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How do you deal with bald tires?

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Old 09-30-18, 11:53 PM
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CliffordK
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How do you deal with bald tires?

Ok, I do primarily a mix of commuting and utility cycling, that crosses boundaries from road cycling to touring, to rides that lie similar to 200K to 300K Randonneur events.

Yesterday (Saturday) I was planning a longish ride. So, I got everything checked and tuned last week... mostly.

Anyway, I came to the tires. Front was nearly new (my tubeless experiment), and the rear was well worn including weather cracking.

However, I estimated that I had, maybe 500 miles left on the tire (Gatorskin).

I usually don't carry a spare tire with me (but have tubes and patches), but in this case, I was doing a utility run and tossed a spare in the trailer, leaving the worn tire on the bike.

187 miles (300 km) Saturday, plus another 20 miles today, and the tire has passed the threshold of DO NOT RIDE. Ok, so I guess I over-estimated the miles left.

So, the question for others is what do you do? And, if you do put on a new tire, then what do you do with the old half-worn tires? Do you put them back on for local riding? Perhaps a pecking order of bicycles to toss old parts onto?

I will note that my worst tire failure was a sidwall blowout (sidewall blown off the bead), with a tire that was new, and failed 75 miles into the ride. So, there is an advantage of broken in stuff to new stuff.
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Old 10-01-18, 01:35 AM
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If cost/availability is no issue I'd always choose fresh rubber.

halfworn tyres that are still serviceable, pile them aside for spares. When space runs out donate some to bike hospital or various projects I might get volunteered for.

Yep back when we were motor racing a tested & tried sparepart is better than a brandnewie fresh out of its box. We'd spend many a practice day bolting in new parts, run a few laps &/or heat cycles then take them off & rewrap them. These were labelled "tested good" in the spares stash.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:33 AM
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depends on how bad the tread is. I threw away a tire with casing showing through the thread earlier this year, and now I realize I should have kept that one for clearance checks while framebuilding. I usually stop using rando tires a bit early, so I do have some tires with usable tread left on them hanging in the garage. I thin the heard occasionally. I gave some to a friend and then he sold me the bike they were on, so I have them back again.

My lbs used to collect dead tubes and sent them to Pedro's for recycling into products. Not sure if they do that anymore.
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Old 10-01-18, 09:05 AM
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I don't worry about "bald" much, since most of my tires don't start with much tread pattern. I might make an exception for a longer ride, perhaps over 200k (or overnight). Most of the time I toss a tire because either the casing threads are showing, or because the profile is really flat and I've had a spate of flats. When the softer rubber starts grabbing crap off the road and flatting, I figure that tire has done its duty and is ready to retire.
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Old 10-01-18, 12:39 PM
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This is a timely thread.

I am battling replacing a $67 Compass tire that has two broken sidewall cords but only 2500 miles on the clock. Tire could probably get at least another 20% (500+ miles) before it's too worn. I have a 340 mile ride coming up this weekend so that's putting pressure on me to change it but the frugal side of me really isn't ready yet. I've got until Wednesday to decide so I suppose we'll see. I'm of the same mind, IME the known commodity of a used tire with life left is much better than a new tire for starting a long ride.

Otherwise when I use up a tire if it's desirable for fit testing or something I'll offer it up for the price of shipping or free locally on the 650b list. If it's just a regular tire or I have no takers I cut out a few sections for boots and just general purpose handiness (used a section of old tire to buffer my rack/fork crown interface just this morning). I've also started cutting tubeless plugs out of my old tires as the ones available commercially are expensive and tend to dry out and become worthless.

I generally don't switch out tires short-term, as I'm running tubeless, once a tire is on it's on for the life of the tire.
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Old 10-01-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I don't worry about "bald" much, since most of my tires don't start with much tread pattern. I might make an exception for a longer ride, perhaps over 200k (or overnight). Most of the time I toss a tire because either the casing threads are showing, or because the profile is really flat and I've had a spate of flats. When the softer rubber starts grabbing crap off the road and flatting, I figure that tire has done its duty and is ready to retire.
Interesting thoughts about softer rubber. I know the Marathon plus and similar tires by a number of manufacturers have a soft spongy core. I saw some vary scary comments about at least some extra terrestrial tires being mostly core rubber which extended up into the tread.

On the other hand, I had an Origin8 Elimin8er tire that literally stopped wearing as I got through the colored outer layer, down to the black core material.

As far as I can tell, my Continental tires (Gatorskins, Gator Hardshells, and others) all have a homogeneous tread rubber down to the casing.

My theory is that the armored tires such as the Gator Hardshells actually are not more prone to flats as the tread gets thin as the casing tends to reject a lot of debris, and the rubber is unable to hold onto glass or damaging debris while it works its way through.
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Old 10-01-18, 04:08 PM
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I apparently ride on worse roads and trails than you, as I usually get tire bulges from torn casing fabric from hitting pot holes, etc. I almost never wear out the tread. But generically I think as long as you have about a millimeter of rubber over the casing fabric, the tire is still ridable.
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Old 10-01-18, 04:44 PM
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I have a whole box full of worn summer and winter tires. Yup, if it's a "serious ride," I put on fresh rubber, then change it out for a worn tire after the ride. Actually, I put on the fresh tire a few days before the big ride to make sure I've not screwed it up and so that it gets the new worn off it. That last may be just superstition but it's what I do. Why a "whole box?" Because I change my mind about my preferable tire for some conditions, but keep the fall-back-on tires until I can't stand looking at them. I never want to need a tire for a ride and not have something suitable on hand.

