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Upcoming Century - does a rear tire with about 2,500 miles need replacing

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Upcoming Century - does a rear tire with about 2,500 miles need replacing

Old 08-18-15, 08:59 PM
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FamilyMan007
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Upcoming Century - does a rear tire with about 2,500 miles need replacing

Getting ready for my first 100 mile ride this coming Saturday. Ridden about 1,400 miles this year (culminating in a 60 mile ride today) as preparation for the not-too-onerous century (a group ride along mainly flat roads down to Niagara Falls, returning by train after a meal).

For the next three days until my Century, I intend to slow down the riding to rest/stretch my muscles, and concentrate on preparing bike/myself for the trip. This will include practicing a rear wheel 'puncture-repair'. Famous last words, but this is not something I have yet had to grapple with on the road. I do not wish to disgrace my new 50+ jersey (expecting delivery this week - thanks Bill) by mucking up a procedure that most people in the group seem able to handle competently!

I am looking for some pointers as to how I tell whether I should take the opportunity to replace the Continental SportContact rear tire that has now accumulated some 2,500 trouble free miles.
My focus is on whether 2500 miles is getting anywhere close to 'worn-out'.
I assume that the rear is likely to wear faster, and that a front tire with same mileage should be OK?
I am not looking to change either width or brand of my tires at this particular time.
If relevant:
~ I weigh about 175lbs, use a floor pump to maintain 'comfort-orientated' inflation pressure of about 80/65 rear/front, most riding on paved roads/bikepaths at a fairly moderate pace (average while moving only 14/15mph; very rarely go above 25 mph);
~ I have new 32mm SportContacts available (acquired on sale a few months ago);
~ I will be taking with me on the ride (a) a replacement folding Gatorskin tire; (b) two innertubes + a puncture kit; & (c) pump/CO2 cartridge.

I will be riding West then South - advice on how to order a 'ride-friendly' NE wind would also be much appreciated.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:26 PM
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There is a century rule:

Don't make any changes in routine or equipment or food or whatever the week before a century or during a century (i.e., "Hey, I have discovered a really great energy pill").

I would guess that your current tires will do just fine. Don't screw things up by introducing an unknown unless you have to.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:36 PM
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Putting the new tires on will give you real world experience. Also reduce your chances of getting a flat a lot if you do the job correctly. Doing this late means they will stretch little and be tough to take of and back on if you flat on your ride. If you ride the old tires, examine them carefully first for bits of glass and wire in the thread. I didn't see tire irons on your list. You want those. (And you want plastic ones that won't damage your rims. We haven't moved on to to "tire plastics" yet.)

The West Wind is quite rider friendly. He'll come up and say hi early on, then accompany you all day. It's August, he has nowhere better to go. (I rode from Boston to Windsor about a week later many years ago. Hung out with W W for two days as I rode from Niagara Falls to Windsor. He really got into his thing in the afternoons. He's less of a morning person.)

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Old 08-18-15, 09:41 PM
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I would replace it. Or at least take it off and check the tread depth.

Tires look absolutely fine right up until the minute they're completely worn out in the threads start to show. Not long after the first threads show, you have multiple bald spots.

Trust me. I've done that one before.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I would replace it.
+1 on this. Putting on a new tire is not changing fit or function, it's just security and risk reduction. 2500 miles is a lot to expect from today's tires. Riding 100 miles, for the first time or any time, is hard enough without worrying about a flat.
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Old 08-18-15, 10:29 PM
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It is good to give your bike a little tune-up before a long ride, and fix whatever is overly worn.

I go by the condition of the tire rather than the number of miles. Wear will vary tremendously between tire brands & models. Also, is this an unsupported personal ride, or a supported group ride?

A Schwalbe Marathon Plus may be barely broken in with 2500 miles.

My Origin8 Elimin8ers have somewhere between 2000 and 3000 miles, I think, and are definitely showing wear. Still chugging along, and I haven't had any flats since remounting them a couple of months ago. Do the 32mm and larger tires have more tread and last longer than the smaller tires?

Anyway, if you're uncomfortable with your current tires, replace (or even do a temporary replacement). I wouldn't carry a spare tire for a simple 100 mile ride, but would consider it for a longer ride... 500+ miles?

