Tires can be considered the most critical component on your bike. So when your tires eventually wear out and need replacing, you might be curious as to what makes the tires wear out so quickly and when it's a good time to replace them. Here are a few things to look for.
The major cause and probably the most simple reason of premature tire wear is prolonged use of the tire with low pressure. It’s because sidewalls of tires usually fail before the tread is worn out. Low pressure causes the sidewall to bend and flex over and over again, so make sure your tires always pumped.
Cracks along the sidewall of road tires or mountain bike tires is a dead give-away you have sidewall damage and your tire needs replaced. Another indicator is uneven tread wear such as a smooth or bald band on the right and left side of the tire, with good tread in the middle.
Worn out tires are obvious to a professional but if they wear out gradually you might not notice it happening. When you first buy your bike, check the thickness of the rubber where you tire hits the pavement and just monitor as you ride more and more. If you eventually see that point disappear, it might be time to replace your tires.
If you’re still not sure if your tires are worn out, there are a few guidelines applicable per mileage for road bike tires. Most road bike rear tires require replacement in the range of 1,500 to 3,000 miles. Front tires usually run upwards of 2,000 to 4,000 miles. Back tires wear more quickly than the front because about 60 percent or more of your weight is on that tire. Mileage data may not be accurate for mountain bike tires because riding style is too much of a factor.
Frequent flatting is a huge red flag. Several flats in a week or multiple flats on longer rides likely means that your tire needs replaced. This happens because the tread is so thin it can no longer protect the tube from sharp objects. If this is happening to you, bring your bike into one of our stores and learn more about our 3 year guaranteed flat prevention package!
It might be that your tires pass the test for wear but you still hate them because your bike is slow, feels heavy, or cornering is twitchy or unstable. Poor handling is common on puncture-resistant, heavy tires made for flat protection, or even some of the all-weather tires. But they have their advantages. If you live in an area of inclement weather, bad roads or puncture weeds, they are definitely worth it. Lighter tires are great for easy handling and acceleration, but you’ll be fixing more flats and replacing them more often because they wear out faster.
So keep an eye on your tires. Take care of your bike so it takes care of you in return!