My saga of the hard-to-seat tire got me thinking about tire replacement in general. As I said, I felt it necessary to buy a new tire because of my upcoming MS 150, and I wanted it in time for last weekend’s 52-miler.
The original tire was new in February. Because of its kevlar tread, I was hoping for some puncture resistance. But I don’t think anything could have survived the piece of glass that got this tire. It was kind of a fluke, too, because the cut was duplicated halfway around the tire.
They weren’t even cuts, exactly — more like a hole, about an eighth of an inch in diameter. When I ran my fingers over them, I could feel a slight bulge right around the hole itself. It didn’t affect a larger area around the holes. Because the holes weren’t big, I decided to keep riding on the tire.
The next day, I did a club ride for 38 miles on city streets and rural country roads. No tire problems. In fact, I didn’t even think about the tire. It’s been on several rides since then, for a total of a bit over 200 miles.
When the replacement tire arrived in the mail, I didn’t change it immediately. I was even considering doing the 52-miler on the damaged tire, since it seemed to be performing fine. But I happened to be sitting in the living room reading a bike book, and it said, if the tire is cut, the cut could turn into a puncture. If it bulges, it will turn into a puncture more quickly.
I went out to the garage and took another look at the tire. Not only could I feel the bulge, I could see it. That’s when I had my wrestling match with the replacement tire.
I know of some riders who are rather cavalier about their tires. They’ll ride until they see the tube pushing through the tread, or until it wears down to the threads.
What’s your rule of thumb for replacing your tires? How far or how long are you willing to ride when you know the tire is less than 100 percent?