Can Road Bikes Go Up Curbs?

If you have wondered whether you can hop your road bike up and off curbs, especially if you have done this with mountain bikes, you need to be aware of a few things about attempting this before you try it.

Road bikes can go up curbs, but the problem you may encounter is the risk of pinch flats. This is not so much related to the height of the curb but whether the landing area is flat or sharp, the tire pressure in the wheels, and the rigidity and strength of the rims.

While many riders believe that you can’t take a road bike up a curb or hop one off a curb, that isn’t quite true, and there are many instances of professional riders jumping their premium road machines during races to avoid crashes – so let’s see what it takes to take your road bike up a curb.

Are Road Bikes As Fragile As They Are Made Out To Be?

One of the primary reasons many riders don’t take their road bikes up curbs is that they believe their bike is fragile.

Before carbon fiber, road bikes were made from aluminum, the same material they make aircraft, which means it’s pretty tough and durable. While road bikes are not designed to take the bumps and lumps of mountain biking, they are not fragile.

Road bikes do take a pounding, and if you have ever been on bumpy, uneven surfaces when riding on the road, you’ll know that they are pretty tough, and everyone riding at speed has been over a bump and gotten airborne at some point without the bike frame snapping.

With this in mind, you can certainly take your road bike up and off curbs, but the main considerations are related to the tire pressure and landing surface, so let’s explore those aspects in more detail.

Why Tire Pressure Matters When Road Bikes Go Up Curbs?

A pinch flat is a primary risk of jumping a road bike up or off a curb. This is where the impact causes the inner tube to be pressed onto the rim resulting in an instant flat.

If you take your road bike up curbs and then off again, you need to have good tire pressure, as low tire pressure will increase the potential for a pinch flat because the inner tube has more space to move on impact. Most road bikes inflate to between 6-8 bar, which is three to four times more than your car tire pressure.

Hard to believe that road bikes need that amount of pressure, considering how light they are. Still, they don’t have an active suspension system, so the tire pressure acts as a cushion, and if the pressure is too low, going over even the smallest bumps can result in a pinch flat or even rim damage.

It is always advisable to correct your road bike tire pressure before you ride, so you don’t risk flats and that your tires are correctly inflated to ensure good performance.

While tire pressure is an important factor when taking your road bikes up curbs and off them, there is another factor with more bearing: the landing surface.

Why Is The Landing Surface Important When Taking A Road Bike Up A Curb?

Let’s look at the physics of riding a road bike up and off a curb.

If you hit the curb with your wheel at speed, the chances are you will damage your wheel, your rim, and your tire, so you need to get the timing of your jump perfect to avoid this – but we’ll examine this later on.

When it comes to hopping road bikes, the most important factor is the landing surface. You could easily jump a road bike 4″ or more over a speed bump with a nice flat smooth surface at speed without any issue.

But, if the curb is sharp and edged, the landing surface has stone or other sharp objects, or it’s uneven, you could quite easily wreck your rims and tires attempting to jump and land a road bike.

How To Ride A Road Bike Up A Curb?

Jumping a road bike off a curb is easier than trying to ride up one, and if you are going to do this, there are some points to remember:

  • You will have to lift both wheels independently as you ascend the curb.
  • Get the front wheel up first, and then take the weight off the back wheel as you lift the back end of the curb.
  • As you are about to make contact with the curb, take the weight off the seat by standing and then keep that weight off until you land.

Taking the road bike off the curb is easier, and you only have to get the front end up, much as you would with a mountain bike or BMX, and then take the weight off the back end by getting off the saddle.

Remember, when landing off a curb, try to get both wheels down simultaneously. Otherwise, you risk the ‘rock-n’crash’ where your front wheel comes down with all the weight, and you go over the bars as you hit the road.

This scenario will almost certainly result in the wheel, rim, tube, and tire damage, so make sure you get your approach right and know what the landing surface is on the other side.

This is why it’s critical to time the jump, so your weight is off the saddle when you’re in the air, and the bike can land with both wheels down to reduce the risk of capsizing.

Should You Take A Road Bike Up A Curb

While you can take a road bike up a curb and hop it off again, the question is, should you?

If you have expensive rims, it would not be advisable to risk this unless you have no choice. For example, you’re in a race and must avoid a curb or an obstacle at speed with little or no room to maneuver, or this is required to avoid collision with another ride, animal, or vehicle.

If you have relatively inexpensive wheels and the confidence and skill to get the bike up the curb and down again safely, then there is no reason you could not take your road bike up a curb.


Road bikes are not designed to go up curbs or be hopped off them, but this doesn’t mean that they cannot be provided you have a smooth landing surface and the tire pressure is sufficient to cushion the impact.

Be aware, though, that getting this wrong will result in bike damage and potential injury to you as the rider, so unless you are experienced and confident, this is perhaps something best left to mountain bikes and BMX.


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