BikePGH!

Swap front and rear tires?

Tagged: 

This topic contains 42 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  dmtroyer 1 yr, 5 mos.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
 
Author Posts
Author Posts

brybot

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 6:29pm #

I’m running 700×32 on my commute/touring bike which often has a rear load. The rear tire has severe wear and I would expect it only has a handful of months life left in it. I can see a couple of small specks of red where the tire has completely worn through. The wear pattern on the rear is interesting because the tire has become very flat-topped. The front tire has minimal wear and is still rounded. In wet/snowy conditions I have founded that I sometimes fishtail while braking, especially while using the rear brake. My front brake squeals horribly despite toe-in and new pads (hence my other thread about switching to disc brakes), so I don’t brake with the front on this bike as often as I should. Anyway, can anyone suggest a reason not to swap the front and rear tires so that I can get a little more life out of them?


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 6:32pm #

It sounds like there is no life left in that rear… why not just replace that one? You’d be better off with a cheapo $10 tire from Performance than continuing to ride on a tire with flat spots and red showing through…

Not sure what is up with your brakes, but if the noise is the only reason you want to try a different set, then I suggest finding someone who can figure out what is causing the noise rather than spending money on a complicated transition to v-brakes or disc.


stefb

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 6:33pm #

When I saw red on my tires I got new ones. I could afford it and it made me feel better.. I was afraid of wearing all the way through and being SOL on a commute to work.


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 7:01pm #

Swapping front to rear is fine as long as you do it before it is worn as yours sounds. Now you should replace the rear. A sudden flat on the rear is startling and annoying, a sudden flat on the front can kill you.
Also you should be braking more with the front whatever the case.


brybot

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 7:25pm #

I’m kind of surprised at the lifespan of the tire. I bought the bike new about 18 months ago and I’ve put less than 2000 miles on it. I’ve put that many on road bikes before and barely seen any tire wear. I suppose the major differences are that I’m now in a city with lots of stop signs/lights and I’m carrying a heavy load.

Maybe I’ll post pictures later and see what you guys think.

As for the brakes, its the only thing I dislike about the bike. The noise is part of the reason, but also the stopping power is pretty pathetic compared to any other bike I’ve owned including my current road bike with calliper brakes.


Marko82

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 7:50pm #

I buy the cheapo Performance tires and usual get around 2K on the rear before it needs replaced. The front will usually last three times that. I too usually have a bag with some weight on the back and I think that’s probably the reason for the uneven life front to back because I never had that issue years back before I put a rack on and started carrying the kitchen sink with me. I’ve thought of putting a better quality tire back there, but I just havent done it yet.


stefb

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 8:11pm #

Disc brakes squeal a bit when they are wet, right? Have you true the salmon Kool stop brake pads on what you have?


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 8:28pm #

Just a thought, re: brakes… why not swap out the front wheel with someone during a group ride (or just borrow someone’s front wheel). No sense in focusing on a brake problem when it could be the way that the rim was made.


pbeaves

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 8:34pm #

if you do opt for an inexpensive tire, make sure you dont get cheap quality just because its cheaply priced.

i had issues this past spring with a $20 tire that kept causing flats because the internal wire construction cracked inward & kept puncturing the inner tube.

re: squealing disk brakes… i just turn up the iPod volume ;P


brybot

Private Message

Feb 5 2013 at 9:02pm #

Marko, Ok I guess 2k miles sounds reasonable. I’d guess I’m probably closer to 1750 though.

Stefb, no idea about the disc brakes. I am using kool stop salmon.

Drewbacca, that thought has crossed my mind, but I’ve been too lazy to try it. Maybe I should just do it! I have another bike that I could swap the front wheel with, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

pbeaves, iPod? Gonna get yourself run over! Actually, these things are so loud that its painful. I’m certain that all the kinetic energy is being converted into acoustic energy with the front brake. That sucks about the crappy tire though. I’ll probably spend 100 hours reading reviews to get a good one =)


brybot

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 10:31pm #

Here are some pics of the tires in case anyone was curious

Rear
Rear (with red spots)
Front
Crappy Brakes


rice rocket

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 11:05pm #

Switch to direct pull/V-brakes, cantis are terrible.

http://amzn.to/W9k4xA

I assume you have flat-bars and brake levers?

If you have road bars and levers, you’ll need the mini-Vs.


brybot

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 11:13pm #

@rice-rocket Its a Jamis Aurora, so road bars, sti shifters/brakes. You can kind of see them in the first two pics, but they are blurry. I have front and rear racks as well as fenders. I’m guessing the rack would only be a concern on the rear, but the fenders would definitely be a probably for mini-Vs.


rice rocket

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 11:18pm #

Hmm, that’s a conundrum.

I wedged Planet Bike Cascadia fenders under my mini-Vs, but they’re the narrow version that’s only designed to fit 28mm tires. I still have cantilevers in the rear because I don’t really need that much rear braking.

