Can You Put Pegs on a Mountain Bike?

Pegs are popular in the BMX world. Their primary use is to grind on ledges, but they also provide a pivot point for performing stunts like front wheelies and other aerial maneuvers.

Another purpose is for the peg to act as a luggage carrier. And several riders carry an extra person at the back of their bikes with the help of stunt pegs.

They’re not found on most bikes, so if you want to install pegs on your mountain bike, most likely one of the above two reasons will be your biggest motivator. Doing it is a process, but most of all, it’s not a good idea.

Stunt pegs don’t work on mountain bikes because the bike geometry of a MTB bike is too different from that of a motocross bike. 

So, can you put pegs on a mountain bike? Yes, but you’ll end up having more problems with your mountain bike that outweigh the benefits of the pegs.

Disadvantages of Putting Pegs on a Mountain Bike

These are the main consequences you should consider before putting pegs on your mountain bike.

1. Damage to the Frame and Fork

Damaging your bike frame and fork is the main reason why putting bike pegs on a mountain bike is a bad idea. The frame is the main component of the bicycle, holding parts like the chain, wheels, and seat.

A mountain bike frame is made of two types of materials – aluminum alloy or carbon. Aluminum is stronger than carbon fiber but both are not strong enough to handle the maximum weight of the bike pegs.

Installing the pegs will, hence, add lateral stress to your MTB frame, leading to unpleasant rides. If used for a long time, this eventually damages the frame.

If you plan on performing aggressive BMX-style tricks, the damage happens sooner than you’d expect—sometimes even after a simple bad landing on a ledge (this also damages the rear derailleur).

The reason why BMX bikes and a few different bikes perform so well with stunt pegs is that the frame and fork are made out of steel – a stronger material compared to aluminum and carbon. The tubing is also thicker and shorter compared to the thin long tubing of mountain bike frames—this adds extra strength to the frame of a motocross bike.

2. Costly Installation

This is what adding pegs on a MTB requires if you plan to use the normal axle pegs: Aside from buying a new hub, you’ll need a new rear wheel, a new rear derailleur, a new gear set, and a new shifter—at this point, you might as well just buy a motocross bicycle.

3. Constant Flat Tires

If your reason for installing rear pegs is for them to act as a carrier for your MTB bike, prepare for several rear-tire repairs.

If you compare motocross bikes with mountain bikes, one of the first things you’ll notice is the difference in tire size. BMX bikes have thicker tires while mountain bike tires are slimmer (though bigger in size).

Most mountain bikes are used when cross-country riding or trail riding in the woods. In these areas, thinner tires help you quickly maneuver through the tracks while avoiding loose branches and other inconveniences that could cause an accident.

BMX or motocross bikes are used for more aggressive, impact-related activities. 

Thicker tires help absorb the impact while also adding to the geometry that makes the bicycle strong (smaller frame, upright handlebars, etc.). This also adds to better shoe grip.

If you carry extra weight on your mountain bike after installing bike pegs, the extra weight will add excess stress to the back wheel. This can cause a puncture or raise the front tire, causing an imbalance due to added weight on one side of the bike.

4. Pegs Make the Bicycle Wider

Still on the topic of tires, pegs on a mountain bike widen up the bike profile. So even though you’ll still have thin tires, the wider structure will hinder you when riding through difficult trails.

This also messes up the direction of the bike, leading to the possibility of severe injuries.

5. Complicated Installation

Mountain bikes today have quick-release skewers to help attach the wheel to the bike. Some high-end mountain bikes have thru-axles, but there are rarely any other similar components fitted on mountain bikes.

Both quick-release skewers and thru-axles have structures that are not compatible with stunt pegs. For one thing, quick-release skewers sometimes end with plastic tips. 

Not only are they also shorter, but the wheel nuts are harder to tighten when fitted with bike pegs (and if you succeed in doing so, this only adds more lateral stress). Quick-release and thru-axles also have little exposed space to install pegs.

To mount pegs on a mountain bike, many riders use more solid axle types to attach to the bike e.g., long, bolt-on axles. You’ll need to buy the bolt-on axles before taking out the quick-release axles on your MTB and fitting them on.

A second, more damaging procedure is to attach a stunt peg to an M5 bolt. These bolts are more fragile and can cause quick damage to the aluminum frame compared to if you install new bolt-on axles.

One thing you need to note here is that you’ll need to carry a bunch of tools when going out mountain biking (socket, wrench to unscrew the lug nuts, etc.). In case you get a flat tire, the process of taking it out is more complicated now that you have pegs installed on the bike.

How to Go About Attaching Pegs on a Mountain Bike

So, if you’ve read all of that and you still want to put BMX pegs on your MTB bike, then you’re one determined individual.

Stunt pegs have a diameter of 36mm on average. Remember that smaller pegs exert less weight on mountain bikes while larger pegs add more weight.

Some mountain bikes are also compatible with 14mm axles. These axles have the same thickness as those on motocross bikes.

Here are some scenarios that guarantee a safer biking experience.

1. Steel Frame and Fork

If you don’t mind the extra cost, you can change your aluminum alloy or carbon MTB frame and install a steel frame and fork. The extra weight that comes with the rear pegs or even front pegs won’t weigh your bicycle down as metal surfaces, such as a steel frame, are capable of handling the weight brought about by the pegs.

Most BMX bikes have a Chromoly steel frame. This material is more expensive than your regular carbon steel but it’s stronger; you can choose to use the same for your MTB bikes.

This also works for the fork. Although you don’t need to install pegs at the front wheel, a strong steel fork helps resist impact.

2. Use a High-Bottom Bracket

The bottom bracket is right below your frame and is what enables you to pedal successfully. You’ll also see the axle and bearing cartridge (if your bike has one) at this part.

The reason why BMX bikes are so nimble (and hence easy to maneuver) is that the bottom bracket is located higher than the axle. A lower bottom bracket makes for a more stable platform.

Due to the lack of clearance when installing pegs on your MTB, the cranks might also cause some interference when the bottom bracket is too low. A higher bottom bracket solves this problem.

3. Consider a Single-Speed MTB

Single-speed bikes are characterized by having fewer parts than their geared counterparts, explaining their low price point (and inexpensive maintenance costs). They’re also similar to road bikes.

Significant components missing in a single-speed bike are derailleurs. Their absence enables you to take on more demanding tasks with your MTB than if they were installed.

Single-speed bikes also require some extra effort. 

Not all bikes hand over control to the rider  and considering that single-speed bikes do is a good sign that you’ve found the right bike to attach pegs for tricks.

Conclusion

Can you put pegs on a mountain bike? Yes, but it’s best if you don’t.

It’s better if you buy a new motocross bicycle altogether. The costs that come with maintaining the modified mountain bike can amount to the price of one BMX bike with time, so you might as well get it over with right now.

You can also buy a single-speed mountain bike (or even a road bike). They’re not like-for-like similar to a motocross bicycle, but the geometries are closer.

The most important thing is determining what lies ahead on your biking journey. From there on, you can make your own decision on whether or not to install pegs on your mountain bike.