When To Replace Mountain Bike Tires

Mountain bike tires are not cheap so it’s important that you know when it’s the right time to invest into some new rubber.

Tires are one of the most important parts of a bike and they play a big part in keeping the rider safe, giving them comfort and also speed when riding. Tires on any bike need to be constantly checked for wear and deflation, and if not checked regularly, can result in tire replacements or crashes.

4 Important Tire Checks You Should Make

Tread Depth

Firstly, you must check up on the depth of your tire’s tread. If you’ve got too shallow a tread profile, you will not sustain any grip on that tire. This is the same as when you check the depth of your car tire tread to see if its worn and you need new tires.

when to change mountain bike tires

Driving Edge

The next area you need to check is the driving edge of the tire, this is one of the most important areas to keep an eye on. It is a very good indicator of when to change mountain bike tires.

With specific mountain bikes (like an ebike or an enduro bike), you are most likely going to be riding steeper hills and harder terrain than you would ride on a normal mountain bike. 

A worn driving edge can cause blow outs and accidents as a result.

Breaking Edge

The breaking edge is the rear part of your tire, this basically ankers the bike and keeps its stable, as most of your bike weight and body weight will be going to this part of the tire.

Therefore, the breaking edge needs to be in a good condition to keep the bike fully stable and keep the tires at a good grip.

Tire Nobs

The fourth area of your tires that you should check regularly are the side nobs. This part of the tire is extremely important when riding as it keeps majority of the grip and stability of the bike when cornering.

Without these, the wheels would just slide out underneath you on a berm or similar part of the trail.

If any of these areas are very worn down, then it’s a sign that your tires may need to be replaced. Another indicator that you should check your tires is if your ride starts to feel different to what it was before.

If all four areas of your tires are worn down, stop reading this article immediately and go and get some new tires!

when to replace mountain bike tires

Should You Rotate Your Tires

It can be tempting to rotate your tires, but it is not recommended. This is because your rear tire will wear down much faster and at a much higher rate than your front.

Your rear wheel holds most of your weight and its responsible for your acceleration and body movement. This means your rear tire is more likely to wear out before your front tire does.

It is also never good to put a worn tire on your front wheel. Your front tire holds most of your traction and all of your steering, so you do not want to lose traction on your front wheel as this will result in you washing out on a turn and potentially crashing (Believe me, you do not want this to happen!)

If you lose traction on your rear wheel, it is a lot easier to save if it’s just like a skid or roost. However, if your front wheel loses traction, it is savable, but it is risky as you will most likely wash out, or lose control and crash.

Should You Replace Both Tires At Once?

As earlier said, the rear tire will most likely wear out before the front tire does although you should replace both of the tires at the same time.

The reason for replacing them both at the same time is because even though the front tire will look fairly new compared to the rear tire, it is still taking lots of impact and most of the debris. 

Whether the front tire looks new or not, it is always good to replace them both at the same time.

How To Make Your Bike Tires Last

There are many ways to keep your tires fresh and make them last. One of the most common and probably the most reliable way to make your mountain bike tires last is to feather the brake.

 This is to make sure your wheel doesn’t lock up and skid when stopping or breaking on your mountain bike. This is extremely helpful for making your tires last, because when your wheel locks up and skids, it creates lots of flat spots on the tire.

This will make it feel it bumpy when you ride, and generally uneven all around. This is very bad for the tire and it will not last long.

Another way to make your mountain bike tires last is to run a lower psi when riding. When you have a lower psi, it is less likely for your tire to wear and your tire will last longer.

Tire wear can depend fully on what type of terrain you are riding. For example, when riding your mountain bike on a long flat tarmac or road, your tires will last a much longer because of the smooth surface. 

This of course depends on how much you skid or create flat spots on your tires, whereas if you ride on hard dirt jumps and berms that have holes and breaking bumps in them, it will wear your tire out much faster.

A very good way to keep your tires fresh and not wear down, is to make sure you wash all the mud and dirt off your tire after a ride.

This is important, because when mud gets onto your mountain bike tire, the mud will then dry and can cause the tire to crack. Not only does this destroy the tire, it will drain all of the oils out too.

You can track how many miles your bike has done on apps like Strava, and this can help you figure out roughly when you need new tires. (although this is not the most accurate way, but can help from noting the mileage you have done)

How Much Do Mountain Bike Tires Cost?

Mountain bike tires can range between $20 a tire to upwards of $80. This is because each tire has a different purpose of use. For example, an ebike tire is very different to a dirt jump bike tire.

If you are looking to race mountain bikes competitively or want to go deeper into the sport, then you should look at the more expensive tires for the best grip and rolling speed.

If you are wanting to start mountain biking for fun with some friends, or as a hobby, then there’s no need to fork out for expensive tires. 

There are lots of brands out there who offer affordable tires that will sustain grip and have a decent rolling speed, but if you want the best of the best and the most practical, you are going to want to spend a bit of money on the more expensive ones.


Do you have control with a good pair of mountain bike tires?

Absolutely, if you have a good pair of new tires, the top brands make sure that you are safe and have control when riding. Brands like Schwalbe and Maxxis offer plenty of different styles of tires for different styles of riding and have been in the business long enough to absolutely know their stuff.

Schwalbe have interesting tire names. “Magic Mary” is a Schwalbe tire designed for muddy riding conditions; they also do the “Nobby Nic” tire, which was made for all-rounder riding and weather conditions.


As mentioned earlier there are lots of different brands who offer lots of different style tires. Puncture protection, amazing handling, dual compound thread, sticky sides of the tire and long durability to name a few.

Brands like Schwalbe, Maxxis, Michelin, Kenda, Continental and many more have spent years creating and designing mountain bike tires for you to have a safe, fun and comfortable ride.

In Conclusion

It can be tempting to keep using your tires even if they are worn out, but we recommend you look for the right tires for you and upgrade to some new rubber to stay safe and have a gnarly ride.