Survival of a Bald Friend – Bicycle Tyre’s Tuffy Story

A quite simple and the only purpose of the mudguards or fenders is to catch and redirect road spray thrown up by the tyres, thus helping the rider to remain clean. But is that true? It’s time to put the mudguards to test.

Every new issue leads to some learning…almost. It is definitely apt for this particular issue of my bald rear tyre. I got 6 punctures in less than 2 weeks in May 2021 and all of these were in my rear tyre. The tyre did look a bit worn out but there were no major signs of damage. I raised this issue with Decathlon and the guys from Decathlon Bengaluru were prompt to discuss the matter with me over a long telephonic conversation.

There were some defects in 2 of the Ralson Inner Tubes purchased from Decathlon. But that is not the real issue. Good thing about Decathlon is you can easily replace/refund a faulty item.

But we zeroed down to the real cause. My BTWIN Trekking Speed tyres were replaced in January 2021 and I have been riding these for 5 odd months. Out of that almost for 2 months no rides at all due to COVID-19 restrictions. So how come these good quality branded tyres worn out so fast?

Firstly it was only the rear tyre. The front one is quite good even today. The tyres have done 3300+ km since January 2021 and looks like that’s a lot for these tyres.

BTWIN Trekking Speed 700X38 Tyres by DECATHLON
BTWIN Trekking Speed 700X38 Tyres by DECATHLON

Decathlon advised to replace the tyres. But here is the caveat – Decathlon does not have BTWIN or any tyres in stock since import of pneumatic tyres are restricted from June 2020.

I was advised to buy Rock On Tyres from Ralson Tyres an Indian tyre brand. And until then sustain usage of the current BTWIN tyres by installing Tyre Liners from ‘Mr. Tuffy’.

Getting new tyres was not an easy decision and was going to take a few days…but there was no harm in getting the tyre liners, so I went ahead with the latter as immediate solution.

Installed Mr. Tuffy Ultra Lite Performance Tyre Liners and also replaced the tubes with DECATHLON Self-repairing inner tubes. All of this was pretty simple. I was back to my daily rides. With this set of modification I was again stress-free, enjoying my rides and not worried about the flats. Almost 500 km with this setup – not a single puncture and no tyre pressure issues.

But the fact remains that the rear tyre continued to getting all the beating and got balder with every ride. On 26th June I planned to go for a long 100+ Km ride. I was a bit jittery since I was well aware of the condition of the rear tyre. To my surprise, I completed the ride without any hurdles…no flats, no tyre pressure issues. I was really happy that the combination of the ‘Tyre Liners’ along with the ‘Self-repairing inner tube’ helped the balding tyre to survive. 

Next morning while cleaning the bike I spotted a few minor damages on the surface of the rear tyre. Nothing too big and probably not critical! – (I thought).

This was getting risky. It was high time I replaced the tyres. With no other options in sight, I decided to go ahead with DECATHLON’s suggestion and placed an order for the Ralson Tyres. Now all I had to do is wait for the tyres. But that would not stop me from my daily rides.

On 28th June while I was in the 39th kilometer of my ride near Airoli, I felt a wobbling effect coming the rear tyre. I stopped immediately and noticed a big cut on the tyre splitting the surface and exposing the liner underneath. The cut was quite big, but the tyre was still fully inflated and there were no punctures. The tyre liner was very firmly holding the gap. 

Of course this was ‘the end’ of the ride…and the tyre.

The liner did it’s job exceptionally well. I did not expect it to hold such a big gash.

Back home when I removed the tyre to assess the damage, I found the liners in perfectly good shape. As fit as it was when I bought it. I can continue to use these liners with my new tyres.

I must admit it was a good decision and worth an investment.

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Foot Powered Rider

'Foot Powered Rider' is a Navi Mumbai-based Digital Media pro, Filmmaker, Paragliding enthusiast, and avid shutterbug. When not behind a screen, he soars through the skies and captures breathtaking moments. On solid ground, he pedals his way to fitness and adventure.