I cycle about 5000 miles a year,biking a lot in the spring and summer,and tailing off in late autumn, and not at all in winter.I haven’t changed my tires for 3 years,but they still seem to be holding up pretty well.Is there any set rules of when to get new tires?? If I had knobby tires I could probably tell better when I need a new set,but I have smooth road tires on my bike.Any opinions would be appreciated.Thanks.
On road tires, the tread texture doesn’t really do very much, hence completely smooth high performance tires, so tread wear isn’t a good indicator. As the tread gets thinner, it will become more likely that you will get flats. I usually wait until the rubber down the center looks visibly thinner, and get a flat and can feel that it’s very thin, or until I can see the fabric.
If your really compulsive you could just let out the air, take out the tube, and feel how thin the tread in the center is, you’ll be able to feel when it’s paper thin.
I don’t think there’s any argument that if, after a flat, I can see light looking from the inside of the tire, it’s time to change.
More I worry about hard banking on a turn. Do I have less traction with a tire with some dry rot, and if so, how much less? The 2nd last thing I do after a multi-dozen-mile ride is to transition from a fast downhill going east to a stiff uphill going north. The distance I get without having to pedal is directly proportional to the speed I dare take that left. That in turn is dependent on how much I trust my tires.