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9 months ago I bought a Cruiser bike for riding around my neighborhood, and over that time the tread has worn out completely to the point you can see the cream surface that the interior of the tire has.

My question is, is this normal? For me, this seems very fast for a tire to wear out. In the past I've had mountain bikes and their tires lasted for years and still had plenty of tread.

So is this problem due to a cheap tire, or something else?

  • Both tires or just the back? What type of brakes are on the bike? – Kibbee Sep 21 '15 at 16:32
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    Name and/or photo of the tire would help a lot. Also more information about distance, weight, driving style … – Michael Sep 21 '15 at 17:31
  • @Kibbee The back tire is obviously more worn that the front, but both are very worn. – Johnson Martin Sep 21 '15 at 23:48
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Cruiser bikes tend to be constructed for the mass consumer market. Even if the price of the bike isn't cheap, the components often are.

  • The big balloon tires that are put on them tend to have soft rubber compounds that allow for a soft ride -- but quickly wear away. The white or cream sidewalls that are popular on cruisers don't have UV protection in their rubber compounds so they also tend to deteriorate quickly.

  • If you have a rear coaster brake (which tend to modulate poorly), you have to be careful as it's easy to drag/skid the rear wheel and wear down the rear tire down considerably.

You can get a better wearing tire when you replace it. Harder rubber will be longer wearing but will provide for a harsher ride, all things else being equal.

  • My tire does have white walls, and the rubber is very gritty and rough. I do have a coaster brake, but I am careful not to skid, since I know that can ruin the tire fast. So it sounds like my tire is at fault for the most part. When I buy a new tire, would most any be better than the ones found on cheap Cruiser bikes? Or could I get the same problem buying one from Walmart? – Johnson Martin Sep 21 '15 at 23:53
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    Walmart only sells the cheapest tires possible -- most probably the same that are already on your bike. I would go to your local bike shop and ask them for a tire with harder wearing rubber. – RoboKaren Sep 22 '15 at 1:05
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    The difference in "ride" between the soft tires and harder ones should be negligible. The main thing is that the soft tires are as cheaply made as possible and also may actually be intended to wear out quickly. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 22 '15 at 11:15
  • Ok, Thank you! I'm guessing I can tell the quality pretty well by feeling the tire to see if it's a harder rubber and by the price of the tire. – Johnson Martin Sep 22 '15 at 18:53
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Obviously it depends on the tire, how much you’ve ridden, your power/weight and driving style. Surface and tire pressure probably also play a role.

Touring or road tires can last something like 10 000km while soft cyclocross or mountainbike tires can be worn down after only 1000km of asphalt.

The rear tire usually wears much faster because it transmits acceleration power and tends to skid when braking.

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    Well, if you're using your front brake (like you should on the road), you'll reduce the skidding. Or even if you're using the rear brake, controlling it appropriately will reduce skidding. – Batman Sep 21 '15 at 17:41
  • You certainly shouldn’t intentionally brake so hard that you skid. But with more aggressive riding style it will happen from time to time, sometimes even without any braking. You can usually recover (in contrast to a skidding front wheel) but it will increase tire wear. – Michael Sep 21 '15 at 20:13

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