Can You Convert A Road Bike To A Mountain Bike (16 Steps)

Road bikes are built for speed, precision, and agility. They are made to fit snuggly on the road. You’ll find that the narrower tires and aerodynamic frame will make you feel like you’re flying past the competition.

You’ll find that road bikes are much lighter than other bike types, but they require a high level of balance and physical strength. In this article, we will take a look at the conversion process of a road bike to a mountain bike, walking you through it to ensure the best quality conversion.

How Does the Conversion Process Work

Usually, a road bike can be converted to a mountain bike, but not always. The key thing to remember is the wheel size. The original wheel size of a mountain bike is 26 inches. If you convert your road bike to have 26-inch wheels then it will be able to ride on any kind of terrain.

If you don’t have 26-inch rims, then you can also convert your road bike by replacing the entire drivetrain and brakes with mountain biking components. You also need to make sure that your brakes are compatible with your gearing system for when you ride downhill or uphill.

You will also need either gearing or triple chainrings to make the gears work on your new frame. The wheels that come with pure road bikes are generally smaller and have a smooth edge. They are not built for the bumps and obstacles that are common on mountain trails.

Additionally, the seat and handlebars on a road bike are typically in a different position than those on a mountain bike. However, with some modifications, it is possible to convert a road bike into a mountain bike.

Converting Process Considerations

Conversion of a Road Bike to A Mountain Bike

There are a few things to know about converting a road bike to a mountain bike. First, your bike frame must be made out of aluminum or carbon steel. The bottom bracket must be larger than 68mm, the wheel size must be more than 700c, and you can use a standard derailleur.

Also, if your bike is 700 x 23c, you can put a 700 x 35c wheel on it. You can buy the wheel and tire separately or get a wheel that has the tire included. Consider what type you’d like based on your expected riding conditions, as each wheel has different characteristics.

Wheel choice will affect handling and braking, so consider what you’ll be riding on and make your decision based on that. The first step is to change the tires on the bike to ones that are designed for mountain biking.

You can also switch out the handlebars and the seat to ones that are more appropriate for mountain biking. If you are not comfortable making these changes yourself, it is possible to take the bike to a shop.

When you are finished converting the bike, you should be able to take it out on difficult trails as long as they are not too rough. The best way to convert a road bike to a mountain bike is by purchasing a conversion kit.

This kit includes several components that will allow you to remove the road handlebars and brake levers from your bicycle and replace them with straight handlebars and v-brakes.

Steps To Convert Your Road Bike To A Mountain Bike

Converting 96 Marin Stinson into a Mountain Bike

Converting a road bike to a mountain bike is possible, but it won’t be easy.

1. Remove pedals
2. Unscrew the black stem caps on top of each pedal thread. Release the screws inside with a hex wrench and remove the pedals completely.
3. Using a rubber mallet, gently tap out each crank arm from its corresponding bottom bracket axle by tapping it towards the non-drive side of the bike (i.e., the side of the bike with only one chain ring).
4. If you are converting your road bike to a single-speed, skip directly to step 6.
5. If you are converting your road bike to a 3-speed or 7-speed freewheel, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the lockring on the left side of the bottom bracket axle (the side with both chainrings). Once you’ve freed the lockring, remove the left crank arm and the spindle (this will also free up your right crank arm as well).
6. Remove your front wheel according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Unscrew the QR skewer by turning it in a counterclockwise direction.
7. Attach a QR skewer to the right side of your frame where you removed the front wheel. This will serve as a new axle for your front wheel. Your existing front wheel will be attached to this new axle from now on!
8. You’ll need a piece of chain that is at least as long as the distance between your front and rear dropouts.
9. Hook one end of the chain to the right side of your bike’s frame stretch it across to the left side and attach it to the left dropout.
10. Thread each crank arm back into its corresponding bottom bracket axle, then tighten down both lockrings with a hex wrench.
11. Replace the pedals and front wheel according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
12. Find a mountain bike handlebar for your road bike (e.g., a riser bar, straight bar, or drop bar). You’ll need to replace the shifters/brake levers that were attached to your old handlebars with new ones — mountain bike brake levers and shifters can be used with almost any type of handlebar (straight, riser, or drop).
13. You’ll also need to replace your brake calipers with smaller and more powerful V-brakes (or hydraulic disc brakes for carbon-fiber road bikes).
14. To prevent the possibility of pinch flats, you’ll need to replace your tires with ones that are designed for the unique demands of riding off-road.
15. You may also want to consider replacing your broken or worn-out road clipless pedals with platform (flat) pedals.
16. Finally, attach fenders and a rack if desired!

