set of repairing tools. Mountain bikes are sturdy and less likely to need repair while on the road, but it’s wise to prepare for possible issues that may come up on your long ride. Sure, a mountain bike’s knobby tires are less likely to receive some damage or develop a flat, but if you’re traveling a long distance, it’s best to prepare rather than not.
  2. Add or improve your mountain bike’s accessories as needed. For example, if you’re going on a long pavement ride, you can make the trip smoother for you by replacing your mountain bike’s tires with pavement-friendly ones. Similarly, you can change your handlebars into comfortable ones that can allow you to change wrist positions if you’re tired. You may also do something about the seat to make it more comfortable for you.
  3. Enhance your bike to accommodate a storage space for anything important. You’re going on a long ride on your mountain bike, so you need to think about everything you’ll need. This should include the essentials like water and snacks, an emergency repair bag, and a health kit.
  4. Physically check your bike’s state. Remember to check on your tire pressure before leaving, too. Sufficiently-pumped tires ensure a smooth and uninterrupted trip, which perfectly suits long rides. Likewise, inspect everything else to ensure everything’s in shape before heading on to your long biking trip.

Preparing for a long MTB ride is not easy, I have written an article to help you achieve the best riding experience on longer mountain biking rides, I think you need to check it out!

Conclusion

Mountain bikes are suitable for long rides, so don’t hesitate to use them. Remember, they’re built for heavy use and can withstand long periods of biking. If you’re interested in doing so, you may customize mountain bikes according to the terrain you’ll take, too.

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I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.