Oh, and how frequent of flats have you been getting? That may be an indication of past-due tires.
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Old 08-18-15, 10:48 PM
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Every tire is different. I tried some Michelins once (forget model - supposed to be "fast") that were toast after 1000 mi. Won't go that route again. I ran Spesh armadillo 23s for years -- they last forever. Got Conti Grand Prix 24s on my 2013 Focus, rear lasted 4000 miles. So IMO 2500 mi may or may not be pushing it. Look closely at the rear. You should be able to get an idea how it looks. If it doesn't have cord hanging out or cuts that seem bad, I wouldn't sweat it at this point so close. I agree not to try too much new stuff right before a big ride. I remember one century where I thought I would pull and clean everything on the bike so it would look good out on the road. I didn't tighten the clamp-on front der tight enough and it slipped, making my bike a 1x in the little ring. Fortunately there was a bike shop support at the next stop and they tightened it up for me (I never take tools other than patch kit).

I do believe in slacking off before a big ride. But also don't use a century to experiment with "energy" drinks or gels you haven't played with before.

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Old 08-18-15, 11:29 PM
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Probably cool for at least another 100, unless flatting often already.

Signs your tire is nearing end of life: slits in the side walls over 1cm. Visible tube or a flap. The profile of the tread is very flat in the middle. Frequent flats. Threads showing thru tread. More than 5 years old, regardless of use; less if you live in a large city (ozone exposure kills rubber). Wider tires at lower pressures do tend to last longer and flat less, all thing being equal.

If riding with buddies, you can usually agree to pool tubes and tools so that as a group you don't have to carry so much. Someone always volunteers to show off their fixing talents. A spare tire is overkill unless road conditions have told you otherwise. Cary a tire boot or short length (1m) of duct tape to fix a gash instead.
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Old 08-19-15, 12:41 AM
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A tire without history of trauma should not be worrisome at 2500 miles. Is the tire tread showing very visible wear? I'm not familiar with the SportContact, but if you are the type to worry about tires, then something like Gatorskins are probably for you.

If you decide to change tires, definitely make 2-3 practice rides on it before you head out for the century.

Good luck on your ride.
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Old 08-19-15, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
If you decide to change tires, definitely make 2-3 practice rides on it before you head out for the century.
It is a tire, not a scratch built bike.

Put the tire on and ride.

100 miles is a good break-in ride
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Old 08-19-15, 05:39 AM
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Most models of Continental tires have small wear indicators (two small dot-indentions) you can use to check the wear. I'm with the others that said to go ahead and change it, you are sticking with the same tire so its a simple matter of making sure you mount it correctly. The nested tire tools are a good idea, unless you have the hand strength to dismount and remount tires bare handed. I can do this if I start the process with a tool pair, then it will pull off easily (Continental Gatorskins, 700X25, folding bead.) The Sport Contacts aren't any tougher than a 'Skin so you won't have problems.

Do take either a pump or CO[SUB]2[/SUB] device, and a few extra cartridges, as well. A mini pump is probably the best idea, though, I am headed that way myself.

Right now, I carry a device, 2 extra cartridges and a spare tube, along with some patches. Probably weighs a total of 1 pound, if that, and always have a mini-tool in the bag. A dollar bill will make an excellent tire boot should you get a tear in the tire carcass, that will get you to either the finish, or to a tire change. Best of luck on your event, as well!

No wind advice though, just keep on pedaling, the finish line is just ahead.

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Old 08-19-15, 06:25 AM
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I gather from the OP that changing tires is not something he is practiced at.

Reminds me of a few years back when a very experienced rider (40 miles a day. 7 days per week - for years) had a flat and changed the tube, only to have the tube go flat a few miles later as he had not properly seated the tire/tube. Fortunately I came along with an extra tube and, properly seated, he was on his way.

Tubes can get pinched or weakened in the mounting process, can be seated incorrectly, new tire replacements can have flaws, stems can be mounted at an angle other than 90 degrees and wear and leak.

I don't think that just before a century is the time to learn on a new tire, when the old tire has been reliable for 2500 miles. A tire with 2500 miles, unless appearing worn, will go another 100 with a high degree of certainty. A week ago - yes, by all means, and then put at least 100-200 miles on the tire before the century. But the OP said he was "slowing down" in these last few days.

JMHO.
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Old 08-19-15, 06:43 AM
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I would check the tire for excess wear by visual inspection. If the Conti's have wear indicators as Bill mentions, that is your evidence. If not, as long as no threads are shoeing, you'll be fine for a century.

Since you sound like you haven't done many changes before, now isn't a good time to start. Even experienced people have flats immediately after putting on a new tire from pinching the tube with a lever on hard to mount new tires or not having all the tube inside the bead before inflation. Wait until after the ride and practice later.

