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Can I Put Mountain Bike Tires on a Road Bike?

Yes, but careful consideration is needed

When considering to put mountain bike components on a road bike frame, you must account for the component sizing standards.

These differ significantly depending on the:

  • Bike’s country of origin
  • Gear-shifting compatibility
  • Frame sizing

When it comes to tires, you must first know the kind of tires that are fitted on mountain and road bikes. The size of a bike tire is defined in terms of tire diameter and tire width.

Types of bike tires

Mountain bike tires

The popular tire diameters for mountain bikes are 26” and 27.5”. however, the 29” tires are the most common. The width of mountain bike tires will depend on the type of bicycle and riding.

  • Cross-country bikes: tires of width of 1.9”-2.2”
  • Trail and al-mountain bikes : tires of width of 2.25”-2.4”
  • Downhill bikes: tires of width 2.5”
  • Fat bikes: tires of width 3.7”-5”

One thing about mountain bike tires is that they are designed specifically for off-road riding. Therefore, they usually have an emphasised knobby tread to improve the grip.

Road bike tires

The standard diameter for road bike tires is 700c. tires of 650 can also be used because they provide a smaller stand-over clearance for riders. In terms of mountain bike diameter, these are the 27.5” tires.

The tire width for road bike tires is 18mm-23mm width range. Sometimes, 25mm and 28mm tires can be used. Narrow tires have lower traction, more speed but lack stability and comfort for the rider.

Road bikes are mostly sleek thus don’t have tread.

Fitting mountain bike tires on road bikes

As we mentioned, there are mountain bikes that have 26-inch wheels. These wheels are mostly not compatible with road bike frames.

On the other hand, there are 29-inch mountain bike wheels which are similar in diameter to the 700cc road bike wheels. This means that with these tires, there is a potential for interchangeability.

Even though the bike diameters are compatible, there are other factors that come into play. You have probably noticed that mountain bike rims are much wider. This is in order to accommodate the wider tires of mountain bikes.

As a result, most of the narrow frames on road bikes will not work with wide mountain bike tires or wheels. Nevertheless, there are still some frame designs that may be compatible.

Ideally, it is possible to use mountain bike tires on road bikes

But with that said, you will also need to think about other factors like:

  • The specific model of the bike
  • The exact frame size of the road bike. When you have larger tires on a road bike, they will be wider ad stick out more from the wheel. A 25mm-30mm tire width is okay for a road bike. Its on the higher side but it is much better than a hugely large tire.

Many of the other parts of a mountain bike and road bike work in the same way but you might have to replace the brakes with long reach breaks.

In conclusion, it is indeed possible for you to use mountain bike tires on your road bike.

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