When you are trying to decide which bike is for you, oftentimes you will hear that a type of bike is good for something and another type of bike is good for something else but if you need a good all-around bike you are left wondering. The reality is that a full-suspension mountain bike is that all-around bike, the biggest drawback is the price.
As a general rule, a full-suspension mountain bike is not as efficient on the pavement as a road bike but will offer a smoother and more comfortable ride. The knobby tires and the increased weight due to the rear suspension will reduce pedaling efficiency but will increase stability.
In this article, we will discuss if you can ride a full-suspension mountain bike on the road, we will examine if it is the best choice for commuting, and at the end of the article we will highlight the pros and cons of riding a full-suspension mountain bike on the road. So keep reading!
Can You Ride a Full-Suspension Mountain Bike on the Road?
Full-suspension mountain bikes are designed to overcome all the challenges of the hardest of terrains, they are more than equipped to take on all the challenges that come with road riding. The rear suspension will give an increased comfort level but will decrease pedaling efficiency.
A full-suspension mountain bike will be heavier than other types of bikes due to the extra suspension on the back, this means that you need to pedal harder to maintain the same speed as a lighter hardtail or city bike. Road bikes are just faster than full-suspension mountain bikes.
The biggest advantages of full-suspension mountain bikes come alive on mountain trails and especially on technical descents. If you mostly ride in cities or on the pavement a full-suspension MTB will not be the best investment but will offer you the most comfortable bike ride because the rear suspension will absorb all the bumps on the road and you rarely have to come out of the saddle.
Now if you mostly ride your mountain bike offroad and on mountain trails but still you what to use it for the day-to-day chores then a full-suspension MTB is a good choice, you will the advantages that it offers on the trails and a more comfortable way of riding in the city.
I always find myself riding my full-suspension MTB on the road, for day-to-day chores, or just riding to the closest trail and I can say that I love the fact that my bike is more forgiving when I make small mistakes and I am not punished so hard by hitting small bumps on the road when sitting down.
From my experience riding on the side of the road is a bumpy experience, the road tends to deteriorate more on the outer sides. If you are a cyclist you know that most often you need to ride as close as you can to the roadside to avoid traffic, a full-suspension mountain bike will allow you to do this with ease and widout taking the fun out of the ride.
Riding your mountain bike in the city is the best way to practice and have a little bit of fun when you don’t have the time to go on trails.
Maybe you have a demanding job that needs some extra hours or it gets dark early and you have little time to ride before it gets dark, in this situations riding in the city is the perfect opportunity to sharpen some skills that will come in handy on trails (tight cornering, jumping, etc).
If you what more details on riding your mountain bike on the road, I encourage you to read this article.
Are Full Suspension Bikes More Comfortable?
A full-suspension mountain bike is more comfortable than a hardtail or a city bike due to the rear suspension that absorbs any bumps on the road. City bikes have a more comfortable riding position, on a mountain bike you need to be more bent forward due to the bike geometry.
The level of comfort that a full-suspension MTB brings is unrivaled but this comes with a bigger hit on your budget. Full-suspension mountain bikes have a more complex bike geometry with more moving parts and this will be reflected in the price of the bike and the cost of maintenance.
The higher level of comfort was the main factor that determined me to upgrade my hardtail to full suspension. Because I have a sedentary job I have some minor lower back pain and riding a hardtail on bumpy roads or trails intensify this problem. I am happy to say that after I got my full-suspension MTB, I feel no pain after riding it, this didn’t heal my back but at least it is not making it worse.
If you have back problems please consult a doctor before riding bikes!
If you what to learn more about using a mountain bike for everyday use, I encourage you to read this article.
Pros and Cons of Riding a Full-Suspension Mountain Bike on the Road
Now it is time to see what are the pros and cons of riding a full-suspension mountain bike on the road:
|Lower back protection||Expensive maintenance|
|More forgiving of rider’s mistakes||Low pedal efficiency|
|Better at the drops to flat||Harder to jump over obstacles|
|Needs to be properly secured at the destination|
|No possibility to mount a bicycle trunk|
|Tires wear off easier|
(designed for the trials)
When deciding what are the pros and cons I took into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of riding in cities (for day-to-day chores) and commuting to work on a full-suspension mountain bike.
The biggest advantages are the comfort and the lower back protection resulting from the absorption of road bumps by the rear suspension.
Most of the disadvantages come from the greater buying and maintenance price of the full-suspension mountain bike, but let us not forget that you will pedal harder than on a city bike and you will not have the possibility to mount a bicycle trunk to carry groceries.
If you are interested in a head-to-head comparison between hardtails and full-suspension mountain bikes, you need to read this article!
Can You Commute on a Full Suspension Bike?
Commuting to work on a full-suspension mountain bike is a great way to exercise and still have a comfortable ride. The big downside is that full-suspension mountain bikes cost as much as an older used car so it is not the most cost-efficient way to commute.
When living a busy life and there is little time during the day to work out and get in shape, commuting to work on a bicycle is the best choice. Because many of us have sedentary jobs and this can lead to lower back pain a full-suspension mountain bike is recommended because it will put as little stress as possible on your spine and lower back.
When commuting to work you don’t need a bike that is designed to offer the best pedal efficiency, you can maintain a low and steady pace so you will not arrive at work full of sweat. The more important factor here is the level of comfort that the bike brings.
As we know full-suspension bikes are the most capable of conquering almost any type of terrain, this will allow you to take offroad shortcuts if they are available.
If you prefer to ride to work faster, then a full-suspension mountain bike is not recommended due to the lower pedaling efficiency. You will have to pedal harder than on other types of bikes to maintain the same speed, this will make you arrive at work sweatier.
The big reason why no one will recommend a full-suspension mountain bike for commuting is the price, as I said before a decent full-suspension MTB will cost as much as a used car.
Need to know more about commuting on a mountain bike? Read this article!
If comfort is your thing and you don’t mind the higher cost and the lack of pedal efficiency on the pavement a full-suspension mountain bike is the best choice for you even if you ride mostly on the road.
But if budget is a concern and you like speed, a hardtail MTB or a city bike will be more suited for you.
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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.