Mountain bike (MTB) tires are specially designed to withstand rough terrains. Notwithstanding, they wear out at some point regardless of their quality. And it’s very important to know when to replace the tires. Failing to replace bad tires can cause you all kinds of trouble, including forcing you to push the bike home.
Hence, knowing when to replace mountain bike tires is a must. You don’t want to replace a tire that is still in good condition or keep using one that is worn out, so this article will provide you certain signs of tires that need replacements. We’ll also tell you factors that make tires wear out to help you improve your maintenance routine. With our guide, you will stop finding it difficult to tell when to replace MTB tires as we’ll explore everything you need to know about them. Ride along with us and get to know more about your MTB tires.
As we hinted earlier, mountain bike tires are different from regular bike tires. Below, we’ll discuss some special features that separate the two types of bike tires:
Size: One significant difference between mountain bike tires and regular bike tires is size. Mountain bike tires tend to have a larger diameter and more width than regular bike tires. Specifically, mountain bike tires’ outer diameters can be 26″, 27.5″ or 29″ with widths ranging from 1.9” to 2.5”. On the other hand, most regular bike tires have an outer diameter of 700mm (27.6”) with a width of 23mm (0.91”).
Knobs: Another special feature of mountain bike tires is a knob. MTB tires feature large knobs to improve handling over rough terrains. Regular bike tires rather use slick or semi-slick tread patterns because they are made for smooth and maybe not-so-smooth surfaces.
As we mentioned before, there are signs you must look out for to be able to tell when to change mountain bike tires. Let’s discuss the signs below:
The first sign that your mountain bike tire is worn out is when you see fabrics showing through the rubber. This situation requires that the tire is replaced as soon as possible to protect yourself from possible embarrassing situations. And you won’t see this sign unless you look out for it, so it’s important to inspect your bike regularly.
Once you start to see visible tears and cracks on the mountain bike tire, you should conclude that the tire is gone. The tears can be anywhere on the MTB tire. But the cracks are usually visible on the edges of the knobs. Failing to replace the tire at this stage can enlarge the cracks and eventually cause the tire to fall apart.
MTB tires consist of several layers of rubber that stay connected. If anything causes the layers to separate from each other, then bulges will surface on the tire. If you happen to see bulges in the sidewall or other spots, it means that the tire’s structure is gone and requires a replacement.
Flat spots also suggest that your mountain bike tire is no longer good enough. While they may not be visible at first, they eventually become more visible for you to spot depending on how often you ride your bike. You must be very observant to spot the flat spots early so that you can replace the tire before it troubles.
Another sign suggesting when to change MTB tires is uneven ride. This sign is perhaps one of the most easily noticeable ones. Without even checking your tire before riding, an uneven ride gives you an explicit warning that something is wrong. This may not be very obvious at first, but as you ride more, the poor bike handling will give it away.
Western Australia’s Road Safety Commission also agrees that incorrect tire pressure can cause uneven ride and offers safety tips. So, when a tire starts to affect the bike handling, you need no seer to tell you that there may be trouble ahead and that you’ll need to replace your tire as soon as possible.
When you start to see ridges in the middle of your MTB tire, it’s time to replace it. Also, if the center knobs look like flat ridges, you need to replace the tire as soon as you can to avoid trouble.
Even though mountain bike tires will eventually wear out regardless of the quality or maintenance, some factors cause tires to wear out.
The number one cause of tires wearing out is the terrain you ride on. If you ride on soft dirt, there’s nothing much to worry about and you can expect plenty of rides from your tires. However, if you ride on rocky or pavement trails, your tires are at a huge risk of wearing out fast. Sharp rocks and roots will wear out the knobs quickly, thus shortening your tire life.
We’ve alluded to poor maintenance as a leading cause of mountain bike tires wearing out a few times in this article. If you hardly inspect your tire, there’s a higher probability of it wearing out than if you inspect it frequently.
With a tool like the PRO BIKE TOOL Tubeless Bike Tire Repair, for example, you can fix punctures on tubeless tires and inadvertently increase their lifespans. Moreover, this repair kit repairs a hole in seconds and offers rubberized tire plugs to seal punctures.
After sealing a puncture, all you need to do is get a high-quality floor pump to inflate the tire. According to most reviews, the sturdy and durable base of the BV Bicycle Floor Pump stands it out. Besides that, the pump boasts an easy-to-read pressure gauge and a twin-valve head that inflates the tire to high pressure of 160 PSI.
So, if you want to increase the lifespan of your tires, you should acquire the right tools to maintain them.
We can’t stress this enough; you can’t stop a mountain bike tire from wearing out. With time, the tire naturally starts to wear out and there’s nothing you can do to stop it other than replace it when the signs are very visible. Notwithstanding, mountain bike tires’ lifespans vary depending on their quality.
Small tears also cause mountain bike tires to eventually wear out. The presence of small tears gives room to other tears. Once the tears become big, the tire wears out and requires a replacement.
Another reason why your mountain bike tires wore out quickly may be because of intense riding, mostly in a race. No doubt, a race requires intense riding. While you’re enjoying the race, your tires are bearing the brunt of it. Soon, they may wear out and you’ll have to replace them.
As we’ve hinted before, tire quality is also a big determinant of a mountain bike tire wearing out. Naturally, a low-quality tire will wear out much more quickly than a high-quality tire.
So, you’ll be doing yourself a whole lot of good by buying a high-quality tire like the Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike Tire which is perfect for all terrains. Apart from this tire’s high mileage and outstanding grip, it boasts low rolling resistance and excellent puncture protection.
According to a 2014 study by Wynand JvdM Steyn and Janike Warnich of the University of Pretoria, low rolling resistance is a good thing because it increases the speed of the bike.
Do you still have some questions on your mind that we haven’t answered? We’ll provide you some answers below.
Mountain bike tires typically last for 3,000 to 8,000 miles. However, using the tires on trails with roots and sharp rocks will cause the lifespan to drop drastically. However, riding on milder trails such as cross country can get you 3,000 miles and maybe more out of your tires. So, to answer your question; how long do mountain bike tires last? It heavily depends on the trails you ride on.
No, you don’t need to replace both tires at the same time. If you check the tire and only one looks worn out, you should replace it and leave the other. However, if you have doubts about the health of the other tire, you can replace it too and have it as a spare.
We recommend that you check the condition of the tires before every ride. That way, you won’t be caught by surprise.
It’s not surprising that many people find it difficult to tell when their bike tire needs a replacement because some signs are hard to read. Luckily for you, you now have a comprehensive guide that contains vital information about when to replace mountain bike tires.
Moreover, we advise that you carefully study the guide so that you won’t find yourself replacing a tire that isn’t worn out or continuing to use a worn-out tire that can cause you headaches later on.