When do I change my bicycle tyres?
If your tyre looks a little like my old tyre in the picture above then it’s probably time to upgrade. As you can see in the picture the treads in the tyre are significantly worn. Whilst there are a lot of chips in the tyre this shouldn’t necessarily be a problem unless you are noticing many more punctures. Another tell-tale sign of replacement is if the tire appears irregular.
I’ll try and avoid quoting any mileage figures because these tend to be a very rough guide. You’ll probably find you’ll need to replace the rear tyre before the front.
What tyres do I buy?
I’ve previous listed some excellent puncture proof tyres and I suggest that is a good place to start. Whilst it’s possible to buy tyres at half the cost of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus I strongly recommend them for puncture resistance without compromising on rolling resistance.
I’ve found Chain Reaction Cycles offer the best prices on bicycle tyres.
If you want to dive into more depth about the different type of bicycle tyres then an article on REI.com is very thorough.
(See also: Continental City Contact Tyre i.e. Whooosh!)
What size tyres do I need?
The general answer to this question is to check the tyre on your bike and then buy the same size again. The tyre will be marked with something along the lines of 700 x 32. The first number is the diameter of the wheel in millimetres and the second is the width of the bicycle tyre.
You may choose to experiment a little with a different tyre size. What you’ll generally find is larger tyres will provide better handling and comfort where as the smaller ones will make you a little zippier.
Having said that, your wheels won’t fit all tyre sizes and therefore you are restricted in your choice.
I thoroughly recommend an article on Tyre sizing by Sheldon Brown. Here you’ll discover what size tyres your wheels can take.
Personally, I opted for one size down from the wide tyre I was running before.
How do I replace my bicycle tyres?
- Take the wheel off the frame.
- Deflate the inner tube by pressing down on the valve.
- Use tyre levers to get the tyre off your bike.
- Remove the old tyre and the inner tube off your wheel.
- If your new tyre has a tread pattern then make sure it is facing forwards. This allows the rain water to run off the bike. Many bicycle tyres will often have a forward arrow to indicate direction.
- Line up the label on the tyre with your valve on your inner tube.
- Partially inflate the inner tube.
- Ease the tyre with the inner tube inside back onto the wheel.
- Start from the valve side and work your way around. This can be fiddly at times.
- You should work your way around again once the tyre is on to be 100% sure that the inner tube isn’t caught against the tyre and the rim.
- Fully inflate the inner tube to the indicated pressure on the tyre.
- Put the wheel back on the bike and securely fasten it in place.
Also in this bike overhaul series:
- Overhauling your old bike part 1
- Fixing the most common mechanical problem with bikes in London
- Replacing jockey wheels
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.