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  1. #1
    Antelope Valley cyclist MicheleC's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
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    How bald can tires on Downtube get before new ones are needed?

    I hope this isn't too dumb a question. How do I know when it is time to buy new tires? Is it similar to car tires where you put a penny in the tread? Or do they just start looking bald and then you know it is time to put new ones on?

    Michele

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2006
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    Boston MA area
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    Here's the Sheldon Brown take on the question of tire replacement:

    Tire Wear-When should you replace your tires?

    Many cyclists waste money replacing perfectly functional tires simply because they're old, or may have discolored sidewalls. If you just want new tires because the old ones look grotty, it's your money, but if you are mainly concerned with safety/function, there are only two reasons for replacing old tires:
    When the tread is worn so thin that you start getting a lot of flats from small pieces of glass and the like, or the fabric shows through the rubber.

    When the tire's fabric has been damaged, so that the tire has a lumpy, irregular appearance somewhere, or the tube bulges through the tire.
    Cracks in the tread are harmless. Small punctures in the tire such as are typically caused by nails, tacks, thorns or glas slivers are also harmless to the tire, since the tire doesn't need to be air-tight.
    Gum-wall tires sometimes get unsightly blistering on the sidewalls from ozone damage. (This is frequently caused by storing the bike near a furnace--the powerful electric motors in typical furnaces can put a fair amount of ozone into the air.) This blistering is ugly, but doesn't actually compromise the safety/reliability of the tire in the least.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/tires.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Get Mr Tuffy tire liners. Note for winter riding smooth tires might not work in your area.

    In general inspect the tires for slashing caused by glass. Look for slashes that go all the way through, are very long, ect. Also note that older tires while servicable pick up glass bits more readily than new. Exactly when you change tires is personal. For example if you are a group leader getting a flat is more of a problem than if you are just riding around the park alone for excersise.

    Also note that Mr tuffy reduces performance.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  4. #4
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    Central Florida - USA
    My Bikes
    2012 Brompton S6R; 2003 Litespeed Firenze; 1994 Diamond BAck Axis TT
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    I replace tires when the fabric shows through the rubber.

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