The stability and handling of the bicycle depend on the good condition of the bicycle tires, which has a direct impact on the cyclist’s safety. Worn tires or tires seriously increase the risk of falling and consequently injury. In addition to the damage to the bicycle itself.
That is why it is crucial to know when the time has come to exchange them for new ones. The duration of one or the other cover varies depending on its material, modality and use. But there are some general guidelines and common symptoms that will tell you when to dispose of old tires and replace them with new ones.
Factors influencing tire wear
The wear of the tires and tires of a bicycle depends on two types of factors:
External: terrain, modality and driving style
This is where the type of terrain, the weather conditions, the modality practiced and the riding style of the cyclist enter. Tires generally wear faster on drier and more uneven surfaces than on wet and firm ones. However, moisture can also adversely affect tires and tread compounds.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the modality practiced ( road , mountain , gravel , etc.) and the handling of the bike, to lengthen or shorten the useful life of the tire. An MTB tire will generally have a shorter life than a road one. On the other hand, a more aggressive and technical cyclist will need more resistant and durable rubber tires than the one dedicated to rolling placidly on the flat.
Interiors: roof material and construction
They concern the construction of the tire itself, its materials and also its measurements. Every deck is built with two layers. The first is the tread, made of rubber or rubber with grooves or lugs to increase grip and traction. The second layer is the carcass, the inner layer made with a nylon braid that determines lightness and protection against punctures.
A thinner tread with smaller knobs or grooves will have a more rolling character and enhance speed. But wear from friction with the ground will be faster. The carcass, for its part, does not determine tire wear but rather its weight and its protection against punctures.
When to change bicycle tires
To know if a tire is worn or not, you will have to examine the tread, that is, its outer surface. But the verification will be different depending on the type of tire used for each cycling modality. Here are the symptoms that will help us to know that the tire is worn and it is time to change it, depending on whether it is a mountain or road bike tire.
Wear on mountain bike tires
You will find the first symptom of a worn tire in the center of the tread. If the studs have lost a good part of their height or have disappeared, you will have to change the cover.
Don’t wait for the usually larger and more durable side studs to wear out as well. The main sign of wear is in the center band. If it is very smooth, the stability of the bicycle will be compromised, as well as its resistance to punctures.
Wear on road tires
The wear check on a road tire is different, due to the absence of studs. It will be necessary to pay attention mainly to the profile or silhouette. A wear-free tire has a curved sidewall profile. When this curve becomes flat, it is worn out and will have to be replaced.
In addition, there are other signs that indicate wear on a road tire. Some of them have small grooves or patterns to increase adhesion in wet conditions, paving stones, etc. If this drawing disappears or the cover fades, it will be asking for a replacement. Likewise, the appearance of cracks or cuts in the tread heralds the end of its useful life.
How to replace the tires on my bike
The replacement operation is very simple, although a certain skill is required to separate the rims of the tire from the side rails of the rim. It will be enough to completely deflate the wheel and, with your hands, push the side of the tire hard towards the center of the rim to open a hole in the side, from where we will separate both.
For the removal of the ring you can help yourself with removable ones. Although if you use a camera you must insert them carefully so as not to pinch it and suffer a puncture.
Sometimes this operation can be more complicated than you think, especially if you have tubelized the tires, because the sealing liquid may have stuck the tire with the rim or the sidewalls, making disassembly very difficult. If that happens to you, try to introduce a little air again with the pump so that it takes off and deflates again. In these cases you should have a little patience and gradually separate the flank.
Main risks of rolling with worn tires
The first direct consequence of riding on worn tires or pressing them more than they should is the loss of grip and stability of the bicycle. It is especially noticeable when taking curves and when climbing slopes with dirty or loose surfaces. This can cause unforeseen reactions, the bike suddenly spinning out of control, and losing your balance. And the inevitable end is to have a fall.
On the other hand, a symptom of wear and a clear consequence of not having changed the tires when you should is the unusual increase in punctures. The tread is less thick and smoother and any sharp object, no matter how small, can pierce this and also the carcass, with great ease.
In general, the behavior of the bicycle is affected. The suspension work is not perceived the same, the handling is clumsier and requires a greater muscular effort. All these setbacks add up to reduce performance and that, ultimately, you do not enjoy the bike ride.
Recommendations for your bike tires to last longer
Finally, we want to share some very simple tips or tricks that you can apply in your day to day to increase the duration of your covers:
Inflate the wheels to the proper pressure
Excessive or insufficient pressure is one of the main causes of accelerated tire wear. That is why it is important to know the proper pressure to bring your bicycle tires to . To get as close as possible to the ideal amount, we can consult the manufacturer’s recommended pressure tables and from there increase or decrease the pressure depending on the type of route, the position of the wheel (front or rear), the state of the terrain or your driving style, among other factors.
Check the pressure frequently
You should also check before each outing that the pressure has not decreased. The major manufacturers recommend doing this at least once a month. But we recommend doing it every time you go cycling. Always running with the correct pressure results in less wear.
Keep the rest of the bike in good condition
The suspensions, the brakes, the gearbox … Having all the bike’s components in good condition also results in less tire wear. Some adjustment brakes or tactless, for example, cause the tire skidding or not to stop when I have to.
Don’t make unnecessary drifts
Skidding exponentially increases tread wear. So avoid doing it unnecessarily. Take the curves at moderate speed, also using your body to stay on the line and avoid touching the brake as little as possible.
Avoid sudden changes in speed
A very aggressive driving with strong acceleration and braking is sapping the resistance of the tire. On the road, for example, when facing a descent from a pass, it is more efficient and safer to take the curves in a controlled manner, modulating the braking, than to go down at full speed just to obtain gains that in many cases will be marginal.
Avoid uneven roads and dirty shoulders
Continuing with examples of road cycling, riding on roads with good asphalt will end up extending the useful life of the tires. To do this, avoid, as far as possible, the passage through bumpy roads or with very dirty shoulders. All these details add up to the degradation of the rubber and the loss of adhesion.