When Should I Replace Mountain Bike Tires?

Mountain bike tires last quite long, wearing down with time, leaving you with less traction. So, determining when to replace mountain bike tires depends on different things. You may find you replaced your front or rear tire, and it still has plenty of treads left in them.

Hence, the short answer to replacing MTB tires is when the rounded cornering knobs are halfway worn and the threads are noticeable beneath the rubber. Or you may notice bulges in certain spots, and the tire pressure will not hold.

Another way to know when to change mountain bike tires is excessive cracking from rot. Still, there is more to tire wear than the eye can see.

How to Identify a Worn-Out Tire

To identify if tires are worn thin, you can look at a few things or even feel when you are mountain biking what the tires do.

Knobs Worn Flat on Front and Rear

If you notice worn-down knobs on the MTB tires, is it time to have them replaced. The best is to pay attention to the center tread and the edge. With the center knobs, it gives you braking and climbing traction. At the same time, the side knobs are for more grip and need both of these to ride safely.

If you notice up to 0.078 inches left, then have it replaced. You can check this using a tire tread measuring gauge for a defined measurement compared to only the appearance. You can also look for torn knobs or cut to know it is time to replace your bike tires.

Losing Traction

When mountain biking, pays particular attention to bike handling. If your wheels feel loose in corners or not gripping as they should, it is a concern. If the tires slip or slide, it is time for new rubber. You may find that an MTB tire can lose up to 15% treadwear.

mountain bike tire


If you find small holes in the tire, you can use a tire repair kit to close the gap. But if you have big holes or gashes in the wheel sidewall, then best have your bike tires replaced. You may hear that some people use crazy glue to hold everything together. Still, that bandaid only goes a small way.

Bumps and Blisters

Replace mountain bike tires if you notice bumps or blisters forming on the rubber layers. Once this happens, the tire frays lose their integrity and need replacing.

Rubber Cracking

Whether you have regular or tubeless tires, it gets exposed to the elements outdoors. The sun, and chemicals, dry rot, can make the rubber dry out and crack. You may even find sharp rocks on rocky trails causing breaking with time. Once a tubeless tire cracks, you need to replace it. You can see cracks forming at the edge of the tread or along the sidewalls.

Tips for Making Tires Last Longer

As you know, new tires do not last a lifetime. But you can prevent replacing your quality tire all the time with a few things you can do:

  • First, keep the air pressure correct at all times.
  • Please do not leave your mountain bikes standing outdoors in the sun as it makes the wheels brittle, can weaken the spokes, lessening the tire life.
  • Try to track how many miles you ride, as it helps know when to replace MTB tires.
  • Try to cycle on smooth surfaces depending on what bike you ride, but it may not apply to rough terrains.
  • Also, make sure to check your tires before cycling and be aware of times when they do slip and need to grip.

Do I Need to Replace Front and Rear at the Same Time?

The back tire wears down faster with a mountain bike than the front tires. So, when the time comes to replace your mountain bike tires, should you do both. The answer is yes, and there is a good reason for it.

While the back tires tread wears down faster, the front one looks still new, but as you hit the trails, the debris starts to affect it. But if you feel the front one is in excellent condition, you will need to change it not long after the rear one.

You can keep the old tire as a spare when needed. Think of it as changing both the headlights simultaneously on the car when the bulb goes. Both take wear and tear, and the other will go soon after replacing the one.


Recent Posts