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My tire tread wears out faster in back.

Old 06-04-21, 11:26 PM
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JonBailey
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My tire tread wears out faster in back.

I bought a new Schwinn Discovery back in the fall of 2017. The rear tire tread is now completely bald. There is still plenty of groove up front. Do rear tires wear out much faster than front tires? Should bicycle tires be periodically rotated like automobile tires? I bought a pair of new correct-fitting Schwinn-box-branded/Innova-sidewall-branded 700c x 38mm hybrid tires from amazon.com. $20 and change including shipping. Should I rotate the front tire to back since the front has some tread left and put the fresh new tire up front?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • Built-in flat resistant layer for greater on/off road protection
  • Ultra durable steel bead construction

I use green Flat Attack in my tubes to boot.


PS- which way should the V's in the tread face?


​​​​​​​As a former automobile mechanism by trade, it was always customary to put a new tires up front for safety since these are your steer tires. A front skid or blowout is much more dangerous than a rear one.

Last edited by JonBailey; 06-04-21 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 06-05-21, 01:09 AM
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dabac
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Rear tires do wear faster since they’re the ones pushing you along.
Rotating tires is kinda-sorta frowned upon as it means you’re deliberately putting a more worn tire in the more important position.
I MIGHT do it If for some reason I have both tires off at an early stage of wear. Or I might not.
Among people who run the same size front/rear, the most common approach seems to be to put a new tire on the front and move the old front to the rear. Others will simply replace both as an inexpensive way to some peace of mind.

Bald tires on a bicycle used for road riding isn’t much of a concern as such, as bicycles can’t hydroplane. It is however a clear indicator that there is less rubber between the road and the tube, which increases the risk of flats by some undetermined degree. Seeing threads however is cause for immediate replacement.
Some tires have a suggested rotating direction. If there is one, I tend to follow it. Not so much for the road handling or ride quality, but b/c seeing the label being ”off” disturbs my sense of neatness.

Last edited by dabac; 06-05-21 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 06-05-21, 03:13 AM
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Tire Rotation

From that thread: "The only time tire rotation is appropriate on a bicycle is when you are replacing the rear tire. If you feel like taking the trouble, and use the same type of tire front and rear, you should move the front tire to the rear wheel, and install the new tire in front."

Car guys seem to worry about rotating bike tires, but I was always more of a bike guy than a car guy. I've ridden racing bikes for over 55 years, and I can't remember ever taking a tire off except to fix a flat or to replace the tire.
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Old 06-05-21, 05:59 AM
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Yes, you are correct. New tire goes on front, move the more worn tire to the rear. That said, lots of folks probably just replace whichever is worn, so doing it "wrong" may not cause you issues.
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Old 06-05-21, 06:51 AM
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And re: rotation, the slight point of the “Vs” should probably face forward, but if a tire is directional, there will be an arrow on the sidewalk showing you in which direction it should rotate.
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Old 06-05-21, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post
And re: rotation, the slight point of the “Vs” should probably face forward, but if a tire is directional, there will be an arrow on the sidewalk showing you in which direction it should rotate.
This ^^.
As the tire rotates, the "point" of the "V" should contact the road first. The theory is that the grooves in the tread can then vent any water to the side, instead of trapping it under the tire. But it's very hard (some say impossible) for a bike tire to hydroplane, so it's probably not critical. IME, I've never seen a treaded tire that didn't have "rotation direction ->" marks on the sidewalls.

Last edited by sweeks; 06-05-21 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 06-05-21, 10:32 AM
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I replace the rear with the front and put the new tire on front. Tread pattern is useless on a bike tire because of the canoe shaped footprint.
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Old 06-05-21, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Rear tires do wear faster since they’re the ones pushing you along.
There is generally also more weight on the rear tire. Also, if you are a heavy user of the rear brake (you should learn to use the front, instead) it will wear the rear tire, especially if you skid significantly.
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Old 06-05-21, 12:39 PM
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You need to practice your front wheelie more to even out the tread wear.

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Old 06-05-21, 12:57 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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Often, people simply replace both.
Sometimes they simply replace the rear and do both the next time.
Moving the front to the rear pretty much boils down to "are you willing to expend the effort" and condition of the tire.
Do what feels good to you.
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Old 06-05-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Rear tires do wear faster since they’re the ones pushing you along..
The wear from driving the rear wheel is probably cancelled out by the wear from using the front brake for slowing and stopping. The reason the rear wears out faster is because it carries about twice as much weight as the front.

I rotate my tires at around 2000 miles to get a little more mileage from the rear (which is now the front). It's your choice.
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Old 06-06-21, 01:53 PM
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The rear tire carries only slightly more weight than the front. A lot of tire pressure calculators assume 48 front and 52 percent rear. Of course it also varies with saddle setback.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
There is generally also more weight on the rear tire. Also, if you are a heavy user of the rear brake (you should learn to use the front, instead) it will wear the rear tire, especially if you skid significantly.
I feel the front tire tread and overall front bicycle tire condition is critical for safety especially up to speed. A front lockup on gravel, oil or ice is likely to cause the rider to take a dump on his rump. A tire will more likely lock up during braking if the tire is worn slick. The rear tire may lockup and fishtail but you can usually recover from it. The same tire logic applies to motorcycles. It is best to have better rubber up front for critical steering and braking control. Front blowouts are more dangerous too in any kind of road vehicle.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
The wear from driving the rear wheel is probably cancelled out by the wear from using the front brake for slowing and stopping. The reason the rear wears out faster is because it carries about twice as much weight as the front.

