Today’s question is about breaking in brand new bicycle tires before your first ride…

I’ve heard new tires have a “sheen” on them that needs to be scuffed before riding. Is that true? If so, how do I do it?

Charlie Sheen

Hi Charlie,

It’s true that new tires will have a “sheen” on them. All the tires I get, whether they’re mountain bike tires or road tires or motorcycle tires, all have it. I think it’s from the molding machines during manufacturing.

But no matter how the manufacturing process works, new tires can be extra slick, and yes, they do need broken in.

Good news is, to get rid of the sheen, all you have to do is go for a ride. That residue will wear away shortly. After a few miles, your new tires should be broken in nicely and ready to go.

Just take it easy on cornering at first, because the coating is slippery. Be especially careful on wet roads and the like.

What I would do is cruise the bike around on dry pavement for a while before doing an intense ride or race. An empty parking lot would be ideal. Do some slow, controlled “figure 8s” to get all of the tread surface scuffed up. Then head out for a ride to get the tires warmed up a bit and they should be all set.

There’s no need to scuff the tires with sandpaper or anything else. Pavement is pretty rough, it will have the tires broken in in no time!

(If you really want to research and debate tire break-in, talk to people about breaking in motorcycle tires. That gets a little more complicated than a bicycle tire.)

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