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"Aging" tires in the closet(8 posts)

"Aging" tires in the closetFredrico
Apr 14, 2003 1:05 PM
I bought some tires last fall, intending to put them on, then left them in the closet over the winter because weather didn't permit much riding, the old tires weren't totally gone, and it's nice to rack up the Spring miles on fresh rubber.

So now I'm reading Cycle Sport, about Postal support aging the team's tires for a whole year before using them. Is this an old tradition that has hung on despite improvements in compound durability, or is it still a good thing to do?

Will those Conti Ultra 2000s in my closet be more bulletproof--and go more miles--next June than they would have last September, when I could have mounted them? Or have improvements in rubber compounds made this a waste of time?
it doesn't work...alansutton
Apr 14, 2003 1:10 PM
None! The aging concept arose from the same source as the "steel
frames need to be replaced because they get soft with age" concept.
Both were intended to improve sales during the off (winter) season by
bike shops with too much inventory on their shelves. Tires oxidize,
outgas, and polymerize from ultraviolet light. The concept of a tire
manufacturer making a tire that cannot be used until ripened for six
months from the date of purchase is ridiculous. Tires can be made to
any specification at the factory. Tires are most flexible and durable
when they are new. They don't improve with time and exposure to heat,
light, and oxygen or ozone.

"Over-aged" tubular tires, have crumbling hard brown latex on their
sidewalls that exposes separating cords directly to weather and wear
and they have treads that crack when flexed. Considering that this is
a continuous process, it is hard to explain where, in the time from
manufacture to the crumbly condition, the optimum age lies. The claim
that tires are lighter after aging is true. Their elastomers have
evaporated making the tire brittle and weak.

Purchasing tubular tires in advance to age them is unwise, although if
there is a supply problem, tubular tires bought in advance should be
sealed tightly in airtight bags and kept in the dark, optimally in a
freezer. For best results, use new tires because aged tires are only
as good as how little they have aged.
From Brandt-
Well, Brandt isn't always rightKerry
Apr 14, 2003 5:36 PM
Fact - in the "old days" tubular tires (the only kind ridden by serious cyclists who were not tourists) were manufactured by a "cold process." The tread was glued on the casing and not heat vulcanized. To get the reaction to go to completion, you needed to let the tires age. There was a noticeable difference in the mileage you got from "fresh" tires and aged tires. Sometimes this aging took place in the distribution channel, but when you bought a tire, you never new if it was fresh from the factory or a few months old. Also, since the rubber was still curing, a folded tire could take on some unpleasant kinks and twists. Thus, you inflated your new tires, mounted them on a rim, and let them sit for a few months in that cool, dark basement. All of this is pretty unnecessary now, though it is still a good idea to get the kinks out of a tubular. Aging a modern tire is not needed, but will do no damage either. Unless you store tires right next to an electric motor (ozone source), in a hot attic, or in the sun, they will not age detrimentally in a year or two between purchase and use.
Well, Brandt isn't always rightwielerpret
Apr 15, 2003 5:21 AM
As far as I know only Frenchman Henri Pelissier during the 1920's was known to leave his tires in the barn to dry and toughen for a year or so, thus saving a walloping 10 grammes a piece! These were rubber and silk woven tubulars. He won the Tour the France on them though...
For the rest, I agree with the above speaker.
Good luck. Luke. Amsterdam.
Yes, it is a waste of time. 99% of the time.MR_GRUMPY
Apr 14, 2003 1:22 PM
It won't help a vulcanized tire, and it won't help 99% of modern sewups. There might be a few brands that make their treads the old way, without the modern carbon that they mix in the rubber.
was THE thing to do in the '80s; a tubular thing. nmSpunout
Apr 14, 2003 2:48 PM
I did pre stretch mine, but not age them.....russw19
Apr 14, 2003 6:56 PM
But the only reason I did it was to put it on a rim and put it to a pretty high pressure to stretch the tire so I could mount it without getting glue all over my hands, pants, shirt, the basement, my car, my dog, my cat, my girlfriend, my school books..... you get the point. Pre stretched tires mounted easier in my opinion. So I pre stretched them.

"Aged tires" are out of closet!Fredrico
Apr 15, 2003 8:00 AM
Kerry contributes an interesting origin to the idea of aging rubber, which helps explain the discussions about doing it with tubulars. But the general consensus seems to be that its a long standing tradition no longer with merit, especially with "vulcanized" rubber, as in clinchers, which is what almost everybody uses off the course.

So let superstitions fade, like old rubber. Thanks, folks.