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I hear people talk a lot about tires making it 5k and such, but is there a way by "looking" at the tire you can tell if it is in need of changing.

I am more of a "commuter" than a guy that thrashes his bike around and really burns up the tires... I guess I am hoping to get a bit more longevity out of my tires than someone who is constantly hitting twisties and such.

Any information would be much appreciated...

Thanks...

- DgreJ
 

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I hear people talk a lot about tires making it 5k and such, but is there a way by "looking" at the tire you can tell if it is in need of changing.

I am more of a "commuter" than a guy that thrashes his bike around and really burns up the tires... I guess I am hoping to get a bit more longevity out of my tires than someone who is constantly hitting twisties and such.

Any information would be much appreciated...

Thanks...

- DgreJ
If you look carefully at your tires you will see that some of the tread cuts have little 'block' sections in them. These are your tire wear indicators and denote the minimum tread depth that you should ride up to. In reality you'll want to change the tires far in advance of this.

If you use the bike regularly then wear will dictate when you change them. If not you should keep an eye on the side walls for cracks starting to appear as the rubber will 'age'. 3+ years will start to induce such cracks depending on the weather where you live.

Over time you'll feel the grip level of the tires getting less and as you mainly commute the most wear will be in the centre of the tire. As the miles clock up the tire will square off - i.e. the centre of the tire will start getting flat and you'll notice that the handling will be affected with a pronounced 'fall in' when going into corners.

Overall tire life will vary depending on how you ride and the type of tire. You can easily destroy a tire in a single day of hard track use but on the other end of the scale the same tire could last you 3 years of steady road riding. The grippier the tire compound the quicker it will wear so it's a trade off of life vs grip.

It's hard to describe when a tire needs changing by looking at it but the way you describe your riding you will almost certainly get many more miles out of yours than someone who thrashes around the twisties. So long as there are no obvious defects (splits, tears, nails etc) it's more of a feel thing than visual and will again vary from rider to rider as to what they are comfortable riding on. Just keep an eye on the handling and you should get a feel for when the tire needs changing. Once the bike feels like it has less grip or starts dropping into corners (resistance to lean followed by a sudden fall in as it goes onto the shoulder from squaring off) and makes you feel a little uneasy the time has come.
 

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Good advise tmonkey. If you are looking at more mileage as oppose to "sticky-ness" in the corners, you could switch to a sport touring tire. Regardless of your tire choice keep an eye on your tire pressure. Too low or too high can have a great effect on tire wear.
 
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