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  1. #1
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    How often do you replace tires?

    I purchased a new bike last May, a 2006 Giant TCR3. I've put on about 5K miles since then (I was off the bike for several months with a leg injury). My weight (bike, me, and Camelbak) is about 180 - 220 lbs. Today I noticed that my rear tire was thread worn. I've never worn out a tire before. I usually have to replace them about once a year as they tend to crack. The tires tend to be the less expensive tires. This one was a Michelin. I'm told it's about a 60 - 80 tire. I've replaced the tire but I was a little caught off guard by this. Is this normal?
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  2. #2
    sch
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    5kmi is a LOT of miles on a rear or front tire. Fronts can be expected to last
    2x as long as rears. In my experience about 1/3 to 1/2 of my tires are tossed
    because of carcass cuts by glass, rocks or other road debris rather than tread
    wear. Center tread of the tire and side walls
    should be examined every few hundred miles for cuts and thin places. Never
    ride with carcass visible through the tread. More expensive tires tend to be
    racer/competition oriented and to have thinner, lighter builds intended for
    higher inflation pressure and grippier rubber on the tread that wears faster.
    Higher weights on the tires increases wear rates (eg tandem bikes get 30-50%
    less tire mileage than singletons). Was your 60-80 reference to psi or $ cost?
    I assume psi. If you like the way they rode, might be worth seeking out the
    same type tire with that kind of mileage results, if they are in your price range.
    60-80psi tires tend to be inexpensive.

  3. #3
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    I'd be pretty pleased with a "performance" rear tire going 5000 miles.

  4. #4
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch View Post
    More expensive tires tend to be
    racer/competition oriented and to have thinner, lighter builds intended for
    higher inflation pressure and grippier rubber on the tread that wears faster.
    ...

    Higher weights on the tires increases wear rates (eg tandem bikes get 30-50%
    less tire mileage than singletons). Was your 60-80 reference to psi or $ cost?
    I assume psi.
    Sorry about that, the 60 - 80 tires was supposed to be dollars. I do have four new tires that are on the way (160 psi, Vredestein Fortezza SE Road Tires). Right now I'm running on an old (unused) Continental fold up but I'll change that out for a Michelin later today (non-foldup). I like my tires to run around 120 psi. I find those work best for my riding skills.

    The bald tire was definitely a grippier tire, I really liked the way it handled. I will see if I can get the identical tires a little later. I'll also be inspecting the tires more thoroughly from now on. The last few weeks the tire have been coming back with a lot of white powder (the color of the sand and debris in areas I tend to ride in) so I missed the wear. I always check both tires for slits and stuck debris but I'm still surprised I missed this.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I expect at least 3000 miles. If not, next time it will be another brand. For my commuter bikes, I have had good luck with Performance's "Forte St Cross K." For my other commuter bike with slightly narrower commute tires, I like Conti's Top Touring 2000. THey have decent endurance records.
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  6. #6
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I'd be pretty pleased with a "performance" rear tire going 5000 miles.
    I've never ridden a performance tire before. My previous bikes (except the Ti bike) had 'lesser' tires and I generally was purchasing heavier tires because the condition of the road surfaces where pretty hideous. Well they've improved a number of roads (finally). I was getting between 8K and 10K miles with the tires. The Ti bike had a nice set of tires but the bike was a 3 year old left over and the bike shop gave me a deal on it. After about 500 miles the tires developed a zig-zag (the center rubber shifted over to one side by about a 1/2 inch). I still have them. They're in my rollers pile (tires with plenty of rubber but with cracks in the rubber). I'm usually pretty cheap when it comes to tires. I prefer to purchase left overs but I really like these Michelin tires. They handle well and are comfortable. I'll see how well the Vredestein tires do and I'll make a decision then. My friend is certain that the 160 psi won't work with my rims (Aksium). He had a lot of trouble with the tubes blowing and went to wheel with no rim strips. I'll just replace the thin plastic with the good cloth one's I've always used.

    So I guess that the answer is 'Yes, this is normal for this type of tire'.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    I have a gatorskin on the back that has been on there since last April and it has over 6000 miles on it. I keep waiting for the threads to show but it just keeps going and going. Front tire is an armadillo with similar life but since it is front I am not surprised about it. I almost always lose a tire to road hazards far before this point.
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  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1) I've never been impressed with Michelin bicycle tires ... I've never used them myself so I can't comment on handling, but over the years I've often ended up standing there waiting whoever I happen to be riding with (who is using Michelin tires) to change his flat. They've never struck me as particularly durable.

    2) I change my rear tire about ever 3000-4000 kms, and my front tire about every 4000-5000 kms ... so I go through quite a few tires each year. When I change them, they are not usually worn to the threads ... but if you've got a 600K or 1000K or 1200K event coming up, and your tire has 4000 kms on it already, it's not a bad idea to make a change prior to the event.

    3) I also have a 3 flat rule. If I flat 3 times in a row, in fairly quick succession (like once a day or once a week or so), on the third flat I'll change the tire. Usually when I start flatting quite frequently I am around the upper limit of kilometers on my tire anyway, and I take it as a sign that the tire is pretty thin and ready to be changed.

