It’s quite common for the rocks to get stuck in the tire treads of the bikes, especially in case of the gravel bikes and mountain bikes, and even sometimes road bikes and you have to be careful about them they can weaken the structure of the tire puncture it and make the treads weaker that can cause the tire treads to worn out quicker.
And there can be many scenarios where removing them on the spot is not good and there are removal methods and other stuff like what if the damage has been done what to do next before let me give you a straight answer to your question should you remove rocks stuck in bike tire treads?
Yes, you should remove rocks stuck in your bike tires every chance you get because they can be dangerous for the bike tires and speed up the process of tire wearing, and sometimes even mess up the tire cords or threads which is really bad once that happens that’s fixable to some extent but not a proper fix
So leaving the pebbles or the rocks in your tires is not a good thing they will damage the tires and worst they will damage the threads inside the tires that are generally your TPI (threads per inch) which are not repairable in cars and bigger vehicles they are made of steel wires but in bikes
They are made of fiber and they are easier to break the rocks if they get embedded into the tires can puncture the tires and damage the threads as well.
What you should use to Remove the rocks from your tires :
You can use anything to remove the rocks from the trades of the tires from a pop-scale to your old credit card but just be careful I didn’t mention the screwdriver because some tires can be more fragile than others and they can damage the tires
Using something made of rubber is a better option because there’s a lesser chance that you would press on it and it would seep through the tires walls you can never be too careful with a metallic thing but if you don’t have anything stiff on your hands you can use a screwdriver or other tools
but make sure that you are not pointing that in the direction of the tires, also there are two types of rocks stuck in the tires one that are embedded and ones that are stuck between the trades of the tires make sure that you pick up the one’s that are loosely attached or stuck between tire treads and not the embedded ones.
How and when to remove the embedded rocks in the tires :
Embedded rocks in the tires are the most that you should be concerned about and you shouldn’t pry them open when you are outside on the trails or the roads before removing them its better to get home first and if you can do it dont ride the bike
But if you are miles away then it can’t be helped just remove it and hope for the best if you have sealant in the tires it should take care of it in case it traveled deep into the tires like a 4 mm deeply embedded rock is no joke and it would probably have penetrated through the tire bed.
So if you are somewhere near your house or somewhere you can fix the bike that would be much better you can use players to remove that rock and see how deep it cut into the tire bed if it didn’t penetrate through the tire bed then
Use a rubber piece preferably from a tube or sticky sticks for the tires that are normally used to seal tubeless tires and cut them and use some glue to stick it in the spot that the rock had penetrated because even though some of the rubber will cover that spot there’s a big chance that it would get the same again and this time it might go through the tire bed.
What to do if the rocks penetrate through the tire bed :
If the rock penetrated through the tire bed and the cut is deep and wide open dont leave it to the sealant’s mercy because even if the sealant closes it the tire threads are already damaged and the sealant won’t be able to hold the damage it would keep sealing the hole that will get bigger but will not reinforce the threads.
There are two types of products that you can or should use in case this kind of mishap happens.
- fabric boot for bike tires
- Puncture patches for tubes
You can use both of them on your tires I have already covered an article on puncture patches How many punctures can an Mtb tubeless tire take I have explained in detail how to patch your tires.
Fabric boot works the same way as a patch so you can take the reference for that from that article as well both of these are useful for patching the tires Fabric boots are not so common compared to patches but a park tool makes them, and there are no such things as what works better
But in my opinion and experience patches work just fine and you can compare both from a price point of view if you want to, other than that they both do the same job and are both efficient enough for the job.
Patches do a good job of holding the threads together or preventing the tire’s holes to get any bigger and more so for mountain bikes and gravel bikes considering that most of the time because they are used not in a very well-mannered way so yeah they can very very handy and useful.
How often to Check up on your tires :
Rocks are everywhere and you would pass on them every day and they are bound to get stuck in your tires there’s no way around it except giving your tires a frequent check.
Checking up on your tires every two to three days or whatever your washing schedule for your bike is giving it a quick check means no harm and it becomes crucial if you are using tubes or thinner tires
Just give your tires a quick check every now and then and if you see embedded rocks in them follow the procedure above and take care of it.
Is Leaving the rocks in your tires bad :
Yes, It’s certainly bad because the rocks stuck in the tires would constantly cause damage to the tires, and every time you would ride your bike they will seep more into the tire eventually ripping the threads which should not happen at all
And that damages the fundamental structure of the tires and makes them loose and more vulnerable to air penetrating under the threads and causing a blowout eventually
I did an article on that as well if you are having problems related to that Bubble In Tubeless Bike Tires-Why they can be dangerous
So make sure that you remove the rocks bigger or smaller every chance you get, when you are repairing your bike or giving it a good wash make sure that your brush through your tires as well.
When Do rocks get stuck most in the tires :
There are some obvious reasons why rocks get stuck in the tires in the first place the obvious would be when the trail is like that and it’s full of little rocks they are bound to get stuck in your tires.
The other reason is that when you are running too low of a pressure on your tires there’s a higher chance that rocks will get caught up in the tire and embed in it
Which you are in most cases MTB and gravel bikers keep a lower tire pressure for better traction which can’t be helped in the case of MTB the tires are already tough enough to fight them out but on other bikes make sure that you are not too low.
Another reason is when you are riding too low pressure and slow riding, at high speeds rocks would hit the ground rocks and get detached but when you are slow there’s no way they are going anywhere but some times it can’t be helped so removing is the better than speeding up unnecessarily
Removing the rocks from your bike tires is necessary but take care in case the rocks are embedded they could have penetrated the tire bed so make sure you are somewhere where you have available tools.
I have included all the things you would need to know if the rocks penetrated a spot what the fixes are and how you should handle them
Hope it Helps.