Good luck and enjoy the ride!
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Old 08-19-15, 08:14 AM
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I'm on the other side of the fence - but you can get your "practice" at the same time.

Check the tread depth, for wear. If it's OK, go ahead and move it to the front wheel. Then put the front on the back.

Put the new ones on next spring, when you tune it up!

MHO
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Old 08-19-15, 08:47 AM
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I would, just because I love having new tires. Somehow it just feels good. But I wouldn't be concerned about the 2500 miles on the old tires unless there are some visible indications that they're worn out.

I agree with not changing things before the big event but a ride around the parking lot or a mile out and back is good enough to make sure I didn't pinch the tube or something.
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Old 08-19-15, 08:57 AM
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Check the tire; can you see spots where the tread is worn down and there's some inner belt showing? If so, replace the tire.

Continental Contacts in general seem to last a very long time. I ran one model 4,000 miles, another one over 6,000 miles, and I'm heavier than you. Unless you can see problematic wear, I wouldn't swap it.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:01 AM
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If I care about my results on an event ride, I always replace the rear tire, and the front if it's worn or has been cut. After the event, I put the old tires back on. Only takes a few minutes, but IME a new tire is much less likely to get a flat than a used tire. Well worth the small effort.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Check the tread depth, for wear. If it's OK, go ahead and move it to the front wheel. Then put the front on the back.

Put the new ones on next spring, when you tune it up!

MHO
There you go. You should really swap them anyway ... and this will give you a chance to see how much they've worn.
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Old 08-19-15, 11:41 AM
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The only way to judge if a tire needs to be replaced is a visual inspection. Makes sense to inspect more often on an old tire, but doesn't make sense to replace it unless it needs it.

I've been watching this one for a couple months - then I found this last night so it was time.

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Old 08-19-15, 12:19 PM
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^ See ... that is just what the OP should avoid. By the time you see threads like that, the tire is no only worn and needs to be replaced, it WAS worn and needed replacement for at least the last several weeks. And going from one bald spot like that to several happens very quickly, in my experience.

Interesting issue regarding how long a tire should last or when to replace it. I think there are a lot of variables that make any prediction hard to make. The riders weight, what kind of surfaces they ride on ... all kinds of things.

I've noticed that the tires I commute on (flat ground and mostly concrete) last forever. Heck ... I had an ordinary, cheap Panaracer last me over 8000 miles. On the other hand, the tires I use for weekend rides in the mountains (always on asphalt, and sometimes chip-sealed) are even higher quality and last a lot less ... 3000 miles at best. Ditto chains and other parts too.
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Old 08-19-15, 02:26 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the comments / advice.

To clarify some points arising:
~ I do indeed carry tire levers as a matter of course + a 'multi-tool' along with mentioned inner-tube, patch repair kit, mini pump and two CO2 cartridges. The 'extras' for the ride would be the second inner-tube and the folding tire
~ the ride is with a group that tends to keep pretty much together, but each rider is meant to be self-sufficient in terms of maintaining bike (albeit whenever there has been a puncture in the group several people usually stay with the cyclist). The suggestion re pooling 'rare' requirements like spare tires is a good one, but I do not know members of the group well and arranging that at this late stage is a non-starter. However, I will re-assess how many tire-related items I take when I see what space I have available (eg I also need room for padlock etc).
~ I have never (famous last words) had a puncture. I did 'practice' a rear tire puncture last year and it was successful after a bit of a struggle (I forgot to change to the two smallest cogs before removing the rear wheel). Assuming the 50+ jersey arrives in time, I planned to wear it. That gives me an added incentive at not embarrassing myself / jersey by being a klutz at coping with a puncture.
~ While I was going to go relatively gently for next couple of days, I do envisage spinning for short distances as a warm up before my stretching exercises.

So I think plan is to:
~ do the practice 'puncture' routine ASAP - taking care to seat the tube/inner-tube carefully
~ check tire carefully for wear - I will search diligently for the 'wear' indicators that my tires may have;
~ even if the tire looks OK, swap over front/back (added benefit of extra puncture practice)
~ Go for some short 'non-energetic' rides;
~ take the bike to LBS for a final check-up on Friday.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Old 08-19-15, 02:28 PM
  #22  
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If you decide to NOT change it, you might take something with you where you can form a boot to cover the area on the inside of the tire if it should happen to wear through and the tube blow out (just reread where you are taking another tire so maybe you don't need to---I carry this with me anyway). Dollar bills will work. What I carry is the synthetic Fed Ex envelopes with enough material to make a boot. I'd also recommend upping your tire pressure. While the pressure you are running is great for comfort it is very prone to flats from pinch flats, even at your weight. I'd recommend at least 100 lbs in the rear and 90 in the front minimum-assuming 20 mm wide rims.....I had to change a guy's flat on last night's ride from that very thing so it's really fresh with me. He hadn't changed a flat in ages and I changed it so we didn't have to wait very long. Took me 6 minutes.........

