November 27, 2019

Just like your bike's brakes, chain, and bar tape, the tires can also wear out over time. The more you take it out for a ride, the more that you'll wear right through the rubber. Whether it's from riding through some broken glass, or from long term use, tires need to get checked regularly to know its condition.

Tires are one of the key contributors to a bike's performance. At the same time, it's also one of the most wearied parts of any bicycle. You'd even be surprised at how quickly your tires can wear out once you start tracking down the miles that you take every week. But what causes tires to get worn out? When should you replace it?

Before we go into further details, first a word of forethought: If you feel like it's time for your bicycle to get a new set of tires, then it probably is. You need to regularly check it before you take it for a ride. Riding a questionable set of tires doesn't only put your wheelset in danger of getting damaged, but you can also get seriously injured especially when you're flying downhill.

From worn-out treads to casing issues, here are a couple of tell-tale signs that you need to watch out for on your bicycle tires.

Primary signs that your bicycle tires need replacement

Worn down tread

Worn down tread is the easiest to spot among the list. If you look at a general-purpose tire or an MTB, seeing any missing tread is a good sign that your tires need to get replaced.

But looking at a road bike tire can be tricky. That's because this kind of tires has shallow grooves. So, you need to take a closer look at the surface of the bicycle tires to check if the pattern is still noticeable. If it already looks exceptionally worn, then it's about time to get a new one.

There are a few brands that have a wear indicator that can tell if the tires are already faded. It'll gradually wear away throughout the tire's life. Once you can't find the small grooves or if it has already changed colors, then it's time to replace it.


Cracks on the rubber usually happen if you don't use your bikes after a couple of years. The rubber tends to become brittle as the tire ages, which can be dangerous if you continue to use it.

Although there are times when riding an old bike with cracked sidewalls is okay, inflating it with over 80 PSI of air pressure will only damage it even more. So, if you see cracks from any of your bicycle tires, then it's time to let it go.

Constant flats

Flats are quite common if you're a cyclist. But if it continually happens, it only means that there is something wrong with your tires. Several flats in a week or on long rides mean that your tire needs replacement. It can also mean that the thread is already so thin that it can't protect the tube from punctures anymore.

If you experience an increase in punctures, then you need to check the tires if it's worn out or if it has holes.

Holes and cuts

You can never predict what's on the road the moment that you take your bicycle out. It can be full of all kinds of debris, which can eventually puncture your tires. That's why it's always a good idea to check if any of the holes penetrated the casing. If it did, then it's best to change your tires. Remember that any tube inflated to at least 100 PSI will only squeeze through holes. Thus, causing it to become even bigger which can end up as a puncture. It can cause the tire to blow up, especially when there's a tear right near the bead of the tire.

Exposed casing

Another visible sign that you need a new tire is exposed casing.  It often happens on front and rear tires, especially if you ride them for long periods. The only thing that's keeping it together is the thin section of casing.

Exposed casing usually happens when you continue using a tire that has a discernible tread pattern. Once you're already past the flat spot, you'll soon start to wear down the tire's nylon threads, which helps keep the shape of the casing.

Visible ridge

Another tell-tale sign that your tires need replacement is a noticeable ridge. Since the middle part of the tire always touches the ground, you'll soon start to see the rubber getting worn out. Thus, creating a flat ridge right on the center of the tire.

Once it gets more visible, it'll soon affect the bike's performance, which makes it much more challenging to handle. Usually, the back tire gets the most damaged since it's the part that gets more friction.

Poor ride quality

Another factor that you need to consider is your bicycle's performance. Although your tires pass the test for any signs of wear, you can still replace it if it's affecting your bicycle's performance.

If you're still barely new to the sport, then it's best to go with heavy tires that are puncture resistant. But if you feel confident about your skills, then consider getting lighter tire handles instead. Not only does it feel lighter compared to all-weather tires, but it'll also help you accelerate better. However, choosing a lighter tire handle also means that it's more prone to flats and can also wear out faster.

These are only a few of the signs that can help you decide whether to replace your bicycle tires or not. You need to understand how your bicycle works so you'll know what to do if ever something happens to it.

If you've already decided to replace your tires, ensure to recycle the worn-out ones. More importantly, it'll also keep your old tires out of the landfill.

You should also consider replacing the tubes, too.

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