Quick Poll: Are bike tyres too expensive?

There’s an interesting debate kicking off in the Bikemagic forum at the moment, centering on the issue of mountain bike tyre prices.

A look at any online retailer reveals prices for a typical tyre range anywhere from £19.99 to £49.99. Is £50 for a tyre way too much or is it justified, considering the amount of development into tread pattern, compound and other technologies that differs modern tyres from those available 10-15 years ago?

Do you think mountain bike tyres are overpriced? How much do you pay for your tyres?

Let us know in the comments box below:

  1. chris-m

    I think it depends on wether companies are increasing mark up because they can get away with it, so to speak, or if they are that price because of the R&D and costs involved in making them.
    There’s no doubt that tyres have come on leaps and bounds in the past 10 years with the introduction of multiple compounds and tubeless ready, etc. Weather they’re overpriced or not is hard to justify – I don’t know fully what’s involved in making them. Most companies make budget alternatives of well known tyres, with perhaps harder compounds being the main disadvantage. IMHO, the new breed of tyres being made now are superb and have helped us  get closer to that true all round tyre. So in essence, I think the positives far out weigh the negatives. Let’s face it, if they let you ride faster, with more confidence and in a multitude of conditions, with the only negative being price, I think that’s a good trade off.

  2. Steve H

    Echoing Chris M’s comments, plus also, how many riders actually ride thier tyres until new one’s are required? Yes, they are expensive if you HAVE to have the latest model, but tyres are so good now you can afford wear you’re tyres out rather than have an eclectic collection in the Shed. Then, buy good replacements in the inevitable sales.

  3. David

    I think it depends on your normal riding conditions.

    Tearing the sidewall of a practically brand new £35 tyre is a painful experience but barring terminal damage I agree that a modern tyre has a pretty long life and offers much higher performance than those on offer when I started riding 10 years ago.

    There is always the option for us as consumers to not buy the most expensive tyres.

  4. Dick Barton

    I remember when the price of tyres finally hit £20…and people complained…I’m a tight fisted biker and won’t pay more than 20 a tyre…can’t believe the price some folk pay…as much as tyre technology has advanced, I’ve yet to find a tyre that makes me a better rider than I was on previous tyres…they all seem to offer me similar levels of grip and wear so I can’t see why they cost so much more. The tech doesn’t bother me – if it works I’ll be more likely to use it as I’ve no interest in having another logo on the tyre to let me know it’s got the latest whatever added to the mix.

  5. Storm Ferguson

    Since tubeless tyres for my bike here in South Africa cost roughly 15% more than those for my car, I have a huge problem with the pricing.

  6. Nigel H

    I buy top-end tyres because the combo of weight, low rolling resistance & grip gives me what I’m after. Nobby Nic’s work well for me in winter and other Schwalbe’s for spring/summer. It’s a choice to buy a tyre that costs a bit more than some others. I could go cheaper, by getting their older models, or other compounds [or brands] – but there are certain things I want from a tyre and they work for me. Yes it stings a bit on the day you purchase, but once they are bought and fitted, I forget the price because they work well. [But that's not a free reign to bump up prices Mr Tyre Manufacturer!!]

  7. Graham Shelley

    If you’re an average rider like me you don’t need to pay a fortune for tyres, there’s always someone offering a good deal on the net. I run Continentals, Gravity Pros, Verticals & Mountain Kings depending which is the cheapest at the time, all are superb tyres & I won’t pay more than £25 the pair. Great grip & last for ever. Sorry if this sounds like an advert for conti’s but the are quality tyres at a reasonable price.

  8. Joel

    VAT accounts for 20% of the price of ones tyres. So you could possibly place some of the latent cost against Her Majesties Govenment and their dubious economic policies. And besides, I wonder how many people will run their tyres to the limit of their life expectancy. Many years ago, when I was a student I used to run my road tyres until you could see the canvas (and sometimes well after). Now I am a little more affluent I choose to purchase my contact points a little more regularly. And pay accordingly.