I’ll probably be riding tomorrow (either with CMU or PMTCC), you’re welcome to try them out if we end up on the same ride.


rice rocket

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 11:28pm #

Here’s a good bit about cantilever geometry if you want to try to fix it.

http://sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-geometry.html


rice rocket

Private Message

Feb 9 2013 at 11:41pm #

Oh, another piece about brake shuddering.

http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/09/news/cyclocross/technical-qa-with-lennard-zinn-return-to-cross_101807


salty

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 12:43am #

I’ve heard from bike mechanics (I forget which shop) the red is just the Kevlar showing though (assuming you have a kevlar reinforced tire of course) and the tire still has plenty of life left. True/false?


stefb

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 6:59am #

The tread is gone on that tire. The Kevlar isn’t going to grip the road. Replace the tires.


Benzo

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 12:03pm #

+1 to what stefb said, if you see red, get new rubber as soon as you can. That tire won’t last long.


helen s

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 1:16pm #

I also think change it, but for different reasons- sure you can ride on it, and the alleged loss of traction will be minimal, but the loss of thickness will make it much more suceptiptble to punctures. And as stated above, it is only a matter of time, and it will continue getting worse.


ieverhart

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 4:30pm #

+1 to Edmonds59, StefB, Benzo and Helen S.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 5:25pm #

I say keep using it… that way we know how many miles to expect after we see red! ;)

Seriously, throw it on an indoor trainer and keep using it in the name of science.


stefb

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 6:15pm #

That is really dangerous. Replace the fucking tires already. $50 for another 3000 miles? Doesn’t seem like too much to spend. You may be able to take the dead tires to performance so they can recycle them.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 7:25pm #

@stef, I wasn’t serious… I wouldn’t use those on anything besides an indoor trainer.


brybot

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 8:04pm #

@stefb I hope you aren’t freaking out at me. I’ve already ordered a new rear tire.

The front tire is still in great shape and shows little sign of wear, although that may be difficult to tell with my cell phone photography.


salty

Private Message

Feb 10 2013 at 8:16pm #

From looking at a few cross-sections, it seems likely the answer depends on exactly which tires you have:

Ribmo – the shield is under the casing so certainly it should be replaced before the shield shows.

Randonneur – this is what I use and what I was told didn’t have to be replaced immediately when you start seeing spots.

Gatorskin – somewhere inbetween?


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 12:19am #

@Salty, if you are seeing spots on the Vittoria randonneur, I’d say it is time for replacement. The “aqua-flow” will certainly no longer be a feature and the shielding will be reduced.

Can you still ride on it? Sure. For that matter, I bet Brybot could get a few hundred if not a thousand miles on the tire that he posted. The question is it worth the extra security to just buy a new tire?

Unless the manufacturer states that it’s a non-issue and that they will stand behind their product, I don’t think it matters what anyone in a bike shop says. Tires are consumable and not worth stretching out. It’s one thing to say that it’s safe to ride on, but another thing entirely to stretch it out another season.

I’m sure they are fine for a casual rider at 10mph on a side street or a bike path. What about riding in the rain, at 20mph, down Penn? I think it’s a very personal judgement call based on riding style.

I’m crazy (i.e. dumb) enough to ride a tire until the tube is poking through and then patch the hole with a dollar bill… but I really don’t recommend that to anyone.

I agree that it varies by tire but I think riding style is the real variable of concern. If it’s questionable, save the tire as an emergency back up, for use with a trainer, for a back up bike, etc. It’s just not worth the risk of a blowout on a time crunch on a wet rainy evening.

Just my 2cents.


helen s

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 12:32pm #

How is a tire that worn dangerous? Maybe if it deflated really quickly from a puncture on a huge downhill, or you were miles from civilization on a near zero day with no way to patch the tube.


unicyclemike

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 12:49pm #

You don’t need a “Huge downhill” to get going fast enough for a worn tire to make you have a bad day.

- A squared off front tire will negatively effect your handeling. This may cause you to crash.
- A blow out on your front tire at speed can cause you to crash.
- While less likely a rear tire blow out at speed can cause you to crash.
- Crashing is bad.

Salty – your tires need to be replaced if you see spots. I’m not sure where you heard they were OK to ride on but personally I would not trust it.

From Sheldon Brown

Tire Wear-When should you replace your tires?
Many cyclists waste money replacing perfectly functional tires simply because they’re old, or may have discolored sidewalls. If you just want new tires because the old ones look grotty, it’s your money, but if you are mainly concerned with safety/function, there are only two reasons for replacing old tires:

- When the tread is worn so thin that you start getting a lot of flats from small pieces of glass and the like, or the fabric shows through the rubber.
- When the tire’s fabric has been damaged, so that the tire has a lumpy, irregular appearance somewhere, or the tube bulges through the tire.
Cracks in the tread are harmless. Small punctures in the tire such as are typically caused by nails, tacks, thorns or glass slivers are also harmless to the tire, since the tire doesn’t need to be air-tight.


