Is A Mountain Bike Good For City Riding? What You Need To Know

Riding a bike in the city is a great way to view the city without being stuck in traffic for hours. Many people would rather use their bike to commute to work than ride public transportation. But, it’s normal to ask is a mountain bike good for city riding.

Is A Mountain Bike Good For City Riding?

Mountain bikes can make a great city ride, as long as you’re riding a hardtail. You’ll have more control, won’t have to worry about parking, traffic jams, but you will want to properly secure your bike and be cautious of accidents and theft.

There are a lot of pros and cons when riding a bicycle in the city. If you’re more interested in whether you can ride on the street, see my article, Is a Mountain Bike Good For Street Riding. Many people who live in the city are choosing to ride a bicycle because it’s a great way to get around without hassles.

Pros To Riding Your Mountain Bike In The City

Bicycles make easier to maneuver crowded cities, especially, during rush hour. There are several benefits to getting off the trails and using your bike to commute to and from the city. Here’s some of the top reasons you should consider it.

Save Money

Yes, it costs money to buy a mountain bike, but imagine the money you’ll be saving when you start commuting to work. You won’t have to worry about paying for gas, vehicle maintenance, car insurance, and parking. Imagine how much of your time you’ll get back every day!

Traffic Jams

You can avoid the headaches of traffic jams by maneuvering your bike around vehicles (watch for open doors) or utilizing bike paths, or sidewalks (if the city allows). Make sure you’re always watching out for pedestrians.


The time you spend on your bike will make a positive impact on your overall health, both physically and mentally. Not only will you lose weight, but you’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin D and the recommended daily exercise. In addition, riding a bike is a great way to relax and sort through your thoughts (just make sure you pay attention to your surroundings).

Fresh Air

Depending on where you live, you’ll likely be able to enjoy your bike ride with sunny mornings and stunning sunsets. In addition, you’ll be saving the earth by not contributing the pollution from vehicles.

Cons To Riding In The City


Unless you’re fortunate to work or live in a city that offers bike racks or bike shelters, it will likely be difficult to find parking. Most cities have regulations that prevent cyclists from parking in specific areas. If you’re not sure how to lock your bike, this article how can I lock my bike without a rack will help you out.

Vehicles and Other Road Users

Mountain biking can be a dangerous sport and becomes more so when biking in the city or urban areas. You’ll need to ride defensively and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice to prevent an accident. In most cities in the United States, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” and will be required to obey the same traffic laws (stop signs, turn signals, and etc) as a motor vehicle.

Helmet Hair

Most cities in the United States mandate helmets for bike riders. A helmet is great for protection, but not so great for your hairdo. Be prepared to get looks for pedestrians and passersby’s when you take your helmet off.

Inclement Weather

The weather can change quickly and it’s not fun if you catch yourself riding in the rain or extreme cold.

Road Conditions

Road conditions will vary from city to city, but be prepared to dodge potholes, drain grates, cracked or uneven pavement, poor street drainage and etc wreak havocs for an unprepared cyclist. A mountain bike can handle those types of obstacles as long as you stay aware and know how to properly maneuver your bicycle.

Bike Suspension

The front suspension on the hardtail will make it somewhat easier to ride over the bumps and holes, but you should still avoid them as much as possible. Your bike’s suspension won’t work as well as it does on the bike paths.


If you live in a hilly area, you’ll notice the excess weight of the shock system because it will be harder to climb hills. This article will show you how to climb hills on a mountain bike. It still won’t be as easy on the street as it is on trails, but it will make it a little bit easier.

Tips For Riding In The City

Before jumping on your bike and heading to the city, you’ll wan to make sure it is properly maintained and in great riding condition. These tips will help you stay safe while you commute or just enjoy a casual bike ride in the city.

  • Equip your bicycle with front and rear lights to make yourself more visible to vehicles. Leave the lights on for both day and night time riding.
  • Put a bell on your bike to make your presence known to pedestrians.
  • If you get lost, pull over and check your phone for directions. Never use your phone while you’re bike riding.
  • Ride with a friend and avoid riding alone if possible.
  • Signal clearly before crossing roads or making turns to make sure drivers see you. Don’t forget to implement the check, signal, and then maneuver to stay safe.
  • Look behind you every now and then to know what’s coming up behind you.
  • Use the cycle lanes whenever possible. Avoid riding too close to the edge of the road or gutters, as this will cause you to have an accident.
  • Hold the space in your lane and avoid riding in blind spots.
  • Avoid riding on the painted lines when caught in the rain. This article will explain how to ride safely in the rain.
  • Enjoy your commute and don’t be too much in a rush to get to your destination.

Is A Road Bike Good For City Riding?

While a mountain bike will be faster and easier to climb hills in the city, you will lose quite a bit of confidence when switching. Here’s what you’ll face when riding a city bike in the city.

  • The skinny tires can cause you to lose traction easily when riding over wet leaves, water, and etc.
  • You lose the confidence as you’re not able to hop a few stairs, take a shortcut over uneven terrain.
  • It will be harder to avoid walkers or runners as you won’t be able to hop on or off the sidewalk.
  • You’re more likely to get in an accident if a car comes too close, as a road bike can’t jump from road to terrain like a mountain bike.

What Is The Best Bike For City Riding?

If you live in a city that gets significant snow and has terrible roads, and drivers, then you may need a mountain bike. A mountain bike is built to go anywhere, so you can’t go wrong with one.

For those of you that live in a very hilly environment and spend a lot of your commute or ride climbing hills, go with a road bike. A road bike will be easier to climb hills, keep in mind a road bike can’t be taken on the trails.

If you live in a suburban area, flat area like Florida or Kansas, or have nice weather year round, a road bike is the way to go. You’ll be able to go faster and enjoy a nicer ride.

Final Word

A mountain bike will fair much better in the city, but you should ride whichever bike you feel comfortable on.

Stay safe and remember to follow the rules!

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