Assuming no accidents, cuts, or other major traumas, what is the useful life of a typical decent-quality (maybe a Schwalbe Marathon as reference?) road or commuting tire, measured in distance traveled and/or time since installation?

Put another way, when should my backbrain be niggling at me to get new tires?

Related but not identical: What's the shelf life of tublar tires?

  • I'm thinking I generally get 5-10K miles (700c x 35 Kevlar belted road tires), but I've never made a study of it. Commented May 1, 2014 at 3:27
  • 2
    I keep a mileage log for each of my road bikes. For a typical 700x23 road tire (R2) running at 110 - 120 psi I replace the rear tire at 2,000 miles and the front tire at 2,500 - 3,000 miles.
    – Gary E
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 15:16
  • @GaryE good idea to keep a log. I have to say, though, that a "typical" tyre for me will die of a puncture wound before it gets anywhere near natural causes. But I realise you say to ignore this in your question, plus I reckon lifespan would vary a lot depending on the manufacturer and the tyre (I used to run Vittorias but as I say they didn't last long, I'm on my last set now and the next tyres are Contis to see if I can get something more durable).
    – PeteH
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 16:15
  • Honestly, it seems like way too much work to log this out. Its not like on a car where you have to worry about tread depth or a blow out at 75 mph, given how often most people replace their tires.
    – Batman
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


Here is Sheldon's take on it: Your backbrain should be niggling you when you start to get some punctures or the fabric layer/belt (which gives the structure of the tire) of the tire is about to show or is damaged. Unlike a radial, where the tire is integral to keeping the wheel working, all a tire has to do is protect a tube. The rest of the stuff is aesthetic. Proper inflation is important for controlling wear though.

Schwalbe's marketing material says that Schwalbe Marathons should last between 6000 km and 12000km, but I'd be inclined to say thats conservative in good riding conditions - I have much lower quality tires than Schwalbe Marathons which are closer to the higher end of that range and show no signs of giving up (this is for commuting, and they have around 7000 miles on them, but this is on a 26" rigid mountain bike so significantly bigger tires than you're likely considering, so maybe not a fair comparison).

  • good answer. Regarding Marathons, for me they last from 5000-10000 km. I am quite heavy guy. Commented May 12, 2014 at 13:34

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