I picked up my bike from the LBS today. I had run it in for one of the two free tune-ups I get this year, since I bought it new at the shop in February. I figured it was important to get this taken care of now, since on Saturday, I’m riding in the Armadillo Hill Country Classic, and I want to make sure everything is copacetic.
So I was surprised when the mechanic wheeled it out and called up the report on it. “Gash on rear tire — recommend replacement ASAP.”
I usually do a quick visual check of the tire tread and sidewalls before starting a ride, and I hadn’t seen anything. But then, I have not been as diligent lately about wiping the tires off with an old towel, to make sure no nasties are stuck to the rubber. They’ve been covered with a fine layer of dirt I’ve picked up on rides, which makes it harder to detect any problems.
Sure enough, the mechanic and I rotated the tire slowly, and we found the gash — really a cut, about a half-inch long. We also found several tinier cuts.
The Specialized Mondo Pro with the blue Gerolsteiner stripes.
I had been really happy with the stock tires that came with the bike. They’re Specialized Mondo Pro, with blue stripes in the Gerolsteiner team shade. (My bike is the blue/black Gerolsteiner color scheme.) The tires I had had on my old Raleigh flatted frequently, one time twice on the same day. That bothered me, because the tire that flatted most often was a Continental Ultra Sport on the rear, and I had been led to understand that these were more resistant to flats. But the Mondo Pros performed like champs. And I admit I rode them over some debris-filled roads. Besides, my old front tire on the Raleigh was also a Specialized, and it never flatted.
The shop was out of the Mondo Pros, so for a replacement I chose its close cousin, the Specialized All Condition Pro.
Specialized All Condition Pro
It doesn’t have the colored stripes, but does have a traction belt where the color would be. The tread itself, instead of being smooth like the Mondo Pro, is siped for added traction. I haven’t ridden it yet, but I was relieved to leave the shop with it after catching what could have been a problem.
When I got home, I took a wet rag to the front tire and cleaned off the road crud. I found a small cut that they’d missed at the bike shop. It’s small enough that I doubt it will cause trouble this weekend (knock wood), but I will be watching it closely as I do my rides over the next couple of days.
What really got me in this whole experience was that the tire was only a little over two months old, and had maybe 500 miles on it. This is way short of the mileage a tire should normally get, although the glass and such that caused the cuts would certainly cut the tire’s life span short. I paid $42 for the new tire, and don’t relish the thought of replacing tires at that price every two to three months.
What’s your experience been with tires? Do they flat too often, or do you get good wear? Any pet brands? Brands to avoid?