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Replace Tires on a 40+ Year Old 10 Speed?

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Replace Tires on a 40+ Year Old 10 Speed?

Old 05-15-21, 12:37 PM
  #1  
JIMMIEM
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Replace Tires on a 40+ Year Old 10 Speed?

Hello,
I have a 10 speed that I bought new over 40 years ago. I haven't used it in over 10 years and I would now like to. My question concerns the tires which have deflated over time. Should I add air and see if they inflate or does the rubber typically degrade and become unsafe even if they inflate?
My initial instinct is to just replace them.
Thank You
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Old 05-15-21, 12:54 PM
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Fahrenheit531 
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Replace them. Ideally they're the only part of your bike that makes contact with the road; cutting corners there can end badly.
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Old 05-15-21, 01:03 PM
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JIMMIEM
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Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531
Replace them. Ideally they're the only part of your bike that makes contact with the road; cutting corners there can end badly.
Thank You. Will do. I just looked at them with a magnifying glass and see cracks in the sidewalls.
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Old 05-15-21, 01:14 PM
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dabac
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That can be argued either way.
And is quite dependent on how the bicycle has been stored.
Replacing 10-year old tires is certainly sensible from a general perspective.
However, its not like riding 10-year old tires automatically qualifies as a suicidal activity.
For casual, occasional riding, Id give them a thorough inspection and decide from there.
For frequent, dedicated riding, Id probably replace them.
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Old 05-15-21, 01:19 PM
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My vote is to replace them.

Are the wheels 27 inch or 700c?
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Old 05-15-21, 01:31 PM
  #6  
dabac
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Originally Posted by JIMMIEM
I just looked at them with a magnifying glass and see cracks in the sidewalls.
That by itself doesnt mean much.
Plenty of tires have tiny cracks and work just fine.
Id be somewhat concerned if the crack opens up so it gives a clear view of the threads inside the rubber.
The critical test IMO is to inflate them and see if they hold their shape. Any waves, lumps or bulges on an otherwise properly mounted tire would have me replace the tire immediately.
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Old 05-15-21, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531
Replace them. Ideally they're the only part of your bike that makes contact with the road; cutting corners there can end badly.
While tires AND TUBES - replace both might not be cheap, they are cheaper than a visit to the emergency room. There is no reason to risk injury. I guess I will ask, while you have not ridden in ten years, were those tubes/tires ever replaced back then? Eh, it does not matter REPLACE them.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:12 PM
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Just don't ride 60 mph with them.

I've never had a tire fail and cause me an accident. I always was able to stop safely. 10 years ago I had that bike with 35 year old tires and not only were there cracks all over, but the gumwalls were dried up and falling out. The tubes held air. So I rode it for several days until the sidewall ripped and the tube blew out. I stopped, walked it home and put on new tubes and tires.

However if your surrounding when you ride are heavy freeway traffic, or mountain switchbacks with sheer cliffs, or other treacherous places, then change the tires and tubes from the get go.

Can you still read the tiny print that gives the ETRTO size of the tire?
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Old 05-15-21, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
My vote is to replace them.

Are the wheels 27 inch or 700c?
Tires are 27 X 1 1/4. They are high pressure (85 psi).
Are all replacements the same? I was looking on the 'net and saw something about the rim type e.g. smooth, rimmed.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac
That can be argued either way.
And is quite dependent on how the bicycle has been stored.
Replacing 10-year old tires is certainly sensible from a general perspective.
However, its not like riding 10-year old tires automatically qualifies as a suicidal activity.
For casual, occasional riding, Id give them a thorough inspection and decide from there.
For frequent, dedicated riding, Id probably replace them.
The tires are original. I have not ridden the bike in 10 years.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kahn
While tires AND TUBES - replace both might not be cheap, they are cheaper than a visit to the emergency room. There is no reason to risk injury. I guess I will ask, while you have not ridden in ten years, were those tubes/tires ever replaced back then? Eh, it does not matter REPLACE them.
The tires have never been replaced.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JIMMIEM
Tires are 27 X 1 1/4. They are high pressure (85 psi).
Are all replacements the same? I was looking on the 'net and saw something about the rim type e.g. smooth, rimmed.
Modern rims typically have a bead; older ones sometimes do not. If your rims lack a bead, you will want tires with a steel bead, not folding tires. Wired tires are cheaper and likely a better choice.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:33 PM
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dabac
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Originally Posted by JIMMIEM
The tires are original. I have not ridden the bike in 10 years.
So 40 year old tires?
Id be inclined to replace those straight off.
Or put on some PPEs and do an overpressure test on them.
Ive seen tires of that age go brittle and fail rapidly when returned to service.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:35 PM
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Do you know what kind of bead seat the rim has? If it is a hooked bead seat, then you can use either folding tires or wire bead tires. If it is a smooth bead seat rim, then you probably should make certain to get wire bead tires.

