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I'm well aware that in most riding scenarios, there is more weight on the rear tyre of a bicycle and power transfer as well as the typical "swaying" from side to side (causing additional friction) contributes to a higher wear ration compared to the front (also explained in this old post)

In my case, I'm well within the range of expected wear rates of 1/2-1/3 front to rear, about 8000 kilometers on the front and still showing the grooves on the center of the tread, on the rear, it's getting shallow after 3000-4000 km in. I'm pretty sure, a third Vittoria Corsa will be through before the front needs replacement.

My question is: Are there any particular riding styles (or other factors) that especially contribute to high wear?

Update

I've added a picture of my front (right) versus rear (left) - just for comparison's sake, no advise on swapping, they'll probably come off by the end of season at latest.

I track components on Strava and unless my LBS has swapped a 40€ tire for free, the front has done about 7.500 km and the rear about 2.800 km.

enter image description here

My riding involves a fair bit of climbing and often on pretty rough b-roads such as the picture below, ironically taken when I had a puncture. I know, other factors like rider weight, power (=torque) and the rubber compound also play an important role, but is there something such as a "tyre killer" within normal riding parameters? (No skidding or wheel-mount trainers, indeed...)

Road surface on Austrian b-roads

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    Note that from a pure safety point of view, the best tire should be the front one. The way the question is written suggests that you replace the rear when it’s worn and leave the front in place, the good practice is however to remove the front one and fit it to the rear, and install the new one front (unless you use different front and rear tires of course, but it seems to be more of a MTB thing)
    – Renaud
    Jun 26, 2023 at 9:03
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    That's useful information indeed but the question was more aimed at what wears tires the most, for example excessive climbing (with lots of weight on the rear) or is more accelerations? I'm aware that front end grip is more important but even with the second rear coming to its end, in my case, the front still looks pretty pristine and hence, I yet didn't swap ... might do on the next iteration, unless I go for a different model of tire ... ;)
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 9:22
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    Do you know your front/rear weight distribution? Try getting some bathroom scales and carefully measure the weights at the front and back of the bike when you're dressed to ride. A road bike is around 60-65% rear and the rest on the front, on level ground.
    – Criggie
    Jun 26, 2023 at 10:00
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    @Criggie Not sure if I want to pull off the scales thing but I'm pretty sure my bike is rather tail-heavy because I ride a more relaxed frame with upright position (definitely not slammed) and before I had a bike fit that moved the saddle forwards, I even had problems with wheeling off the back when trying to get going on ascents from a standing start.
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 10:11
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    @DoNuT that will contribute to your rear wear... I suspect your bike has more than 2/3 of it's weight on the rear wheel. I see a Vittoria Corsa Graphene tyre which has cotton sidewalls and is "top of the range road tyre for pros" as per vittoria.com/ww/en/tyres/road-tires/corsa You might want a more-robust tyre, look at bicyclerollingresistance.com/road-bike-reviews/… for yours and see how it compares. Consider pro's only race for a couple hundred km on each tyre, so like in Formula 1, "durable" is no-longer than the race.
    – Criggie
    Jun 26, 2023 at 10:18

2 Answers 2

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Conditions contribute to wear - riding in the wet of winter, with grit and sand will chew up the tyres faster than summer riding.

Surface matters too, riding on loose stones and gravel eat tyres faster.

Hot roads can accelerate wear, so a road surface where the tar is sticky will affect the tyre tread.

All of these will wear the rear more because it is carrying more of your weight.


Riding any tyre with insufficient air pressure will cause it to flex more, affecting the side walls and cause wear in the "shoulder/corner" much more than the tread.

Climbing a hill should cause more faster wear because of the increased weight transferred from the front, but you're going slower which balances that. Coming down the hill should be lower rear wear because there's less weight on the back.

