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Rotating tires

Old 03-20-16, 06:18 AM
  #1  
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Rotating tires

It is said that rear tires wear out 3 times as fast as front. It would therefore appear to be a good idea to start
a longish tour on a fresh set and to rotate tires halfway or so in order to increase the likelihood that you can avoid replacing tires on tour.

You do that?

---

We plan to ride 4000 kms this summer (EV6) on schwalbe marathon. Would be great if we could avoid replacing tires under way.
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Old 03-20-16, 06:33 AM
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I think rotating the tires and thoroughly inspecting them at the time is a great idea. I do it on all of my bikes.
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Old 03-20-16, 06:34 AM
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I'm not a believer in rotating tires, but it might make sense in your situation.

One consideration might be that the wear pattern of rear tires is different than front, and it can affect handling. So if you're going to rotate, do so early on, say at 1,500km.

Depending on where you're traveling, you might consider staging a replacement tire someplace along the way. Or, as I did when traveling where I might not find spares, arrange with somebody to be available to buy and ship emergency items to you en route.

Also, 4000kms isn't beyond the predicted service life of a rear tire. I ride tubulars and have gone much farther on my rears.
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Old 03-20-16, 09:32 AM
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I always want my best tire on the front. When the rear wears out, the front goes to the back and the new one goes on the front.

If you are going on a tour that is long enough to completely wear out a rear tire, buy a new one when you need one. Or if you carried a spare, put the spare on and keep your old worn out one as a spare.
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Old 03-20-16, 09:35 AM
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Carry a folding spare tire.
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Old 03-20-16, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
4000kms isn't beyond the predicted service life of a rear tire.
Schwalbe estimates that the Marathon Supreme will last 5-9 000 kms. Not clear if they refer to the front or rear tire. If they mean average, then a conservative estimate might be that a rear tire will last 3 000 kms while a front will last 9 000 kms. Rotating at 2 000 kms would result in an expected minimum life of close to 4 500 kms (4,3k for the rear and 5k for the front), which would be enough in our case.

(We'll be carrying one spare and should be able to find more under way if needed.)
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Old 03-20-16, 03:08 PM
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If you're carrying a spare anyway, i'd do as Touist in MSN suggests. Ride until the rear needs replacing, then switch front to rear and put the new one on the front. Always a good idea to have your newest tyre up front.
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Old 03-20-16, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I always want my best tire on the front. When the rear wears out, the front goes to the back and the new one goes on the front.
+1 The more worn tire is more likely to blow-out so keep the best up front. The fact that the rear wears faster means don't rotate.
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Old 03-20-16, 04:05 PM
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I rotate. The rear on a tourer tends to get flat in the middle, the front wears more rounded. Rotating evens this out a bit more, so over-all you'll get more life out of your tyres. The trick is to not let the back get too flat in the middle before you move it, otherwise the steering gets a little squirrel-ly as you transition from the flat spot to the edge of the tyre.
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Old 03-20-16, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
If you're carrying a spare anyway, ...... Ride until the rear needs replacing, then switch front to rear and put the new one on the front. Always a good idea to have your newest tyre up front.
+1, If tires are available en route, either as a carried spare or bought, then when the rear is shot, toss it and replace. I don't bother rotating, and would probably just put the new on in the back, but it's OK to rotate the front tire back if you prefer. OTOH - (IMO) it's not OK to move a rear tire up because of it's wear pattern.
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Old 03-20-16, 05:18 PM
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If tires are available on route I wouldn't rotate. Replace rear when necessary, then when that one's worn, replace both.
If not then I'd carry a spare (or three)...

tl:dr I don't rotate
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Old 03-20-16, 06:36 PM
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Never rotated. If I did it was purely accidental from grabbing a used one because the one on the bike had a blown sidewall. I'm more inclined to put a heavier tire on the rear if the bike has a heavy rear load since it's more likely to suffer flats and sidewall damage than the front. I don't see the need to have the same tire if the loads are substantially different.
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Old 03-20-16, 08:07 PM
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I have never rotated I tire either and only would do it in a major emergency but I cannot think of an incident that would require me to rotate. I would rather go with a high quality tire and replace it when needed rather than rotating it. If I got a major hole on tour and didn't have a spare I would boot it till I could source another tire hopefully of similar quality or buy two cheap folding beads and carry that extra one just in case.
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Old 03-20-16, 09:31 PM
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I like to rotate only once around 25-35% on two new tires installed at same time. If I am using same brand same size to replace one, I have put a new single on the front and move used front to the rear. In general, I keep the best tire up front.
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Old 03-20-16, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I always want my best tire on the front. When the rear wears out, the front goes to the back and the new one goes on the front.
^This.
BTW I once did an experiment by putting a new tire on the rear, and the result was a single front tire lasted two rear tires. So the wear ratio was more like 2:1 rather than 3:1.
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Old 03-20-16, 11:08 PM
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My folding tire is not suitable for the mix. I couldn't find a really good one, so I have a decent one that is fine for the purpose, but not something I want to ride for ever.