My old Schwinns with 27" tires were all smooth bead seat rims. A 27 tire is a 630 mm BSD. So any tires you get for it must have the 630 as part of the ISO or ETRTO size that should be printed or embossed on them somewhere.

Last edited by Iride01; 05-15-21 at 02:44 PM. Reason: because someone is getting technical about terminology :p
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Old 05-15-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
Modern rims typically have a bead; older ones sometimes do not. If your rims lack a bead, you will want tires with a steel bead, not folding tires. Wired tires are cheaper and likely a better choice.
On the rim, its commonly referred to as a HOOK. Itd the tire that has the bead.
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Old 05-15-21, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac
On the rim, it’s commonly referred to as a HOOK. It’d the tire that has the bead.
Fair enough but the point I made is correct.
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Old 05-15-21, 04:52 PM
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If the rims are NON-hooked rims, buy at least one spare tube (just in case! ).

When I replaced a set of 30 year old tires on my old vintage Fuji with smooth, NON-hook bead 27" rims, I found the new tires blew off at about 74 pounds, even with slow pumping. I replaced the tube and inflated it to 70, but it blew off on the test ride. The older vintage tires were inflatable to 80 easily. Go slow and make sure the tire is carefully seated before you pump it up. Stop occasionally a take its pressure with an accurate guage. I found the first 27" Kendas (all I could find locally in 27") always blew off, while Bontrager 27" tires (also locally sourced) worked very, very well and were reasonably priced and durable and could go to 74 pounds. The Kendas were also heavy.
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Old 05-15-21, 05:41 PM
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continental and Vittoria both still make decent affordable 27 in tires.
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Old 05-15-21, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis
Can't help but think all these new guys with new accounts and weird issues, might all be the same guy. 40 year old tires, copper tubing aerobars with zipties, skinny tour de france type riders.
Says the guy with a Dec 2020 join date
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Old 05-15-21, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JIMMIEM
The tires have never been replaced.
Enjoy the ride. Old bikes can be great. I have a 36 year old one in my garage. It is still in great condition, and I still ride it. BTW I still have the original Stump Jumper knobbies in the garage as well. They saw off road use, but not a lot of road use. The knobbies are still in great shape. Those tires are not on the bike, but I don't really want to get rid of them.
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Old 05-15-21, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C
continental and Vittoria both still make decent affordable 27 in tires.
For this rider we need to be sure we are recommending 27 x 1 1/4 inch, not 27 inch. The former will have the kind of bead his bike is designed for while the latter might not be the right type. 27 in is not the same as 27 x 1 inch.
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Old 05-15-21, 11:11 PM
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I've ridden on older tires than that, I once bought an 50's Schwinn which still had its original Goodyear tires, and when pumped up, they still held air. But the sidewalls were somewhat rotted, and the tread had cracks all the way around. I guess in the 50's they made things to last. But riding on such tires is not safe, and with tires and tubes as cheap as they are, and with emergency room visits more expensive than ever, it would be wise to replace the tires.
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Old 05-16-21, 12:13 AM
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I've got to back what dabac said post #4................. hey, " back dabac " would make a good campaign slogan if he were to run for governor or congress!