I only run tubes.
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Old 10-03-18, 11:44 PM
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@Carbonfiberboy, if you're worried about mold release, a quick wipe with fine-grit sandpaper should take care of that.
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Old 10-04-18, 06:45 AM
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I'm always concerned about getting a defective tire. Although, I got a defective Bontrager and it took a relatively long time to fail. Pretty sure I rode it on a 400k, 600k, and half of the fleche before it let go.
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Old 10-04-18, 07:42 AM
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I'm still distracted by 187 miles in 1 day ...
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Old 10-04-18, 11:08 AM
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Well, this is the long distance forum. I have ridden more than 187 miles in a day 8 times this year. And I consider myself a bit of a slacker.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
@Carbonfiberboy, if you're worried about mold release, a quick wipe with fine-grit sandpaper should take care of that.
Yes. I do that before a rain ride on a new tire, but I'm really quite interested in having the bike and tires all working properly before a big ride, so I make sure to ride it some and then not change anything.
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Old 10-04-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yes. I do that before a rain ride on a new tire, but I'm really quite interested in having the bike and tires all working properly before a big ride, so I make sure to ride it some and then not change anything.
Absolutely, me too.
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Old 10-04-18, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I'm still distracted by 187 miles in 1 day ...
I got a late start... so there was a little night in there too. All towing, but not that heavy of a load.

I didn't take photos from that ride, but here was a previous ride of about 150 miles.



I did think about rounding the miles up to 200 miles... But, just didn't want to add the miles pulling the trailer, and I have a lot of troubles stopping at home at night for a "rest break", then getting back on the bike, even for a short ride.
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Old 10-04-18, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I didn't take photos from that ride, but here was a previous ride of about 150 miles
with a trailer? impressive! but, what is in the trailer?
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Old 10-04-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
with a trailer? impressive! but, what is in the trailer?
A Bike Friday Tikit is in the photo above.

Last Saturday, I picked up a bike frame (needing some work) from a fellow Forum member.

Plus, of course, food and supplies for the ride. I need to start cutting down on my backpack.
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Old 10-04-18, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm always concerned about getting a defective tire. Although, I got a defective Bontrager and it took a relatively long time to fail. Pretty sure I rode it on a 400k, 600k, and half of the fleche before it let go.
I worry about this as well. Iíve had three continental tires fail at the bead shortly after installation before I was even able to ride them. This was in the span of about a year and half.

Much later I had a Panaracer Pari-Moto fail explosively at 6am the morning after the first ride on it - a 200k shakedown ride for an upcoming 300k. So I like to get at least a couple dozen hours of riding on a tire before I go ahead and take it out for a long ride.

With this in mind I decided to just put a patch over the broken cords on my Compass tire and not think about it for this weeks upcoming ride(s).
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Old 10-04-18, 12:48 PM
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I find myself always doing last minute tuning, but the "shake down" is probably not a bad idea.
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Old 10-04-18, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Well, this is the long distance forum. I have ridden more than 187 miles in a day 8 times this year
oh whoops, missed that, sorry & wow!
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Old 10-09-18, 11:01 AM
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If the rear tire is worn, I trash them. Half worn, I move it to the front tire (providing the front tire is worn down).
My flow is: rear wheel gets the new tire when half worn, front gets the half worn tire from the rear. Older worn front tires go to the trash.

On a rando ride, sometimes new tires are too far away to risk using worn tires.
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Old 10-09-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
On a rando ride, sometimes new tires are too far away to risk using worn tires.
+1

I was 12 miles from the nearest WalMart when it became apparent that the only way I was going to resolve my rear tubes going flat was to get a new tire. At this point I was 51 miles away from my hotel/car. The whole saga can be found here: Carry extra tire?
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Old 10-09-18, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
If the rear tire is worn, I trash them. Half worn, I move it to the front tire (providing the front tire is worn down).
My flow is: rear wheel gets the new tire when half worn, front gets the half worn tire from the rear. Older worn front tires go to the trash.

On a rando ride, sometimes new tires are too far away to risk using worn tires.
I always like my best tires to be in front. When rear is ready to discard, I move the front to rear and put the new one on the front.

The only exception is my expedition bike which sometimes I use a Marathon Dureme on the front and Marathon Extreme in the rear.
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Old 10-09-18, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
+1

I was 12 miles from the nearest WalMart when it became apparent that the only way I was going to resolve my rear tubes going flat was to get a new tire. At this point I was 51 miles away from my hotel/car. The whole saga can be found here: Carry extra tire?
Interesting saga... Did you give the church lady the holy bill?

I've been reluctant to go to CO2 as a pump has always worked fine for me, and I hate disposables.

I'll try to find the photos of my tire with about 2" of sidewall bead blown off... I spent the next 20 miles of that ride scanning the road shoulders for anything that looked helpful to stuff into the tire. But, on that ride, it was a brand new tire that blew.

That bike would only fit a 23mm tire, so it had to be from a bike shop (which incidentally I've read reports is now closed ).

I've been told that it is a good idea to carry Gorilla Tape with oneself. But, I can never remember to throw it in.
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Old 10-10-18, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Interesting saga... Did you give the church lady the holy bill?
She actually helped me pick the pieces of the bill off the floor when I took the tire apart! I gave her money that hadn't been damaged. I did confuse the bank teller when I showed up with my pieces of money. She was newer and had never dealt with having to replace damaged money. Her supervisor showed her that as long as I had both sides of the bill (serial numbers) then she could just give me a replacement bill.

I was lucky that this bike used 28-32 mm tires. If I had been on my "fast" bike, then I would have been out of luck since it uses 23mm tires. But after this adventure, I'm carrying a spare tire on that bike too.
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