    4) And, come to the end of a season, I'll sometimes just let whatever tires I've got on the bicycle wear to the threads through winter. Then I change them in the spring. I think the most I got on a rear tire was somewhere around 6000 kms before the threads showed through.

  9. #9
    Senior Member john hawrylak's Avatar
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    Got 2,700 miles on a rear Conti Ultra Gatroskin (25 mm). Got 2 flats in 2 weeks in the rear, once from a 5 mm long steel wire and once from a a piece of glass. Too many flats in too short a time. Changed out rear to a new Ultra Gatorskin yesterday. Front still looks good.

    Overall, I am happy with their durability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncherry View Post
    I've never ridden a performance tire before. My previous bikes (except the Ti bike) had 'lesser' tires and I generally was purchasing heavier tires because the condition of the road surfaces where pretty hideous. Well they've improved a number of roads (finally). I was getting between 8K and 10K miles with the tires. The Ti bike had a nice set of tires but the bike was a 3 year old left over and the bike shop gave me a deal on it. After about 500 miles the tires developed a zig-zag (the center rubber shifted over to one side by about a 1/2 inch). I still have them. They're in my rollers pile (tires with plenty of rubber but with cracks in the rubber). I'm usually pretty cheap when it comes to tires. I prefer to purchase left overs but I really like these Michelin tires. They handle well and are comfortable. I'll see how well the Vredestein tires do and I'll make a decision then. My friend is certain that the 160 psi won't work with my rims (Aksium). He had a lot of trouble with the tubes blowing and went to wheel with no rim strips. I'll just replace the thin plastic with the good cloth one's I've always used.

    So I guess that the answer is 'Yes, this is normal for this type of tire'.
    FWIW, you may find that 160 psi in your tires causes problems, regardless of the rating on the sidewall. Recent research indicates that pressure that high may actually result in higher rolling resistance on all but the smoothest surfaces, ie. brand new tarmac, polished concrete, etc.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    FWIW, you may find that 160 psi in your tires causes problems, regardless of the rating on the sidewall. Recent research indicates that pressure that high may actually result in higher rolling resistance on all but the smoothest surfaces, ie. brand new tarmac, polished concrete, etc.
    Not to mention that 160 psi makes for a very hard ride.


    ncherry, do you currently ride with 160 psi? And do you find you have sore hands and other aches and pains when you ride longer distances?

    I fill mine to about 90-100 psi, and if I go over that, I find that the road vibration bothers my hands and arms.

  12. #12
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Not to mention that 160 psi makes for a very hard ride.

    ncherry, do you currently ride with 160 psi? And do you find you have sore hands and other aches and pains when you ride longer distances?

    I fill mine to about 90-100 psi, and if I go over that, I find that the road vibration bothers my hands and arms.
    I've been riding 120 psi on all my bikes for the last ten years. On my aluminum Truk 1100 my arms and shoulders would be tired after 208 miles (my club's Longest Day (LD)). Not a problem at 120 miles. I've never had a problem on my Ti. Since I picked up the carbon fiber last year I've had no troubles with shoulders or arms. That baby is smooth! I'm pretty sure I could have ridden another 60 miles on last year's LD. Take a look at my setup for my Giant TCR3 (slightly agressive). That's what I rode on last year's LD with a one month break in before the ride. As far as pain the only one was the pain in my stomach after the ride. My friends won't let me eat what I want (a story for another time)! ;-)

    I think most people might want to consider what I ride with also (a Camelbak Ventoux). While I do lighten it up a bit for the supported double century I don't on anything else. This thing weighs at least 20 lbs when full. Usually it weighs a lot more by the end of the ride as everyone dumps their extra stuff in there. My freind is looking for an anvil and a way to let the air out of my tires. I'm a fred to fear (I ride pretty fast with this setup) . Happily most of the local randoneers are friendly towards me. Apparently they don't fear the fred.
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  13. #13
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) I've never been impressed with Michelin bicycle tires ... I've never used them myself so I can't comment on handling, but over the years I've often ended up standing there waiting whoever I happen to be riding with (who is using Michelin tires) to change his flat. They've never struck me as particularly durable.
    I've used a lot of heavy Michelin tires and they wear very well.
    2) I change my rear tire about ever 3000-4000 kms
    I'd be replacing tire at least twice a year. That would be expensive.
    3) I also have a 3 flat rule. If I flat 3 times in a row, in fairly quick succession (like once a day or once a week or so), on the third flat I'll change the tire.
    Sound like a pinch flat to me. Generally the heavier tires wouldn't wear out but would crack so badly that I had to replace them around 8K miles.
    4) And, come to the end of a season, ...
    End of the season? What's an end of the season? I keep riding unless it snows (this is NJ).
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  14. #14
    Linux HA Author :-) ncherry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Not to mention that 160 psi makes for a very hard ride.
    ...
    I fill mine to about 90-100 psi, and if I go over that, I find that the road vibration bothers my hands and arms.
    I'll try to ask as delicately as possible but are you light? I suspect that you are. More PSI would be a problem if you are. I'm a bit of a fatty. I'm a thin build, 5' 8" with a Buddha Belly and love handles. I weighed over 200 lbs before I changed my eating habit in March (lost several lbs so far). Add 13 lbs for my bike (8 for my seat ;-) and 20+ for my Camelbak. I can tell you that the roads here are not that nice. We have a lot of paved over concrete and lots of swamps (frost heave).
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  15. #15
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    I usually ride either Conti 4000s or Michelin Pro Race 2s. Not the best randonneuring tires (duh!); I like the way the softer rubber handles, but it's an expensive habit. More than 50% of tires die from cuts; only ever seen the threads once and that was after less than 3000 miles. Typical life span is about 2000miles; about 1200 miles running the same tires on the tandem. (I'm 170; tandem team is 300. I run 110-120psi on the single and 120-130psi on the tandem.) If there are no bad cuts, I'll retire a tire when it's squared off. Prolong life by rotating front and rear on occasion. The rounded off tires live in the garage until winter, when they get put out of their misery on the indoor trainer.

