Spring has sprung, the grass is ris’ I wonder where my new tyres is?
When the weather becomes more bearable and the clocks have been moved forward (I moved mine to the very front edge of the bookshelf), those who love to cycle love to put in more miles and get out on their bike a little more often. Even those of us who commute all year round, suddenly get a new lease of life from the promise of warm breezes and lighter nights. It’s usually the time we get out our best bike or think about sprucing up our old faithful (not everybody who loves cycling has more than one bike). It’s a time to spring clean the bike and ensure gears and brakes are spot on, and a good time to check our tyres for the coming months.
Depending on the make and model of tyre, a pair can last around 2,000 miles, but many are designed to last longer. Usually, the rear tyre shows significant wear before the front. There are people who swap front to back and replace the front. I usually buy a new pair and keep the less worn front tyre for turbo training or as an emergency spare (something to put on the bike to get me to my local bike shop for a new pair).
However, riding through the winter; long miles or constant commuting also adds extra wear to tyres. The question is, should I replace them for a new set as a matter of routine. Not necessarily but a careful inspection while refreshing your bike for the summer is a good idea.
As a commuter, I know that the dark mornings and darker nights hide road debris that I would otherwise avoid (even modern bike lights don’t imitate daylight). British winters are, as we all know, pretty wet and yucky. Wet and yucky enhances the chance of bits and bobs sticking to the tyre causing either punctures, damage to tyre or both. And it’s important to note that not all run-ins with debris cause punctures but there’s so much ‘stuff’ that cuts or rips the tyre, or even remains in the tyre until it works through to the tube and....psssssssssssss. Or for those who run tubeless with solution… plrrrrrrrrrrrrp.
Personally, I fit wider, more puncture resistant tyres at the end of Autumn in readiness for the coming inclement weather and daily commute. Urban commutes tend to be a little harder on tyres as there’s usually more detritus on the roads from local commerce and industry and let's face it, we’re not all fortunate enough to live and commute along quiet rural lanes. Mind you, even those who are, still run the gauntlet of hedge cuttings, sticky sticks, and dried out, flattened hedgehogs (other road kill is available).
So a thorough check of the tyres for cuts, slashes, patches of wear or damaged sidewalls and the removal of foreign objects (pieces of glass, thorns or bits of wire/metal) should give you enough reason to go out and treat yourself to a new pair of tyres. If your old tyres seem in good repair you can always keep them for next winter. Don’t let the fact that they’re perfectly serviceable put you off from buying a spangly new set. After all, if you’re going to the trouble of cleaning your frame, wheels, gears etc why not finish your ‘new’ look bike with, let's say, a new set of Continental GP’s, Turbo Cotton’s or Schwalbe Ones (other tyre makes and models are available)