Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
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A flat rear tire is often just a nuisance and at worst can make the bike difficult to handle if you are turning at speed. A flat front tire at best makes the bike very difficult to handle even in a straight line and at worst is a nearly instant crash. You always want the best tire in front.
BTW, front tires show almost no wear after thousands of miles and you can demonstrate this by weighing a new tire and weighing it again after several thousand miles of front wheel service. The weights will be within a very few grams of each other.
That doesn't mean front tires can be used forever since they are subject to flexing, light exposure, heat and oxidation hardening. You just can't judge the status of a front tire by it's appearance.
I also follow the "replace the front tire after two rear tires have worn out" schedule.