If it is true rear tires wear flat, and front tires wear round, then maybe trying to even them out is not the way to go. Maybe in a perfect world they would make them with different transverse shapes and designs to start with. And maybe in practice the best you can do with that is to run a slightly wider tire in back. I think Heine now has us up to 42 mm tires as being optimal in rolling resistance, assuming you buy them from him, or someone else who executed on his memo.
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Old 03-20-16, 11:39 PM
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Rotating tires risks damaging a tube so I never did that IIRC. Fresh Marathons should do 4K km easy I think. Rode a pair for a year & they barely looked used.
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Old 03-21-16, 06:23 AM
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Sheldon Brown on Tire Rotation
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Old 03-21-16, 06:51 AM
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Don't forget we're talking touring tyres here, not super light racing slicks. The front tyre does a lot of work too, especially with braking, which actually puts way more peak force on the casing than the rear ever has to deal with. It's just that when braking occurs the weight is transferred to the front compressing the tyre and spreading the wear over a larger area (so no flat spot in the middle), and it's the sidewalls that do all that work. A half worn Marathon or similar touring from the rear is not a dangerous tyre, if you think it is I suggest you should start replacing your front when it gets half worn too, because to get to that stage it's had to do a lot more work than a half worn rear tyre.
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Old 03-21-16, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
Sheldon Brown on Tire Rotation
Read it before posting. This is probably where I got the 3:1 wear ratio.

While I perfectly respect the idea that the front tire is more critical than the rear, I am not sure that I buy the logic of his do-not-rotate argument. For example, replacing tires when they are worn (whatever it might be) would mean that you may ride on a pretty worn front tire for a long while. His Tires and Tubes entry suggests that you should replace a tire if you get frequent flats or when the tire's fabric has been damaged, states that I personally would not tolerate on a front tire anyway (and probably not on a rear tire either).

As this point, I am inclined to think that rotation is a non issue for commuters (tires are replaced when they need to be), tourers on fairly short tour (say 1 000 kms or less) where (good) tires are unlikely to need replacement, or on very long tour where even the best tires will have to be replaced anyway. I still think that on longish tours that approach the expected longevity of a tire, one is likely to end up with pretty worn rear tires but still very good front tires. Therefore, it might make sense to rotate tires at 1/3rd of the distance. Rotation practically guarantees that no spare tire will be needed on tour, and rotating early should give you plenty of tire life on the front wheel.

I'd like to add that this is not something interfering with our sleep patterns -- 26" tires are available practically everywhere. But I'd rather watch the birds rather than hunt that elusive bike shop (or carry a truckload of spares).
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Old 03-21-16, 09:03 AM
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Ditto...

Place new tire on the front , then move current front to the rear , to finish wearing the tread out .

The last thing you want is a front tire failure.. that is why the new one goes on the front.
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Old 03-21-16, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Read it before posting. This is probably where I got the 3 to 1 wear ratio.

While I perfectly respect the idea that the front tire is more critical than the rear, I am not sure that I buy the logic of his do-not-rotate argument. For example, replacing tires when they are worn (whatever it might be) would mean that you may ride on a pretty worn front tire for a long while. His Tires and Tubes entry suggests that you should replace a tire if you get frequent flats or when the tire's fabric has been damaged, states that I personally would not tolerate on a front tire anyway (and probably not on a rear tire either).

As this point, I am inclined to think that rotation is a non issue for commuters (tires are replaced when they need to be), tourers on fairly short tour (say 1 000 kms or less) where (good) tires are unlikely to need replacement, or on very long tour where even the best tires will have to be replaced anyway. I still think that on longish tours that approach the expected longevity of a tire, one is likely to end up with pretty worn rear tires but still very good front tires. Therefore, it might make sense to rotate tires at 1/3rd of the distance. Rotation practically guarantees that no spare tire will be needed on tour, and rotating early should give you plenty of tire life on the front wheel.

I'd like to add that this is not something interfering with our sleep patterns -- 26" tires are available practically everywhere. But I'd rather watch the birds rather than hunt that elusive bike shop (or carry a truckload of spares).
I did read it before posting. He said "as much as" 3 to 1. Seems like a pretty minor point to me whether it's 2.25 to 1 or 3 to 1. You're welcome for the link
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Old 03-21-16, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
I did read it before posting.
sorry if I came across as being rude ... I meant *I* had read it.
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Old 03-21-16, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
sorry if I came across as being rude ... I meant *I* had read it.
Oops. Sorry I misunderstood. No problem...

You wrote:

I am not sure that I buy the logic of his do-not-rotate argument. For example, replacing tires when they are worn (whatever it might be) would mean that you may ride on a pretty worn front tire for a long while.
Did you see the Sheldon does advocate rotating the front tire to the back while putting the new tire on the front?
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Old 03-21-16, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
Did you see the Sheldon does advocate rotating the front tire to the back while putting the new tire on the front?
Yes yes. And it makes perfect sense in most cases (commuting/week-end rides etc.)

But I am motivated by the special/unusual case of a 4 000 kms tour across Europe. As there are 4 of us, carrying spare tires isn't trivial. Kids won't carry luggage so we expect their tires to last the whole trip. Will be different for my wife and I. As I wrote earlier in this thread, the expected life of Schwalbe's Marathon supposedly lies somewhere in the 3-9 000 kms range. That could mean that we'll burn through our rear tires while having thousands of kms left on our front tires. I will very probably rotate tires on my wife's and my bike, expecting that we'll be able to ride the whole course on a single set of tires. I'll carry a spare and we'll buy under way if we have to.
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