Mountain biking is a lot of fun, and there’s no feeling like ripping through a trail and exploring nature through high speed corners. What can ruin an excellent session on the bike is when your tires let you down. They might keep getting punctures or just slipping out on corners. It can become annoying because sitting on the side of the trail is definitely not what mountain biking is about.
Why is It Important to Keep Your Tires in Top Condition?
Cyclists often overlook tires and think they will be fine as long as they still have air in. This huge misconception can be the difference between staying on course or coming off and crashing. Here are all our reasons why we think staying on top of your tires is vital.
Tires that are new or well looked after are much safer. They have less chance of splitting or blowing out and also hold much more grip on the roads and trails. The most important thing in any form of cycling is staying safe and not putting yourself in danger.
When tires are new, they perform much better, especially on mountain bikes. Having the knobbles not worn down and the rubber is nice, fresh, and flexible makes the bike much better. It will have a huge amount more traction on all surfaces, and you will be able to take corners much faster and more confidently.
Punctures are very irritating, and we never invite them to our rides. They take time to fix, cost money, take your performance, and can actually damage your tires beyond repair if they are too big. Having fresh tires hugely reduces the risk of getting punctures.
Let’s be honest. No show bike has ever turned up with worn out tires. Worn out tires look awful, and when at the bike park you notice them, it completely overshadows the rest of the bike. If you want your bike to look its best, then fresh tires are the way to go.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Tires?
All tires are very different, and some need changing sooner than others, but no matter what rubber you have, there are always tell tale signs that will let you know when it’s time to change. Here’s what you’ll need to look out for when it comes to replacing your tires.
Are they damaged?
Mountain bike tires differ greatly from other cycling tires, such as road or gravel. They not only have to be light and fast, but they also have a huge amount of resilience to obstacles such as tree roots and sharp rocks. If you notice any large rips or tears, it’s time to get a new set of tires. Although they might hold air well with a decent inner tube or tubeless system, they just don’t last in the long run.
Are they old and brittle?
Rubber, over time, can go brittle. If you ever buy an old bike that has been sitting for a long time, you will see the tires look more matt in color and have lots of little blemishes on them like they have been scratched with a brillo pad. This means the rubber has gone brittle, and no matter how much you might not want to change them, you will need to, as they will just split so easily.
Do they keep getting punctures?
Old tires get punctured. They are very prone to it because the rubber is worn and doesn’t have the defense a new tire does. Even though you might not have any damage on the tires or even visible slits, it doesn’t mean it is not weak enough to get smaller punctures from things such as thorns.
Is the central track worn?
One thing you will notice on old mountain bike tires when they start getting old or heavily used is the central track on the tred starts getting worn out. This happens more to the rear tires than the front tire because that is where the majority of the weight is. Look at your rear tire compared to the front, and if you notice you have much less tread down the center, then it’s time to get that changed.
Does it leak air or sealant?
If you are running a tubeless system and find that you need to keep using the pump after leaving the bike idle for a day or two, you might need a new set of tires. With old with a lot of miles on, they typically leak air, this could be from too many battle scars, or maybe just the rubber has become too brittle. Tires like these don’t last long on the trails, so well worth getting them changed.
Have they done a lot of miles?
If your tires are high mileage, it will benefit you to change them before you start getting any issues. Depending on your riding type, you might get 1000 miles or maybe 2000 miles. It’s worth noting how many miles you are doing or checking your Strava to ensure that you haven’t put 3000 miles into your tires before a race or a bikepacking adventure.
Anyways to Make My Tires Last Longer?
Tires are not cheap, especially when you want tubeless performance tires. There are a few tricks you can do to make your tires last a little longer. When the back starts to wear down, you can swap it for the front, providing you’re running matching tires. You can also ensure you are using the correct pressure for the tires and the riding you are doing.
How Much Should I Spend on Tires?
You don’t have to spend a fortune on tires to have a good set. The first thing you can do is always keep an eye on the shops for the half-price deals, even if you don’t require tires at that point. The second thing is to go for reputable brands in budget ranges. Companies like Continental pride themselves in their budget ranges when compared to lesser known brands.
Tires don’t last forever, and knowing when to change them can help you avoid those rides where you spend 20 minutes at the side of the trails. We highly recommend giving your bike a little check every few rides to see if there’s anything that might need doing and make sure it’s safe to use.