Geriatric Tyres - CycleBlaze

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Geriatric Tyres

Graham Smith

This is a spinoff topic from Kelly’s trashed tyre topic.

What have you discovered about the longevity of your tyres? In years, not in kilometres or miles. How many years can tyres be used or stored before they are no longer reliable? 

The reason I ask is that I’ve had a pair of Schwalbe Smart Sam 26”x2.1” stored for about 11 years.

They served me well on the roughest road cycle tour I’ve ever done, (The Gibb River Road) but I’ve had no need to use them since. They’ve only covered about 700km. 

But today I fitted them to my venerable Norco hard tail MTB with a vague plan to do another longish, off-seal cycle tour. They were excellent tyres on gravel, sand and rocky surfaced roads. But they also roll well on seal because of the cleverly designed tread pattern.

But before I take the risk of a loaded tour on 11 year old tyres, I’ll use them cautiously on local trails first to see if they disintegrate.

I’m interested to see if others have used tyres of a similar advanced age and lived to tell the tale. If you haven’t lived to tell the tale, all the best wherever you ended up.

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1 month ago
Syd WinerTo Graham Smith

"I’m interested to see if others have used tyres of a similar advanced age and lived to tell the tale".

Graham - logically if they hadn't lived to tell the tale they won't be replying on this forum! So there's going to be a statistical bias in the replies.

I have used 6ish year stored tyres and my longevity doesn't appear to have been affected. However there's something about combining the phrases "another longish off-seal cycle tour" and "a loaded tour on 13 year old tyres" that's ringing alarm bells.

Oh, I know... it's the unlucky '13'.

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1 month ago
Syd WinerTo Graham Smith

But on a less superstitious note this thread on the Thorn forum leads to this article on storing tyres.

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1 month ago
Graham SmithTo Syd Winer

Hi Syd 

Great  to hear from you. I’ve just edited  my post. I realised that the  tyres are only about 11 years old. I used them last in 2013. 

I also have the original leaden XR tyres which I bought with the Thorn Sherpa but quickly removed because they were so sluggish. No doubt they’ll last for thousands of years. 

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1 month ago
Graham SmithTo Syd Winer

Syd thanks for the link to the Thorn Forum. The replies there are reassuring because my 11 year old tyres were also stored in the dark at fairly constant temperatures (cool) and low humidity. No UV. No Ozone. They look fine, and rolled well today on a short ride. 

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4 weeks ago
Andy BuchanTo Graham Smith

I wonder if they will start cracking after a few miles?   The rubber must age even when well stored.

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4 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Andy Buchan

Andy so far so good. I did another 12 km today including some trails and higher speed down hill runs. The tyres look new. No signs of decay… yet. 

Interestingly, the original tubes were well and truly perished even though they were stored with the tyres. My guess (hope) is that the Schwalbe evo tyres are made with a fairly high % of synthetic polymers which might be resistant to the type of perishing common in tyres and tubes made mostly of rubber.

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4 weeks ago
John PescatoreTo Graham Smith

Back when Nashbar was my goto mailorder shop for biking stuff (so probably late 1990s), I bought two different tires - one for my Trek 520 and one for the hybrid bike I used for biking with my wife or on rougher roads, etc. I remember the ones for the 520 were Continental "inverted tread" tires, but I forget what the other brand was.

We built a new house, my work travel kicked up - my cycling mileage went way down and didn't need to replace rear tires on either bike for over 5 years. The tires were store in the garage - hot in summer, cold in winter. When it was finally time to use them, the Continental was fine, the other brand already felt kind of stiff and after a few dozen rides, rubber (felt more like plastic) was flaking off.

Another example of Your Mileage Will Vary...

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3 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo John Pescatore

John that’s another reassuring example. It reminds me that I’ve had the same Conti Tourers on my  hardtail 26” wheeled Norco MTB for at least 7 years. They are close to wearing out but aren’t perishing or decaying from age.

I had the bike stored at my parents’ place to use when I stay with them, so it’s been ridden fairly often but it’s taken years to do a few thousand km. I’m swapping the now worn old Contis for the even older Schwalbe Smart Sams which aren’t worn.

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3 weeks ago