  9. Gary

    There are always bargains to be had. Specialized tyres for example, vastly underrated, and cheap. Tyres can often be found discounted in sales. I picked up a dozen sets of WTB Stout/Prowler tyres, kevlar bead, £10 each. They had been poorly reviewed for weight, yet applauded for grip. They are no heavier than a Maxxis. Look around…

    Of course the real German made stuff is going to be expensive.

  10. craig I

    I think tyre prices are way over the top, 50 quid for a Conti makes me squirm. Not in a month of Sunday’s could I justify 100 quid for a pair. I set my limit to 50 for a pair, just spent 46 on 2 panaracer cinder 2.25′s. I always shop frugally for tyres. In the past it has been 14 for two Michelin country mud xls comp tyres and 22 for two wildgripper 2.35′s reinforced. I research what I see at cheap prices and trade off on last years or older tyres. The sport is getting too expensive for some components especially tyres! So CRC and wiggle take note.

  11. Dave

    I still run hutchinson aligator tyres everywhere – they were the alround, cheap tyre with excellent value for money. When I look at the modern prices, I am shocked…. perhaps the huge width of tyres these days account for some of the extra price! (I still run just 2 inch max.)

  12. Pete

    I’m just an average rider and I’m sure that I would struggle to notice the difference/benefits between a mid-price and top price tyres – or perhaps more accurately, I wouldn’t have the skill level to make use of them! My skill, ability and body weight (!) make it difficult to justify paying the high prices for, say, XTR over SLX. But I have to admit that I really did notice the difference when I bought a pair of Bontrager Mud-X specifically for the winter slop around Bristol. The improvement in grip was astonishing – even for me. They were definitely worth the (eBay) price!

  13. Tony Gifford

    Yes they are expensive, I find it hard to believe the costs of manufacturing say a Scwalbe are considerably more than a cheaper tyre, but that said, and I am guilty of this, when spend out on an expensive bike, you feel duty bound to put what are perceived to be the best tyres. But it’s a sickening feeling, when the first ride out on Racing Ralphs the side wall gets ripped out, so £50 for 15 miles is expensive!

  14. Nobby

    Tyres & tyre pressures make more difference to how a bike handles than most other components IME.

    Overall, they are expensive and whilst some can justify a premium due to the complexity of manufacture (multiple compounds etc) I just don’t think the recent increase in tyre prices is as a direct result of oil prices rising as most manfacturers would have us believe.

  15. matt

    Of course their over priced. The old saying goes, “a bad workman always blames his tools” . And somewhere along the way the general public have been convinced by big manufacturers that in order to do better, be faster, we have to pay more money. Simple fact is the majority of us cyclists will never realy experience the full positives a top end tire or even bike has to offer that a pro cyclist will gain from that same gear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look out for good decent tires that work well in the right conditions, but It’s like giving a learner driver a go at formula one racing, he may have the fastest car on the track, but he’s still going to be last. There is also one major possitive of bying cheap, the WOW facter is so much better, when your flying down a rocky hill, riding something that you know cost you half the price to the guy next to you, but gradually you drift past him, and you know he’s looking at your bike and you know he’s thinking to himself “Oh crap!” :D

  16. simon spragg

    Good tyres cost lots – Maxxis Minion Dual plys for example…BUT they last for ever – grip like hell & don’t get punctures. Cheap tyres are a pain don’t work & wear out quuickly not to mention they piss me off when cheap skates rolling on rubbish are constantly having punctures! By the way get some descent wheels ZTR flows for example and run non tubeless – tubeless works fine! Mavic must be earning loads of commission from over hyped UST crap! How gullible are we becomming? Next up will be the rip pff on 29″ tyres. As 29ers will no doubt remain hard – tails or XC type racer full sussers I suspect the tyres will be lightweight fast rolling stuff that wears fast & punctures – BUT no doubt some cleaver bugger will make expensive durable ones. 29er freeride stuff is so far off the radar as the marketing people are trying to switch us all into cyclo-cross racers when only yesterday they were creating us interesting – exciting freeride huckers………..what’s going on?

