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I just got my first TW, a 2005 with less than 1,000 miles on it. It still has the original tires, which makes me wonder if they should be replaced due to age? The bike has spent its life garaged so they don't appear to have any sun damage or dry rot. But will they have degraded over time to the point I need to replace them anyway?
 

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If your budget is up for it, it's probably a good idea - (don't forget to do the tubes) ..... ;)
 

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Welcome BGB.

Conventional wisdom is no more than 10-year-old tires depending on wear and condition.

If this TW has been garaged, you could give the tires the "don't squeeze the Charmin" test. In other words, you could pinch or squeeze the tire rubber and if it's still pliable you may be ok. I stress MAY be ok! If the tires feel hard like plastic or has cracks or dead cat limbs sticking out between the tread, new tires are in order for sure! With 1,000 miles the tread wear depth is probably ok but don't go by this alone.

Of course, it can't hurt if you do what Purple mentions and then there are no worries...with old tires!
 

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As rubber ages it gets harder, more brittle, and has less grip on the road. UV exposure will speed this up, but it happens even in the dark with time. Your tires are now 12 years old, so YES, they should be replaced. It's your only link to the road and what price do you put on safety? If all your riding is offroad, you could probably get away with them but if you ride on the road, definitely not. Your choice and only you bear the consequences if you ride on them.
Every tire has a date stamp imprinted on the sidewall in a little rectangular box. The first 2 digits of the 4 digit code is the week of manufacture, the last 2 digits are the year. Ie., 4006 means they were made the 40th week (in Oct.) of 2006.
Your tires could be older than 2005, could be 13 years old. Replace them.
 

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Welcome to the forum - bet you have some nice places to ride there in Northern CO once the snow melts!

I'm in the same boat, recently bought an 06 with a few thousand miles more miles than yours and tires still look great. I do plan on changing them in a couple of months, I do more street and a couple hundred bucks for tires is worth the investment to increase my chances of staying off the pavement. :)
 

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Welcome!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think I'll do the smart/safe thing and start looking into replacing these old tires, just need to do a little research and see what all you TW guys recommend.

Thanks for all the advice, looking forward to learning more each time I check out this forum
 

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I got my bike (2010) with 1.3k miles on it. Bike was on an island here in Florida and the front tire was already pretty hard, rear "seemed" okay until I rode it. At speed, turning seemed off a little bit. I think the UV degraded these tires quickly, I replaced tubes and tires. Peace of mind was worth the cost alone since my tires weren't that old but Im certainly glad I did it.

I think you made the right choice.
 

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Sound advice from everyone. Hard to argue against it. My experience is different and I usually seem to go against the crowd when it comes to tires and chains. And I stress "my experience" of which I am sharing. It is not a recommendation.

I have found on older tires the the surface rubber does get hard and riding with them necessitates extra care until the hardness is worn off. This is especially true on twisty roads or if there is any moisture on the road. Slow down and rack up 100, 200 or even 300 miles before going wild. This is for pavement. On dirt roads I can not tell the difference.

As for small cracks in the rubber, here again they don't bother me. I once cut across a crack on the side wall of a tire and found it was very shallow. So shallow I was surprised and quit worrying about them. Bigger cracks where the rubber may come flying off I would worry about and maybe only use them off road for slow riding.

Examples of cracks I don't care about in the picture below.

Also, A=the unworn hard rubber on the surface. B=transitional rubber -- wearing away the hard old rubber but not yet down to the fresher soft rubber. And C= nice soft sticky rubber that is good for twisty roads.

P8100025.JPG

Once again, I am not arguing against new tires. You can never go wrong with new tires. But even new tires need to have the surface worn down a little for the best traction. Good luck!
 

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I give a +1 to the new tires...at least the front one.

I thought my '05 TW had steering head bearing problems and front suspension problems.

Putting a new tire on the front made the bike steer and handle like new....especially riding on pavement.

jb
 

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I disagree with elime's post above. That tire is shot, the worn down rubber is not softer, it is just sanded down and maybe cleaner that the surface, it has no better traction other than from it's maybe slightly rougher surface. It's still harder and more brittle and less "sticky" than a new tire. And all those cracks in the center of the pic just go to prove how deteriorated that rubber is. You want to ride on the road on that, good luck to you.
 

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Tire age matters, sometimes hairline tiny cracks are not pressant to indicate a lurking and imenant failure.

Im not making a recommendation. I feel comfortable making decisions on my tires but not others when it comes to age.

I will say the amount of torque and horsepower put to a tire matters as well, if the rubber is old it won't take extreme use.

Heres some tires with serious cracks, likely due to the torque applied (but who really knows).

IMG_5652.JPG

IMG_5653.JPG

IMG_5654.JPG

IMG_5655.JPG

IMG_5651.JPG
 
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