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Up close you can see at least three 'hairs' of rubber from this picture from the side of my tyre:

enter image description here

Why do they exist? I've heard they are just a bi-product of the manufacturing process.

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

Note the technical term for what you are calling "hairs" is "vent spews."[1] As the name indicates, they are a consequence of an important detail of the tire fabrication process.

While liquid rubber is being injected or otherwise forced into the tire mold, air bubbles can form in the rubber or between the rubber and the mold. These bubbles can cause the finished tire to be weakened or malformed. To prevent that, tire manufacturers place vent holes in the mold to allow the air to escape under pressure. Necessarily, some rubber will get forced into these holes, forming the vent spews upon curing (which is the process by which the tire rubber converts from liquid to solid).

These vent spews serve no useful purpose; conversely, they can be removed without consequence.

[1] for some citations, see this ask.com post and this reddit post

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nice profile pic! – andy256 yesterday

Those are "sprues" -- bits of rubber that went into the vent holes in the tire mold. They serve no purpose.

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2  
Go cut them off! Except if you want some potential buyer of your tires to be sure they are "brand new" :o) (nail cutters or scissors work best) – heltonbiker May 31 '12 at 16:42
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@heltonbiker: That's a good point. The reason I ask is because I tend to pull them out when I'm bored without realising what I'm doing. – Ambo100 May 31 '12 at 16:56
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just normal riding will cause them to fall off, but you can pull them off with no problems to the tire. The only thing to think about it like @heltonbiker said, it lets other people know it is a new tire. – BillyNair Jun 1 '12 at 6:04
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They do serve a purpose: they're new tyre indicators! – Hugo Jun 1 '12 at 14:20
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The one true way to remove them by application of friction between the tire and the road through riding. – BPugh Aug 22 '13 at 15:53

i can only imagine during the manufacturing process that hot rubber is injected into a mold like device and then spun till cool enough to remove, these little hair like things are formed during the centrifuge process through little holes that serve as a way for air to escape to prevent imperfections in the tyre (tire).

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3  
Welcome to bicycles.SX.com. Your answer is correct, but there are already two answers that state exactly the same. So you didn't really add some new aspects to the topic and therefore your answer might not get many upvotes. Maybe you should first look at the answers already posted before you post your own one to see if it is a duplicate. – Benedikt Bauer Jan 3 '14 at 21:42

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