Warped tires — what?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a warped rear tire that may have been responsible for my broken front derailleur. At least, the tire — because of its bent shape — rubbed against the derailleur.

The derailleur was fixed, and the tire replaced. But now, here’s what the front tire looks like: Warp

Remember, the other warped tire was on the rear. This is on the front. The warp is more obvious when it’s next to the brake.

I haven’t noticed any ill effects from riding on this thing. Last Sunday, it went on a 30-mile ride with no issues. It turns out that this was the tire I did the time trial on two weeks ago, too.

I suppose I should replace it, but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to it.

So I’m trying to figure out what caused it.

The wheel appears to be true — it’s the tire itself that’s bent.

Some folks have suggested that it’s the way I mounted the tire on the wheel — but this tire has been on the wheel for quite awhile now, since February. The warp didn’t become obvious until quite recently.

Because of all the 100°+F (38°C) days we’ve had this summer, the garage where I keep the bike has been a broiler. I’m guessing late afternoon temperatures inside the closed-up garage were in the 120°F (48°C) range. I wonder if that had anything to do with it? The badly warped rear tire had been hanging from two hooks in the garage most of the summer, until I got it down to replace a tire that had a screw puncture it. I assume the hooks in the heat could have softened the rubber enough to warp it.

Maybe it’s the brand. These are Hutchinson Top Speed Pro Tech Kevlar (whew!) tires. The Hutchinsons are the only tires that have warped. Specialized, Vittoria, and Continentals have been fine.

So what do you think? Have you ever experienced this kind of thing? Should I replace the tire right away, even though it isn’t causing me any problems?

Oh, and before the snarky comments come in — I took the picture after our club ride last Sunday, and washed the bike later that evening.


  1. tracywilkins says

    I’ve never had one warp like that, but I have had the belts begin to separate and cause a big knot on a front tire before. It happened while the bike was parked in front of a museum in a small town in Michigan last year. Luckily, there was a bike shop in town so we only had to ride it about a quarter a mile to get a replacement. It wasn’t safe.

    I personally wouldn’t ride with that tire on the front….

  2. says

    You leave your bike in the garage? There’s your first mistake. It needs to find a well air conditioned spot inside your home. Mine leans up against the wall right as you walk in our front door. Surprisingly my wife has stopped asking me to move a while ago.

  3. says

    Bike stays inside because I’ve got no garage.. but I do have several “spots” on the carpet from changing tires/fixing flats in the living room. Note to self: turn wheel with cassette side facing up when laying wheel down on carpet.

    I’ve had warpy-tire recently but it was due to installing a regular tube tire on a tubeless rim. Once I removed the tubeless rim strip I was able to get the tire to seat correctly and eliminate a *very* annoying hop.

    I’d say the warpage came from the heat in the garage – did you allow the bike to sit on tire that was flat? Thats kinda what it looks like to me.

  4. says

    Really looks like a busted belt. I’ve got to echo the above comment to replace ASAP. Your tires are your only connection to the road, a blown tire at high speeds is a scary thing. Get that bike inside next summer!

  5. says

    I suppose I should replace it, but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to it.

    Every time I’ve had a tire that looked like that, the belts were torn. In one case, the tire exploded (overnight after a 57 mile ride). I think I’d replace it. Or at least check it.

  6. Wes Robinson says

    I would replace it or at least move it to the rear. A blowout in the front at the wrong time could be catastrophic. It isn’t worth risking.

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