How to know it's time to change your tyres

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Q. I am on a very tight budget as a poor student (bloody tuition fees), so I can’t afford to change my tyres until I absolutely have to.

Apart from a lack of tread, what are the other signs that the time has come for me to spend more money?
Steve Proctor, Ilford
A. The obvious visual sign that your tyres are worn are when the tread becomes so shallow that tread wear indicators, which are small raised areas at the bottom of the main tread grooves, have reached the surface of the tyre rubber.

But way before then, you may well feel changes in your bike’s handling. Because most of us don’t spend our lives swinging from one extreme lean angle to the other like Rossi and Co, our tyres wear more heavily on the centre of the tread.

Over time that means the tyres’ rounded profile begins to “square off” as the centre section wears more heavily. When that happens, the bike will start to react to more to changes in the road surface.

So instead of rolling smoothly over all those bumps and dips in your favourite road, it will start to be deflected by them a little, so you’ll feel the road surface more through the bars and the rear won’t feel as stable as before, giving the bike a nervous, unpredictable feel.

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