Ohiojeff

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 1:32pm #

How is a tire that worn dangerous? Maybe if it deflated really quickly from a puncture on a huge downhill, or you were miles from civilization on a near zero day with no way to patch the tube.

The issue with a deflated clincher is that it is possible for the tire to come off the rim. When that happens at any kind of speed you are very (very) likely to crash because the tire can easily get caught up in the fork, spokes, etc. and your rim won’t work that well on the road surface either.

Any crash can be a problem but suppose you suddenly crash in front of the car about to pass you. This could happen with any puncture that causes a full deflation, but it is the main reason you definitely want your best tire on the front. A tire in good condition reduces the chances of a full deflation puncture even if it doesn’t eliminate them. A worn tire, thinner treads, worn casing etc, increases the risk.

In my experience rear tires wear faster than front tires and so I usually rotate front to back when I replace the rear tire (if the front is not also worn) and put the brand new tire on the front.


Mikhail

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 1:55pm #

If tire comes off while you are cornering there is very high probability of crash — rim would not hold on asphalt or concrete. It just would slide out. Very similar to cornering on ice.


edmonds59

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 2:48pm #

“In my experience rear tires wear faster than front tires and so I usually rotate front to back when I replace the rear tire (if the front is not also worn) and put the brand new tire on the front.” Seems like an excellent methodology.


rice rocket

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 5:25pm #

BTW, here’s mini-V’s with Planet Bike Cascadia Road fenders.

Interference fit. :)

You’d probably be better off w/ normal sized V-brakes and “travel agents”.

http://www.jensonusa.com/!CedFTIh0474XXZCRGh6dhQ!/Problem-Solvers-Travel-Agent


brybot

Private Message

Feb 11 2013 at 10:34pm #

I’ll may swap the v-brakes with the travel agents at some point.

As for putting the new tire on the front and the worn tire on the rear, I don’t see any logic to that. If the rear tire wears the fastest, you should put the new tire on the rear. That way you would go through two tires on the rear in the same amount of time you would go through one on the front.

What I should have done, if I were to rotate the tires, would have been to rotate them 9 months ago so they would both be reaching end of life at about the same time.


salty

Private Message

Feb 12 2013 at 1:16am #

What the manufacturer says: http://www.vittoria.com/tech/faq/

How can I determinate when is time to change the tire/tubular ?

You can evaluate the tire wear checking its profile: when there is a notable discontinuity (like a step, or edge) between central tread (wearing when you ride on straight) and side tread (wearing in corners) that you can feel when starting to lean for a turn. This is the time to change your tire. It’s also suggested to change the tire in any case the carcass is exposed.

Definitely there is no discontinuity when the red spots start to show up, and you can see from the picture that there is one more layer under the red before you reach the casing, so technically you could probably ride until you wear through the red layer.

I’m all for safety and I’d certainly be less inclined to mess around with a front tire than a rear tire, but I’m also all for not throwing money away.

I emailed Vittoria with some specific questions, we’ll see if they give me some specific answers.


Drewbacca

Private Message

Feb 12 2013 at 2:01am #

coolbeans! I look forward to hearing what vittoria has to say! :)

FWIW, I was thumbing through an old issue of Bicycling Magazine today while I was at the doctor’s and there was a comment regarding when to throw out tires in that issue. Their position was to throw it out when you have “flat spots” or when you can see the bead. They also seemed unconcerned with any holes smaller than an inch.


salty

Private Message

Feb 21 2013 at 11:35am #

Well, I did actually get a response from Vittoria, and I have to admit I (and the bike mechanic) was wrong:


Todd,

That red strip is the puncture resistant belt and that means that the tread is worn all the way through and you should replace the tire. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Thanks
Luke Short – Inside Sales

I’ll reserve a little cynicism since the response is from a sales guy, but I’ll probably replace my tire a little sooner next time. :) Since I am a pedant I wrote back for clarification and he said “If you see any red spots it is time to replace the tire.”


salty

Private Message

Feb 22 2013 at 1:58am #

Here’s me, living dangerously and all… I’d guess this ranks around 20th on the “most dangerous things about riding a bike around the city” scale.


brybot

Private Message

Feb 22 2013 at 2:30am #

Thats a heck of a lot of red you’ve got there! Mine was just barely peeking through in a couple of spots. You had to look carefully to see it.


Mikhail

Private Message

Feb 22 2013 at 7:00am #

Todd, kevlar (this word is trade marked by Dupon I believe) or aramid are used as puncture protection layaers. Or hard rubber. None of them has a good grip and awful for wet grip. As well as nylon. All of them will give you some extra time but they wear pretty fast.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
 

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.