Sure, you should go ahead and order new tires............probably (32-630) 27 x 1 1/4 is what you'll be happiest with......there is some variance among many manufacturers as far as the "true" tread width as many won't generally come close to 32mm, BUT FEAR NOT BECAUSE ALL WITH STEEL WIRE BEAD in the 32-630 , 27 x 1 1/4 sizing WILL IN FACT FIT YOUR WHEELS.......Michelin PROTEK 32-630, 27 x 1 1/4 tires are among those closest to the true 32mm width. The Michelin PROTEK tires are very heavy tires which are extremely durable and resist punctures from glass, other debris, and thorns perhaps better than anything else. Their outer circumference when mounted leads to a "slightly taller" tire perhaps than some others so if you have a bike equipped with fenders, depending on the bike, you might have clearance issues. These Michelin PROTEK tires are general purpose relaxed cruising tires as they are twice the weight of many other typical road-bike tires. If you are NOT CONCERNED about their overall weight, you will enjoy their ride quality and durability, but if speedy gonzales is your thing, that 600grams or close---whatever it is per tire will be adding weight. They have a nice looking reflective, almost wide pinstripe like sidewall which aids in visibility for car drivers in low light and evening and night conditions.
All of the basic low-cost basic 32-630 27x 1 1/4 tires are good enough for general purpose relaxed riding, but if your intention is to typically ride along in the 19mph to 22mph Speed Range and above, then perhaps you will want something more performance oriented and lightweight with excellent road grip. All of the low-cost basic 32-630 27x 1 1/4 tires will be adequate even if you are riding downhill at 35 to 40 mph.* * assumes dry conditions, no rain or other dampness.
VERY IMPORTANT: some brands/models of 32-630 27 x 1 1/4 tires have differing acceptable PSI air pressure ranges depending upon the tire.......Failure to stay within this acceptable range COULD PUT YOU AT RISK......blowout----tire coming off , UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. This generally is not likely at low speed on flat pavement when riding straight ahead, but on wide turns particularly at speed the potential increases IF YOUR TIRES ARE EITHER SEVERELY OVERINFLATED or UNDERINFLATED. You need to be cognizant of this regardless of how basic- inexpensive or expensive-advanced that your New replacement tires may be.
There is so much riding on your tires. ----YOU--- Remember to at least check them every time you ride with at least a minimum eyeball look and a thumb and finger squeeze to test ballpark pressure before you ride away. Remember to wear a helmet every time you are on the bike

The old tires are okay to test the bike and sort things out in a large empty parking lot or some very slow speed limit neighborhood cul de sac. It might be okay to ride on no traffic park paved roads where the automobile speed limit is 18mph or 15mph BUT DO NOT RIDE DOWN ANY HILLS--------Flat Roads ONLY Until YOU GET NEW TIRES ! I mention this because I have some friends that identify themselves as "CABERS" who love to ride very old bicycles, and these yo-yo's dig the patina and they prize having the original or old as hell tires on their bikes...........as if it makes it better everything on the bike is from 1954 including the tires. These dumb azzez never wise up until someone on their routine greeneway bike path ride goes down and gets bloody and sometimes needing to go to the E.R. just because the damn tire tread came apart like a semi trailer going 85mph on I-95 in South Carolina during the 100F July summertime heat. You can't tell some of those morons anything as they have to learn like Jethro Bodine...............yall remember Jethro always learned by doing some crazy things and ending up all banged up and hurt. 90% of these "CABERS" that I know, refuse to wear helmets! The 10% that do wear helmets do so only because their wives threaten them if they don't put on their helmets before riding. Yes, you can go a long way on tires that should be replaced and it really won't matter UNTIL SUDDENLY, IT DOES MATTER , but by that time, it is too late to do anything but to prepare for a crash and hope you can walk away okay..
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Old 05-16-21, 02:56 AM
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Its hard to give a hard-and-fast rule on exactly when a tire is too old (as opposed to worn out) and needs to be replaced.
For a 40-year-old original tire, Id say if they hold air: Ride them as far as youre willing to walk home, and as fast as youre willing to crash.

A lot of it depends on storage conditions, and whether it sees any use. I had the 8-year old skinwall Continentals on my Cannondale come apart during a ride, I was storing the bike on the porches and patios of various apartments; the Ritcheys on there now are in far better shape, despite pushing 15 years old, but it lives in the garage, now.
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Old 05-16-21, 10:29 AM
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I bought tires in 1992, rode a bit, put my bike away, rode again in 2001-2002, put my bike away, and started again in 2013. The tires held air, and I actually took a number of rides on them, but some days they were flat for no apparent reason. One day I had to walk home, and I found walking while pushing a bike with a flat tire took a lot more energy than just walking.

Flats are really inconvenient. What if you flat many miles from home? Why put yourself through that?

My reco is to buy new tires and tubes. Some shops will mount them for you at no extra charge if you buy them at the shop. If they charge for mounting them, I recommend you invest in a Kool-Stop Tire Jack and a good pump and mount them yourself. You'll need the pump anyway.
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