Knowing when it’s time to replace bicycle tires can puzzle even the seasoned cyclist. While there is no short answer for when it’s time to change them out, there are several signs to look for that indicate it’s time for fresh rubber. Keeping tires in good shape is important for a variety of factors including safety, traction, and reliability. Plus, a worn tire is more likely to flat or puncture and who likes that?
Worn Tire Tread
This is the most obvious way to tell if it’s time for a new tire. Missing tread from the center of the tire is a good indicator that it’s time to replace it. This is more obvious on mountain bike tires which have big knobby tread that will turn smooth over time. Road bike tires on the other hand might feature a wear indicator, which makes it easy to know when it’s time to replace them. Oftentimes, the rear tire first will wear out first. If that’s the case, you can get away with replacing only one tire. We recommend moving the front tire to the back, so long as it’s still in good shape. Then put your new tire on the front wheel and call it good until the rear tire wears out again!
Flat spots are more of an issue with road bike tires, which are smooth all the way around. This usually happens from locking the brakes and skidding the tire. We know you would never do that, but your friend might have! Flat spots can cause issues at higher speeds or in corners. If a tire has noticeable flat spots, it’s worth replacing.
Gashes, Cuts, and Holes
You may notice holes and gashes in your tires, especially on a road bike. This is due to all the crud and debris on roadways. Naturally will happen slowly break down the tire over time. This type of wear is harder to see on mountain bike tires but usually results in a flat tire. Lots of visible gashes, cuts, or holes in a tire are a good sign that it’s time for a new tire. Any gashes or cuts in the sidewall of the tire should be replaced with a new tire immediately!
Most tire wear usually comes from normal wear and tear, but cracked rubber is usually a sign of a tire that’s too old. If a bike is left out for years in the garage it is probably a good idea to replace the tires. Cracked rubber is bound to fail eventually and present a safety hazard. Get it replaced!
Worn Casing and Constant Flats
The casing of a tire is what holds it all together, sort of like rebar in concrete. A tire that’s past its shelf life will start to show the casing. Depending on the type of tire, this can look like white threads or wires. Another tell-tale sign of worn casing can be constant flats caused by wires poking through the tube. Time for new tires!
We hope this article was useful in helping you determine whether or not it’s time for new tires on your bike. Browse our selection online or visit us in-store at Peak Cycles to shop for the latest tire technology on the market.