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Old 08-06-10, 12:34 PM   #1
brockd15 
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Any experience using old-ish tires??

After my last long ride I noticed that the tread on my rear tire (700x23 Conti Gatorskin) was peeling in some places, enough that you could see the casing under the rubber. I tried switching them with some 700x28 gatorskins I have but that left ~1mm clearance in the back...not enough.

Then I thought about this '89 Le Tour I got at a garage sale not long ago that came with 25mm gatorskins, but they're the older tread model. According to the dating on the tire, it looks like they were made in January 2004. Thing is, they've hardly been ridden, if at all, and still have the ridge down the middle of the tire. I swapped tires last night and they seem fine, but I could tell that they don't feel quite as pliable than the newer 28s I took off. Other than that they look new and don't show any signs of aging.

Have any of you had any problems using older tires?
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Old 08-06-10, 01:59 PM   #2
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First thing to go bad on old tires are the sidewalls, as they are thinnest and most vunerable there.
I inflated my close to 20 year-old Specialized Turbo VS tires on my Peugeot last year when I started to get back on the saddle again, and it seems like it was holding the pressure OK. Stepped into the garage to try and ride them the next morning but found them both flat from a blowout at the side walls. It all happened overnight I guess with the sidewall cotton plies separating slowly and blowing out where the latex skin and the cords split. Must have been a loud pop, but I did not hear it.
I thought I was going to be able to still ride tham as I did about five years before then, which would have made them 15 years old at that time. I think anything approaching four or five years is the safety cut-off for all tires for riding.
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Old 08-06-10, 02:08 PM   #3
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I usually leave whatever tires came on the bike if they'll hold air. I've ridden several bike with 20+ year old tires with no problems.
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Old 08-06-10, 02:44 PM   #4
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what scares me more than any death stem/fork or cracked frame is blowing a front tire on a steep descent. i once blew a front tire going about 10mph (fortunately) and it stopped dead in its tracks and i went over the bars. i would rather have an old tire in the rear than the front for this reason. just something to consider.
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Old 08-06-10, 02:50 PM   #5
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I WILL NOT ride on old tires, even if they look OK. The price for failure is far too great, and that's not to mention how poorly they roll compared to new ones. I only ride on high quality tires (vittoria rubino pros are great for the price).
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Old 08-06-10, 03:06 PM   #6
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I use old tires frequently as long as they're in good shape. As mentioned the sidewalls are the primary concern, and they're easily inspected. After that, there's tread life and condition to thing about, but if a bike's been sitting than the sidewalls are usually the problem first, then wear issues.

I also take use into account. For instance, I just replaced the tires on my road bike; the tread was quite worn and had a small slash through it to the anti-flat belt thingie (which makes them fide like bricks) and the tread was just barely starting to separate from the casing at it's edges. If these tires failed at the speeds I regularly attain and the places I go I'd get worked and/or stranded. I wouldn't hesitate to use 'em on the pathways and for commuting though - I'm not worried about the performance, I'm not far from home, and it's easy to keep an eye on the sidewalls for impending failure.
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Old 08-06-10, 03:06 PM   #7
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Going cheap on the only part of the bike that actually touches the road has never made any sense to me. I understand the cost factor, but I would venture that my $40-$50 tires actually are cheaper to run than a $10 special. I never have to worry about losing grip on a fast turn, and the flat protection has been excellent, at least for me.

I run both clinchers and tubulars, and prefer Continental or Veloflex. Right now there is 10% at PBK, using PBK10 code.
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Old 08-06-10, 03:14 PM   #8
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I had a 10-15 year-old tire blow out the sidewall while hanging on the rack in the garage...
...just a couple hours after doing a 45mph descent on it.
It was the front tire.
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Old 08-06-10, 04:50 PM   #9
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Go ahead and save your nickels and dimes. The first time you have an old tire blow out on a descent, you'll need all of them and more to pay for the ambulance ride. I've seen the aftermath of a front tire failure enough times to never, ever, consider riding on and trusting my well-being to an old or worn tire.

It is a senseless risk to take.
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Old 08-06-10, 05:37 PM   #10
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Probably not smart to ride on old tires, but then again I have a set of 60 year old Dunlops with original tubes, that gets ridden a few times a year for a mile or so and with that very conservatively. For any serious ridding, buy new!
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Old 08-06-10, 05:47 PM   #11
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In answer to the question, yes, I have used old tires and with few problems. Sadly, when a problem does arise, it can do so in a heart beat. Check out the rip I blew in the rear tire on my PX10. One minute I was riding, the next the back of the bike hopped up when the tire blew up. Had this happened at speed, on the front tire, I would likely have crashed.

Tires are incredibly important. I agree with the advice to not cheap out on them. And that suggestion addressed both safety and performance (ride quality) concerns.

PX101963_Build_TireHole_1..jpg
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Old 08-06-10, 06:02 PM   #12
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Go ahead and save your nickels and dimes. The first time you have an old tire blow out on a descent, you'll need all of them and more to pay for the ambulance ride. I've seen the aftermath of a front tire failure enough times to never, ever, consider riding on and trusting my well-being to an old or worn tire.

