When Should You Replace A Road Bike Tyre? | The GCN Tech Clinic

When Should You Replace A Road Bike Tyre? | The GCN Tech Clinic


– So this week is a very special edition of the GCN Tech Clinic
because, what can I say, I’m on location here at the Dubai Tour. Now I don’t have my toolkit with me, so I can go too in-depth, but I still reckon I can
tackle your questions. Let’s see. (ambient music) First up this week is
a question from Sophie, who’s got a braking problem. Yep, nobody likes braking problems because, well, they help you stop. So, the problem is that
they’re pulling the lever, and despite re-greasing the
cable, replacing the cable, it’s still not working well. So the first thing I
would check is make sure, if you’ve ferrules on the
end of your outer cable, is make sure they’re fully
pressed all the way on. But also, importantly, is that
the end of the outer cable, before you put the ferrule on, is to actually make sure it’s
a very clean cut, very flat, then put that ferrule
on fully, all the way. That way, you’re not gonna
get any slight movement of the ferrule on the
end of the brake cable. So making sure there’s no gap on the end, and you’re not braking,
effectively, in the air, if that makes any sense. So make sure of that. Another thing to also
check is to make sure that the callipers and
levers actually match up. So Shimano and Shimano, SRAM and SRAM, Campagnolo and Campagnolo. Reason being, they actually have a different lever pull ratio to the brake. So that’s really important to remember. Right, now next question is from Mark, who wants to know when to replace a tyre. Mm, well, like you say,
obviously if there’s any nicks or cuts in the tyre, then sometimes it’s time for a new tyre. Then other times, you can actually just fill those holes in with super glue, just to actually try and
prolong the life of the tyre. Now as for indicators,
to let you know when to replace the tyre, actually Continental, who do supply us with tyres here at GCN, they have two little indicator
holes on top of the tyre. Now, they’re not obviously
holes all the way through. Those holes, they go just a couple of mil beneath the surface of the rubber. And essentially, once you
can’t see those holes anymore, you know it’s time to replace the tyre. So that’s one brand in particular who are doing something about that. Another thing to keep an eye on, make sure the tyre still has a rounded profile across the top. Once it goes flat, basically,
the tire’s not gonna do its job properly when you’re
going around a corner. So just keep an eye on those things, and you’ll be good to go. Next up is lonewolf, even
giving me a name check. Thank you very much. Problem with a rim flexing
against the brake pads when they get out of the saddle
for the first few strokes. Now if your wheel is in straight, actually check the spoke tension because there could be some flex in there that when you’re putting a bit of weight through the front end of the bike, that rim is just moving over
and touching the brake pads. Also, maybe you’ve just
got your brakes set very, very close to the rim. So naturally, you’re gonna
get that bit of movement. Okay, so Stuart wants to know,
how long do gear cables last? It’s a great question because
I honestly don’t know. But do take care of them, so
when you’re washing the bike, make sure you don’t use
any harsh degreasers that are gonna get in there and wash out any grease from the cables. Obviously, use as well,
once you’re finished washing the bike, a good
water-displacing spray, so that you’re removing any
of the water from inside, and then preventing any rust of the inner and also the inside of
the outer cable too. Keep a good eye as well to
make sure that the cables aren’t frayed where they’re
clamped into the derailleurs. Obviously, on this bike here,
I’ve got electronic gears, so I can’t show you that exactly. But also inspect the outer cable too. So where there’s any sharp bends or where the ends are a
ferrule, make sure that there, the outer cable casing
is not cracking at all. But who knows? They could last up to two or three years, I guess, maybe longer, maybe less. It all depends on the riding conditions. Right, Christian wants to
know, does vinegar help grip on tyres or reduce
the chance of punctures? That is a brilliant question,
’cause you know what? I actually know the answer
to this, or kind of. Firstly, I’m gonna let you know, it’s not the vinegar that you
put on your fish and chips. It’s actually white vinegar,
and I’ve seen this done by the Great Britain mechanics
inside of a velodrome. They actually did it using
a Dugast tubular tyre, and that was one of the pink
ones, which from memory, it’s quite a while ago now,
is a latex-treaded tyre. So essentially, they
got that white vinegar, coated a sponge in it,
then went around the tyre, and then the riders went out and rode. Did it improve the grip? I don’t know, but there
must be some logic behind it because they were brand new tyres. And sometimes brand new tyres on a velodrome are quite slippy. Whether or not they reduce
the chance of punctures, can’t tell you, I’m afraid, because inside of
velodrome, it’s pretty rare we actually see anyone get a puncture. But try it, and let me
know how you get on. Next up is this question from Hitesh, who wants to know, how often should you replace a bike helmet,
and does foam degrade? This is a great question, actually, because I used to work for a
helmet brand and manufacturer, so I’ve got a little
bit of inside knowledge. However, most helmet brands,
in fact, none of them give a definite answer
when you should replace it. Obviously, the outer shell,
so that polycarbonate shell, can get damaged by UV rays, especially if you’re somewhere like this in Dubai. Obviously, in the UK, we
don’t get that much sun. We get a little bit. But, yeah, it can degrade the foam and the polycarbonate shell, But what’s also important to remember, if you do drop your helmet,
even from a very small height or very gently, it can
still damage that helmet, and essentially render it
useless because you may well have some tiny, little hairline
cracks in amongst the foam. But basically, the
helmet has done its job, even if you weren’t
wearing it at the time. (man whistles)
(upbeat music) (moves into tense music) – No! – Also, take care and try
and keep the helmet clean. I actually give mine a good
old scrub in the shower. I use some shower gel
just to clean it off, and I don’t use any harsh chemicals at all because you don’t know what
that’s gonna do with the foam. It may well react to it. Also, remember those pads too. Take them out, and give ’em a good clean with some shower gel. Rinse ’em out thoroughly
because afterward, if you start sweating,
you don’t want some soap to come down into your eyes. Final question this week is from Dan, who is thinking about
changing to tubeless tyres. But what are the pros and cons? Well, let’s tackle the pros, first of all. Obviously, there’s gonna
be less rolling resistance ’cause you’re removing the inner tube, and then, essentially,
you’re reducing that friction in between a tube and a tyre. Although it’s not a lot,
there is still some there. Also, you’re gonna do
away with a high-risk of pinch punctures because there’s no tube in there to pinch. You can also run the tyres
at a lower pressure too, which is quite a trendy thing or even scientifically proven
to be a little bit faster. And finally, one of my
favourite pros about it, is that you can put some sealant in there, when you’ve set them
up, and essentially, if you get a bit of thorn
or glass in the tyre, once that’s out, the sealant does its job and seals that hole, so
you can continue riding, which, for someone who
doesn’t like to stop at the side of road
and change inner tubes, that is pretty important. Now the only cons really for me is actually the tyre choice
and the tyre availability. At the moment, there’s not
a huge range out there, so if you’re particularly fussy about your tyres and treads and brands, then maybe it’s not the thing for you. But I’m sure that as we
see tubeless tyres continue to develop and evolve,
we’ll see more brands manufacturing and releasing
different types of tyres. Right, I hope you’ve enjoyed that, and I’ve helped fix your bicycles. Remember as well to
leave your tech problems for me down there in the comments. I love reading them, and most importantly, I love getting you back out on your bike. There’s no excuse because
Jonny Tech is here. Now, remember to like and share this video with your friends, and
for another great video of why the pros choose their
stem length, click here.