I thought MTBs were OK to use in the city but the friction from the tires seem to hold the bike back more than other tires would.

I got a mountain bike (Scott) and it's less than optimal on flat city roads. It's like comparing dubbed tired with tires that are not dubbed(?)

So I'm thinking of switching tires to flatter tires making it easier to pedal the bike in a city environment.

Would this be a good or bad idea? Should I instead just get a regular city bike for use in the city?

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    Certainly the smoother a tire it, the less rolling friction it has on relatively smooth pavement. So there's nothing wrong with switching tires if you don't need the "knobbies". The question is how much you'll improve things, if you have a fairly soft suspension, though. Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 14:04
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    As to whether you should get another bike, there are some folks who have several, and use them all for different purposes, and some who get by just fine with only one bike in multiple environments. Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 14:05
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    Related: Converting a MTB to a Road Bike Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 16:44

3 Answers 3


You can certainly switch to a more appropriate tire. Schwalbe Big Apples are a popular choice -- I use their 26x2.0 tires on my mountain bike. They roll well on asphalt, and are quite functional on packed dirt and gravel. They're not suitable for loose dirt/gravel, rocks, roots, etc, you'll need a knobby mountain bike tire for those.

The only real downside to this plan: If you intend to ride your bike in the city, and often ride trails as well, you'll quickly tire (pun intended) of switching between your mountain tires and your city tires. If you reach that point, you might consider buying a separate set of wheels and keeping the mountain tires mounted on one and the city tires on the other.


Yes, tires with a less knobby tread will be faster on pavement. You may also lose some efficiency due to your suspension fork as well. If you can lock out the suspension on your fork, then that would probably improve the ride quality as well.

Do you need another bike? No, but other bikes may be better suited to city riding. If you don't plan on riding the mountain bike off road, you might consider another style of bike, however many people are totally happy using a mountain bike in the city as their primary bike.


Absolutely. Hence the term "city slickers".

Slicks on the road will mean a faster, quieter, soother and more comfy ride.

It also depends on how long your commute is & if you like going off-road on the weekends.

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