Looking at this heading reminds me of a time some years back when I wanted to purchase a bike but lacked something; experience.
I bought what I was attracted to; a hybrid bike. And then, after using it for a while, it became clear to me that the kind of bike I want is a mountain bike.
I began thinking, asking myself, can I convert the hybrid into a mountain bike? That is when my long search for the possibility of conversion began.
Yes, you can turn a Hybrid bike into a Mountain bike. But note that the success rate in converting a mountain bike to a hybrid is far higher than that of converting from a hybrid to a mountain bike. In making such a conversion, you will have to change many parts and spend much. However, hybrid bikes can do off-road riding.
As we progress in this article, we will see if you can turn a hybrid bike into a mountain bike and how to do so. Then we will know if it can run on mountain trails and get tips on riding there.
Can You Convert a Hybrid Bike into a Mountain Bike?
We established above that converting a hybrid bike to a mountain bike is possible. However, it is not something I will recommend for someone I know, trust, and love.
Making this conversion will take away much of your time and money for purchasing and changing parts, and the labor cost will be very high.
In the end, the total cost may almost be the same rate as a new mountain bike.
But first, let us know the difference between both bikes.
#1. Hybrid Bike
Before buying a bike, you should have a goal or reason to help you decide what bike you should go for.
As you can tell from the name, hybrid bikes have great flexibility. It allows for adjustment between roads and trails, the paths of both road bikes and mountain bikes.
There are quite a few hybrid bikes whose design makes them look almost like mountain bikes. But they can never take on the dangerous off-road conditions available.
#2. Mountain Bike
Some unique characteristics of mountain bikes are that they can move through steep drops, thick mud, and large bumps. So it is for off-road, rugged terrain, and fun on dirt.
Mountain bikes have heavier frames, more rigid suspension, and wide tires with thread that appear to hold firmly to loose soils.
The high-quality breaks help you to maintain control in steep areas. Even more remarkable is that most of its parts can endure challenging situations.
How to Convert a Hybrid Bike into a Mountain Bike?
While attempting to convert your hybrid bike to a mountain bike, there are about three things you need to give your full attention to. These three things are the tires, the rims, and the frames.
The size of your tire can even affect your chain and frame clearance. So if, for instance, you have a tire of 42-622 and it appears okay, then stick to it.
Let us say you decide to pick a 50-622 tire, and it balances well on the rim; it does not mean it is correct. Such a tire can still pose a severe challenge to the frame and chain.
Now that you have a tire and a rim, the hybrid bike’s frame is not equipt for the stress going on a particular track will bring.
So you will be fine if you take it out for occasional riding; there will be no issue. But if you are converting it to serve for the long term, then you should think twice about the frame.
When it comes to naming tires and rims, there are a lot of metrics for calling them. But I suggest you ignore all other naming standards and go for the ISO standard.
For instance, you do not want to pay for another naming except the ISO standard, like the 42-622. 622 is the ISO standard for your tires and rims if converting to a mountain bike.
Although, I do not know of any hybrid frame that accepts a 29er (29-inch frame). However, if you have one, you should pay attention to the brakes.
The reason for watching for brake clearance issues is that the tire size may cause the brake arms to touch the tire before getting to the rim.
Can You Use a Hybrid Bike on Mountain Trails?
It is possible because hybrid bikes are three types: mountain bike-based hybrid bikes, road bike-based hybrid bikes, and commuter hybrids.
You will have the most off-road capabilities when you use the mountain bike-based hybrid bike. But, while doing so, it will still provide you with a hybrid bike’s versatility.
These bikes have the widest tire you will ever find on a hybrid bike and more rigid frames and brakes. However, it will still lack a rear suspension.
Below are some of the things that make it challenging to use a hybrid bike on mountain trails;
#1. Tyre Design
The heavy-duty tires of mountain bikes that are wide with thick bumpy thread allow them to hold firmly to dirt and mud.
Unfortunately, it is a factor that is undesirable for roads because it can slow you down.
However, hybrid bike tires are narrower and slicker, with lighter thread somewhere between the mountain bike and road bike tires.
#2. Frame and Suspension
Mountain bikes go against many obstacles on trails and land from very high jumps of two to three meters but remain fine. All of this is possible thanks to its design.
It can do all that due to its front and back suspension and the heavy stainless steel frames. Its stretch-out riding position also allows for a proper landing.
However, hybrid bikes lack rear suspension and, at times, none. Although, it has very comfortable handlebars similar to that of mountain bikes.
#3. Gears and Brakes
The gears of mountain bikes allow you to take on a lot of steep slopes, and the disc brakes or, at times, hydraulic brakes help the bike to stop quickly and efficiently.
However, because of its design for speed and comfort, hybrid bikes have fewer gearing options that even start at a higher point. Although it also uses a disc brake.
Tips For Riding a Hybrid Bike on Mountain Trails
Here are the tips that can help you use hybrid bikes on Mountain trails:
#1. Reduce Air Pressure in Tyres
Since hybrid tires are not as comprehensive as mountain bikes, reducing air pressure makes them wider, giving them more road grip and covering more surface area.
Furthermore, when you slightly deflate your tire, you provide added suspension. It will help when riding over bumps.
The table below shows the required air pressure of three types of bikes;
|Bike||Air Pressure (psi)|
|Road||80 to 120|
|Hybrid||40 to 70|
|Mountain||20 to 35|
Seeing the differences between the air pressure requirement of hybrid to mountain bikes, you now know why it is essential to deflate your hybrid tire just a little.
#2. Work on Off-road Skills
Yes, you cannot compare the capabilities of a hybrid bike with that of a mountain bike. But with a hybrid bike, you can grow and work on your skills.
With the experience you gain from more accessible trails, you will become better at off-road riding. You can use a hybrid bike to hone your skills by visiting the tracks of your local park.
#3. Avoid Jumpings and Stay Low
Since the frame of your hybrid is for use on smoother trails with little steepness and bumps, you should also avoid routes that will make you take big jumps.
Having an idea of the limit of your bike will allow you to use it efficiently and to its full capacity without going beyond its range.
#4. Use Hybrid Bike With Front Fork Suspension
Choosing a hybrid bike with a front fork suspension will help a lot in shock absorption when you compare it with those without a break resulting in a smoother riding experience.
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