When Should I Replace My Mountain Bike Tires?

When Should I Replace My Mountain Bike Tires
Mountain Bike Flat Tires

Much like the car you drive around town with each day, your mountain bike is also occasionally subject to having tires changed. A mountain bike is designed with grippy and durable tires, which would lose some tread after a few miles. Knowing when I should replace my mountain bike tires is important to keep them in optimal condition.

So, when should I replace my mountain bike tires? Mountain bike tires are not as durable as the tires on your car, and depending on the terrain that you choose to ride, you will need to replace these tires at certain intervals. Most people believe that somewhere between 3000 and 8000 miles would be the optimal time to replace them. 

However, you don’t need to replace your tires if they are still functional; this is where we come in. The main aim of this article is to help you understand the optimal time for changing these tires.

We will look at some of the things you need to look for before changing. Additionally, we have a step-by-step guide to show you how to replace them as well.

You might also like reading: What to Look For When Buying a Used Mountain Bike?

What Is The Lifespan Of Mountain Bike Tires?

As mentioned, the ideal time to change your mountain bike tires would vary from person to person. Depending on how and where you ride your bike, you will need to make more frequent or less frequent changes to your tires. The optimal range for replacement is often considered to be around 3000-8000 miles.

However, the knobby nature of mountain bike tires means that when you ride your bike on a tar surface, the surface could be more abrasive, and this will lead to more frequent changes in the tires. Those who only ride in muddy conditions might find that after washing the tires, they should still be in optimal condition.

What Are The Signs That Mountain Bike Tires Should Be Replaced?

The best way to know when your tires should be replaced is to understand some of the signs that point to these tires failing. The following section will look at some of the areas where the mountain bike tires might need to be replaced, and this would be a great way for you to understand when it is time to make the changes:

1- Flat Spots

One of the first signs that it is time to change your tires is when dealing with flat spots. Flat spots occur when you brake hard and the tire skids.

If the tire does not turn, it will wear out in one specific area. Riding with flat spots is dangerous due to the lack of balance, so your tires will lack grip in certain spots. 

2- Losing 50% of Tire Depth

Another concern would be when your tire has lost about 50% of the tread it should have. The loss of this depth will not only make you more vulnerable to punctures but also mean that the tires are at risk of breaking or tearing open.

You can measure the tread depth and compare it to the original tread depth when you bought the tires.

3- Fabric Showing Through The Tires

If you eventually reach the point when the fabric, which lines the inner tube, shows through the tire, you have long surpassed the 50% rule.

This means you need to replace your tires immediately to ensure that you don’t have to deal with the bang that would follow. Yes, you could be at risk of the tires blowing up if you don’t deal with this.

4- Lumps and Bumps

Another frustrating thing could be dealing with lumps and bumps on the tire. These lumps and bumps could be due to issues with the tire.

Not only would it feel uncomfortable to ride your bike, and you will have an irregular driving experience, but it could be dangerous if you don’t have stability. It is important to replace your tires when they start to feel inconsistent.

5- Sidewall Damage

Occasionally, we might rub the sidewalls on the pavement or certain rocks, and this could damage these sidewalls significantly.

Dealing with sidewall damage is one of the most frustrating things, and it is often irreparable. Sidewall damage could lead to the tires blowing up, which is one of the most dangerous ways to continue riding your bike.

How To Replace Mountain Bike Tires?

One of the most frustrating parts of cycling is replacing the tires on your mountain bike. The front tire should be easy due to the quick-release mechanism. However, getting to the rear tire could be more frustrating, and this is when you will need a few tools and even expert assistance to make it possible.

To replace the rear tire, you would need to stand the bike on the handlebars and the seat. Once the bike is situated on these two components, you will need to loosen the drivetrain and remove the bike chain. Once this is done, you can remove the rear tire using the correct socket to make it possible.

To replace the tire, you reverse the process, and this would ensure that your tires are replaced and fully functional.

Remember that those who struggle with fixing and replacing their mountain bike tires can always rely on the bike shop. Yes, buying the tires would be expensive, but replacement costs should not be more than $50 to $100.

I have found that biting the bullet and going through the process of replacing your tires once would make the next time much easier. It is better to replace your tires and ensure that you can ride more miles and be safe. Nothing is more frustrating than having to walk back home with your bike due to broken or damaged tires.

When Should I Replace My Mountain Bike Tires
My Mountain Bike Tires

How To Extend The Life Of Mountain Bike Tires?

If you don’t want to replace your mountain bike tires as often, you can use some of the following methods to help you preserve your mountain bike tires.

It can be expensive to replace mountain bike tires if you ride your bike often. However, here is how you can go about extending the life of your tires:

1- Avoid Braking And Skidding On Tar Surfaces

One of the first methods that you do whilst riding is to avoid braking and skidding on abrasive surfaces.

If you are on an abrasive surface, your best bet would be to ride your bike slowly on these surfaces, and this would prevent skidding from taking place.

2- Using Mileage Apps

Apps like Strava are great for tracking the mileage on your tires. You can use these apps to have a solid understanding of the current mileage on each tire.

The app would be great for letting you know when it would be the optimal time to replace the tires.

3- Swapping Front And Rear Tires

Another option would be to swap your bike’s front and rear tires. Yes, this might be a cumbersome activity for many, especially when you don’t have the skills to replace the rear tire.

However, most of the braking would be done by the front tires. If you could continually swap the tires, you should be able to preserve them a while longer.

4- Avoiding High Temperatures

Dealing with high temperatures can be very frustrating, and you would need to avoid these to preserve the integrity of your tires. These high temperatures would often weaken the rubber, which could make it softer.

The softer the rubber on your tires becomes, the more prone they will be to wearing out and eventually tearing.

5- Stay Away From Abrasive Terrains

While this can often be impossible when you are riding a mountain bike, it is far better to stay away from abrasive terrains, which could enhance the possible damage to your tires.

It is best if you can stay away from these abrasive terrains as much as possible.

What Is The Optimal PSI For Mountain Bike Tires?

The PSI would depend on the rider, and each rider might have their preferred PSI when inflating the tires. Some riders would prefer to reduce the tire pressure, which gives them more stability and traction on certain trails. 

I have found that having a range of between 22 and 35 PSI is often the best range when you are inflating your tires, and this would ensure that your tires operate the way they should under normal conditions. Different tires will also have different requirements.

Watch the video below to learn when you should change your tires.

What to read next:

Final Thoughts

The tires on your mountain bike are often seen as one of the most important components, and you will need to ensure that they are in optimal working condition.

You must take care of your tires to ensure they keep you safe. Let us know how long your MTB tires will last in the comment section.


Hello fellow bikers, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind bikerify.com. I am a biker and very passionate about reading, sports, and all things outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting bikerify.com.

Recent Posts