There is no other part of the bike that can affect the riding experience as much as the tires can do. They carry the whole weight of the bike and the rider. They are in constant contact with all types of road surfaces. Smooth, bumpy, slippery, dusty, wet, dry. Your bike tires will still head over.
Thus, the lifespan of bicycle tires is limited. So how long do bike tires last? And when should you change to a new pair of tires? This article will provide you with all the important information you need to know regarding bicycle tires and their lifespan.
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The Average Lifespan of Bike Tires
It is impossible to tell exactly how long a bicycle tire can last. Usually, tire manufacturers don’t include many details about the lifespan and the durability of the tires. The reason is because of many external factors, it is hard for manufacturers to estimate correctly when the bicycle tires are out of function.
Manufacturers can only predict how long the tires will last or how many miles you can ride with these tires based on their knowledge about the quality of the tires they produce.
Hybrid or Road bike tires have an average lifespan of 2000 to 4000 miles. Meanwhile, tires made of quality materials, like high-end tires can last at least 2,500 miles, puncture-proof tires can be in use up to 5000 miles. Racing bike tires might live shorter to a maximum of 1000 miles.
These are only estimated numbers. In reality, bicycle tires can last shorter or longer depending on how they are used and maintained. Other factors are the condition of the riding terrains, the weight of the cyclist, the frequency of use, the riding style, etc.
So, if there is no exact way to tell when your bicycle tires reach the end of their life, what should you do? – You search for warning signs.
Basic Components of Bike Tires
Before going through some common signs that the end of the bicycle tires’ lifespan, let’s try to understand your bike tires first. Thus, you can catch those warning signals -faster and easier.
A bicycle tire comprises of four main parts:
- Bread core: a bundle of wires which connects the tire tightly to the bike’s rim.
- Carcass: the frame of the tire which ensures the tire’s stability
- Tread: the external rubber layer of the tire which protects the tire from dangerous objects on the riding surface, and balances the bike by keeping a tight grip on the roads.
- Sidewall: the external part on the tire between the rim and the tread which ensures the tire’s lateral durability
Some high-end tires also have a puncture protection belt between the tread and the carcass. Just like its name, the belt protects the tire against punctures from sharp objects. Relatively speaking only, so don’t let the belt fool you. There is no such thing as perfect protection.
Warning Signs – Time To Change The Bike Tires
Now, after knowing the basic elements of bicycle tires, it is easy for you to check the health of your bike’s tires. Here are the four common signs that you can quickly detect.
Sign on the tread
Anything that happens to the tread should be pretty easy to see because this is the utmost outer layer of the tire.
Many bicycle tires have two or several small holes on the center of the tread. These holes are called Tread Wear Indicators (TWI). Once you cannot see any hole on your tread, then you know that your tread has become so thin and that you probably need a new tire soon.
Try to take a look at the sidewall of your tires. If you see a small triangle and the letters TWI, the holes are somewhere near there. Take a look at them, see if they are still there or already gone. This is the quickest and simplest way to check your tires’ lifespan.
However, don’t worry if you cannot find any TWI sign on your bicycle tires. Not all tires have tread wear indicators. In this case, try to spin the wheel slowly and look for any missing patterns, or any deep cut lines on the tread.
If you have used your bike for a short while, there will be some small parts missing from the tread patterns, or even some shallow cut on the tread. You can rest assured with little imperfection.
But when more than half of your tread patterns have gone completely flat or there are profound cuts, then you will need to prepare a new tire for your bike.
Another sign, which is very obvious and annoying, is your tire constantly goes flat. Even though you only ride over a little stone. It is telling you that: “I’ve been working so hard now I’m totally worn out. Please let me go.”
Sign on the sidewall
The sidewall is also the external part of the tire like the tread, so any signs here should be completely visible. If you find some severe damages, like deep and huge cracks on the smooth surface of the sidewall, then be cautious.
Even small cracks can grow big quickly because the weight you and your bike frame are putting on the two tires.
Sign on the carcass
The carcass is practically invisible and it should be this way. If you are ever able to see the carcass, or the puncture protection belt (if your tire has one) with your own naked eyes, then it is a red-code warning signal.
The tread has become so worn out and thin that the inner part of your tire becomes visible. Now it is not a choice anymore, but a must that you have to change your tire. You don’t want to ride with the carcass and risk blowing off the tube inside and have to walk a long way home, do you?
And your bike will also lose its grip ability if you ride with the carcass. The bike might skid and slip easily on the roads, which is likely to get the rider into an accident.
Sign on the bread core
Problems with the bread core don’t happen so often, but they do occur once in a while. The wires can become loose and the connection between the tire and the wheel rim is not secure anymore.
Whenever you inflate your wheels, just quickly take a look at the bread core. Use your hand and go through it to see if the bread core and the rim are tightly connected or not.
