So I'm currently looking for a new bike and would like to get another mountain bike as it's most important to me that it's resilient and that I can ride all terrain.

However most of the time I'd use it for the city.

Are there mountain bikes (or are there ways for adjusting them) that are more fit for cities? In particular I'd like to sit comfortably on it.

I don't have much expertise with bikes which is why I'm asking here.

  • 1
    I suggest checking out the "Post Pictures of Your Hybrid" topic at bikeforums.net/hybrid-bicycles/… They have a great pictures of course but also good discussion about trade-offs and customization.
    – compton
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:20
  • 2
    @compton I should have got a picture of mine fully loaded (including balloons tied to the toddler seat). It would fit in nicely there
    – Chris H
    Apr 28, 2017 at 12:42
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    Do you know there's a type of bike called a "hybrid"? It has e.g. flat handle bars and maybe disc brakes and maybe slightly wider wheels (unlike a road bike), but no suspension and no knobbly tires (unlike a road bike). It's maybe optimum for city riding. See also What bike+equipment for a long daily urban commute?
    – ChrisW
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:21
  • @ChrisH you should totally post pictures of your ride, the more the better. / For me, I'm looking at people's handlebars. A surprisingly large number of people have bar-end bullhorn grips, I want to try those now.
    – compton
    Apr 28, 2017 at 20:23
  • 1
    @compton the second ones look like the ergon gp3s I have. Very nice ergonomic grips too
    – Chris H
    Apr 29, 2017 at 11:18

3 Answers 3


The standard advice if you want to ride a mountain bike on the road is to fit slick tires rather than knobby tires, and lock out any suspension if you have it (since you don't need it on the road). That being said, you're going to typically have lower gearing than a road or hybrid bike (due to the nature of mountain biking), though you may have some room to adjust this with cassette and chainring sizes.

At the end of the day, if you're going to be using this bike only on the road, it isn't going to be as nice as an appropriately hybrid or cyclocross or road bike, and it would be preferable not to get a mountain bike. Note that hybrids/cross bikes are often suitable for things like fire roads, gravel and what not (light off road situations); they won't take well to dropping as much as a mountain bike, but you have to ask yourself if this bike is ever really going to do this (and whether you'd be better off just renting a mountain bike when you want to do this, or buying a mountain bike specifically for this purpose).

  • 1
    Just interested: what's a fire road? There's nothing like this where I live
    – k102
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:26
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    @k102 a dirt/gravel (including quite big stones) road not open to public traffic, a forest trail, anything like that. I've ridden quite a lot of those on my hybrid. 35mm tyres were better than 28mm on the same bike.
    – Chris H
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:47
  • @k102 - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebreak
    – Batman
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:50
  • Thanks! There are such things here, but more like ditch, than the road - it's hard to ride even on xc bike
    – k102
    Apr 28, 2017 at 11:42

Hardtail with front suspension lockout. Even if a full-sus has lockout/stiffening on the rear suspension it will add weight at any price point. Slick(er) tyres than normal on a mountain bike will help. The minimum width will be limited by your rims but 35 or 38mm could be an option.

The reason you don't want suspension active while pedalling smooth roads (or even long climbs on dirt roads while mountain biking) is that it is designed to absorb energy from up-down movement. When the main source of up-down movement is your pedalling effort (rather than the trail surface), that's where the energy comes from, making pedalling harder. You'll really see and feel this if you tackle steep climbs on smooth roads.

  • Definitely good advice about the full suspension. Took mine out on the road yesterday and was bouncing the whole time while pedaling, really irritating. Apr 28, 2017 at 13:41
  • Larger tires are nicer; You'll use the extra volume to provide some cushioning which you're not getting from the suspension anymore.
    – Batman
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:08
  • @Batman I'm ride a hybrid (alloy frame and 28/32mm marathon plus run hard) and a 90s MTB (steel, 1.95" tyres that get quite soft). You can certainly feel the difference from the tyres. Bashing around rough tarmac and riding off kerbs I prefer that latter, but for commuting in general I'd take the former any time.
    – Chris H
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:13

Mountain bikes can be as comfortable as any other. With slicks they actually ride more comfortably than most because they generally have more cushioning from the tyres.

I have both mountain bike and cruiser. The cruiser is a bit faster and lighter on the road (I have a BSO mountain bike), but in terms of comfort I don't notice a difference. The mountain bike takes bumps/potholes better, skids better and is basically more forgiving for a rough rider on the road and up and down curbs. However with ANY sort of offroad I notice a big difference in favour of the mountain bike.

In saying that, my mountain bike is a 29'er hardtail, I don't feel comfortable on the smaller wheeled mountain bikes, but that might be just a matter of practice. The bigger wheels do make for a smoother more comfortable ride.

I'm not convinced by those that recommend locking out the front suspension. One factor is when commuting you quite often carry loads, I have a toolbelt full of expensive engineering tools on my handlebars and usually a bag and laptop on the back, the front suspension is useful with these things. Commuting is a lot of different needs, speed isn't that big a factor for many people.

Worrying about pedaling effort is good if you're shaving seconds off a race I imagine, but in practice you don't notice it, it's like half filling your water bottle to reduce weight a fraction.

  • If you're carrying a heavy load, the extra effort from working against suspension surely won't be noticeable. With a lighter load (many people commute with just a laptop and a few papers, or even less), it might be a bigger deal. Also, at a particular price-point, a bike with suspension is likely to be a good deal heavier and have lower-specced components. The increased weight might be a bigger deal than the losses from the suspension. Apr 29, 2017 at 12:26
  • @DavidRicherby how much weight are you imagining? My MB is a lot heavier than the cruiser, but I'm not racing, I don't care or notice much. I'm the heaviest thing on the bike, not worried about a few kg here and there. I carry about 20 kg some days, but I also ride the mb with nothing... doesn't make much of a difference.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 29, 2017 at 12:28

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