Can You Use MTB Hubs on Road Bike? (Explained)

Are you an avid cyclist looking to upgrade your road bike but hesitant to invest in new hubs? Or maybe you’re an amateur rider wondering if you can mix and match parts from different types of bikes to create your perfect ride. Either way, you want to use MTB hubs on road bikes.

Can You Use MTB Hubs on Road Bike

Can You Use MTB Hubs on Road Bike?

Road bikes are generally for smooth and flat surfaces, while mountain bikes are built to handle more rugged and uneven terrains. People might want to combine the benefits of both bikes by using MTB hubs on a road bike.

While it’s possible to use MTB hubs on a road bike, there are certain compatibility issues to keep in mind. The over-locknut dimension (O.L.D.) and axle sizes need to match, and the wider MTB hubs may not fit into a road bike’s frame designed for rim brakes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using MTB hubs on a road bike, including durability and extra spoke holes but also added weight and potentially less attractive aesthetics. [1]

Compatibility Issues: O.L.D and Axles

One of the main compatibility issues when it comes to using MTB hubs on a road bike is the over-locknut dimension (O.L.D) and the axle type.

The O.L.D refers to the spacing between the two locknuts on the hub, and each bike frame is made for a particular O.L.D. If the hub’s O.L.D doesn’t match the frame’s design, the wheel might not fit properly or will be unstable.

Thus, it is crucial to ensure that the MTB hub’s O.L.D matches the road bike frame’s design.

Another consideration is the axle type, as the hubs, forks, and frame must be made for the same retention system. Quick-release skewers and thru-axles quite common types.

It is important to note that if the hub works with a thru-axle but the frame/fork are made for quick-release skewers, the combination will be a fail. [2]

Benefits: MTB Hubs on a Road Bike

Using MTB hubs on a road bike may seem unconventional, but there are some benefits to doing so.

MTB hubs tend to be stronger than road hubs due to the rougher terrain they are designed for, leading to increased durability and longevity.

They also have superior seals to prevent moisture and dirt from entering the mechanism. Additionally, MTB hubs have more spoke holes, which can be useful if you have a rim with 36 or more spokes and have trouble finding a road hub with the necessary spoke holes.

For road cyclists who frequently encounter bad weather, using MTB hubs can be a smart choice.

While there are some downsides, such as compatibility issues and added weight, the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks depending on your specific needs and preferences. [3]

Drawbacks: MTB Hubs on a Road Bike

While it may be tempting to try to fit MTB hubs on a road bike, there are some drawbacks to consider.

Compatibility issues may arise as not all MTB hubs will fit on a road bike frame. Even if they do fit, MTB hubs are most likely going to be heavier than road hubs, making the bike less nimble and efficient.

Additionally, some people may not like the appearance of MTB hubs on their road bike, as road hubs often have more refined details.

Weight Comparison: MTB Hubs vs Road Hubs

When it comes to weight, there is a noticeable difference between MTB hubs and road hubs.

On average, MTB front hubs are 54% heavier than front Road hubs, while rear MTB hubs are 65% heavier than rear Road hubs.

This is because road bikes are designed to be lightweight for efficient long-distance travel, while MTB hubs are made to withstand the heavy impacts and pressures of off-roading.

While heavier MTB hubs may offer extra durability, they can add excess weight to a road bike, making it less efficient on flat roads.

Should You Go After Aesthetics?

When it comes to aesthetics, some road cyclists might shy away from the look of an MTB hub on their sleek and streamlined road bike.

There are fine details on road bike hubs that add to the beauty of the bicycle, while MTB hubs are often bulkier and heavier looking.

However, the appearance of the hub is a matter of personal preference, and it is important to consider the functionality of the hub over its appearance when choosing a suitable hub for your road bike.

Additionally, if you are more concerned with functionality over appearance, the extra durability and superior seals of an MTB hub may be worth considering for your road bike, especially if you frequently ride in bad weather conditions.

Durability: MTB Hubs vs Road Hubs

MTB hubs are designed to handle more stress due to the rougher terrain they are intended for. They are made from stronger materials to withstand high-impact situations.

On the other hand, road hubs are designed to be lightweight and provide smoother gear changes for long-distance travel on smooth pavements and tarred roads.

While road hubs may not be as durable as MTB hubs, they still provide adequate strength for their intended use.

Ultimately, it is important to consider the type of riding you plan to do before making a decision on which hub to use.

For rougher terrain and more intense riding, MTB hubs may be the better option, while road hubs are suitable for sleek and lightweight long-distance travel.

Extra Spoke Holes: Road Hubs vs MTB Hubs

Road hubs and MTB hubs differ in the number of spoke holes they have.

MTB hubs have more spoke holes than Road hubs because road wheels are designed with less emphasis on durability and more on weight and aerodynamics. However, fewer spokes also mean a weaker wheel.

In contrast, MTB hubs tend to have extra spoke holes for added strength and durability. This means that riders who need a stronger wheel can opt for an MTB hub. [4]


MTB hubs can be used on road bikes in some cases. The compatibility between the two depends on the corresponding O.L.D. and matching axles. A basic front MTB hub can fit on a road wheel, but a rear MTB hub won’t fit on a rim brake road frame. However, a road frame designed for disc brakes can work with an MTB hub as long as it has an O.L.D. of 135mm.

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