These four signs shouldn’t be too difficult to detect. So don’t worry, you just need to spend a bit of time with your beloved bike to know if it is in good condition.
If you’re still not sure how these signs look like or want more information about warning signs, check out this video:
It is clear that the lifetime of bicycle tires is greatly affected by how they are used. But that doesn’t mean the tires will be more long-lasting if you keep your bike in the storage room all the time.
When storing, the tires can become harder. With the hardened cover, the tires can easily crack and fray with or without external forces. So, if you have not used your bikes for a long time, make sure to check your bike’s tires carefully before cycling around.
Reasons Why I Have To Ensure The Quality of Bike Tires
If you have to pick only one part of the bike that you think is the most important, which one will you pick? For me, it is the two wheels. I have seen people riding on bikes without a saddle or even a handlebar. But even this type of bike needs a wheel.
Even though when you buy a bike, the tires are usually the last thing you look at. They can easily affect your whole cycling experience. Tires in top condition provide riders with good traction, control, and resistance to punctures and other obstacles on the roads such as potholes, stones, debris.
With good tires, you are safe.
Because they will be able to carry the weight of you and the whole bike while protecting you from the impacts of any irregularities on the road surfaces thanks to their excellent grip ability. These tires can also make sure you can steer, corner, accelerate and brake as wished.
So, whether you are riding a road bike, a mountain bike, a hybrid bike, or any other type of bike, you all need to ensure the quality of the bicycle tires. For the sake of your safety and your best cycling experience.
Imagine you are cycling in the forest on a sunny Saturday afternoon after a long tiring week of work. Suddenly you hear a Puff! and your front tire goes flat. Do you know what’s waiting for you? A long tiring walk back home.
Don’t let such a nice experience like this get ruined. Try to spend a few minutes checking your bicycle tires, and also other parts whenever you want to use your bike, especially before long cycling trips.
Tips To Make Your Bike Tires Last Longer
Even when you and I love our bikes so much, we probably still don’t want to spend a fortune on new pairs of tires all the time. As the lifespan of bicycle bikes is mostly affected by how you use and maintain them, there are some ways to make your bike tires last longer.
The most important thing is to always make sure to inflate the tires with the proper amount of pressure. Only then the sidewalls can remain rigid to strong enough to support the frame. Both overinflating and underinflating can reduce the durability of the tires.
If possible, you can check the inflation pressure with a pressure gauge.
Correct inflation is essential to prolong your tires’ lifespan. You can find out more about why the proper amount of pressure is so important in this video:
The second tip is to use the type of tires that is suitable for certain purposes. Bicycle tires are produced with different shapes, thicknesses, weights for different cycling conditions. Road bike tires, commuter bike tires, gravel bike tires, and mountain bike tires all have their distinct features.
So, to prolong the tires’ lifespan, don’t try to use normal road bike tires to cycle on mountains. Because they cannot withstand the rough condition of mountain rocky trails. Use the right type of tires on the right surfaces.
Try to do regular checks on your bicycle tires. Especially when you ride over a giant hole, or you feel as if the rim touches the ground, stop and check the tires. Don’t make your tires suffer more by keeping cycling on damaged tires.
Check out this video for some small tips on how to choose bike tires:
Usually, front tires can last longer than rear tires, because rear tires have to carry most of the weight and other responsibilities. Some people suggest swapping the front and the rear tires.
It will definitely save you some money. You can, in a way, use it for a short daily commute. But this is not the answer in the long run. Why?
The front tire is responsible for steering and braking. So, a complete worn-out tire without any traction is very dangerous for the rider. Also, the front and the rear tires are designed differently as they serve different purposes. So, swapping them might not be the best choice.
In the end, no matter what the tricks or tips are, the best way to make sure your bicycle tires will last long is to use them with care and love.
How many miles do bike tires last?
It depends on the type of bike tires and how the bike is used. So, the number of miles is not definite, but rather estimated.
- Hybrid or Road bike tires: 2000 to 4000 miles.
- High-end tires: minimum 2,500 miles
- Puncture-proof tires: maximum 5000 miles.
- Racing bike tires: maximum 1000 miles.
How do you know when you have to replace your bike tires?
You should replace your bike tires if you see warning signs, such as
- Worn-out patterns, deep cuts on the tread
- Severe cracks and cuts on the sidewalls
- Constant flats even though you just ride over small rocks
- The carcass becomes visible through the super-thin tread
How many ways that you can use to measure the bike tire lifespan?
There are many ways.
You can do it yourself by paying attention to warning signs, which are damages on the tread, the sidewall, the carcass, or the bread core. With these signs, you can estimate how much time left your bike tires will last.
Or you can take your bike to the bike shop once in a while for some check-up and maintenance.