  17. Michael North

    Yes I do believe cycle tyres are expensive and if it wasn’t for sites such as Ebay I am afraid I would be running a No Name brand. When you compare them to car tyres the price doesn’t add up for a lot less rubber. There must be a lot of profit in cycle tyres when you look at how many firms make them and how many models there are. If you just think how many miles you get out of a car tyre and how many miles you get out of a cycle tyre and work out the cost per mile I am sure that a car tyre would be best value per mile.

  18. Greg C

    Was just discussing tyre pricing with my older bro and I have to say £50+ for a single tyre is painful no matter how developed and awesome it is! Unless you have plenty of spare cash or get them through sponsorship it’s daft.

    I reckon around £30 each should be maximum for such a high wear component – but realistically feel £20-£25 per tyre is more like it even for a decent one.

    As others have mentioned I feel it’s becoming very much ‘how far can we push customers to pay’ and then the majority of us wait until sales – sale prices have almost become what we consider normal these days there’s so many of them!

  19. Andre Frederico

    Likewise in many other aspects regarding bike parts, it all comes down to how much you are willing to pay. There will always be some company/maker saying you should buy their product, no matter what. It is up to you to find out if it is worth it. I’ve used two pairs of road tyres during a stretch of two years. Both sets at 40£ (each pair), usually the price of one tyre, and averaged 3800kms total. Did i noticed any difference when comparing with a 80£ set of tyres?… Yes, I had more money to spend on breakfast.
    Regarding mountain-bike tyres, it is even worse, due to the natural faster wear they have, and I’m not even a wheel-lock type of rider that disintegrates a tyre in three rides… I can feel the difference between designs, and sometimes you between the quality of the rubber, but for a non-professional biker who rides two to three times a week on dry loose-over-hardpack trails, 20£ tyres are good enough for me, no matter how great, engineered and technologically advanced 50£ tyres are.

  20. Simon

    Way to expensive, I buy quality car tyres and they are tubeless and have about 5 times more rubber in them than my bike tyres and yet there is only a small difference in price. Yes they are much more of a niche product than a car tyre, but its not like bikes have only just had inflatable tyres invented for them.

  21. TerryK

    I’m with Craig, Matt and Nobby. They are way too expensive. I can get tyres for my transit van cheaper than 2.4 Nobby Nics, which I love but only pay sale price for. I’m not sure I agree about them not raising your performance though. Physically they may well not do so, but if you get it into your head that they DO help you, you must be winning. This MTB lark used to be easy to get into. The folk I ride with now are mainly Professionals with well paid careers, with Johnny Average finding it harder to stay the pace. Annual service = chain, derailleur, tyres, cassette, cables and maybe frame bearings – a car is cheaper to run! New bike = pipe dream.

  22. Grumble

    OK so I get about 500 plus miles from a set of tyres provided I don’t catastrophically trash them (strangely enough the way I ride mud tyres used on mud last about as long as fast rollers on hard pack ). I weigh 100kg so I must put more stress into them than someone half my weight. I normally do not pay more than £25 (even for premium brands) as I shop around and last years tread is often available cheaper. This works out at 5p/mile. Sure I would like to pay less but even if I paid full whack this would only be 10p. Most of us pay way more on wash and lube after each ride!
    If you stay away from the must have this years rubber and ride it even after the trendy the logo has faded its one of the cheapest bits of biking.

    If the tyre companies can get the rich early adopters to pay for their R&D on new designs which I can pick up discount half a season later then long may it continue!

