When Do You Change Your Mountain Bike Tires?

Does something feel off during your bike ride? How often should you change your mountain bike tires? Check out our helpful tips!

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Ripped MTB bike tire

Before I take off on my next ride, I do a quick check on my tires and make sure they are in good condition. When I get around 1500 miles since the last tire change, I start to look for signs and determine just how much life my bike tires have. I want to change them at the right time so that I get as much life out of them as possible while staying safe and not having to purchase new parts!

When Do You Change Your Mountain Bike Tires?

Your mountain bike tires usually have an average mile range they can go before they need to be changed. In most cases, your mountain bike tires can last around 3,000 miles before they need to be replaced. 

Now, this also goes by how much you use your bike and the different types of surfaces you are riding.

Logging Your Tire Miles

I like to keep up with the miles I put on my mountain bike, so I have an idea of when they need to be replaced. I know… it’s my inner geekiness 🤓. Because I ride more some years than others, it isn’t ideal for me to replace them based on the age of the tires.

I use a log that outlines how many miles I went on a run and add those miles each month. This also allows me to stay accountable for my fitness goals.

Mountain bike rider

Should You Change Both Tires?

If you need to replace the front tire, you should replace both for the best quality. When you have one new tire and one worn tire, it will affect your ride and the buoyancy when you hit the trails.

The only time you should change one tire is if there is a malfunction in one of the tires and the set has been replaced recently, or it is a rear tire that needs to be replaced. Sometimes those tires tend to wear out faster than the front and may need to be replaced between tire sets. Tires with substantially different treads can also be a safety hazard when braking.

Related article – Best Hybrid Bike Tires

Signs Your Mountain Bike Tires Are Wearing Down

Before it is time to replace your mountain bike tires, you will start to experience a few signs that your bike tires need to be replaced.

  • A significant loss in traction and tread
  • Holes in the tires
  • Tire cracks
  • Losing air consistently

Tread And Traction Loss

One of the first things you will notice is a big difference in traction and tread of the tires. This is noticeable when you press the brakes and find yourself sliding more when trying to stop. 

Bike tires with lots of treads have fewer issues braking. This can pose serious safety concerns and cause a crash if you are not careful.

Related article – When Should I Replace My Bike Brakes?

Sandy mountain bike tire


Over time, your tires will wear down and start showing rips and holes. This allows the air to leak regularly and can cause you to break a fall when jumping on your mountain bike.

Small holes may not seem like a lot of damage, but allowing them to continue without patching or replacing will only worsen, and they will start to stretch out.

Tire Cracks

These are more than damage to the tread walls, exposing the wires in the tire. These cracks can also have other tire parts blistering up, which is significant damage if not addressed.

You may find yourself having to replace a rim, as well, when you get a new set of tires. This additional cost could be avoided if you maintain your tires.

Related article – When Should I Replace My Bike Rims?

Air Loss

Even if you do not see any holes or cracks, your tires could start losing air and require you to pump them more often. If your tire cannot hold the air it needs, it is time to get a new set of tires and get on your way to the next ride. 

Being forced to air up your tires before and after a ride is too much work indefinitely.

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Pavement vs. Natural Trail Damage

Depending on where you are riding your mountain bike, it can also have an impact on how fast the tires need to be replaced.

For example, nature trails miles can wear down bike tires much faster than pavement. When you spend most of your mileage on the tough terrain, you can shave 500 miles off that tired set’s lifespan. The rocks and roots eat away at the tread faster than smooth pavement on a steady ride.

When you are out on bike trails in nature, there is more force on the front tire, and it can wear down incredibly fast. Remember that since rear tires wear out faster, you may replace that tire once or twice before replacing the front again.

Two mountain bike riders

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Mountain Bike Tires?

If you are not regularly changing your mountain bike tires, you may experience some unwanted expenses. First, the damage to your bike from worn tires can be extended to the frame and the rims. You could be forced to replace these expensive parts. In some cases, bikes have had to be replaced entirely because of the damage done.

You could also experience some unwanted physical harm. Because your bike doesn’t have good quality tires, it cannot perform properly or maintain the safety it needs when riding. You could get hurt, and the end result is bad tires that needed to be replaced.

Choose A Good Quality Tire Brand

If you want a good quality tire that will last you through the next couple of thousand miles and various terrains, choose from the following brands:

  • Michelin
  • Schwalbe
  • Continental
  • Maxxis

These tires come in different sizes to get the one that fits your bike. You can also purchase them based on their performance level, getting tires that will be best on pavement, those best on brutal landscapes, and those that can travel on any that you need.

If you go with brands not listed here, you can still get a decent lifespan for your tire, but it will not be as extensive as what these brands offer, and you could be purchasing new tires more frequently.

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