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I have a set of tubular Continental Sprinter Gatorskin (28" x 22mm) that have been sitting in the box on the floor for close to four years. They look fine, but I'm worried that they won't last long if I mount them. Should I get new tires?

Some extra information: I have an iron-distance triathlon soon and my rear tire popped today.

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Dunno specifically about tubulars, but the things that kill tires are UV, ozone, and heat. A tire stored inside and away from heat/ozone (ozone can come from an air purifier or a laser printer) will last much longer than a tire mounted on a bike. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 14 '12 at 19:44
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If in any doubt why put the event at risk - buy new tires. Use these for trainers after the event. –  mattnz Oct 14 '12 at 21:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The shelf life is going to be different depending on the quality and composition of the specific tire, and the storage conditions. In general though, you should be able to see if a tire has gone over or not: if the rubber is still soft and pliable, it should be fine to use.

I'd guess that your tires are still okay, but without seeing the tire i can't give you better than a guess.

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Back in the day, when everyone used tubulars, serious riders would age them intentionally. There's no science to back this up, and no measurable benefit, but apparently no serious detriment either, as long as they're still in good shape. If the sidewalls or tread are cracking, they're no good.

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I have heard this before, and it always cracks me up. I imagine walking up to the counter at the bike shop, saying, "I'd like 2 of your finest cave-aged tubulars, please!" BTW the inimitable Jobst Brandt agrees that there's no benefit: sheldonbrown.com/brandt/tubular-fables.html –  djangodude Oct 21 '12 at 16:58

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