Ever wonder what happens when you put a tire on the wrong way?

You know, so that the tire spins in a direction opposing the little arrow embossed on the tire?

Well, one thing that happens is that the rolling resistance must get a LOT WORSE. Like the difference between a bell javelin helmet and a giro aspect helmet at 20mph worse.

Not to mention the handling feels decidedly squirrelly.

Any other thoughts on the deleterious effects of putting a tire on backwards? I’m not sure there are any other obvious negatives but I was surprised that rolling resistance got so much worse.

Been using Conti GP 4&5k’s many years. From time to time one get’s on there backwards and it feels no different. It rolled no different and I think I’m overly concerned about all things Crr. Hell all I roll on day in day out is the GP5k now.

Maybe it’s brand and/or type specific. Curious though, what tire are you talking about?

1 Like

Why? How would the direction change the rolling resistance? Is the tire going to deform differently when it’s rolling the other way?

Again why?

I don’t see how the tread on road racing tires does anything for displacing water, changing grip, affecting rolling resistance, or handling. I just think the arrows on them are so that customer support call centers aren’t getting too many calls about which direction to mount them :grinning:.

For bigger tires with a tread pattern that is added for grip and/or displacing water (e.g. gravel or mtb tires, car tires, etc.) it’s another story.


Are you talking MTB tyres?

It used to be how you changed your tyres from being front specific to rear lol. Better braking/turning on the front, turn it around for better traction and rolling resistance on the rear.

That’s going back a few years, but not to the dark ages.


Nope, definitely agree with the OP here.

Puncture resistance is also massively decreased, I once punctured 11 times in one ride only to notice when I got home that my tyre was installed (by a combination of two private mechanics) backwards.
Performance of skids is actually a surprising benefit of a backwards rotated tyre. So I guess there’s trade off’s to be had, and it’s up to the rider to determine what way they want their tyres to face.

April 1st came round again fast!


Can we get more specifics on the particular tires?

I’ve accidentally run road tires backwards and didn’t notice until I pulled them off at their end of life.

Fortunately my current sets of tires don’t indicate direction so I shouldn’t be worried about running one backwards, tearing a whole through space and time, and getting sucked into the resulting blackhole when I ride.


I mounted my tires backwards once and my doctor said it reversed the aging process!


Panaracer GravelKing+ Protite shield 38c

Feels squirrelly like there is a steering damper on the bike…if you’ve ever had occasion to have a steering damper on a bike you’ll know exactly what I mean. Otherwise if I was just riding down a straight road I wouldn’t notice a difference.

If you are talking about a gravel tire with some decent tread, yeah, there will be a significant difference in terms of performance. (Especially handling).

But for road tires, I doubt it would make a significant difference. Most tread on road tires are for marketing, not performance. The contact patch is so small and focused that great provides little performance benefits.


Me too! But before this morning I would have said it didn’t matter for any tire. I lost that bet, sadly.

As said above, with off-road tyres its a way to increase grip. It surely depends on the tread, and whether its symmetric or not.

1 Like

That sounds like a super hypothesis to me. Especially given the way the tires feel…and the fact that the cornering/side tread is shaped like a chevron pointing IN the direction of rotation if the tire is properly mounted.

Back when I raced cross I would sometimes run my rear tire reversed so the chevron was backwards under the theory it increased grip but I didn’t want to run a more aggressive tire. Front tire was with the chevron pointing forward.

1 Like

I started doing fakies everywhere when I did that :man_shrugging:

I had the same thing happen. I realized I showered that day, so I stopped showering before rides. It hasn’t happened since.


That gives us some important insight into how you can get away from the group for 40 miles. :flushed:

1 Like

The only thing I ever noticed is that if you put them on the wrong way, it is guaranteed that someone will inevitably point it out at a time and place where it is impossible to fix and for the rest of your ride or race it will drive you totally bat shit crazy.

For that reason alone, I am now very careful when mounting tires.

That being said, my take is that the harder it is to find the direction arrows, the less of a difference it makes. I find most road tires with markings do not go out of their way to make them highly visible so I assume they are just putting the arrows on to satisfy the OCD people I.e. It makes no practical difference.


Of course, back in the day, this was an easy fix for a front wheel…just flip the QR skewer around and you were good to go. Now it is a huge process (made worse if it is tubeless).

Hang on…those damn kids are back in my yard. BRB. :stuck_out_tongue:


Oh man, that was still in my showering days!

Lets see what happens at Sea Otter this year :cowboy_hat_face:

1 Like

A new pandemic forms :man_shrugging:

1 Like