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    What about "squirm" mentioned on the cited question? bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/4568/… - I would characterize is as 'swaying' when you are accelerating or on out-of-the-saddle efforts?
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 11:23
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    @DoNuT plausible, I find my rear tyre gets worn in a squared-off profile, and the front remains much more rounded.
    – Criggie
    Jun 26, 2023 at 12:13
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    “Climbing a hill should cause more faster wear because of the increased weight transferred from the front, but you're going slower which balances that.” But the power output is the same or even higher than in flat terrain. I’d also think that the power/torque is much less smooth when climbing, especially when going out of the saddle.
    – Michael
    Jun 26, 2023 at 13:22
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    @Michael That's what I thought, too. I'm bad at physics but I thought the combination of rougher inputs (up to continuous freehub engagement), more weight on the rear plus the gradient (and the wheel potentially slipping) cause more friction = wear.
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 13:35
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Tyre Pressure

With the same tyres run front and rear on road, I have the back 5-10psi (⅓-⅔ bar) harder than the front. That stops the rear wearing flat s badly, while helping with road buzz. Running a slightly wider (by 3-4mm) tyre on the back, at the same pressure as the front, is another mans to the same end.

Technique

I would expect a sit-and-spin climbing style to be better than standing up and stomping for everyone. Certainly when I stand on the pedals the stroke is less even, and I'm more likely to slip the back wheel (bad). But I don't tend to get out of the saddle much anyway, only for a few strokes at a time to boost a dropping climbing speed.

You mention not skidding the back wheel, which of course is the best plan for several reasons. It's a plan that I find hard to stick to when I swap from my tourer/commuter with cable discs and long chainstays to my road/gravel bike with hydraulic discs - so check that you actually stick to this intention.

Loading

If you ride laden, shifting load weight forwards is good, and if you use a big saddlebag, check it's not swaying. This can be enough to affect handling, and make the back wheel squirm. As an example, over the weekend a pothole broke my 3rd bottle cage, and initially I strapped my toolcase to my saddlebag (which probably needed tightening up anyway). The back wheel seemed to have a mind of its own, at its worst accelerating out of bends. Moving the toolcase into the front of my frame bag made the handling much better, in fact better than when I left the house with it under the downtube.

Obviously if you ride light as for racing, there's nothing significant you can do here

Rotating and relegating tyres

I swap tyres between winter and summer. That means that increased wear in bad weather isn't on my best tyres. When I put them back on, if one is really worn it gets relegated to the commuter, visibly more worn, it goes on the back, but often they're too close to tell so front and back may get swapped. My tyres must last quite a lot longer than yours given the state they're in at the end of a season, but I don't track component distances.

Typically I use Marathon Supreme in summer, Marathon Mondial in winter (for merely wet conditions; I have ice spikes on another bike). The latter are very hard-wearing and grip well on dirty roads. Both handle the odd bit of gravel, but the Mondials do it better especially in the wet.

They save a lot of wear on my faster summer tyres, and I don't mind the extra weight so much in the winter when my rides max out at about 300km and I'm carrying more kit (summer can be up to 400km days, or 600km weekends).

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  • To be honest ... I'm not really looking into changing too mch in my riding or setup for the sake of better longetivity and just want to understand the topic better. I have a compact crank and am a pretty light rider, so can usually spin on most of the climbs, but I don't really want to change my out-of-the-saddle habits. Slightly more pressure on the rear (the famous calculator says 7,1 bars for my parameters on a 25mm clincher, so perhaps try 7,1/7,3 front/rear) and not putting more weight on the back if I ever strap on bags is a good call, though!
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 15:40
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    @DoNuT that's fair - I would also prefer to make the kit work for me than the other way round. But there may be some things to take into account when you're making other changes. I reckon you might be able to go a little softer on the front, starting from those numbers, but I'm on 32s at the moment, and not light, so my instinct may be off.
    – Chris H
    Jun 26, 2023 at 15:46
  • Yeah, I'll just see how long they last throughout the summer and am actually considering the GP5000 tan sidewall edition. I have Contis on my other bike and never had any issues with punctures, even though I actually ride them in (mild) winter conditions, so perhaps they are worth a try on my main bike as well ... not really expecting better life but the tread pattern looks a bit (b)eaten up on the Vittoria while others are full slicks, so perhaps they are a better suited tire for me, who knows?
    – DoNuT
    Jun 26, 2023 at 16:02
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    A friend has just gone over to GP5000s, but only a week or two ago, so too soon to know much (though we did a few hundred km together at the weekend with no complaints)
    – Chris H
    Jun 26, 2023 at 16:09

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