If you were a 90’s kid like me, you know your bike wasn’t cool unless it had stunt pegs on it. They were the first addition I’d make to any new bike I bought.
Did I ever do any awesome tricks with them? Nope. Unless you count my younger brother using them to hang off the back of my bike as we cruised around the neighborhood…
But that wasn’t the point. You just had to look cool.
Now that I’m older, I’ve learned looking cool doesn’t replace actual skill. I’ve also ditched the BMX-style bike for a mountain bike.
So what about putting pegs on a mountain bike?
If your mountain bike has bolt-on front and rear axles, then you can add pegs. However, most modern mountain bikes now use quick-release thru-axles. While this makes taking off and putting on your wheels much easier and faster, it means there aren’t any bolts to attach pegs to.
There are some aftermarket kits that allow you to bypass this pesky issue of modern design, which I’ll cover in more detail later on.
But before you go modifying your mountain bike, remember Jeff Goldblum’s wise words in Jurassic Park: Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
In the rest of this article, we’ll address:
Is It Possible To Add Pegs to a Mountain Bike?
It is indeed possible to add pegs to a mountain bike…if that mountain bike uses bolt-on axles. A bolt-on axle is–as the name implies–an axle that requires loosening bolts to remove the front or rear wheel.
The real challenge today would be finding a mountain bike that still uses this type of axle. Thanks to trickle-down technology, even the most budget-friendly mountain bikes now use more modern quick-release thru-axles–where a quick-release lever is used to remove a skewer that runs through the hub and holds the wheel in place.
In fact, even the cheapest mountain bikes from three of the largest-volume bike manufacturers in the world all come standard with quick-release axles: The Trek Marlin 4; Giant Talon 2; and Specialized Rockhopper 29.
As I mentioned above, you can find aftermarket parts that claim to make pegs compatible with any mountain bike. One example of this is the Peg Wedge at Mafiabike.com–though this component is secured to your bike with zip-ties. Not sure about you, but that doesn’t sound very secure to me…
But even if you can, let’s examine why you may not want to add pegs to your mountain bike.
Should You Add Pegs to Your Mountain Bike?
Personally, I would never add pegs to my mountain bike, and you probably shouldn’t either. Here are some good reasons why:
Nowhere to Use Them.
If you use a mountain bike to, well…mountain bike–whether you ride XC, singletrack, enduro, or downhill at bike parks–you’re going to be very disappointed when you find there aren’t any features you’ll come across where you can use pegs.
Even a trials bike extraordinaire like Danny MacAskill doesn’t bother with pegs on his bikes…and he does some unbelievable tricks, like this!
If you do happen to find some sweet feature you could grind on, trail builders tend to frown on unnecessary trail destruction–especially the man-made elements that volunteers spend hours upon hours building for everyone’s enjoyment. You’ll probably get some dirty looks from other trail users anyway, so please respect the trail and any natural or man-made features on it!
And with how often most trails tend to change elevation, you’re going to be shifting gears a lot. This kinda makes taking your feet off the pedals an inefficient way to ride…unless you actually like losing all your momentum and walking your bike uphill…
Potential to Cause a Crash/Injury.
It’s called singletrack for a reason.
Many mountain bike trails are very narrow; just wide enough for one bike at a time. This means you’ll be flying past all sorts of nature–vines, trees, roots, rocks–at a high rate of speed. Pegs provide nature with a few extra inches of bike to snag, which could send you over the handlebars–and straight to the emergency room.
I don’t need an aftermarket bike component to help me wipe out: I do that just fine on my own!
You’re Not a Shuttle!
I don’t know about you, but my friends have gotten a lot heavier since I was a kid. The last thing I want to do is tackle a tough climb with my 200lb buddy standing on the back of my bike.
And it would be super dangerous to even attempt to shred a downhill section with a passenger!
BMX Bikes vs Mountain Bikes
So what makes BMX bikes peg-worthy, but mountain bikes…not so much?
It comes down to the intended use each bike was designed for.
BMX bikes are very small, robust bikes specifically meant for tricks. They have relatively small wheels (compared to mountain bikes), no suspension, a single gear and a rear brake only. They’re small and nimble, making them easy to maneuver in the air.
Mountain bikes, on the other hand, have larger wheels to get over obstacles and lots of suspension to smooth out rough terrain. They have a whole cassette of gears to help you keep up the momentum on climbs and descents, and powerful front and rear brakes to make sure you stop when you need to.
Mountain bikes would make terrible BMX bikes. And BMX bikes would make terrible mountain bikes…though I’ve seen a few brave riders use them out on the trails from time to time.
If you’re more interested in the kinds of tricks that require pegs, a BMX bike would be a much better choice for your style of riding.
But, if you insist on trying it, and if you manage to find a mountain bike with bolt-on axles…
How to Put Pegs on a Mountain Bike
So, you’re still keen on adding pegs to your mountain bike?
Or maybe you decided to buy a BMX bike instead (if so, good call!)
Here’s how to properly install them:
- Decide whether you want pegs on the front axle, rear axle, or both
- Remove nut and spacer from one side of the axle with a socket wrench (it’s easiest to install one peg at a time to keep everything else in place)
- Place peg flush against fork dropout or rear dropout
- Use an extension on your socket wrench to thread nut through peg and back onto axle
- NOTE: The peg will now serve as the spacer, so you don’t need to put the spacers back on when tightening the nut on the axle
- Repeat above steps for each peg you wish to add
If you’re more of a visual learner (like me), check out the below video tutorial.
Get the Right Bike for Your Riding Style
Every type of bike that exists was designed for a specific purpose. Though it is possible to add pegs to a mountain bike if you’re determined, it’s much better–and safer–to choose a bike that was built with that style of riding in mind.
If you want to do tricks at a bike park, buy a BMX bike.
If you want to get out in nature and shred singletrack, buy a mountain bike.
Or get both! Because any type of biking is awesome!
Before visiting the nearest store, don’t forget to read our article about negotiating bicycle prices.