It is a senseless risk to take.
You make a very good point, what's cheaper a couple of bicycle tires, or the funeral after a rider does a 30MPH over the bars header into a 90 year old Oak? Part of the problem is that bicycle tires are not required to have a date stamp, so you could take off a set of well worn 5 year old tires and put on a set of 25 year old tires new from the LBS. If you think that's unusual, if I can find a set of Campy brake units new in box made in 1983, then what guarantee do we have the %$#@!&* tires aren't just as old. Federal law should require date stamps on bicycle tires, just as they do on car tires. Mind you I have long thought that bicycle safety laws should fall under the auspices of the Department of Transport rather then the Consumer Product Safety Commission anyway.
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Old 08-06-10, 06:13 PM   #13
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While I agree that faulty tires are risky, I ride a couple of old bikes with 50-70 year old tires and tubes (dunlop) and feel no less confident on those than I would on cheezy chinese or indian items that are typically sold as replacement tires.
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Old 08-06-10, 06:49 PM   #14
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I don't believe age (or price) has a direct bearing on it: A tire sitting next to a fan motor for 6 mo's is probably more ozone damaged than one that had been sitting in a garage for 20yrs.

Anyway, no matter how "good" it looks, I always remount the front tire (at least). It's fairly easy to tell the condition of the sidewall when I strip it off the rim.
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Old 08-06-10, 08:16 PM   #15
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It's a lot easier to replace tires than it is skin.
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Old 08-06-10, 08:39 PM   #16
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I don't think there's much of an issue if you're just piddling around on level ground, and the tires don't have obvious damage. Some hold up quite well (I have some 30 year old Raleigh nylon tires that are still usable for gentle riding), and others don't. If you're going to be in any situation where a front blowout would risk life and limb though - go with newer tires.
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Old 08-06-10, 09:00 PM   #17
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Sheldon;
Tire Wear-When should you replace your tires?
Many cyclists waste money replacing perfectly functional tires simply because they're old, or may have discolored sidewalls. If you just want new tires because the old ones look grotty, it's your money, but if you are mainly concerned with safety/function, there are only two reasons for replacing old tires:
  1. When the tread is worn so thin that you start getting a lot of flats from small pieces of glass and the like, or the fabric shows through the rubber.
  2. When the tire's fabric has been damaged, so that the tire has a lumpy, irregular appearance somewhere, or the tube bulges through the tire.
Cracks in the tread are harmless. Small punctures in the tire such as are typically caused by nails, tacks, thorns or glas slivers are also harmless to the tire, since the tire doesn't need to be air-tight. Gum-wall tires sometimes get unsightly blistering on the sidewalls from ozone damage. (This is frequently caused by storing the bike near a furnace--the powerful electric motors in typical furnaces can put a fair amount of ozone into the air.) This blistering is ugly, but doesn't actually compromise the safety/reliability of the tire in the least.
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Old 08-06-10, 09:03 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the comments and concern! Continentals do have a date code on them, and these particular tires were made in January 2004 and seem to have just sat since then (probably in a garage). At least these are just 7 years old instead of 20 or more. I bought a new set of gatorskins earlier this year and they were made about a year before I bought them.

Turns out though that I got a rim, generator hub, and light in from Germany today, so I'll try to get it built in time for this next ride (tomorrow night), which means it'll get a newer tire. I may try one of these others on the back though.

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Old 08-06-10, 09:27 PM   #19
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Sheldon;
Tire Wear-When should you replace your tires?
Sorry, but my own personal experience is that Sheldon is wrong here.
The tire that blew had very little use on it, and the only clue to its age was darkening of the tan sidewalls.
I got lucky that time.
I'd be a damned fool to take that chance again.

Here is a recent CBS News story about tire age risks:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in698335.shtml

There is no reason to think bike tires are not subject to the same laws of physics and chemistry.
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Old 08-06-10, 10:26 PM   #20
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Anyone use or know of where to find tire restore products, latex liquid?
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Old 08-06-10, 10:38 PM   #21
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I have ridden bikes with 40 year old tires without incident. I have had blowouts on new tires. I am confused about the extreme danger of blowouts. If you are making a steep decent on a winding road, there is a risk of losing it. So I would avoid those situations on old tires, but at speeds below 30 mph, I wouldn't be the least bit concerned.
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Old 08-06-10, 10:53 PM   #22
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I usually leave whatever tires came on the bike if they'll hold air. I've ridden several bike with 20+ year old tires with no problems.
I suppose I should add that I don't do these ridiculous 30+ mph descents that some people are talking about. I tend to descend pretty conservatively and even then, most of my riding is level ground, city-type riding, not all-out speed, roadie-style riding.

And considering how many more flats I've gotten on brand-new tires/tubes than old-as-**** tires/tubes.... I'm not too worried.
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Old 08-07-10, 12:00 AM   #23
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I am confused about the extreme danger of blowouts.
let me explain it.

your tire blows off the rim, gets caught in your brakes, and your bike comes to a stop immediately. if it is your front tire, you will probably go over the bars.
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Old 08-07-10, 12:07 AM   #24
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let me explain it.

your tire blows off the rim, gets caught in your brakes, and your bike comes to a stop immediately. if it is your front tire, you will probably go over the bars.
Doesn't even have to come off. Just has to go flat in a corner and you wash the front right out. Doesn't have to be a " ridiculous 30+ mph descent" either. I've seen broken collarbones and ribs at 12mph.

You guys can ride cracked and blistered old tires all you want. I stick with new, high quality tires TYMV.
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Old 08-07-10, 12:24 AM   #25
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.

You guys can ride cracked and blistered old tires all you want. I stick with new, high quality tires TYMV.
+1 LOL
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