I rotate my tires at around 2000 miles to get a little more mileage from the rear (which is now the front). It's your choice.
Remember, a front tire suffers steering wear too.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
Remember, a front tire suffers steering wear too.
If your corners require hard braking, sure. Or you're doing singletrack. The non-racing road riders I know rarely lean the bike over more than 20 degrees.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
The wear from driving the rear wheel is probably cancelled out by the wear from using the front brake for slowing and stopping. The reason the rear wears out faster is because it carries about twice as much weight as the front.

I rotate my tires at around 2000 miles to get a little more mileage from the rear (which is now the front). It's your choice.
Terrible idea.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
If your corners require hard braking, sure. Or you're doing singletrack. The non-racing road riders I know rarely lean the bike over more than 20 degrees.
My wear pattern is right down the middle of the tires.

If only I could wear the rubber down at 20° from the center line, but alas, I spend much more time going straight than going around hard unbanked turns.

I suppose one could do a constant zig-zag down the road to make sure one gets the benefit of even tire wear.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Terrible idea.
Tell me why. I've heard plenty of reasons, but I want to hear yours. In almost 50 years of riding I've never had tire failure that resulted in an accident. I wouldn't start a big ride with a tire with 2000 miles on it, back or front. I wouldn't race on it either. But for after-work and weekend spins I'll use it until I get tired of it or it becomes a problem.

Your mileage might vary. In fact, that goes for just about anything I say that doesn't involve fixing something.
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Old 06-06-21, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
My wear pattern is right down the middle of the tires.

If only I could wear the rubber down at 20° from the center line, but alas, I spend much more time going straight than going around hard unbanked turns.

I suppose one could do a constant zig-zag down the road to make sure one gets the benefit of even tire wear.
That sounds about right. Most inexperienced riders really overestimate the g's they pull around corners and accelerating from stoplights.
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Old 06-06-21, 03:52 PM
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My interval for tire replacement tends to be when I start getting slow leaks from really small road debris. To sate my curiosity I've pushed that a bit farther and tend to start seeing tire cord not too long after, and at that point it's definitely too long. I do not rotate my tires, but I do tend to cut them up after they are dead because I'm like seeing the cross section and how they are constructed. As others have alluded, the wear pattern on the rear is typically a flat center, whereas the wear pattern on the front is a bit more rounded. In times of my life where I've done most of my riding in cities the front is more rounded and uniformly worn and in times where I've done more rural riding with fewer and more gradual turns the front looks more like the rear.

Based on this rounding, you can get just a bit more life out of tires by always rotating the old one to the back and putting a new one on the front, but it isn't a ton.

IMO the main benefit is decreased likelihood of a front flat. If you only ride on flat roads with few turns and no traffic, and tend to notice your tire slowly bleeding down such that you stop to fix it when you still have 60 PSI it may be less of an issue. If you tend to notice it after it's flat and your tire is about to jump off the rim in a turn going downhill in a high traffic hairpin then always having a newer front tire is probably a wise choice.
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Old 06-06-21, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
The rear tire carries only slightly more weight than the front. A lot of tire pressure calculators assume 48 front and 52 percent rear. Of course it also varies with saddle setback.
I think these recommendations are appropriate only for certain situations, like where a rider really is positioned with a fairly even weight distribution. Most of my bikes are set up how I presume the original poster's bike is, with an upright riding position. I'm 235 pounds and run my 38mm tires at about 3 bar (~40 psi) in the front and about 4 bar (~60 psi) in the rear. I found this out by following the "20% squish" rule of thumb that was once recommended...I had my wife help me with the squish measurements as I was on the bike in riding position. To get about the same squish front and rear, I had to inflate the rear 33% more than the front.
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Old 06-07-21, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
My interval for tire replacement tends to be when I start getting slow leaks from really small road debris. To sate my curiosity I've pushed that a bit farther and tend to start seeing tire cord not too long after, and at that point it's definitely too long. I do not rotate my tires, but I do tend to cut them up after they are dead because I'm like seeing the cross section and how they are constructed. As others have alluded, the wear pattern on the rear is typically a flat center, whereas the wear pattern on the front is a bit more rounded. In times of my life where I've done most of my riding in cities the front is more rounded and uniformly worn and in times where I've done more rural riding with fewer and more gradual turns the front looks more like the rear.

Based on this rounding, you can get just a bit more life out of tires by always rotating the old one to the back and putting a new one on the front, but it isn't a ton.

IMO the main benefit is decreased likelihood of a front flat. If you only ride on flat roads with few turns and no traffic, and tend to notice your tire slowly bleeding down such that you stop to fix it when you still have 60 PSI it may be less of an issue. If you tend to notice it after it's flat and your tire is about to jump off the rim in a turn going downhill in a high traffic hairpin then always having a newer front tire is probably a wise choice.
There is a point where there isn't enough tread to keep everyday sharp objects from penetrating the casing. That's another signal to get a new tire.

That front tires appear to wear more on the shoulder is just about less wear on the center strip. The cross-section of the tire is circular (or at least ovid). The contact patch has more pressure and friction in the center than at the shoulders. It's like if you overinflated the tires on your car. The tread will wear faster in the center.
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