How To Convert Mountain Bike To Commuter Bike Step By Step

Do you have an old mountain bike, and you need a commuter bike? Simply convert the former to the latter. Yes, you can indeed convert a mountain bike to a commuter bike. But even if your mountain bike is still functional, riding it on the road may seem out of place.

With just some tips, you can transform a more durable, less expensive mountain bike into something more suited for the road. The idea is to reduce the factors that make it suitable off-road. You can save yourself the trouble of taking the train or bus to work every day. In this guide, we show you ways to achieve that.


Mountain bikes are built to absorb and neutralize the impacts of running over roots, rocks, and rough terrain with them. Therefore, you should make the suspension of such a bike more suitable for the road's smoothness. Most mountain bikes today have suspension made for off-road but unsuitable on the road. You can make the necessary adjustments to make it adaptable to the new type of task. 

If you have a lockout, adjusting is simple. If you do not have a lockout, you can adjust it by increasing the suspension's air pressure to make it stiffer. Stiffening it up will reduce any bobbing when you pedal and climb or sprint. You can use a rigid fork for a more permanent solution instead because it makes the bike stiffer and lighter.

Replace The Tires

I would be lying to you if I told you to retain the mountain bike’s tires when converting it to a commuter bike. It should be one of the first things to replace. Get rid of those big heavy rubbers meant for off-road riding. While tires of a mountain are beneficial on the dirt, they will drag and slow you down on the road. Replace them with narrower slick or semi-slick tires. Get the narrowest you can fit in your bike’s rim. 

You will notice a significant difference when you make this change. Your bike will run faster on the road while still providing you with excellent balance and control. This is also the time to switch to puncture-resistant tubes that fit perfectly into the narrow tires. When it is time to put some air in the tube, make sure you pump the tires up hard. When the tires are very hard, it reduces the rolling resistance of the bike. 

Install Fenders

If your mountain bike has fenders, you can do with them when you convert it to a commuter bike. If not, you can put them during the conversion process. They will protect you from being messed up by mud, grime, and water when you ride by them. They will protect your bike in many other ways too. 

To install fenders, inspect the bike, making sure there is enough space between its frame, brake and wheels to accommodate a fender. There are removable fenders for a customizable riding experience, allowing you to remove or put them on when you need to.

Fenders may seem less a necessity in the conversion, but if you want to get to work as clean as you left the house on wet weather days, you have to install or put them on your bike. 

Gearing System

Getting a different wheelset may mean you can change the rear gears to improve the gearing system. The cassette on road bikes usually has more gears in a close range, allowing you to adjust your cadence in small increments.

Therefore, the new set of wheels should come with a different gearing system. Since mountain bike gears are designed to accommodate slow average speeds and steep climbs, it would take quicker spinning on the road when the speed comes up.

Mountain bikes usually have single chainrings, while commuter bikes use larger chainrings to accommodate faster movement experienced in on-road riding. Read more about how to use gears on a mountain bike properly.

Install Lights

Commuting without proper lights can be a foolish move. Cycling requires that you have the right lights installed for safety. It will make you to be seen well in traffic so that other motorists can see you. They are even more helpful at night and in low visibility conditions when they light up your way while increasing your visibility greatly. 

Put the front light on the handlebar right near the stem. If you find the ones with white illumination, the better. Charge them every time you are at home or consider the ones with a battery. Do not forget to include the real light. You can install it at the bike’s stem close to the seat. Some light up red light. Use a rubber strap that stretches to attach it to the stem.

Racks, Baskets, And Panniers

A commuter bike should make it easy for you to carry along some luggage. Since you are prone to carrying things to or from work, market, or grocery store, prepare a safe place to put them.

There are carrying features designed to serve the purpose without putting too much strain when riding. Install a basket at the front and a rack at the rear part of your bike. It will give your bike a stable framework so that it moves forward more efficiently.

Also, you can conveniently strap luggage on it, especially when the weather condition is good. When it is during foul weather, attach panniers to the rack. They will help keep your belongings protected and dry throughout your ride on a rainy day.

Final Verdict

When you are done making the changes, you will have saved a lot of money. The modified version of the commuter bike can come out lovelier than a brand new product. If you do everything well, you may end up with a bike that can survive the pressure of daily commute to and from work. Besides, you get the chance to customize its design to your favorite style. 

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