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It's time to settle the tire rotation debate.(10 posts)

It's time to settle the tire rotation debate.Scy
Jun 3, 2001 1:43 AM
It seems like every week there's a thread about the dangers of putting a worn rear tire to the front. In theory, it sounds reasonable that a more worn and squared off tire in the front would handle worse and would be more likely to flat/blow out. However, I don't recall anyone having any ACTUAL bad experiences from rotating back to front. Personally, I don't rotate the tires because I'm just too lazy and never even considered it until reading these posts.

My questions are thus posed to riders with empirical knowledge rather than those with just theories or beliefs:
1. Have any of you had a tire (front or otherwise) actually blow out (as oppossed to flatting out)? I've never seen this happen, nor have I ever heard of this happening. However, I have had a (newer) front tire bead blow off the rim a couple times.
2. Have any of you had a front tire flat out in a turn such that it caused you to lose control?
3. Have any of you actually noticed whether a squared off tire in the front handles differently? With all the weight on a loaded front tire, I can't imagine that the contact patch's shape and/or profile would be that different.
worn rear tire on front ???C-40
Jun 3, 2001 7:23 AM
Some tightwads will try anything. It's always best to have a good tire up front. If you have a tire problem, the front is more likely to cause a wreck. If you want to rotate, put the used front tire on the back, and a new tire on the front. When the rear gets worn out repeat the process. This way you never have a tire on the bike that is very old, unless you ride very little.

Can't imagine why anyone would put a squared-off rear tire on the front.

Another option is to rotate the rear tire to the front after only a few hundred miles (before it's squared off). Put the front tire on the back, and leave it there until it's worn out. If you buy tires in pairs, this will give additional mileage, but the front will still be in good shape when the rear is shot.
In reference to item #2...DINOSAUR
Jun 3, 2001 10:30 AM
I stopped rotating tires as I found it really wasn't worth the hassle, nor did it greatly extend my miles.

As for item #2. I did have a nasty crash caused by a flattened front tire. I hit a large piece of gravel while descending, the tire did not blow, but it flattened when I was making a 90 degree turn, causing me to go down. The front tire rolled off it's rim. Now I watch the road ahead of me and watch for debris. I stop every hour or so and brush off my tires. In the winter, when I wear long fingered gloves, I can do this while riding every 20 minutes or so.

I am a real stinker about tires. I clean them off after every ride and check my tire pressure daily. If I have any doubt about the condition of a tire, I replace it. I also replace the rim tape everytime I add a new tire and I haven't had a rim punture since last July.

I think tires depend a lot on your body weight, the types of roads you ride and your type of riding. Also what brand/model tire you use. I don't think that there is one fast rule that applies to everyone regarding tires. Although, this is one item you don't want to skimp on when visiting your LBS or doing mail order.

Tires are right up there with helmets when it comes to safety..
re: It's time to settle the tire rotation debate.Hank
Jun 3, 2001 12:49 PM
front tires have a lot more to do with how your bike handles than rear tires. I usually put a tire on the back for about 500 miles (so I can get rid of that nasty little ridge) and then put it up front until it begins to wear or until I start having doubts about the condition of the sidewall. I've had front blowouts on my mtb - they are very unpleasant. You should inspect both tires frequently. And unless you are racing, I think you should use wider tires than what I see a lot of people using. I prefer 700x25 for all purpose training (and tubulars for racing).
non-issuefreespirit
Jun 3, 2001 6:25 PM
I don't rotate. Used to, but found no use to it. The tires wear out so darn fast anyway, or get cuts actually, that I just replace them as they go. I've actually only worn out one tire (down to the cords), yes, ONE, in over 30,000 miles of riding. I think it's a non-issue.

Bikes are different than cars. Just because you rotate car tires, that doesn't mean you should for bikes. Even with some cars, though, it is recommended not to rotate. Some front wheel drive car manufacturers say to just wear out the front and replace as they go. Good chance rear tires on a light weight fwd car will outlast the car. The rear end doesn't do much.

Rotating is probably one of those things that just makes us feel good, but not much more. You have some time on your hands, to you go to the garage and rotate your tires. There, you did something. Will it make a difference in the handling, safety, or life of your tires, doubt it.

As a practical note, I have found that thinner, more worn tires do seem to flat from penetrations more frequently. Never had a pure blow out, though.
I just rotated my tires about a month ago ...bianchi boy
Jun 3, 2001 6:40 PM
The tires only had about 500 miles on them, so I didn't feel it was a safety issue moving the back tire to the front, and the rear tire hadn't squared off. The new front tire handles fine. It only takes me about 30 minutes to install new tires, front and rear, so it's no big deal as far I'm concerned. I like the idea of rotating because I tend to switch tire brands a lot, buying new tires on sale or because I want to try a different look (eg, blue sidewalls). If I ever settle on a brand I really like, I probably would just rotate the front to the rear and put new tire in front. FWIW, I have never had a blowout front or rear, and virtually all of my flats have been in the rear tire.
30 min to change tires???!!!d'ohhh!!!
Jun 3, 2001 7:37 PM
wow. like the guy said, cheapskates will do anything... but don't worry about it, just think of all the lack of wear, lube, new bar tape, etc. that you won't be bothered with when you are off the bike for a month due to a crash. but then again, the bandages, neosporin, gauze, etc. will probably make up for it
Didn't really settle anything, did it? (nm)Kerry Irons
Jun 3, 2001 7:02 PM
Nope, it didn't.Scy
Jun 4, 2001 11:38 PM
It's amazing actually. These people will tell you what they think even if it's not based on actual experience. By my count, only two people responded to the actual questions. The rest basically reiterated the same tired theories.
#2PaulCL
Jun 4, 2001 8:38 AM
In response to #2: yes. I had a flat on a sharp left hand turn thru traffic. I came down a hill catching a rare green light at an intersection of a Burger King, Taco Bell with a Kmart across the street. Imagine the traffic, even on a Sunday morning. Hitting the turn, I had a front tire blowout which sent me skidding through the intersection up against the curb. The crash or blowout took the tire off the rim. The tube was shredded. No real damage but some road rash. It was an old tire. Like a helmet, if in doubt, throw it out!

P.S. Personally, I think rotating is a waste of time. If it's too worn to be used in the back, throw it away. Is your health or life worth a $20 or $50 tire??? I always have a spare around the basement.