As a side, make sure you have at least 2 tire tools. I have some wheels where it is really, really hard to get tires on and off them and impossible without sturdy tire tools.

Since it is the back tire and on mostly flat terrain, if you're okay changing it if needed I'd just keep running it. However if you would rather not let something like a worn out tire ruin your ride because you had a lot of difficulty changing it should it cause a flat I'd suggest going ahead and changing it while you have the time. Personally I run the back tires until there is no longer rubber but I know the risks and consequences.......some not so good. I don't mess around with the front tires though.

Have fun on your century. Just push through the demons about the 80-85 mile mark. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There really is.
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Old 08-19-15, 02:42 PM
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If it were meI would ride it as-is until there is obvious wear or I start getting more frequent flats, but I am very comfortable fixing flats on the road. If the worn tire or the thought of replacing it on the road bothers you at all, then use this opportunity to practice removing and remounting tires. A popular strategy is to take off the less-worn front tire and replace it with a new tire, then take off the more-worn rear tire and replace it with the tire you took off the front. This is the equivalent of 'rotating your tires' as is recommended for cars. The philosophy behind it is that a worn tire is probably more likely to flat, and a front flat can be more dangerous than a rear flat, so the front is the tire that should be replaced first. Other people have different opinions on this.

One thing is for sure, though - if you are changing tires, do it as soon as possible and go on a few test rides so that any problems caused by improper installation will be found before the day of the event.
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Old 08-19-15, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FamilyMan007 View Post
Getting ready for my first 100 mile ride this coming Saturday. Ridden about 1,400 miles this year (culminating in a 60 mile ride today) as preparation for the not-too-onerous century (a group ride along mainly flat roads down to Niagara Falls, returning by train after a meal).

For the next three days until my Century, I intend to slow down the riding to rest/stretch my muscles, and concentrate on preparing bike/myself for the trip. This will include practicing a rear wheel 'puncture-repair'. Famous last words, but this is not something I have yet had to grapple with on the road. I do not wish to disgrace my new 50+ jersey (expecting delivery this week - thanks Bill) by mucking up a procedure that most people in the group seem able to handle competently!

I am looking for some pointers as to how I tell whether I should take the opportunity to replace the Continental SportContact rear tire that has now accumulated some 2,500 trouble free miles.
My focus is on whether 2500 miles is getting anywhere close to 'worn-out'.
I assume that the rear is likely to wear faster, and that a front tire with same mileage should be OK?
I am not looking to change either width or brand of my tires at this particular time.
If relevant:
~ I weigh about 175lbs, use a floor pump to maintain 'comfort-orientated' inflation pressure of about 80/65 rear/front, most riding on paved roads/bikepaths at a fairly moderate pace (average while moving only 14/15mph; very rarely go above 25 mph);
~ I have new 32mm SportContacts available (acquired on sale a few months ago);
~ I will be taking with me on the ride (a) a replacement folding Gatorskin tire; (b) two innertubes + a puncture kit; & (c) pump/CO2 cartridge.

I will be riding West then South - advice on how to order a 'ride-friendly' NE wind would also be much appreciated.
I have a century in about two weeks and just replaced my rear tire. It was worn and had several small cuts. This is not the same as getting new shoes or saddle a day or two before.
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Old 08-19-15, 04:26 PM
  #25  
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 8,584

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
^ See ... that is just what the OP should avoid. By the time you see threads like that, the tire is no only worn and needs to be replaced, it WAS worn and needed replacement for at least the last several weeks. And going from one bald spot like that to several happens very quickly, in my experience.
Yeah, if I had a big event planned, I'd've changed the tire a few days beforehand... but doing 15-30 mile rides mostly, I knew I could catch it in time.

But I never rotate and put a used rear on the front - my front (if it's in OK shape) goes to the back and a brand new one goes on front.

I don't even keep track anymore, but 2500 miles is about what I figure for a good tire life.
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