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Tires: How Old is Too Old?

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Tires: How Old is Too Old?

Old 06-28-06, 09:36 AM
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IronMac
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Tires: How Old is Too Old?

I'm curious about the longevity of tires. I'm not talking about wear and tear through riding but, rather, when is a tire too old to be safe to use? I know that some car manufacturers recommend replacing tires that have reached their sixth birthday so I'm wondering if this would apply to bike tires too?
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Old 06-28-06, 09:54 AM
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I would say yes. Rubber becomes brittle over time especially in bad weather (heat/dry/cold)
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Old 06-28-06, 10:58 AM
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This was just discussed about a week ago.
Search or go to the Sheldon "tires are forever" Brown website.
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Old 06-28-06, 04:13 PM
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couldn't find the old thread...
sheldon, btw, says "old is not a good enough reason" to replace them.
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Old 06-28-06, 07:53 PM
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I recently put together a brand new early '70's Garlatti road bike. It came in its original carton. I did nothing to the 35 year old Hutchinson gumwalls except pump them up to 80 psi. I've been riding the bike without incident and the tires seem to hold pressure better than the modern lightweight 700C tires and tubes I have on my modern bikes. I'll confirm Sheldon's opinion.
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Old 06-28-06, 08:00 PM
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I've pulled out 10-year old tyres and used them just fine. They did seem to crumble and wear out faster than new tyres, but still useable.
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Old 06-29-06, 06:03 AM
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I'm using Specialized Tri-Cross IIs that I purchased over ten years ago so I was curious about tire longevity.
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Old 06-29-06, 06:08 AM
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Title of thread;
Is tire age important

Originally Posted by bccycleguyI just got a new set of Conti GP4000's and was looking at the multi-language instruction page that came with them and was suprised to see a statement that "Any tire over 3 years old should not be used".
My initial impression was to immediately think this is a "good for business" statement, but later I started wondering if there is any truth to it?


Response from SB;
None whatever. This is a self-serving prescription from people who want to sell more tires. Don't be a sucker.

Sheldon "...Every Minute" Brown
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Old 06-29-06, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by godspiral
couldn't find the old thread...
sheldon, btw, says "old is not a good enough reason" to replace them.
I believe Sheldon was speaking out for some of us older folks not tires.........
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Old 06-29-06, 09:49 AM
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I just got my dad on his bike after 12 years and the tires are still holding air just fine. The sidewalls are definitely stiff though, which is my only concern. I also have some old tires sitting around in the garage that I know are at least 10 years old and most of them seem fine. I think the important thing is to check for cracks in the rubber and sidewalls. My father pumped his up and let them sit overnight to see if they still hold air.
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Old 06-29-06, 09:53 AM
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One reason I see to replace old ones is newer tire design technology. I recently replaced my 19 year old Specialized Ground Control tires on my Fisher rigid mountain bike with MTB VelociRaptors. What a difference. I'd say they're 30% faster in sand, gravel and rock. They go precisely where they're pointed and hook up on climbs like my old tires never did.
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Old 06-29-06, 10:00 AM
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I have some unicycle/recumbent tires that have been stores in an dark, cool garage for 15+ years and are still in good shape. Some fat tires on my tandem are as old but have been kept fully inflated and ridden several times a year and are crumbling badly. I had several other road bike tires laying around for years, some fine, some bad. I guess a lot of it depends on tire formulation and storage condition. My lbs had a re-opening and offered a free waterbottle for each old tire turned in. I turned in 5 and took three bottles. Specialized sponsored that give-away. When I see threads in the sidewalls or get 2 or 3 flats in one week I get new tires,
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Old 06-29-06, 10:14 AM
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OK, what if you have lots of tread left, but the gum sidewalls are forming cracks (presumably due to ultraviolet light entering the garage). I think this bike I bought used was hanging in a garage for 10 years with new tires on it. Still had the little rubber fibers left over from molding on the center line of the tire. Gumwalls have some cracks, though.
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Old 06-29-06, 02:06 PM
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"I just got a new set of Conti GP4000's and was looking at the multi-language instruction page that came with them and was suprised to see a statement that "Any tire over 3 years old should not be used".

I think, like most situations the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Conti does not want to be liable for people's tires falling apart because they had been sitting around for ten years. Conti wants to sell lots of tires so they put things like that in the instructions. Tires become brittle and fall apart when they are old but this is probably not going to hurt. Its like the consume by dates on milk, the milk doesn't instantly go rotten after that date but the goverment doesn't want stores to sell rotten milk to people so they force them to throw away food after certain dates. Its pretty easy to tell if food is too rotten to eat and its pretty easy to tell if a tire is to worn or old to use.
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Old 06-29-06, 02:16 PM
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I've ridden on tires that were about 15 years old. If there is an absolute limit, I would say, don't ride on tires where the threads of the sidewall casings are broken. Broken rubber is a good sign that the tire life is coming to an end, but if the threads break, the tube will soon be escaping through the tire.
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Old 06-29-06, 02:25 PM
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If a 20 yearl old 27" gummy sided tire holds air "spectacularly" (keeps 80psi for a week+) , does it make sense to wait for the first flat before replacing even if there are 2mm square chunks of sidewall gum missing and the thread has a crackly texture?

shorter version... is holding air a relevant indicator of tire health?
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Old 06-29-06, 02:39 PM
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If they're cracked or bulging at the sidewall or the bead is coming unhooked from the rim, replace them.
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Old 06-29-06, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by marqueemoon
If they're cracked or bulging at the sidewall or the bead is coming unhooked from the rim, replace them.
they're tucked into the rim just fine, no bulges. Just some specs of sidewall flaked off (can see threads). Still replace?
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Old 06-29-06, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by godspiral
they're tucked into the rim just fine, no bulges. Just some specs of sidewall flaked off (can see threads). Still replace?
I used the same set of BMX tires on my BMX for at least 7 years, and they were at least 10 years old when I started to use them.

Worked fine. Hardly got any flats. Same rims too, for that fact. God bless well made bikes.
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