The tires of your bike have the most significant effect when it comes to performance and handling. It’s possible to have the highest quality brakes, shifters, and frame, but your bike will still handle poorly if your tires are no longer suited for the terrain.
Since bike tires can be very expensive, most cyclists would rather make the most out of their existing tires. However, there are certain cases when the only option is to get a fresh set of rubber. This is why you need to know when to replace bike tires.
Wear and Tear – Your Biggest Enemy
Most of the times that you’ll need to replace the tires of your bikes are when they are too worn out to function properly. However, you have to know the right signs of wear and tear or you’re just replacing your bike’s tires sooner than you should. If you see any of these signs, it’s time to look for replacements as soon as possible.
Regularly Flat Tire
Tires are designed to be tough; a flat tire can easily be fixed with a flat tire kit and a trip to the tire shop later on, but this shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. If you happen to experience flat tires just a short time after the last patch job, it’s a sure sign that your tire’s overall integrity is failing and they have to be changed.
Cracks on the Surface
While it’s common for bike tires to get scratched up, older ones tend to lose their flexibility and become brittle over time. These cracks are easiest to spot on your tire’s sidewall and on the treads. Once these cracks show up, it’s already too late and the tires’ exterior are already weakened.
The treads on your bike’s tires are specially designed to provide enough traction on the road. However, these treads are worn down after constantly grinding against the asphalt or rocky surfaces. Bike tires with smooth treads are very dangerous, since they are very likely to cause your bike to slip and fall, especially on wet terrain or when making high-speed turns.
Bulges or Bumps
Bike tires must have consistent thickness all around to ensure a smooth ride. If you’re feeling a regular bumping sensation even when riding on roads that are smooth, it’s a sign that air is pushing through a weakened part of the tire. This is even more dangerous than having worn-out treads because the tire may burst any moment.
The casing is the only thing separating the tube from the exterior. This part of the tires is not designed to get in contact with the road. If you’re riding a bike with tires that have visible casing, you need to get off of it and get the tires replaced immediately.
Even tires that don’t get subjected to wear and tear may have to be replaced. If you haven’t used your bike for over a month, you may want to check the tires before riding it again; rubber can become hard and brittle over time and catch you off-guard by blowing out even if your tires look like they’ve been barely used.
Sometimes, it’s not just about the condition of your bike’s tires. There are other situations when you’d want a new set of tires before riding your bike.
While cosmetics may be a subjective area, many bikers value the appearance of their rides. If you are one of those who value both form and function, the best way to get a matching set of tires is by replacing both front and back wheel tires at the same time.
Some types of bike tires are designed to perform better on certain terrain. Planning on taking on a challenging dirt trail? Switch to wider tires with deep treads. Need something for the smooth, open road? Swap the pair for something with more even treads for better road traction.
Not all tires are made equal, which means some tires would wear out slower than others. This greatly depends on your riding habits; it won’t be much of a problem if you’re a casual cyclist, but you’d want to switch to more durable high-end tires if you’re the type who goes on extended rides every weekend unless you want to deal with worn-out tires on a regular basis.
Personal Ride Preference
Personal preference is a major deciding factor when switching tires. You can have bike tires that are suitable for the terrain but cycling isn’t fun if you feel that the tires are still a bit too heavy or are not responsive enough.
Changing the Tire Pressure
You can also change your tire’s performance without having to replace them. By adjusting the pressure, you can customize your bike tires’ traction, bounciness, and overall handling. This takes some experimentation; try different tire pressures on your front and back tires until you find a comfortable setting.