How Long Do Your Tires Last?

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?


  1. Michael says

    You might not go for them because the smallest size they come in is 28mm (and range up into the 40s) but I get 7-8000 miles from Schwalbe Marathon Supremes before the inner layers start showing, often without a flat. In fact I have trouble with my glue going dry because I tend to get no more than one or two flats in a year (zero this year so far–of course I just cursed myself). 310g apiece so fairly weight competitive with racing rubber and with a much lower pressure range a much more comfortable ride. Vittoria Randonneur Pro produce similar performance numbers but have an even more limited range of sizes (32 and 37 on 700c).

  2. says

    As I clydesdale, I’ve learned that the load placed on a tire is a significant factor when evaluating tire wear. My Conti 4 Seasons are doing quite well, though they are just approaching the 1,500 mile mark for me.

    I also try to avoid debris on the shoulder but I am regularly frustrated that my choices often boil down to swerving into fast approaching traffic, stopping altogether, or trying to pick my way through the debris.

  3. says

    I put a new vittoria eve corsa on my road bike and got 2 punctures in the first 200 miles. It also has a gash in it so probably needs replacing already :(

    I have bontrager all weather tyres on my commuter road bike and they’ve done about 2000 miles through the winter without a puncture. On a couple of occasions I’ve spent time picking out pieces of glass and metal sharps and been surprised that nothing’s ever penetrated through to the inner tube.

    • says

      I inadvertently rode through a bad area of broken glass on today’s ride. No shards stuck to either the front or rear tire. I made sure to brush off the tires with my bike glove as soon as possible after the incident.

  4. says

    I average about 2,000 miles on the road (much, much less off road) before I have to replace a tire. Rarely is the replacement due only to wear. Usually it’s a combination of wear and holes/splits in the tread from debris. I’ve tried closing up some of the holes with super glue, but that hasn’t worked so far. Currently I’m rolling with Continental “Race” 23mm and so far they haven’t been as flat prone as I was fearing.

  5. Rick says

    Absent a catastrophic road event, Michelin Krylions generally last 3000 miles under my 100 Kilo weight profile

  6. Darrell says

    I stumbled across this site while researching new tires for my bike, and thought I would go ahead and chime in. I ride a Trek Verve II that came with Bontrager H5 Hardcase Ultimate tires (700×35). They made it 1278 miles before I replaced them. I road across a patch of thorns when they were still fairly new, and got tee-tinny pin pricks all over them. Had to put sealant in the tubes to salvage them. I’m 260 lb., so I run max PSI, and ride on all surfaces — chipseal, asphalt, concrete, dirt, grass, gravel, even mud once. I’m not a hard-core rider; I average about 10 MPH, and almost never get over 17 MPH. I ride two or three time a week, usually only 18 or 20 miles at a time. The rear tire got down to the point where you could see a shadow of the threads beginning to show, and I had a blowout you could see daylight through. I booted it and rotated tires to get home, but there was a nice size bulge in the tire now, and the front had an old split in it from where an aneurysm popped after I ran into a piece of rebar sticking out of a curb, so I decided to go all around with new rubber. I settled on Schwalbe Marathon; they seen to have a little more rolling resistance that the H5’s, but they are a lot sturdier tire, and I don’t expect to have many flats any time soon. Also, the tread on the Marathons is more aggressive, and it feels a lot more stable than the H5’s when I go off pavement. I think if I were a normal rider instead of an escaped circus bear, I could have gotten at least 1500 miles out of those H5’s; 2000 if I could behave my self.

  7. Claude says

    I ride Michelin ProRace 4 Service course tires. I ride the 23 mm and just replaced my back tie after 6400 Km (4000 miles for you Americans). Great tire and a great ride…..just replaced it with another one.

  8. Darrell says

    Just thought I would give a little update on the Marathons. I went across that field, I mentioned in the first post, with the new casings the other day, and they are still holding (ye-haw!). Another thing about those tires — I noticed they looked bigger than the old Bontragers after I mounted them. They are marked 700-35, which was what I was looking for, but they are also marked with the ETRTO size 37-622; which is closer to their actual width of 1.5 inches (they are also marked as 1.4 inches wide). I knew a lot of manufactures kind of do their own thing when it comes to sizing, but I didn’t really think about it at the time of purchase. If I had, I would have seen if the shop had any 700-32; that would have probably been just about right for me in this particular tire. Plus, they have more tread than I really want, but that’s OK, because they feel very stable in the unpaved shortcuts I’m prone to utilize. I think the extra rolling resistance might be because of the difference in rubber compounds. The Marathons seem to me to feel a little more sticky than the Bontragers. I’m bad about making U-turns at 8 or 10 MPH when I see something interesting laying in the road (traffic permitting of course). I did this the other day on a cement surface to grab a pair of pliers, and those Marathons really held the ground. Can’t wait to try that on loose gravel — HAHA! Anyway; 100 miles, so far, so good.

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