Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sometimes I'm Tempted to Reuse Old Tires

Don't be fooled by good looking older tires, whatever the tread.
Safety comes first. Replace old rubber.
It's my general practice to discard old tires from any project bike, particularly when the sidewalls appear cracked or threads are poking out, like fine hairs. It's just plain dangerous to reuse tires that have been sitting for years, even if the bicycle has been stored inside. Rubber deteriorates. Blowouts can happen, possibly placing the rider in a dangerous situation. And considering this bicycle is one I'm refurbishing for my son (more on that in another blog post) I want him to ride a bicycle that's safe.

With that said, I discovered the rear tire seemed in fine shape. Plenty of tread. Sidewalls are okay, I think. Then I found the tire was a puncture-proof Nimbus Armadillo, like the one I put on my Trek Antelope. I wondered. Should I consider reusing it on my own bike?

Thankfully, I researched further. Old rubber not only disintegrates, but becomes stiff. Inflexible tires do not corner well. I will heed others' advice: if you don't know the bike's history or suspect it's been in storage, why take a chance? Do yourself a favor, replace the rubber. Period.


  1. I believe there comes a time in all bicycle tires' lives in which they are no longer functional for transportation purposes on our two-wheeled friends. It's just reality. Have you considered an alternate use for these tires? Perhaps a fun craft project for the family to try to figure out a way to reuse them? There are some interesting ideas out on the web such as this: or this: Some people even make art out of old bicycle tires:, or here:, or even this:

    I think there's a lot of potential for old bike tires to be reused... maybe there's even a local artist or craftsperson who'd like to have them? Or a bike shop that will recycle them in some manner?

    1. Wow, thanks for the ideas. I also have one of my own. Stay tuned.

  2. Great topic Annie, it is so cheap to get new rubber, at least for standard sizes that I gave up trying to use old rubber a long time ago. For an old ten speed I can get a set of Kenda 27 inch tires delivered for about $20 and not only is it so much safer its also makes the bike look better. I think the same advice you give above applies to brake pads which are also cheap to replace

    1. I tried roughing up older brake pads on a recent bike project. They are currently untested, but I'll keep in mind your suggestion.


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