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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Older Tire Question

I've taken my new (to me) 09 Vulcan 900 Custom out for a couple of rides, and all seems well, but I had a question about my tires (I'm a novice and this is my first bike so I wouldn't be able to tell if there is anything off about how the bike rides/handles)...

I know the bike still has the OEM tires, but they still have good tread, and seem like they'd have another season or so left in them. But the bike is an '09 and only has 2300 kms on it.

I've been reading a lot about the life of tires being around 5 years, so my question is this: Should I roll the dice with these 5-6 year old tires which seem to still be in good shape, or replace them? Is there anything else I can check on the tires to tell whether or not they actually are still in good shape? There doesn't seem to be any visible cracking in the tread/sidewall.

Thanks!

'09 Vulcan 900 Custom
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 09:56 AM
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Roll the dice with your life?

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 10:03 AM
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If there is no visible cracking anywhere, you will probably be ok. That said, new tires should give you better traction when needed and a better ride and handling.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 10:09 AM
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Hard to answer over the net, most will say "Just replace them". If I thought they were ok, I would ride it, BUT its your bike, your decision. I purchased my V2K new (4yo) and rode them tires til they were bald, but the bike was stored inside out of UV light and elements.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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As far as I've been told the bike was stored inside exclusively, and I can't really see any cracks forming anywhere. I will inspect them further to be sure. I would rather err on the side of caution and not "roll the dice with my life" as someone put it

My inclination was to replace the tires based on what I had read about age affecting the durability, but I wanted to check with some more seasoned riders in case I was getting rid of some perfectly good rubber.

I appreciate all the suggestions.

'09 Vulcan 900 Custom
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 11:35 AM
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It isn't just about cracks, tires continue to vulcanize (get harder) their whole life. I bought a brand new, 5yr old Dunlop that had been stored inside on a rack and was hard as a rock, caused the front end to wash out on me on a 20mph corner. It's up to you to feel the rubber and see if it still has good grip.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by davidr View Post
It isn't just about cracks, tires continue to vulcanize (get harder) their whole life. I bought a brand new, 5yr old Dunlop that had been stored inside on a rack and was hard as a rock, caused the front end to wash out on me on a 20mph corner. It's up to you to feel the rubber and see if it still has good grip.
I'd take davidr's experinece into consideration and seriously think about replacing the front tire. When a rear tire fails (I've picked up a nail in the rear tire on the way to work), it's a pain in the a**, but not usually a big deal, in the grand scheme of thing.

However, a front tire failure can easily be a big deal, so I'd make sure I was 100% comfortable with its condition.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davidr View Post
It isn't just about cracks, tires continue to vulcanize (get harder) their whole life. I bought a brand new, 5yr old Dunlop that had been stored inside on a rack and was hard as a rock, caused the front end to wash out on me on a 20mph corner. It's up to you to feel the rubber and see if it still has good grip.
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Originally Posted by griffjo View Post
I'd take davidr's experinece into consideration and seriously think about replacing the front tire. When a rear tire fails (I've picked up a nail in the rear tire on the way to work), it's a pain in the a**, but not usually a big deal, in the grand scheme of thing.

However, a front tire failure can easily be a big deal, so I'd make sure I was 100% comfortable with its condition.
Those are both very helpful points, and thanks again for the advice.

Is there a good method or test (besides feel) to determine whether or not a tire has vulcanized excessively? I had mentioned in another thread about tire pressure that my front was reading 14 PSI when I got the bike (should be 40), and it felt so hard that I thought my gauge was off, and was reluctant to even try to get it to 40. Would this be a sign? I would guess with pressure that low that there would be a little give to the tire, but there was hardly any.

These questions are mostly for information and future reference, since it's very likely I'll be replacing the tire for peace of mind, because it's almost 6 years old. Since I'm fairly new to riding though, I enjoy soaking up as much as I can.

'09 Vulcan 900 Custom
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 07:34 AM
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Since I'm fairly new to riding ...
Probably all the more reason to pop for new tires.

Not only will the tires be new, they will be better than the tires from back then too.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:12 AM
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When you roll the dice with old tires, you may be rolling your head with them too (it doesn't do the dice any damage).

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