Can road bikes be used off road? There is no doubt whatsoever that they sometimes are used for biking off road and there is no way that any individual could convince some people that this is probably not a good practice. Therefore, they technically can be used off road, especially if the conditions are relatively mild such as when trails are marked and there aren’t a lot of obstacles to go over. With that being said, using a road bike for off road adventures is not really the best idea, especially if you plan on keeping that bike for any length of time.
The problem with using a road bike to go off-roading is that it simply isn’t designed for this particular type of activity. Some people have the misconception that a bike is a bike and it can be used for virtually anything, no matter the circumstances. In reality, there are specific bikes that are made for off-roading activities. These bikes are manufactured to a much higher standard than a typical road bike. They are designed with the idea that they will be taken off road and that they will be forced to go over rough terrain, relatively large obstacles and even be dropped from heights of several feet down onto the surface below while the rider is still on board. Because they are designed for this type of activity, they sell for a much higher price point than most other bikes and they have a tendency to last longer.
A road bike, on the other hand, is designed to be ridden on the road, hence its name. It is really not designed to be taken over rocky or otherwise rough terrain, nor is it designed to deal with large holes or sudden changes in elevation. Even if you purchase a high-quality road bike, you can expect to experience problems with it relatively quickly if you start taking it off road. If you have purchased an economy version of a road bike, the last thing you want to do is take it off roading because there is every chance that you will find yourself walking home and carrying whatever is left of the bike on your first outing. They are simply not designed to stand up to that type of punishment.
The end result is that if you insist on taking a road bike off roading, that is your decision but you will have to deal with the consequences, whatever they may be. These consequences could be anything from a sore body to a destroyed bicycle or both, but you would be doing yourself a favor to choose a bike that is actually designed for whatever activity you intend on experiencing with it. If you really want to participate in various off-road activities, you should save up your money and purchase a bike that is designed specifically for that purpose as opposed to trying to make your existing road bike fit the part. This will save you a lot of frustration later on and in the end, it can even save you money.