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When you buy a used bike is there anyway of knowing the actual age of the tire? Is it encoded in a number stamped on the tire etc...
 

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Yes, it will be on the sidewall. If you google the make of tyre, you should find the details.
 

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Most are on a slightly raised blockin an oval shape like a NASCAR track. Should be 4 numbers, the 1st 2 are the year, and the 3rd and 4th are the week of the year. 0537 would be the 37th week in 2005, so that would be about the 1st week of october. Anything over 7 years should be replaced.


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