Mountain bikes are a tremendous amount of fun. Ripping down forest trails, making dust on gravel roads, and even spending time with loved ones on local cycle routes.
Mountain bikes do require a certain amount of maintenance to keep them going, and one thing many people tend not to know is when to change their tires. In this article, we will tell you everything that you need to know.
Why do we need to replace Mountain Bike tires?
Keeping on top of your mountain bike tires is vital for your cycling, and you can make a good ride very miserable if you don’t. These are a few reasons why it’s essential to stay on top of them.
Old Tires Don’t Perform
If you want to make a trail much more challenging than it is, just do it on very worn tires, and you will soon notice the bike will slip around so much more. You won’t be getting those personal best without good tires on your rims.
Slippy old tires are not safe. Mountain bikes are designed to be grippy and tight. The last thing you need is the tire not to take grip, and you slide into something hurting yourself.
Unfortunately, worn tires have very little protection, so you will get a lot of punctures if you don’t keep on top of them. This will cost you a fortune in inner tubes and just generally waste your time when you could be riding.
How do we know when we need to replace our tires?
Knowing when to change your tires is essential so you can catch them before they start giving you too much trouble. There are a few ways to tell when it’s time to change a tire, and it’s worth doing a check each time you take your bike out.
Look for wear
Quite obvious, but looking for wear is vital. You will find the rear typically will wear down faster than the front. When you look at the tires, you are going to want to look at a flat patch along the center.
You don’t want this to get too flat as it leaves it open to punctures and doesn’t provide the grip you need. Compare it with the front tire to see if there’s much difference.
Lots of little slits
Just because your tire doesn’t look worn, it still could need changing. If you live in an area where you get a lot of flints, you can end up with many slits in your tires. It leaves them open to getting lots of punctures, and the slits often open up further when you are far from home.
If you find a large slit in your tires at any point, then it’s time to change it. Anything over about 10mm has a high chance of your inner tube poking through or it splitting further on a heavy corner.
When you keep getting punctures
If you keep getting punctures, maybe it’s time to change your tires. Commonly this is the first sign of an old tire. It might have lots of tread, but the rubber can be much more susceptible to picking sharp objects up.
Quite often, if you leave a bike for an extended period of time, the tires become very brittle.
This is really common, and when a tire gets brittle and dry, it tends to split very easily.
You can tell if a tire is brittle by looking for long slits all along the tire or loose threads on the rim.
You can see wire strands
Many tires are filled with wire strands, which hold them together. If you can see any cloth anywhere, I wouldn’t advise riding that tire anytime soon, and you’re going to want to get that replaced.
Tips to prolong the life of tires
We don’t want to keep having to replace tires often, as this can get very expensive. So how do we prolong the life of tires? Here are my top tips.
1. Store your bike indoors to stop your tires from going brittle.
2. As the rear wears quicker, swap the front and back when you see some wear.
3. Don’t buy tires that are too cheap. Spend a little more, and they will last longer.
4. Ride with the correct tire pressures.
5. Try not to ride through thorny trails.
Tires typically last a couple of thousand miles, but they can end up wearing out much faster depending on the riding you are doing.
It is worth keeping on top of your tires as it will just make your riding much more trouble-free, and you will have much more fun. Investing in good tires will go a long way as well.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.