Can A Road Bike Frame Be Used For Mountain Bike?

Using Road Bike Frames for Mountain Bike Conversion

Though road bike frames are built for smooth and straight roads, they can be used for mountain biking. The key component that defines a road bike is the frame geometry. The frame geometry for a mountain bike is much slacker and designed to absorb shock from rough terrain.

When you convert a road bike to a mountain bike, you will need to replace the front forks and the rear shocks. Different types of bikes have different needs. For example, a mountain bike needs to be sturdy and strong to handle the rugged and varied terrain while a road bike needs to be lightweight and aerodynamic.

However, you can still use a road bike frame for mountain biking purposes. Mountain bikes are designed to tackle the rougher terrain of an off-road trail, while road bikes are built with smoother pavement in mind.

But if you’ve got the right parts and know-how, you can turn your road-focused bike into a versatile machine that can handle both on-road and off-road conditions, and we’re here to show you how.

Road bikes have less suspension, so they are better in bumpy terrain. Road bikes also have flat handlebars, which can make steering easier on trails with lots of rocks and roots where riders may need to lean the bike over to get around obstacles.

What Are The Differences Between A Road Bike And Mountain Bike

Road bikes are designed for smooth roads. They are lighter and have narrow wheels that do not handle bumps well. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, are more durable and they have wide tires to go over obstacles easily.

A road bike is a bike that is designed to ride on paved roads. However, a mountain bike is designed for off-road cycling and more rugged terrain.

Road bikes are lighter and faster than mountain bikes. They also have a different type of gearing system that makes it easier to pedal up steep inclines or hills. The biggest difference between the two types of bikes is the frame material.

Road bikers use lightweight aluminum frames while mountain bikers use strong steel frames with shock-absorbing suspension forks. The main difference between a road bike and a mountain bike is the tires. Road bikes have thinner tires and mountain bikes have wider tires.

The narrower tires on a road bike help it move faster over pavement, while the wider tires on a mountain bike provide more stability when riding off-road or on rough terrain. Road bikes are more generally built for paved surfaces such as the roads and walks of a city.

They generally have thinner tires, lighter frames, and components that are easier to maintain. This is not to say that they are not capable of off-road use – many cycling enthusiasts find themselves on mountain bike trails during their ride.

Mountain bikes are built for an altogether different purpose of off-road riding through tough terrain or just fun in the dirt. They have wider tires with treads for gripping loose surfaces, heavier frames with stronger suspension, high-quality brakes for control on steep slopes, and components that can take a beating without breaking down.

Road bikes are long, sleek, and have thin tires. Mountain bikes are built to handle rough terrain. Road bikes are designed for paved surfaces with little or no elevation change. Mountain bikes are built for unpaved surfaces with steep elevation changes.

You don’t usually see electric & hybrid bikes fitted with suspension forks as it would be unwise to add extra weight-fitting features you’re never going to use. Road bikes sit lower to the ground than mountain bikes, and riders lean forward over the handlebars for increased aerodynamics.

Mountain bikers often steer their bicycles by using bodyweight shifts instead of leaning into turns as road cyclists do.

Can you Turn a Road Bike Into a Mountain Bike


In sixteen transformative steps, a road bike morphs into a mountain conqueror, embracing unpredictable trails with newfound versatility. From tire swaps to gear adjustments, each step signifies adaptability.

The converted bike is more than a machine; it’s a statement of resilience. As the last bolt tightens, the road bike becomes a rugged companion for those seeking the thrill of unexplored paths.

This journey across terrains echoes the sentiment that with determination and mechanical finesse, the divide between road and mountain biking transforms into a bridge to adventure.