  23. Graham

    I agree totally with the guys that consider MTB tyres too expensive. If you compare the operational stresses and strains involved with vehicle tyres over different terrain in varying climates and weather conditions there is no comparison with MTB tyres. And to prove a point, I drive a performance car and also ride a sports motorbike and when you consider the price difference it makes the MTB hoops look ridiculously expensive. Now tyre manufactures may claim that it’s a numbers game (i.e. relatively small production runs) but I don’t buy that, this would be a standard response to try and justify the high price.

  24. Gavin

    Put simply, yes they are.
    Bike tyres are now in the region of car tyres which have far more research and technology put in them.
    Unfortunately most things in the cycling world are over priced and are pricing the average bloke on the street out of cycling.

  25. Alex Pearson

    They are far too expensive, they have increased along with the rest of MTB kit as the sport has become more popular. You can’t ride without tyres so your pretty stuck just having to pay for them. As for the R+D and limited runs, why are old designs of tyres like Maxxis High Rollers and Panaracer Fire XC’s still expensive?

  26. Chris

    I agree with Alex Pearson, standard high rollers etc should be much cheaper, they are a popular tyre so volume production isn’t an issue and neither is R&D since the design hasn’t really changed for years. It would interesting to know how much it actually costs to make a tyre

  27. SteveDGH

    Never mind tyres which are too expensive of course you can buy a pair of top spec off road tyres for a motorcycle for less than £100.00 which have more rubber in them than a dozen bike tyres. I like to know why a decent bike is so expensive? A new BMW F650 GS (a good enduro type motorcycle) is about £600.00 and you can buy a new car for £5000.00 with a heater four seats and a CD player etc. Both vehicles obviously contain a lot more metal/alloy etc. and are made to as a high precision as a good pedal cycle. So why is it easy to spend 5 grand on bike that only has about 30lbs of alloy, carbon fibre and rubber etc. in it?

  28. Jamie Stogden

    I don’t know if tyres are necessarily too expensive. There will always be people willing to pay for something the moment it gets reviewed as the next great thing regardless if they need one or not (I’m thinking of the two guys with Orange Five Pros tip-toeing down the Blue route at AE at around 5mph).

    With the great tyres that somebody like Specialized do you can pay from £20 to £50 for the same tread pattern but different features and weights. Personally I can’t pay more than £25 for a tyre so I take the weight penalty and I’ve never been disappointed.

  29. Andy B

    I thought I was a cheap skate as I have always bought in the sales or eBay. If new I have bought Spez tires as they are super tires for the price. The Storms are amazing hard wearing mud tires and the Captains are great tires for the rest of year in the Surrey Hills.

    Saying that, running Nobby Nics at the moment that I bought off a mate for a great price.

  30. whobiggs

    Compared to car tyres bike tyres are overpriced. I can get budget car tyres for £35 and good quality ones for less than £50. How can what sometimes apperars to be little more than a reinforced innertube compare to a substantial solid car tyre?

  31. Aminthule

    Road or Offroad, we have ourselves. We’re collectively suckers for the next “best in test” or this season’s tyre bling. I bet most tyres are retired before they are worn out and the so called advances in technology would probably little noticeable benefits to most ordinary riders. Find something that works and you can afford and use them until they are worn out. Perhaps manufacturers would then bring the price down to encourage us to buy. At the end it’s all about supply and demand and charging what you can get away with. It’s business!

    1. Aminthule

      Sorry, I missed out “to blame” and “probably offer” , but I sure my gist is clear! Oh the perils of emailing on a Smartphone whilst travelling on public transport!

  32. giles brooks

    Profiteering pure and simple. When a set of cycle tyres cost more than a decent couple of 195/50 tyres for your car somethings wrong!

  33. Robin

    Yes, tyres are too expensive. As are most other bike components.

  34. Greg C

    I’ve always been the type to save for the slightly better version of a component but there is a limit… Just feels like average bike tyre prices have risen a lot these last 5 years or so… for me it’s tipping beyond the threshold of a premium worth paying for performance parts into the realm of luxury.

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