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I bought a Repco Warrior 29 mountain bike 3 months ago. The back tyre is now almost bald and needs to be replaced. Because of where I live there are no bike shops, so I can't buy tyres here and will have to order them from overseas.

My problem is that 3 months seems a short time to have to replace tyres (although it does see a lot of miles since I use it a lot). I don't ride offroad, and I'm wondering if that's part of the issue with the rapid wear.

Before I order any tyres, can anyone tell me through experience if it's a good idea (or even possible) to put road tyres on my mountain bike. Are there any pro's and cons to it? Should I replace both tyres or just the back one?

Update:- I now have my new tyres, ordered brake pads as well, and immediately noticed the smoother, easier, quieter ride on the way home (about an hour) Cheers all for the advice.

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Sounds like you're braking hard and locking the back wheel enough to skid it on every stop. This will wear out the back tyre far quicker than the front one, which generally doesn't skid under heavy braking. Get a new tyre and fit it to the front wheel, move your existing front to the rear wheel. – Criggie Mar 25 at 10:54
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no I don't skid the back, I just do a lot of mileage, I'm pretty sure it's the quality of the tyres and the fact that it's on road. I pretty much pedal hard out wherever I'm going. I'm going to buy two new tyres, and swap the two I have around temporarily until they arrive. I guess most of my weight is on the back tyre? And the bike has front shocks, but not back ones. I don't really know, I'm old and my last bike was well over a decade ago in another country. – Kilisi Mar 25 at 11:02
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Do note that tires will wear out a lot faster if tire pressure is too low. There is a pressure range embossed on the side of most tires -- you should run somewhere in the upper half of that pressure range, especially on the road. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 25 at 12:14
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May I recommend the Schwalbe Supermoto: schwalbetires.com/node/3860 – Paul H Mar 25 at 19:03
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I might be wrong but a quick visit at Google suggests to me that Repco are quite cheap bikes which probably come with cheap tires. I had my problems with cheap tires myself, although I was sick of punctures before I had any chance to wear them out. So, additionally to other tips about size etc. I'd suggest to invest a few quid more on something from a reputable brand (like Schwalbe, Continental, ...). – David Triebe Mar 25 at 19:25
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's totally fine to use smooth tires on a mountain bike, if you use it as you describe. You will find it even more comfortable, just be a bit more cautious whenever it rains.

As @MikeBaranczak points, be careful with the size, 27, 29 are nowadays quite common. BUT ALSO have a look:

  • how fat they are and if they fit with your actual wheel.
  • valve type, again check it fits with your actual wheel.

Best and easiest way is to check what you have now and order the same size, valve and thickness but in flat.

About having to change them each 3 months, I would say is not normal (of course depends on km) but the first new-bike tires are usually a bit soft/not-good-quiality and they get flat very fast... maybe if you don't change them in 3 more months you have them already flat and you don't need to change them :)

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In one month at this rate they'll wear right through and I'll be on the rims, but it's the back tyre that's a problem. I'm going to try swapping the front to the back and vice versa to keep me mobile temporarily, and will order road tyres and hope for the best. Cheers for your input. – Kilisi Mar 25 at 10:45
    
@Kilisi swapping the tires is a great idea! – juagicre Mar 25 at 13:50
    
@juagicre - you're implying that 27" and 29" are equivalent. They're not! – Mike Baranczak Mar 25 at 16:34
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@Carel is a great idea in the context Kilisi explained. Having an accident is never a good idea, no matter the context ;) – juagicre Mar 25 at 17:18
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"just be a bit more cautious whenever it rains" I disagree with this. Slick tires will have better traction on wet roads than knobbies. – Paul H Mar 25 at 19:01

I assume the "29" refers to the wheel size (29 inch, a.k.a. 700c, 622 ISO, or 28 inch), but check what it says on your tires, just to be sure. See here for more information about tire sizes than you ever wanted. This is probably the most common size out there, so you'll have no trouble finding tires. If you only ride on pavement, then yeah, road tires are a good idea. You'll need new tubes as well, since the tires will be skinnier.

3 months is a really short lifespan for a tire. You probably just got the batch from that day when all the guys at the tire factory were hung over. So I wouldn't trust the front tire, either - replace that, too.

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good point on the tubes, I would have felt pretty silly if I bought tyres then found I needed to order tubes. No problems using road tyres on a mountain bike? The bike does about 2 hours or more every day. Mostly on the commute. – Kilisi Mar 25 at 5:53
    
@Kilisi - At two hours a day decent tires should last a year, at least. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 25 at 12:19
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@Kilisi - Do consult the link to the Sheldon Brown page that Mike has above, and study it enough to get the gist of it. The "ISO" designation is the only really reliable size info, as bike makers have played games with the other size schemes over the years. You need a tire that is the same rim diameter (probably XX-622 ISO) and not more than may be 30% wider or narrower than your current tire (though narrower is better on the road, and for wear issues). (The XX part of XX-622 ISO is the width in millimeters.) – Daniel R Hicks Mar 25 at 12:26
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Actually, you may not need new tubes. At least the tubes I usually buy are "multi-size" tubes which fit different tire sizes. For example the Schwalbe 28" SV 17 fits all tire widths from 28 to 47mm, and even 27" diameter wheels. Of course, if the tubes are worn, or have scratches or holes, replacing them is a good idea anyway. Also note this big tolerance only applies to tubes - the tires really need to fit exactly, as they will not (must not) stretch. – sleske Mar 25 at 15:37

Slick tires are available for mountain bikes - see any catalog such as Performance, Nashbar, or whatever is popular where you live. Road tires in general will be very narrow and the beads securing the road tire to the MTB rim may not seat well. I'd go with an MTB slick for sure. My brother has been doing this successfully for years, as he loves his MTB frame. As for me, I have a road bike (several, I confess) for road riding, so can't tell you anything from personal experience except that my kids' knobby MTB tires wear out fast when ridden on the road. They seem to use a soft rubber for off road traction. An adult's weight probably makes the situation worse, hence your problem in the rear.

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Gidday and welcome to SE Bicycles. Good first answer! – Criggie Mar 26 at 0:38

Though your q is about 29er wheels, there are a lot of tyres available for 26" wheels that fit this purpose. I wouldn't agree that you have less grip in the rain than with knobblies, unless it is totally slick, in which case a couple of grooves is better, but not knobbly tyres. I rode slicks (Michelin Wild Run'r 1.4s) on my converted MTB for a year and never washed out. Not even once. And I went almost horizontal around the corners at high speed. (That bike just fit me really well). The tyres were thin and supple so they would mould themselves around the rim in response to their grip on the road as the bike pushed out on top of them, and this is what made it so hard to fall. I was slightly more careful in the rain.

I would avoid the tyres that have heavy puncture protection - most of them don't work and so prevention is better. Slicks also make it a lot easier to spot penetrations to the tyre, so you can dig stuff out before it reaches the tube.

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I'm looking forwards to the slicks now, I'm an old man, but if I'm going to ride a bike I want to have fun on it and I don't like slowing down for corners. Not sure 'being careful' is my strong suit either :-) – Kilisi Mar 26 at 21:23

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