Are full suspension bikes good on road? – GoMTBiking

Published by Praful N on

Full suspension bikes are the best when it comes to trails because of their structure and front-rear suspension system. But what about roads?

Are full suspension bikes good on-road?

No, full-suspension bikes compared to hardtail bikes are not good at roads because of the weight of the bike, extra rear suspension system which does not help a rider in any way on roads and also is not worth it if you’re buying it for roads. They can be good at rough roads which include potholes and dirt roads but for the smooth roads and pavements, they’re not worth it. 

That doesn’t mean that you’re not able to ride on roads, it’s only going to tougher than other bikes because of its bike structure.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything about why full suspension bikes are not the best options for roads and everything related to full suspension bikes.

When should you not get a full suspension bike for roads?

Look, full-suspension bikes come up with front and rear suspension forks which makes them super-efficient on the rocky and bumpy trails. But when it comes to roads, all the extra specifications like front rear suspension, the heavier weight of the bike components, and overall bike weight will make it slower on roads.

When it comes to the main question about when should you not get a full suspension bike for roads, the answer is if you’re mainly riding on smoother trails and roads for 90% of the time. 

I mean, you don’t need much traction, handling abilities, and shock absorption if you’re riding mostly on roads and smoother trails. The better option would be to get a hardtail bike that comes with the only front suspension which I’ll discuss in the later section of this article.

As you know, mountain bikes itself is the weighted bike for roads and the extra specifications of the mountain bike don’t give an extra benefit, but will only result in your speed and will make you pedal ×2 compared to road bikes because of the wider tires which end up with rolling resistance and also the bike geometry.

So if you’re riding mostly on roads, buy a road bike and if you’re riding mostly on smoother trails and also on roads, then normal hardtail bikes work like charm on moderate rough trails and also in harder conditions of dirt roads like potholes.

When should you get a full suspension bike for roads?

This heading can be a controversial question, in the last section I have clearly stated the drawbacks of buying a full suspension bike for roads and why it’s not the option for anybody who’s the sole focus is riding on roads and also on smoother & moderately rough trails.

Let’s get straight to the question, why you should be buying full suspension for roads?  If you’re a technical mountain biker and also ride on roads for 20% – 30% of the time, then go for full suspension bikes. As I have mentioned in the intro that you can ride full-suspension bikes on roads and also spending 70-80% of your riding time on technical trails which includes a rocky and bumpy path, the full-suspension bike is the best options compared to the hardtail mountain bikes.

Also, even if you take the full-suspension mountain bike on roads in the given condition, then it’s fine. You’ll need to pedal twice compared to road bikes and you can also take it as an advantage like having a workout or anything like that.

There are some modifications that you can make on your full suspension bikes for making them a little better on roads or pavements which I’ll be discussing in the later section of this article.

That’s it!! Looking at the condition, you should not go with any other as you’re only riding on roads for 20% of the time, and on another side, you’ll be riding on the rocky and bumpy trails. A hardtail bike will not work well for these conditions.

Will riding on roads damage my full suspension MTB?

No, riding on roads will not damage your full suspension mountain bikes as they’re much stronger compared to other bikes, so they’ll not have any damage when it comes to the bike geometry and the frame. 

But there might be minor damages in the long run. If you’re aggressively riding on smoother surfaces like roads or pavements with your full suspension bikes all the time then in rare cases you might find minor damages like wear and tear.

In most cases, they’re not going to hurt your full suspension bikes in any way instead full suspension bikes will work well on areas like dirt roads, humps, and potholes.

How is a full suspension bike different from road bikes on roads?

If you compare full suspension mountain bikes and road bikes, these are completely different when it comes to bike structure, frame, abilities, tires and they’re designed for different riding purposes.

On roads, road bikes are amazing as they’re designed for riding on smoother regions like roads or pavement. Road bikes come up with slick skinny tires that don’t offer much traction and also not resulting in rolling resistance which makes them perfect for riding on streets and roads. Also, the bike structure is aerodynamic and they don’t come up with a suspension system.

Whereas, full-suspension bikes come with thicker and wider tires which makes them better attraction and rolling resistance, which works great for trails but not for roads. And also the front-rear suspension system adds up a lot of weight bike components which makes the rider harder to pedal on roads and pavements.

Don’t worry, if you’re a technical mountain biker then you don’t need to look at the disadvantages of the full suspension bikes. The bike is so versatile and also you will have a chance of riding a full-suspension mountain bike on roads and also the technical terrain. Whereas with road bikes you’ll have very few chances of riding comfortably even on moderate trails because of the road bike’s lightweight bike components and inability to ride on rough and bumpy terrains.

Read more: Can You Ride Mountain Bikes on Road or Pavement?(Everything you need to know) – GoMTBiking

Let’s look at some tips for taking full suspension bikes on roads and also some upgrades that you can make on full suspension bikes faster on roads and pavements.

Tips and tweaks for riding full suspension MTB on roads

  • The first tweak would be to have a proper tire for road biking. If possible buy an extra pair of thin tires that fit properly on your full suspension mountain bike and also make sure to check the tire pressure. Most of the time, road bikes come up with 80 psi to sometimes 100 times which can be insane for any mountain bike as you know full suspension mountain bike comes up with 25psi. Try adding some more psi and also don’t overinflate your bike tires as they’ll end up in puncture.
  • Adjust your handlebar and seat post. Usually, full-suspension mountain bikes are structured aggressively as they’re mostly used for technical terrain. So when you’re riding on roads make sure to keep your seat post a little higher and also the handlebar so you’ll have a much better position for riding fast on smoother surfaces like roads. Another upgrade is to keep your stem length higher as they’re will work like a charm for you when you’re riding on roads. Most of the downhill and technical terrains, mountain bikes come with a shorter stem, if they’re adjustable you can easily change it whenever you want.
  • Try to better at shifting gears. As you know while riding on typical technical mountain biking terrains, you’ll be changing positions and also the gear to suit your riding rough conditions. But for road biking, you don’t need to be like that and also correct your riding & sitting posture as you’ll not be riding on technical terrains, make sure your heads are up and try to be in an aerodynamic position. 
  • The last tip would be if you’re riding mostly on roads with little bumps and potholes buy a hybrid bike not a full suspension bike as you know full suspension is a little harder to pedal. Also if you’re mostly riding on smoother trails and roads, buy a hardtail bike because they’ll be much more fun compared to full suspension bikes.

Related: How to make your mountain bike faster on roads? 

Can you ride a full-suspension bike on a road race?

Yes, you can ride a full-suspension bike on roads but it’s not the best decision for you as they are much harder to pedal on roads. You’ll mostly regret it after you end up being the last one to cross the finish line.

Whatever tweak you make, you can completely convert a full suspension bike to a road bike and they’re very bad at going uphill.

My recommendation would be to rent a road bike if you’re riding it on the road race.

My takeaway!

Are full suspension bikes good on-road? No, they’re not and also they’re not designed for roads. But you can ride full-suspension bikes on roads. You’ll struggle a bit compared to hardtail mountain bikes.

Make sure you make some tweaks on your full suspension mountain bike which I have mentioned in the previous section.

If you enjoyed reading this article about riding a full-suspension mountain bike on road, share it with your friends and colleagues. 

Keep riding😉

Related: Why are MTB slower than road bikes and hybrid bikes? – GoMTBiking