Originally Posted by sal
I'm 54 yrs old and pretty new to all this road biking. I've got a Cannondale sport road 500. All I could afford with two kids in college. Anyway, this is the bike's second summer. It came with Continental Ultrasport tires, which are still on it. I've replaced two tubes, but never the tires. How does a person determine that it may be wise to purchase new tires?
By the way, both tubes that I replaced seem to have failed because they develop little blow out bumps where the wheels have impressions at the spokes. Maybe I overinflate? Or maybe I need new wheel tape, or whatever that stuff is called, on the inside of the wheels?
I'm pleased with myself today....I averaged 18.5 MPH over 26.2 miles this morning.
Anyway. What about the tires?
I feel your pain--one of my kids graduated two years ago and has a real job now, but the other is on the six-year plan, so there's no loose money lying around.
If you need inexpensive tires, I've had good luck with the house brands from both Performance and Nashbar (www.performancebike.com
, competitors for many years but owned by the same company now). I don't use them anymore, but I did for years. They often have road tires on sale in the fall for $10 or less, and I haven't had any problems. Once you consider shipping, though, you might be able to match the price at a local bike shop, and it's a good idea to support those guys when you can, and to have them recognize you as a customer in case you need something someday.
You can tell when you need new tires when the old ones are worn down (fabric may show through, or they may just be super thin so things start puncturing frequently). More often, though, they dry out and crack. Small cracks aren't a cause for concern, but big ones that go to the casing are. Look at the sidewalls, too--at least for me, they show age before the tread portion.
Did your old tubes actually blow out, or just have bumps? Blowouts in that location generally indicate bad or improperly installed rim tape. If they just had little dimples, you're probably OK, but a lot of bikes come with cheap rim tape. It doesn't cost much to replace it with a good brand like Velox or Pedro's.
There's no reason not to patch tubes, by the way. I've done it hundreds of times in 30+ years as an adult cyclist, and I can only remember two times when a patch failed. At least one of those was my fault--I had Slime in the tube, which leaked out, and I didn't clean it off well enough before I put on a patch.
As for the pressure, get a gauge. Most people--including me, and I've been riding a long time--can't estimate pressure accurately with the old thumb test. Read the pressure on the sidewall of the tire and pump the tire up to that, then you can adjust a few pounds for conditions if you want. But pressure is important for tire life, safety and comfort, so don't guess at it.