Mountain bikes are versatile and flexible. They are suited to different terrains. They can be used in muddy areas, along the smooth lanes and avenues in our cities, forests or even the rugged and stony paths high up the mountains. However, mountain bikes have some costly parts that may leave a gaping hole in your pocket if the bike is poorly maintained. From wheels to brake discs, chains, rotors, and drivetrain, mountain bike parts are easily clogged by mud, grim, and grease.
In addition to chipping away these expensive parts, dirt and even punctures can transform your biking from a fun activity into a life-threatening experience. This may lead to corrosion and wear and tear of these parts. While maintenance is easily the leading less-than-fun aspect of owning a mountain bike, it is the key to enjoying a nice afternoon ride along the sandy beaches or trodden paths at the local park.
The Lifespan of a Mountain Bike Tires
Riding a mountain bike on rough terrains or a smooth road or path in the park is a blissful experience packed with pure joy. The pure joy is contributed, to a great extent, by the smooth turning of tires. Mountain bike tires are renowned for their grip which makes them especially useful in rough terrains. However, they are prone to wear and tear too. There are various factors that determine the lifespan of mountain bike tires. They include:
- Quality of the tires: With the growing popularity of mountain bikes and bicycles in general, the need for outlets where the biking community can purchase genuine and authentic spare parts including tires cannot be overstated. High-quality tires, made from the best materials including reinforced rubber, are durable. They can withstand the stress associated with the rough terrains that mountain bikes are historically known for.
All other factors held constant, high quality and standard bike tires can last longer and support a bigger load size without the danger of bursting or wearing and tearing. However, poor quality tires have a short lifespan as they are prone to bursting and wearing and tearing. Their load capacity is low and can rarely withstand the various rough terrains such as stony mountains and trails that are common with the mountain biking community.
Poor quality tires not only have a shorter lifespan, but they also cause the bike to lack the much-need smooth movement for traversing miles upon miles of rugged terrains. They are more likely to wobble and pose serious health and safety risk to both the rider and other road users. Tires with short lifespans increase the cost of mountain biking manifolds and can easily take the fun away from an otherwise joyful and awe-inspiring experience. An off-road fun moment on a bike can turn into a tedious exercise when poor quality tires are used.
- Terrain: While mountain bikes are synonymous with the rugged terrains of mountainous areas that does not make them invulnerable to the dangers associated with these areas. Mountains are known for their rugged terrains marked by sharp stones, big boulders, and sometimes spiky vegetation such as thorns and broken tree branches. All these can easily puncture your bike tires. In cases where the punctures are small, it is recommended that you opt for a puncture repair. Learning a trick or two about puncture repair and having your toolbox ready can be a lifesaver especially when the puncture occurs when you are outdoors.
However, sharp stones and other objects can tear the tires beyond repair forcing the owner to replace it. While a tire may be of high quality, the terrain can cut short the lifespan of your mountain bike tires even to minutes or hours upon purchase. Additionally, rough surfaces also shorten the lifespan of tires through wear and tear.
The increased friction that comes with navigating such difficult and rough terrains causes a lot of tears and wears that significantly reduces the longevity of tires. A tire is more likely to last longer when used in parks and muddy areas that have significantly lower traction between surfaces and tires compared to dry and rough surfaces. This is because parks and muddy areas are softer and smoother compared to hard pavements and mountainous areas.
- Maintenance practices: For a mountain bike to run smoothly, the various parts must be properly and regularly maintained. From cleaning to repairing and replacing worn out and broken parts, proper maintenance practices ensure that all parts work optimally. Cleaning removes grease and grime that corrode other parts such as the wheels or rims. Corroded rims break and the resulting splinters can puncture and irreparably damage the tires. Moreover, unremoved broken spokes can also damage the tires. Spokes can break as a result of hitting an object during motion. They can also be corroded or come off when the rim is corroded, loosening the spokes.
A well-maintained bike is easier to control and does not wobble during movement. The brake pads and discs are in good working conditions. There is no squeaking and vibrations when you apply the brakes. The braking system works perfectly. The chain and drivetrain work perfectly. While on paths with jagged stones and objects, you are more likely to navigate your bike when it is well maintained. You avoid hitting these sharp objects which can puncture your tires. You avoid crashing into objects such as walls, trees, and other road users. You can easily avoid accidents when your mountain bike is well maintained. Accidents are some of the leading causes of short lifespan of bike tires.
Additionally, ensuring that your bike has the right tire pressure can increase the longevity of the tires. Too low pressure especially when the bike carries a significantly heavier load can lead to punctures. The tire can wear out due to low pressure when used to carry a load. Similarly, tire pressure that is above the recommended level can lead to a tire burst.
- Frequency of use and riding style: Frequently used tires have a shorter lifespan because of wear and tear compared to those bikes used for occasional rides. Mountain bikes that are frequently used are exposed to various elements of weather such as grease and mud which can damage the tires and other parts. Therefore, a professional biker who participates in numerous competitions is more likely to change tires several times even within a day especially when the competition takes place in bumpy landscapes such as forests and mountains.
The same also goes for non-professional riders who use their mountain bikes as their daily means of transport. When you take your bike for long rides on a daily basis, you are more likely to need new tires within a shorter time compared to occasional riders. When you ride soft, your tires will last longer because there is less traction involved. However, hard riders replace their tires frequently because of increased traction between the tires and the trail.
