A helpful cycling tip

Tags: , , — Jeff @ 01:16

Suppose your bike experiences one flat tire, which you fix.

Now suppose a couple weeks later it experiences a second flat tire, which you fix.

Further suppose that you begin to wonder about the structural integrity of your bike tires; they’ve now gone flat twice in a short span of time, and at a closer glance the casing in the tires is starting to show through the rubber. It’s conceivable they need to be replaced, as you’ve put at least a few thousand miles on them and have used them since 2003.

In hypothetical response to this you ask someone knowledgeable how long bike tires last and how one would recognize when they need replacement. In response you are told that bike tires are suspect after five years (due to breakdown of the rubber) and should be replaced when the underlayer shows through.

You now have two entirely hypothetical options. First, you can replace the tires now. Second, you can continue using the ones you have until you can get to a cycling store “eventually” to buy new ones, but as it turns out you won’t make it to the store before your tire fails you a third time and you have to fix yet another flat (and actually a fourth as well, when you find your rear tire flat when you try to get to REI the next morning to buy a new pair of tires).

Two bike tire inner tubes waiting to be patched; the third had multiple holes, so it got thrown away
Two decrepit bike tire inner tubes waiting to be patched; the third had multiple holes, so it got thrown away

Now for the helpful cycling tip: replace old tires promptly and don’t wait for third flats.


  1. Well, at least the tubes weren’t clogged.

    Comment by ispiked — 10.02.09 @ 08:08

  2. Heh,
    Some people would also suggest you get fancy tires that are more resistant to punctures. Continental GP4000 Black Chilli is an awesome tire (grips well, rolls fast and resists punctures well), but it only lasts a few thousand miles. Continental Gatorskin is apparently a good commuter tire for avoiding flats that lasts a really long time.

    And lazy people just order tires online to save money and time 🙂


    ps. Kevlar(also known as folding) tires rock

    [These tires weren’t fancy, but they came with the bike and did the job well enough. As for a new set, I stopped at the local REI this morning before reading this (at this late juncture buying online really wasn’t an option; strangely, I actually hate walking somewhere for a specific purpose when I can waste much less time biking), so I couldn’t have gotten the ones you suggest. That said, after looking on Google…wow. Those are some seriously expensive tires, at least by my standards! I’m not the most serious cyclist out there, so I’m not likely to want to spend nearly that much on accessories, in general. I picked up Continental Ultra Race tires (made of Kevlar 🙂 ) for about $34 each, minus the REI dividend; we’ll see how well they work.]

    Comment by Taras — 10.02.09 @ 10:45

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