When To Replace Mountain Bike Tires

When To Replace Mountain Bike Tires

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In due time, your tires will have played their part and need replacement.

So, whether you are going for a different model of Maxxis, Vittoria, Schwalbe, Continental, or Kenda, you need to know when to replace mountain bike tires and the signs.

Changing tires is a stress-free process which we will discuss below as well. Let’s get started.

When to Replace Mountain Bike Tires

Sidewalls and Tread Condition

It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that your tires have played their part. You can’t help noticing your front tire when riding and your rear, especially when cleaning or servicing your bike. Inspect your tires for any cuts and to see if the treads have been eaten away in the trails.

Months after buying new tires, I can’t help notice the punishment they got. Mother nature is too unforgiving even to an innocent rubber tire. Months or a year later, I’m always up for a new set of tires.

New tires offer fantastic traction, and besides, I get to ride more confidently than I have ever been. If the sidewalls are torn, your guess is as good as mine. You will need new tires.

You’re Getting a Lot of Flats

You ride your bike, and before hitting a mile, you suffer a flat. It’s no biggie, and you can patch it up.

Moments later, you suffer another puncture, and halfway on the ride, you run out of patches due to many unexpected punctures.

The trail you are used to suddenly looks like a road to hell with spikes placed strategically to ruin your day.

Nope! Your tires are actually to blame, or are they not? Check whether there’s a thorn stuck in the tires puncturing your tube as fast as you can patch it up.

If you don’t find a problem in the tire, maybe a wire, thorn, glass, or rock, then your tires are the problem, and you don’t need to make your tubes look like a combat jacket.

Consider the Trip, Vacation, or Races

When changing your tires turns into a debate, you’ll be arguing with yourself based on the trip you’re planning for or a bike race around the corner.

You’ll not only require the right tires for the event, but you will also need your bike to be in the best condition. Trips or races require maximum preparation.

Bike vacations, for instance, are experiences of a lifetime, unforgettable. You don’t want to remember how your tires screwed up, and you didn’t enjoy that ride how you intended.

When it comes to races, the time and dedication of your training should never go to waste.

When you are done training, you should change to new tires and service your bike ready for the medal scoop.

Bike Handling is Not as Good

The more a tire wears out, the less traction you feel. How can you tell? When the tires were new, you could manage higher speeds in corners as well.

At the moment, your tires are sliding out more, and you’re looking into a possible crash, God forbid!

If your bike’s traction is not as good as it used to be, that calls for a new pair of tires. Maybe your bike needs new shoes to go back to its glory days.

If You are Going to Ride in a Particular Terrain

Different MTB tires are built for various purposes. Tire makers have you in mind, and to them, your riding styles matter a lot.

That’s why they spend most of their time designing and manufacturing tires that are best suited for the terrain you ride.

Let’s say you ride on rocky mountains sometimes, on softer trails at other times, and on the road commuting, you can have three different sets of tires for each terrain.

Besides, if you ride any tire in rocky conditions, you’ll notice faster wear and tear. If you ride on normal dirt, then your tires will last many years.

So, when buying tires, consider what type of terrain they are suited for, and avoid having the wrong tires for your type of riding.

A Flat Line on the Center of the Tire

All bike tires wear out in the middle. It’s one of the common ways to tell whether your tires are worn out. 

It’s the part where your tire makes the most contact with the ground, and due to the braking and the propulsion from the rear, your tires will get worn out with time, especially the rear one.

Chances are you’ll replace the rear tire twice before replacing the first one. Do you use the stationary trainer?

If you do it with a mountain bike, it speeds the wearing up of the rear tire. The moment this ridge appears, more punctures will start occurring. If you notice that flat, it’s time to get another tire.

Check the Tread Wear Indicators

Some MTB tires come with wear indicators to help you know when to replace your tires.

They are some little lines on the treads or a straight line running in the middle of the tire. As the tires roll, the line or patterns diminish little by little.

Also known as knobs, these markings wear down and disappear. The good thing about the wear-out indicators is that you don’t have to replace your tires right away, but they let you know that you’ll need a new set of tires soon.

Cracked Rubber

Rubber tires don’t react well to too much sunlight. If your bike spends most time scorching under the desert sun or extreme heat, it will become brittle and turn into a ticking bomb about to explode.

You don’t want that to happen when you are in the middle of nowhere.

Also, keeping your bike in the house without riding it for years can have the same effects, not forgetting the stiffness in every moving part.

If you notice some cracks on the side of the tires as a result of brittles, you will have no other option but to discard the old set and get some new ones from the bike store.

What Happens When A Tire is Really Worn Out?

Rear tires wear out faster than the front ones. Whether you are using a tubeless tire or one with a tube, your tire pressure plays a significant role in how your tire wears out.

If you pack too much pressure, the center knobs or the centers knobs will wear out faster than the rounded cornering knobs.

Most bikes come with poor-quality tires with fast knob wear and are not suited for rocky conditions.

They can, however, last longer on trail conditions or non-extreme conditions. Regardless, you’ll always replace your tires after some time.

New tires always offer excellent traction, and as they wear out, there’s a loss of traction.

You need to have maximum traction on trails and have tight knobs to run over sharp rocks and rough surfaces.

How to Change Bike Tires

Changing a bike tire is very simple. You don’t have to go to the service shop to have them changed. It should be as easy as a puncture repair.

You have probably not taken off your tires since installing them or buying your bike new because they came with puncture resistance or puncture protection.

Start by removing the tire from your bike. You will have to press the air valve and release much of the air.

Pull the tire from the rim with your bare hands or with the help of levers. Remove the tire with the tube, grab the new tire, and attach it to the rim with the tube inside. Grab your pump and inflate your bike.


Q: How do you know when your mountain bike tires are worn out?

A: MTB tires should serve you for 3200 to 8000 miles on average. The lifespan of your bike tires depends on where and how you ride. You can tell that your mountain bike tires by simply looking at them, getting too many punctures, or feeling like you lost some traction.

Q: How often should I change my bike tires?

A: The general rule is that you should change your bike tires after clocking 2,000-3,000 miles which you can easily know when using Strava. It’s not a question of how often but when. The more you ride, the quicker your tires wear out, which means if you ride more often, then you’ll change your tires sooner.

Q: How long do mountain bike tires last on pavement?

Tires wear faster if you ride on pavement. However, the choices of your tires matter. There are tires build specifically for pavements, such as the Maxxis Hookworm. Using tires with big treads is a total waste, and they are slower and pleasant.

Q: Can you put different tires on a mountain bike?

If you mean different tire brands or models rear and front, yes, it’s possible. If you meant different pairs of tires for a different type of riding, that’s also possible. It’s all a matter of your preferences or what you want to do with your bike.

Q: How long do fat bike tires last?

A: For the fat bike tires, they should get around 2500 to 3000 miles under normal conditions. That means riding on different types of trails and with minimal risks here and there. It matters where your bike rides.

Q: Should you replace both bike tires?

It depends. If you notice that both tires are worn out, then you should replace both. The rear tire shows signs of wear sooner than the front tire. No need to replace a tire if it has much life left.

Q: How long should a bike tire last?

As long as it should. A year, two, maybe a couple of months, depending on quality. Get a better quality tire that will serve you for longer.

Final Remarks

That’s it, riders! Changing a tire might be the first thing you change since buying your bike. Changing tires is an easy process. If you encounter any hurdles, kindly contact us for assistance.

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Written By

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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