Road Bike Tires – Maintenance and Replacement Guidelines

By Bob Johnson

Your bike tires are critical to your riding safety and comfort. Most road bike tire sizes are 700X23C or 700X25C. These tires require inflation to 110PSI. Compare this to a mountain bike tire used on the trail that would typically have only 25PSI. Because of the higher pressure used on road bike tires it is important to check and inflate them every time you ride or at least once a week. A tire inflated to 110PSI can lose 10-15 pounds of pressure just sitting in your garage in a weeks’ time. Keeping your tires at the right pressure will allow them to roll easier and will allow you to keep up the pace with your other riders. The best way to check and inflate your tires is with a good floor pump that has a pressure gauge attached.

Also important is when to change your tires since the last thing you want is a blowout while you are riding down a hill at 30-40MPH! If you see any cracking in the side walls or cuts on the tread, it is time to replace that tire. The mileage you get out of a tire depends on the type of tire, size, and most importantly, your size. Personally, I ride on a 700X23C that is more of an endurance tire than a racing tire. Racing tires are designed to be very light weight and therefore not as long lasting. Because I am a bigger guy than the average road biker, I know that my rear tire will need to be replaced at 1000 miles. The back tire always wears faster than the front tire due to it carrying most of your weight. I replace my front tire every 2000 miles.  A lighter rider will get more miles out of a tire than I do so you should make some notes as to how many miles you have on your tires.  I make note of the odometer reading on my bike when I replace a tire so that I know when it will need replacing. If you see threads beneath the rubber in places, you are too late in replacing that tire. I look for tire sales in the off season and will buy ½ dozen at a time. I generally ride about 3000 miles during the Park City bike season so that will mean that I will change my back tire 3 times during the summer and the front tire at least once.  If they get a cut in them they get replaced immediately.

Maintaining your tires will give you an easier riding experience, less flats, and most importantly, a safer ride.