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Commuting On A Mountain Bike: Is It Possible

Commuting On A Mountain Bike: Is It Possible

If you are tired of the long hours of waiting in traffic while driving to work or the overall hassle of public transportation, a good option might be to ride a bicycle to make commuting to and from get off work easier and more enjoyable.

You can consider many ways to ride, mountain biking is one of them. However, given the overall structure of the MTB, you may want to know how to complete the commute on a mountain bike.

Riding a mountain bike to get off work: is it possible?

Yes, you can comfortably use mountain bikes to commute to and from get off work, and you can make some modifications according to your working terrain. Replace tires with narrower or less nodular tires, add a set of bright lights, some mudguards, and possibly reflective tape to make commuting more comfortable and safer. Then, you may enjoy easier and more interesting routes to the office, and your daily commute traffic is less.

The best commuter bikes are those that provide you with maximum comfort and practicality so that you can ride more frequently without feeling it a chore. The old mountain bike you overlooked in the garage can be turned into a practical commuter bike.

As long as you are willing to make some simple and basic modifications, you can turn your old mountain bike into a faster and lighter commuter transportation.

Consider the following changes:


First, you need to first replace those big and heavy off-road tires on MTB with narrower, smooth tires that can be mounted on your rims. This is because although mountain bike tires may be convenient on dirt roads, when used on asphalt roads, they tend to add some weight and slow you down. Replacing them will have a direct impact on the weight, feel and speed of the bicycle. When installing different tires, be sure to use the correct size inner tube; a pair of anti-puncture tubes will fit here.
When inflating the tires, make sure they are very hard to reduce the rolling resistance when riding a bicycle.

Add fender:

Although mountain bikes are designed for muddy, muddy roads and terrain, only a few are equipped with mudguards. This is usually to prevent dirt from getting stuck between the tires and fenders, making you unable to move. Given that you will use a bicycle for city commutes, mudguards may be a convenient addition. You want to install a set of mudguards on the front and rear tires to prevent water and dirt from the road from splashing on your overalls (although in reality you’d better wear a set of spare clothes just for riding). This will ensure that you are clean and dry when you arrive at the office.


If your job requires you to travel in dark hours, then you must install a bright light on your mountain bike. For information about your local state laws, please see our “Bicycle Laws” page.
Generally, most commuter cyclists choose to install white front lights and pair them with red rear lights. These will ensure that you have enough lighting to navigate comfortably in the dark. There are several good options for you to choose from; from USB charging to battery-powered and generators.

Reflective tape:

This is another important inclusion you want to consider. Reflective tape is a good way to improve street visibility and ensure safety at night. You can easily find it in your local bike shop. Make sure to place the tape in an area that glows at night. I recommend putting them on your crank because moving the reflector is a reliable way to attract the driver’s attention.

If the current pedals are not suitable for road use, you may also want to replace them. This should ensure that you can ride comfortably in ordinary office shoes.

Make these changes and your mountain bike is ready to use. Another advantage of mountain bikes is that when you compare it to a suspension bike, it has a suitable hard tail. If you want to know more details about mountain bike commuting, you can find more information in our commuting section.

Mountain bike and road bike

When you compare mountain bikes and road bikes, you will find that there are many unique features that make both bikes suitable for commuting to work. However, if your possible shortcut is close to non-street terrain, I would say that mountain biking can be a better option.

First of all, mountain bikes can basically be ridden anywhere. By crossing areas such as parking lots, muddy alleys, and pedestrian streets (watch out for pedestrians), you will be able to avoid crowded spaces and shorten your commute time.

Whenever traffic is jammed and your time is short, mountain biking ensures that you can easily access alternative routes where road bikes may not be able to travel comfortably.

The wide tires of mountain bikes cover a large surface area, making it easier for the bike to maintain balance on the road. This is very convenient if you have to slung your laptop bag across your shoulder. It also makes it easier for you to avoid oncoming drivers.

MTB also has easier gearing. Generally, compared to standard road bikes, standard mountain bikes have simpler gears that allow you to spin more easily on difficult climbs. Easily climbing will not only save you energy, but also ensure that you will not sweat and stink when you arrive at the office.

Mountain bikes are naturally suitable for rugged terrain. Although this may not sound great for commuter bikes, it comes in handy when the most direct road to the workplace is in poor condition.

If you have to traverse potholes and loose gravel, mountain biking will relieve your stress and make commuting more friendly. At the same time, road bikes continue to be abused under potholes and poor road conditions, which may cause problems much faster than mountain bikes.

Another advantage of mountain bikes over road bikes is the riding posture of the rider. It usually makes your spine more upright and comfortable. It can also provide better visibility, allowing you to clearly see where you are going. This means you don’t have to worry about back pain or difficulty seeing a car approaching you.

How far is it to commute by bike?

If you must use a bicycle to commute to get off work, it’s important to consider the distance you travel each day to see if this is practical.

If you live less than 10 kilometers from your work area, this distance is perfect for commuting to get off work by bike. Most people living (10-20) kilometers will find it relatively easy to manage, although those at the high end of the bracket may find it more demanding.

For those who travel long distances, road bikes may be a better commuter bike option than mountain bikes. This is because road bikes are more suitable for driving longer distances at faster speeds on the tarmac.

Your current fitness level will also largely determine the efficiency of mountain bike commuting. For some people, just cycling around the corner may be too far, while others can easily complete a 20-mile trip.

All in all, an important aspect to keep in mind is how the mileage you ride your bike accumulates. For a healthy person, cycling 40 miles a day is relatively easy; however, cycling 40 miles for a full week will be more challenging.

You can always start by cycling to and from get off work every other day.

Final thoughts

Next time you consider changing your commute from public transportation to cycling, don’t ignore the old mountain bike you own. With the correct modification, you can finally get a practical, effective and cheap transportation alternative.

However, be sure to do some due diligence to find the best route to work; avoid busy roads with heavy traffic, and make the most of bicycle lanes, trails, and side streets.

You never know, you might really like going to work.



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