How Long Do Bike Tires Last?

By: Alex Bristol

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How long do bike tires last

When should I change my bike tires?

When was the last time you changed your tires?

Whether you’re a beginner cyclist or an advanced one, this is an age old question that we have all asked ourselves- How long do bike tires last? and when should you replace them?

The truth is there is no easy answer to this, too many factors are involved, from the miles you cycle, to how often you cycle, to the weather conditions and type of surface you cycle on.

That’s where I come in.

It doesn’t have to be complicated to change your bike tires, and with a bit of maintenance and checks, you can find out pretty quickly whether your bike is in need of a fresh set of tires.

If you’re like me and have a need for speed when out riding, then it’s even more important your tires are in top condition to keep you safe when out on the road.

Keep reading to find out if you need a new set!

Average of how long bike tires last

Although it does depend on a few different factors, there are some general rules as to how long you can expect a bike tire to last.

Depending on the brand, tire thickness, and various other things, a bike tire usually lasts anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 miles as an average. Keep in mind that this can still vary greatly as tires wear differently.

If you have more premium tires, then it’s likely this number will be bigger. If you have endurance tires, for example, some tires are puncture-resistant tires or touring tires, they will also be longer-lasting.

If your tires are more focused on speed, then they may not last as long and need replacing at 1,000 miles due to their minimalist, slim construction.

It is not easy to estimate the lifespan of bike tires. However, most bike tires have a lifespan of 1000-2000 miles but it depends with so many factors like material, terrain, and how you use the bike.

If you use the bike more often, you may need to buy new tires several times within a year.

How to check your tires

That being said, your tires should rarely catch you by surprise. There are a few simple checks you can do to see if your tires are showing signs of wear, and this will give you an idea of how long they have left.

Maintenance checks:

Check your treads- These are the grooves on the part of the tire that is in contact with the ground. It gives traction so these need to be deep and not flat. On racing tires, these may be smoother, so it’s useful to compare them with new ones if possible.

Check the contact patch- for tires with no tread, there is a section that goes over your bike’s tire which comes into contact with the road, so you can check how it wears out.

Check sidewall- Check to see if the sidewall is full, or if it is starting to thin out, or if there are threads and cracks

Criss cross threads- this is a pattern underneath the protective rubber. This should not normally be seen at all.

Punctures: you may see pieces of glass, small rocks, or nails lodged into the tire, these could also be problematic.

I recommend regularly checking your tires for signs of wear and punctures, as it’s better to catch them early and ensure you are riding in the safest conditions.

Warnings Signs

Here are a few signs that you should look out for, that could mean its time to change your tires:

  • Smooth grooves, or not as deep treads
  • thin contact patch
  • stones, glass, or nails lodged in the tire
  • small cuts or obvious signs of wear

These things may not mean you need to change your tires immediately, but they should pace you on alert and are good to let you know if they are beginning to show signs of wear.

When to replace bike tires

Now that you know how to check your tires for signs of wear, and a few signs they are starting to age, you need to know at which point to replace them immediately.

  • Deep cuts or tears or rips
  • Shard of glass or nails penetrating (causing puncture)
  • Completely smooth, non-existent treads
  • Blad patches or flat spots on the tire
  • The sidewall get damaged to an extent that you can see the cords inside.
  • You may also see the cords that are usually located below the tread.
  • Inner tube may protrude through the tire.
  • Frequent flats

Ideally, you need to swap out your tires before it gets to any of these parts, however, if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to change your tires immediately.

Do not ride or cycle with tires that have any of these signs, it could be a major safety hazard.

Why you should replace your bike tires

It can be difficult to know when to replace your tires. Knowing their breaking point is a good start, so ensure you check the signs regularly.

If you wait until the last minute before replacing your tires, you risk having them max out in the middle of the ride. This is definitely not what you want, because I can guarantee you it will happen in the most inconvenient, isolated place far from home and it will start raining.

However, things can also become worse than that. If your tires are not safe for riding, it will be a safety hazard. That means you could find it breaks down in the worst place and you end up injuring yourself, anywhere from the bike tire skidding across the ground to falling off.

You should avoid riding your bike if you haven’t used it in a long time as the tire can get hard and crack easily. Try to replace it when you get a puncture instead of using temporary patches.

You may also want to consider replacing your tires when you feel like your current tires are affecting your performance. For example, upgrading mountain bike tires or road bike tires to specific ones for your riding can make a difference.

What causes bike tires to wear?

Design –The materials that are used to construct the tire may also affect the durability. The most common materials used are soft, hard and hybrid rubber.

Soft rubber provides better traction and grip. However, this material may not last long and the control will deteriorate as the tread wears.

On the other hand, hard rubber provides less control but it lasts longer and it is more stable than the soft rubber. Hybrid tires feature a soft rubber on the outer part and hard rubber which is located between the casing and the treads.

As a result, they provide the best grip especially when cornering.

Underinflation – One of the major causes of tire wears is under inflating. Again, underinflating your tires will also lead to frequent flats.

Always ensure that the tires are well inflated to avoid ruining the sidewalls. This may lead to a great risk of a blowout.

Surface– When riding on tough areas like in rocky areas, the tires may not last since they are likely to get into contact with sharp stones.

Also when riding on the road, debris, thorns and sharp objects will also affect the lifespan of the tires.

How to make your tires last longer

The best way to ensure that your bike tires will last is by ensuring that you have purchased puncture-resistant tires. If possible, you can even add a tire liner between the tube and tire. This will strengthen the tire and will minimize chances of wears.

Another thing is by purchasing quality tires that can work on all terrains. Always check the materials before buying to ensure that they are sturdy enough.

If you will be using the bike in areas with lots of sharp objects and thorns, you need to look for thorn resistant tubes.

Final Thoughts

Replacing your bicycle tires can seem like a chore when it comes to cycling. But the truth is we may be cycling well over 1,000 to 3,000 miles and our bicycle tires are in sore need of replacing.

Tire life expectancy can make all the difference when we’ve driven too many miles. Thats why I would always recommend investing in a good pair of tires or even touring tires to increase the tire life expectancy.

You may find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere 2,500 miles away without a bike shop nearby to help you replace the tire. New tires can be expensive, but tires can last longer if you look after them more.

In most cases, the back tire will wear faster than the front tire because of your weight. This means that you will need to replace it first. Some people would prefer exchanging it with the front tire.

Even if this will save your money instead of buying a new tire, it will have some effect. Since the front wheel is usually responsible for steering, braking and traction, reusing a worn out tire may not be the best idea.

Instead, you should replace it with a new tire if you really care about your safety. Bike tires are also affordable which means that you do not need to spend a lot of money

Road bikes need road tires that you can rely on every ride. Mountain bikes are the same and could benefit from having wider tires.

Is it time for you to change your tires?


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