    Have a pair of Gatorskins that have over 2000 miles on them and they look brand new. No flats. But compared to the softer clinchers, they perform like a Yugo dragging a boat anchor.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncherry View Post
    I've used a lot of heavy Michelin tires and they wear very well.

    1) I'd be replacing tire at least twice a year. That would be expensive.

    2) Sound like a pinch flat to me. Generally the heavier tires wouldn't wear out but would crack so badly that I had to replace them around 8K miles.

    3) End of the season? What's an end of the season? I keep riding unless it snows (this is NJ).
    1) I go through as many as 6 tires a year ... and they're $15 a piece.

    2) No, not a pinch flat, when these flats start happening in fairly quick succession there's glass, or bits of wire, or whatever in the tire. It's just that the tire has worn that thin. When I change to a new tire, I'm usually good to go again without a flat for a while. (I live in an area with a lot of heavy vehicles, because of the oilfields, which shed their tires leaving wire bits everywhere ... and a lot of bottle-throwing drunks)

    3) My last long brevet is usually in September. I consider that the end of my season, although I will keep cycling through the winter, even when it snows. I just don't cycle as much.


    And yes, I'm relatively light, although I would like to get lighter this summer.

  17. #17
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    I replaced my Schwalbe Marathon XR before my trip to Australia even though the old ones were not that worn after more than 2 years and approx 20,000km of both sealed and unsealed roads.

    Tzuo Hann rode from Hollland to Malaysia ( again approx 20,000km) on the same make.

    I have done 10,000,km in the last 6 months and these XR Evolutions seem to be even better.
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  18. #18
    2K plus 1,200 PacersGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
    I usually ride either Conti 4000s .... More than 50% of tires die from cuts;
    I'm with ya on this. I run the 4000's and usually have to retire them from cuts as well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member 2skinnywheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) I go through as many as 6 tires a year ...
    What!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) ... and they're $15 a piece.
    Oh. That's why.

  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john hawrylak View Post
    Got 2,700 miles on a rear Conti Ultra Gatroskin (25 mm). Got 2 flats in 2 weeks in the rear, once from a 5 mm long steel wire and once from a a piece of glass. Too many flats in too short a time. Changed out rear to a new Ultra Gatorskin yesterday. Front still looks good.

    Overall, I am happy with their durability.
    I'll have around 2800 on my 28mm Conti UG when I replace it sometime this week. (waiting for the shops to get their new stock in. everyone in town is sold out of them!)

    Only 1 flat from a large bit of glass what worked itself through the tire last week.

    At 245 pounds and making a lot of loaded-pannier grocery runs, I'm not disappointed with the life I've gotten from this tire.

  21. #21
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    You might want to consider buying some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Your 3 flat rule will no longer be in effect because you will not get any flats and you will no longer have to change your tires 6 times per year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) I go through as many as 6 tires a year ... and they're $15 a piece.

    2) No, not a pinch flat, when these flats start happening in fairly quick succession there's glass, or bits of wire, or whatever in the tire. It's just that the tire has worn that thin. When I change to a new tire, I'm usually good to go again without a flat for a while. (I live in an area with a lot of heavy vehicles, because of the oilfields, which shed their tires leaving wire bits everywhere ... and a lot of bottle-throwing drunks)

    3) My last long brevet is usually in September. I consider that the end of my season, although I will keep cycling through the winter, even when it snows. I just don't cycle as much.


    And yes, I'm relatively light, although I would like to get lighter this summer.

  22. #22
    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gosmsgo View Post
    You might want to consider buying some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Your 3 flat rule will no longer be in effect because you will not get any flats and you will no longer have to change your tires 6 times per year.
    There is no such thing as a flat proof tire. Sure, some will avoid flatting where lesser tires will flat, but hit a nail or other thin, sharp object just right and you'll get a flat.

  23. #23
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    I usually replace a tire when either I first start seeing cords or the rubber is getting so thin that flats become too much of an issue...this all assumes of course that nothing serious has happened to the tire along the way to wear out that would cause it to be non-usable.

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