When to Replace Mountain Bike Tires

Last Updated on December 5, 2022

Mountain bike tires are the only parts of your bike that have direct contact with the ground. This means that they are the first to wear down.

But how do you know when to replace mountain bike tires?

That’s what this article is about. Because we’ll discuss when to replace mountain bike tires. Not only does this make your ride safer. But this also gives you a better riding experience on the trails.

Riding on a fresh pair of mountain bike tires is surely a huge convenience on your part. This also makes sure that you can improve your skills in the long run.

What are the natural signs of worn-out mountain bike tires?

Worn tire tread

One of the most common signs of worn-out tires is if the threads are already thin. Tire threads give your bike traction on the trails. They also give grip. You have a better grip on the ground if you have thicker threads.

It’s best that you replace your mountain bike tires if you see that the threads are already thin. Worn out threads are slippery, especially if you ride on muddy trails. You also have a higher chance of getting an accident when riding on worn tire treads.

Fabric pops out

Mountain bike tires have fabric underneath the rubber. This fabric supports the tire’s construction and gives better stability and control. Replace your tires if you see that its fabric pops out of the rubber.

This is dangerous because a small sharp rock can easily puncture your tires. You surely don’t want to get stuck on the trails, right? The usual places you’ll see the fabric pop out are the sidewalls. There are also times when they show on the top area or near the rims.

Irregular side bumps

Side bumps are another factor to consider. They are a clear sign you need to replace your tires because they make your ride less stable.

Having irregular side bumps can make your bike suddenly turn. This is dangerous, especially if you’re on high-speed sections. And a minor error can lead to a monumental disaster. Irregular side bumps can also damage your rims. So you want to be sure you really don’t have them.

Sidewall deformities

Deformities on your sidewall are another sign you need to replace your tires. They also increase the chances of accidents just like the irregular side bumps. Sidewall deformities come in different forms.

They sometimes take the shape of small lumps cluttered in one area. There are also times when they change shape depending on the temperature. This messes up your riding experience and makes your ride bumpier and less predictable.

Vulcanizing history

Another clean sign you need to replace your mountain bike tires is if they were vulcanized. Vulcanized tires are less durable and are more prone to getting punctured. Especially if a sharp root or stone hits the vulcanized area.

The rubber compound isn’t anymore the same as it was before it was vulcanized. This is why it’s better to replace them with fresh tires so you won’t have any trouble riding. The same goes for patched tires. These are the tires used with patch kits.

There’s no doubt that patch kits work. But they’re unreliable in the long run. They sometimes expire and get cracks if exposed to extreme heat or cold.

Removed text

Tires with the removed brand and name text isn’t a big factor. But it also needs to be addressed. The faded text means that your tire has gone through lots of stress. And there’s a good chance that its interior compound is deteriorating.

The text is just a tires’ aesthetics. But they can also be a hint that there’s more going on inside the tire itself. There’s a good chance that there might be cracks inside the tire. Or maybe sealant leaking on its sides.

Related: How to Put a Back Tire on a Mountain Bike

When is the right time to replace mountain bike tires?

When is the right time to replace mountain bike tires
front wheel of a fat mountain bike at foothills of Colorado, late spring scenery

When riding on a different trail

We recommend you replace your tires when riding on a different trail. There are muddy trails, dry trails, and trails that have lots of rock sections. Tires with huge knobs are ideal for muddy trails.

A good example of this is the Maxxis Shorty. You can then go for Maxxis Ardent for drier trails. Meanwhile, Maxxis Assegai and Maxxis DHR II are the best tires for technical sections.

You might find this unnecessary and expensive. But the expense you make is worth it because of the improved convenience.

Before joining a race

It is smart to replace your tires before you join a race. Used tires can break down on the trails during your race run. You surely don’t want that to happen to you, right? It eats a lot of your time, and you exert lots of energy when fixing.

There are some racers who cut a small portion of the tires’ knobs. They’re the riders who prefer tires that roll faster. But this isn’t recommended, especially if you’re not a professional racer.

Related: How to Train for a Mountain Bike Race

Before long rides

Long cross-country rides need lots of preparation. And the first thing to do is to ensure you got good tires. Get a fresh pair of tires before embarking on a long ride. This assures you the tires don’t have any punctures or worn threads.

This keeps you safe and convenient because you don’t have to worry about flats. We recommend Maxxis Ikon and Maxxis High-roller on the front for road and cross-country rides. They’re not very heavy and are durable.

Related: Best Mountain Bike Tires for Road Use


Knowing when to replace mountain bike tires is natural for mountain bikers. It’s also an important skill to master because this is where your safety and ride depends on.

Know when to replace mountain bike tires so you can make the most out of your ride. Also, double-check your tires before riding. They shouldn’t be worn out and should have no signs of damage or flats. Replace them if they’re treated with a patch kit.

Also, know the right tires to use on your trail. You’ll surely be a faster and better mountain biker if you do.


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