Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Retirement Planning

Hey, this is yet another call to my always insightful if sometimes strange (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) cycling readers. I've been summer commuting on the same tires for almost three years, possibly more. I am crummy at keeping track of such things. They are Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase(s). I have been very pleased with them.

The sidewalls are in fine condition, but there are a number of decent cuts or cracks in the centre of them:

I know I am inviting the flat gods to rain bad fortune down upon me, but I haven't flatted once in all that time, which included a few longish (60-80 km) highway trips. So, should I continue to tempt fate or would you think there's a little life left in these still? I lean toward treating tires like I do cars... ride them until they fail completely. Trouble is, I don't want to experience that complete failure on a big ol' downhill stretch.

As always, thanks for letting me use you as sounding boards... I didn't want to leave this earth-shattering discussion in the hands of strangers!

Try to Stay Pumped,



Steve A said...

Experience tells me such a cut will fail. On the other hand, it might go a thousand miles before that failure. As long as the tire is on the rear, I say "do it for science!"

BTW, I strongly suspect that a patch, applied on the inside of the tire to reinforce the damaged spot, can extend the life considerably.

Apertome said...

I think you're OK, I get cuts like those frequently and usually they aren't a problem. BUT make sure to look around in the cuts to make sure there's no glass or anything like that stuck in there. I've had similar cuts that seemed fine (and indeed were) but still got a flat because of a piece of embedded glass. A few times I've been able to dig out broken glass before it was too late and save myself from a flat.

Tracy W said...

That's the same way my tires end up looking before I send them on their way. It's hard to tell from the picture whether they're squared off or not, which might be another indication they're getting a little on the thin side.

On a single bike, I would be comfortable riding on that for a while longer. I usually keep running a tire until it has a through cut big enough to require a boot or until I start getting frequent flats on it because of it's thinning skin. Frankly, I use Continental Gatorskins most of the time and their point of failure is generally in the sidewall before the actual tire tread.

Big Oak said...

I had cuts like that on my old Schwalbe Marathons - a good, durable tire, but during a long ride the rear tire split all the way through so that the tube was visible. That was the end of the tire. Just hope that you are close to work or home when that happens.

You might want to try Steve's idea and boot the inside with a patch before the threads separate any more.

Good Luck!

PS - good to hear you are doing some retirement planning!

RANTWICK said...

Thanks everybody! I'm gonna take pretty much all of your advice, ride on 'em, patch a little, and re-inspect the front tire so I don't wipe out in the name of science.

JAT in Seattle said...

I've never had much luck with a patch on the inside of the tire - they just don't vulcanize the same way and tubes. Park makes an "Emergency Tire Boot" product that does work/stick really well (and they're so big I usually cut them in half to make the package go twice as far) but this is really to cure / prevent herniation of the tube through a cut. In my experience tube herniation and the nasty hidden/embedded glass mentioned above are the real danger of tire cuts.

RANTWICK said...

JAT - Welcome and thanks for the tip on the Tire Boot product; I wondered about adhesion.

"Herniation" is the perfect word for what may happen... I love it when there's a perfect word.

GhostRider said...

"bulgy" -- you can use old Fedex Tyvek envelopes, Powerbar wrappers or duct tape.

The one thing I've tried with good success is to pack those cuts with Krazy Glue -- the variety with the brush-on applicator. Stuff works like a charm and keeps the cut from spreading. I've also tried Shoe Goo...but the Shoe Goo "plug" pulls out fairly quickly.

GhostRider said...

Sorry...the first part got cut off somehow:

"Use a tire boot on the inside if the threads are showing or if things look..."

Steve A said...

I use the "no glue needed" patches on the inside of tires that I've patchedand they have all stuck fine, in contrast to poor durability when they're used to fix leaks in tubes. I'd be inclined to agree with JAT about not trying to use "sand and glue and stick" patches on the tire. Those "no glue needed" patches are also great for fixing a messed up rim strip. One reason I think the "no glue" patches are good for the tires is you can tell right away they're stuck on and the tire repair doesn't have to be airtight the way it does on the tube. It just has to stay in the same place.

RANTWICK said...

GR - Krazy Glue is also good for protecting the end of your damaged fingers if you still need to play guitar... although I've never done that.. nice tip!

Steve - Hey, I have some of those, and don't care for them on tubes either! Perfect!

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