Thinking back to my experience with buying a new tire, it occurred to me that I had had really good luck with it. According to the maintenance spreadsheet I keep (admittedly nowhere near as thorough as my mileage records), the rear Vredestein had never had a flat. That’s right, never. I retired it because the tread was showing a section about six inches long with thin sipe-like cuts in a diagonal pattern. It was just a matter of time before I wore the tread through to the bare cord — and then I would have a flat.
That’s what happened to the previous Vredestein I’d had on the rear, although I hadn’t been inspecting the tread as assiduously as I do now. It wore down to bare cord in two spots, and I had two flats in two weeks.
Still, that tire lasted me 2,627 miles before I replaced it.
As I said in the last post, its replacement rear tire lasted 3,053 miles.
One of my previous Gatorskins, which I retired in 2010 in favor of the Vredesteins, did even better. It had 3,487 miles. Impressive!
Those multi-thousand mile tires were a nice change of pace for me, because I had had a run of blah to bad experience with tires before then. My spreadsheet shows me that the first two Gatorskins I bought lasted only 1,240 and 1,453 miles before I had to chuck them. And before the Gatorskins, I had a series of tires that just didn’t hold up. Some Hutchinson 25mm tires flatted within the first two weeks I owned them. The Kevlar belt wasn’t much help there. I believe the Hutchinsons barely lasted 1,000 miles before I got rid of them. Some Vittorias were even worse. I had the Rubino Pros. Their tread wore a flat spot rather quickly, I thought, at least on the rear. It was obvious when I ran my thumb across the tread — instead of being a nice convex shape, it had definite edges and was flat in the middle. I had the Vittorias for less than 1,000 miles. Ditto with two different kinds of Specialized tires I owned early on. The Mondos that came with the bike flatted frequently, and I replaced them after just a few months with Specialized All Conditions. But I had a bad blowout on one of those after only a month.
Now, I think I’ve gotten smarter when it comes to taking care of tires. I do inspect them more frequently than I used to do before, but more importantly, I deliberately ride away from problem areas in the road — sand, gravel, glass, other crud. It seems like a no-brainer, and it probably is. But I believe I used to ride through gunky spots more often than I do now. A combination of better riding habits and better tires seems to have contributed to what I consider to be decent tire life.
But is it? Is 3,000 miles a commendable life for a road bike tire? Should we expect no more than 2,000 miles, and be ready to replace when the tires hit that mark? Or should we reasonably expect lots more mileage before it’s time to send the tires to the recycling bin?
What kind of mileage have you gotten from your tires? What kind are they?