Tire for a beginner - "save" Kendra for later?

People say you only start to appreciate a good tire when you get better. So does it make sense to put on a cheap tire for a beginner and use that up? If so, just “any” tire from the nearest store?

I’m a beginner and am just starting to ride “longer” distances (2-4 km?) with my 24"; I’m still learning to do turns, etc. I ride mainly on asphalt, else on very well-kept dirt roads, very little gravel interspersed. My unicycle has a Kendra tire, with a profile that looks like a Kendra K-Rad. Is it worth (financially) “saving” that for later?

I searched the forum, but haven’t found an answer. Thanks for your help.

You may only appreciate when you get better but a good tire is going to be good no matter if you notice or not.

This is how i see it… you still can find replacements at a non radical price. So go ahead, ride the heck outtevit! And if it wears down to the point of baldness then, you know how far you have advanced already…you have then earned yourself a replacement or an upgrade.

Exactly how i viewed my duro wildife leopard 3.0…still working on wearing it down!!!..darn thing’s a beast!!!:D:D

The K-Rad is a popular urban tire, and won’t be going away anytime soon. I would just ride it until it is dead, and get another one. I have seen that tire in a couple of different versions. A heavy cheap version, and a light expensive one. The cheap one is fine, but it is really heavy from my memory.

Some tyres just don’t work very well on a uni. I once tried a Maxxis Ringworm and I could barely stay on. It just had no stability. I think it is because the blocks of tread are interleaved across the centreline of the tyre.

The Maxxis Hookworm is a good hard wearing tyre with a round profile. I have one on my 20 inch QU-AX and it has not even worn the hatched surface pattern off even though it has done way more distance than the original QU-AX tyre which wore right through to the canvas in no time.

However I don’t think they make it any more for 24 inch. (Note the Australian branch of unicycle.com still has stock.)

The downside of the Ringworm is the weight. Weight in the rim/tyre counts for so much more than anywhere else. The ability to accelerate the wheel to get it back under you to save a fall is greatly enhanced by a lighter tyre.

I use a Maxxis ‘Drop The Hammer’ (DTH) on my 24. It only weighs 375 grams and is ideal for pavement and I would recommend anyone on these surfaces. It has a hard rubber centre and soft shoulders so it wears well but grips good on corners. However the sidewalls are very light so it could be vulnerable on loose chuncky gravel. 45 - 65 psi. Not suitable for substantial drops.

When I changed from the original Kenda my riding improved instantly.

The k-rad is a good tire that isn’t really very expensive either. I would keep it on and rotate it whenever you notice uneven wear. The only time i would suggest to a learner to switch to a cheaper tire is if they were using a high end off-road tire to learn on the pavement.

Thanks for your answers. The Kenda stays on then, and by the time I’ve worn it out, I’ll see what the market offers.

Do try the Maxxis DTH. You won’t look back unless the gravel is loose, big and sharp.

The difference such a light tire makes is incredible. I am 80 kg and I run mine at 45 to 50 psi.

You can extend the life of your tire significantly by rotating it, as suggested above, or by switching the position of the cranks, which is far less work if you have the necessary tools (if you don’t, you should get them soon). My tire always wears out first at a spot pointed at by the left crank. Once that happens, I pull off my cranks and put them back on 180 degrees from their previous position. The next rotation a few weeks later will be 90 degrees, and anything after that more variable, though by then my tire is usually about spent.

I noticed a different wear pattern on mine. It wore most near the position that is down when my right (dominant) foot is on the rear (9:00) pedal as it is when I static mount. So, around 90 degrees different from you. I rotated the tire 180 degrees and have found that the opposite spot was actually almost (but not quite) as worn already, so I’ve already rotated it another 90 since.

I assume the difference in wear pattern relates to how we ride. I ride mostly on tarmac and I idle (right foot down) at traffic lights and stop signs. I don’t wobble a whole lot, but perhaps a bit when climbing. I am in a country where the road crown slopes down toward the right and it is sometimes severe enough that I have to fight it. I don’t hop or do tricks.

Hmm. I still mount (almost always rollback) more often with my left foot, but, as in your case, the part of my tire that wears out first is definitely the part that touches the ground when I’m starting to mount. Tires do a lot of grinding when you first get your balance, I guess. I also tend to idle on my left foot more than my right and have a slightly worn spot on my tire directly across from the really worn spot.

Sounds like the political system in the country where I am. The road crown problem, however, is easily remedied. Tires with a square cross-section tend to be better in this regard than those that are bulbous and rounded.

I guess we need more datapoints than ours to draw conclusions about wear. It can’t be just from mounting since I have nearly symmetrical wear, yet I almost never mount with my left foot in back. Or can it?

We’re in the same country. I was kind of writing with a worldwide audience in mind. I try to avoid political discussions in the unicycling forum, but you and I might not have a conflict in this case. That could have worked out either way. My round-profile road tires get squarer-looking as the center tread wears down. Of course, by that time, I start to see threads. Or, in the case of this new tire, the built-in puncture protection belt, which is pink. Perhaps my next tire should be squarer, though I thought I was supposed to avoid that specifically for road camber and steering reasons. I suppose I could have gotten that backwards.

Why do you change crank positions… and not simply deflate the tire, rotate it as much as you like, and reflate it? (just curious, there’s still so much for me to learn about unicycles :o))

You dont just deflate and rotate because the tube will still stick to the tire. If you did it that way then you would have to remove tire and keep tube in same position, valve position. So the simplest way is to rotate crank positions.

In addition to what you mention, I’ve never been able to rotate my tire without taking it off the rim. To me, doing that is a lot more effort than just a bit of crank pulling, and it can also make it hard to keep track of the original position of the tire.

In any case, there will come a time when you’ll be interested in experimenting with different size cranks, and it’s also a good idea to take your uni apart now and then anyway, just to get the grit out of it and look it over. Back when I rode a cheap uni, that was how I discovered that its frame was beginning to split.

Crank rotation evens wear on every part of the wheel.

Yes, that’s what I meant. When I patch bike tires, that’s what naturally happens. (Not that it matters for bikes to rotate their tires…) So I find it’s not a big deal.

You mean the rim, right? But does it matter for the rim? I’d just think with crank position you’re restricted to four positions… deflating the tube, you have gazillions… :o)

On the rim a bit, but mainly on the spokes.

You’re only restricted to four crank positions (not counting “kangaroo”) if you have square-taper hubs. ISIS gives you more possibilities- eight, I think.

If you do a lot of hopping, the wheel’s position is going to be exactly the same almost every time you land. If this is a problem, and I’m not sure if it is, obviously learning to switch up your stance would help, and is good form anyway, but changing crank position is probably more of a sure-fire solution.

Well, I’m just so used to taking tires off the rim from patching bicycle tubes that I don’t really mind those extra-seconds (whereas I don’t have the tool for pulling the cranks yet).

I still have to learn how to take apart and care for my uni I guess. From which parts do you remove the grit? Do you also grease some parts, or what else do you do to look it over?