Therefore, there is no definite answer to the question of how long mountain bike tires can last. A tire can last 50 miles or even 1500 miles depending how frequently you use them, the trails you frequent and their quality. How well you maintain your tires and bike, in general, can also determine how long tires can last. You can have poor quality tires but they can last long because you rarely use them, properly maintain them or use them on a smooth trail with no sharp and rough objects.
A tire may burst within the first mile of its first ride if you overinflated it or step on sharp objects even if it is of high quality. However, you can increase how long a tire can last through proper care and maintenance practices. Choosing a terrain may not be a plausible choice when you are a professional rider. In such a case, the trails are already chosen in advance. Sometimes the roughness of the trails is part of the competition. Moreover, sometimes smoothening the trail is not a reasonable choice or may be part of the whole mountain biking experience.
Why Maintain Your Mountain Bike Tires?
There is a wide range of reasons why you need to properly maintain your tires. If you are worried about the high cost of mountain biking and you are considering stopping such a healthy and fun habit, perhaps you should consider learning effective bike maintenance practices. From washing to repairs and replacements, master some of these practices. You will find yourself saving dollars when you carry out these tasks by yourself instead of outsourcing to a third party. Therefore, properly maintaining your bike tires will save you money. The tires will last longer which will translate to more fun days out in the park or mountain.
Secondly, maintaining your tires will ensure that your mountain bike is in top working condition. The tires will turn smoothly which will make the riding experience less laborious. Well maintained tires translate to less exertion while riding. If you are a professional rider, having your wells properly checked and maintained can be the difference between taking first place and finishing last. It gives your bike a competitive edge. The tires, wheels and the rest of the parts perform efficiently with proper maintenance. The braking works perfectly when the tire treads are not clogged by solid objects such as mud, silt, debris, and rocks. These objects ensure that the traction between the track and the tires works perfectly.
As a mountain bike rider, putting safety first is a prudent step. Always clean, repair and/or replace tires to ensure that your braking system works optimally. When clogged, the treads of the tires don’t achieve the recommended traction levels with the tract. Therefore, navigating obstacles on your path while riding can get tricky and a bike that cannot be navigated efficiently is a safety risk to the rider.
The rider may also put other road users at a great danger because he or she may cause accidents that could have been avoided with a properly working tire. For professional mountain bike riders, a fully functional braking system with the right traction level can help you avoid crashing into other riders. A crash during competitions and non-competitive events can leave you and others with serious injuries. Cases of bike crash becoming fatal or leading to loss of limbs are common among bike riding communities.
Bike Tires Maintenance Tips
One of the most tips for maintaining your mountain bike tires is learning the basics of your bike including how to replace damaged tires. Moreover, acquaint yourself with puncture repair. This will lessen your dependency on others to carry out basic tire maintenance practices.
- Learning the basics of a tire will ensure that you are better placed to identify problems with the tires. How can you maintain a tire if you have no clue what a properly functioning tire looks like? You have to know what you are maintaining and when it is at its optimal functionality. Understand how the treads and sidewalls of a tire in proper condition look like. Understand how tear and wear manifest on a tire. You will be better placed to identify any signs of wear, tear or damage. Understand the recommended PSI for your tires.
- Have a working area in your garage or backyard that is specifically set aside for your bike. The area should be well lit, spacious and properly ventilated to facilitate movement, free flow of air and perceiving of all the parts. This space should also enable you to store all your bike repair, replacement and maintenance practices. Consider spending a few extra dollars on a bike stand; a great addition to your toolset. Having your bike hang on a stand will ensure that you easily access the tires you need to maintain and other parts of the bike.
- Always check your wheel pressure before, during and after a bike riding episode. Align the pressure to the PSI recommendations. This can be found on the tire sidewalls. If the pressure is high, deflate your tires to the right PSI. Use a pump to inflate the tires in case the pressure is below the recommended level. Additionally, repair punctures but consider replacing those that are beyond repair. Replacement and repair will ensure that no further damages are incurred not only on the tires but also on the bike in general. Moreover, replace and repair wobbly and damaged wheels. Lack of proper functioning of the wheels will damage your tires.
- Consider consulting professional help in case you are not well conversant with technical bike tire maintenance practices. In particular, source for help from professionals when it comes to truing the wheels of your mountain bike. A wheel that requires truing services rubs on the hub and does not spin freely. It may also touch the hub. However, if you can handle truing consider checking the rim, spokes or the hubs. Any damages to these parts may affect the wheels and the tires. Lastly, clean the tires and rest of the bike to prevent corrosion and damages.
In conclusion, mountain bike riding is a great opportunity to exercise and have fun, especially for recreational riders. Key to enjoying your afternoon ride is ensuring that your bike is properly maintained. Properly maintaining the tires can add a few more miles to their lifespan. However, the longevity of bike tires is dependent on frequency of use, quality, type of ride, and the trails. Frequently used tires have a shorter lifespan. Moreover, hard riders frequently replace their tires because of increased wear and tear as a result of heightened traction. Therefore, the wear and tear play a vital role in determining the lifespan of tires. Properly maintained tires ensure that your bike is safer and you spend less on repairs and replacements. Your bike will perform efficiently when the tires and the rest of the parts are properly maintained. Proper tire maintenance calls for learning the basics of your bike including the tires and purchasing the right tools for repairs and replacements. Routinely check the tire pressure before heading out. This will ensure that your tire pressure is within the PSI recommended for the tire. Other maintenance practices include cleaning. In case you are unsure of how to carry out these maintenance practices, seek the services of a professional.