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My son just bought a 83 Kawi LTD 550 with only 4k miles and has the original tires. The original owner stored the bike in a dark, cool and damp environment which seemed to preserve the tires. Visually they look good, have plenty of tread and don't leak. An experienced rider with many years of riding and working on bikes told him the tires were fine to ride on. I don't buy it. What do you guys think?

Barry
 

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I wouldn't risk it. They may look fine but my gut tells me that they are starting to degrade. Not worth the risk IMHO. I'd also suggest changing out all the fluids before any long ride. They're both cheap insurance.
 

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Come on Barry, use common sense. That isn't some stranger on a forum that you are asking about, it's your son. Change the tires.

I renovate bikes as a hobby and I sell them with the original tires because they are worth more to collectors that way...BUT I won't let folks ride the bikes home. Most of the bike that I have are close to 30 years old or more and yes, the tires sometimes have tiny cracks but look like they are ok to ride on.

Common sense tells us otherwise though...spend the few bucks and replace them. Tire technology has progressed a lot further then our bikes have in 25 years so you'll be getting much better tires that what we had back then too!

jeff
 

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I sometimes ride on patched tires (got one on there now) but I'd draw the line at such antiques. My patches might leak down slowly, but a sidewall failure could be sudden and catastrophic.
 

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Usually you can tell the rubber's condition from flexing the sidewall after a good cleaning. UV is really what kills em, and if they were dark and damp they may be fine. I've had old helmet liners deteriorate in the same conditions though btw.

The thing is the oldest stored tire I've ever used was seven years old, and I don't think anyone will have experience with something twice that age. I'd just get some cheapos and see if a buddy has a tire changer (thats the expensive part).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Come on Barry, use common sense. That isn't some stranger on a forum that you are asking about, it's your son. Change the tires.

I renovate bikes as a hobby and I sell them with the original tires because they are worth more to collectors that way...BUT I won't let folks ride the bikes home. Most of the bike that I have are close to 30 years old or more and yes, the tires sometimes have tiny cracks but look like they are ok to ride on.

Common sense tells us otherwise though...spend the few bucks and replace them. Tire technology has progressed a lot further then our bikes have in 25 years so you'll be getting much better tires that what we had back then too!

jeff
I know what the answer is and am using common sense. I need him to see this thread because he won't believe it from his old man. He's a grown man now and is mature. The thing that bugs me is that his friends dad who sold him the bike told him they are ok. My son believes him over me because he has many years of experience of riding, racing and repairing bikes.

Barry
 

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Old rubber is nowhere near as soft and compliant as new. Ain't gonna grab the road surface. First hard turn in a sweeping curve could prove to be the last curve that tire, or your son, ever makes.

And, at 4000 miles on those old OEM tires, they were at least half way through their tread life anyway.

I know- go stick a jack knife through those old tires, nice big gashes, then drop a 100 dollar bill on the seat and tell him, "Oh, I'm so sorry, but here's the purchase price for one of the 2 new tires you'll need." A soft, sarcastic smile will be the frosting on the cake. Tell him, "I love you, Son." Then turn around and walk away, whistling an old tune...

Sometimes even adult kids need a kick in the pants from the old man.
 

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Nope

I bought a 1983 honda CB1100 at a bike show.. it was perfect with only 4000 miles on it.. original tires.. raced a custom V twin thingy.. the rear valve stem broke ff at 110 mph.. the other stupid part is I was wearin shorts a Tshirt and a half helmet.. LESSON LEARNED.. P.S. thank GOD I didnt crash
 

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I actually had a sidewall give out on my old Zuki Titan 500. The tube blew right out the hole. Those tire were at least 10 years old at the time.............Change em.
 

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No friggin brainer for your son. Change the tires and live to ride another day.
Hope he reads this.
Son,
You must be nuts. Pony up the cash and shed some new rubber on that ride.
 

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And beyond the safety issues with old tires, maybe you can convince him with the fact that tire technology has come a long ways in 15 years. New cheapies will be far superior in every way even compared as new to new.
 

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My son just bought a 83 Kawi LTD 550 with only 4k miles and has the original tires. The original owner stored the bike in a dark, cool and damp environment which seemed to preserve the tires. Visually they look good, have plenty of tread and don't leak. An experienced rider with many years of riding and working on bikes told him the tires were fine to ride on. I don't buy it. What do you guys think?

Barry
Read this http://www.aa1car.com/library/tire_expire.htm

Replace them.
 

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Ozone, too

In addition to UV, ozone tends to deteriorate tires and other rubber parts significantly. So if the bike was in a nice dark garages, but sitting in the neighborhood of an air-compressor or refrigerator, ozone from the motor will have a negative effect. I can't think of a good reason to take a chance on old tires, with hospital bills being so high and all.
 

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Old rubber is nowhere near as soft and compliant as new. Ain't gonna grab the road surface. First hard turn in a sweeping curve could prove to be the last curve that tire, or your son, ever makes.

And, at 4000 miles on those old OEM tires, they were at least half way through their tread life anyway.

I know- go stick a jack knife through those old tires, nice big gashes, then drop a 100 dollar bill on the seat and tell him, "Oh, I'm so sorry, but here's the purchase price for one of the 2 new tires you'll need." A soft, sarcastic smile will be the frosting on the cake. Tell him, "I love you, Son." Then turn around and walk away, whistling an old tune...

Sometimes even adult kids need a kick in the pants from the old man.

Beautiful!
 

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That's a bold move but I like it too. Steve, it sounds like you have kids, yes?

By the way, my math is off. Tires are 25 years old, not 15. It's hell getting old.

Barry
Nope, no kids for my wife and I...

But I'm #6 of 7 myself, an uncle about a dozen times, soon to be a great-uncle for the 3rd time, and practice parenting vicariously about a thousand times a year via John and Jane Public. I learn well by observing others' mistakes. And, TV's Red Foreman and Hank Hill are two of my personal heroes.

I have done stuff like this before, destroy an otherwise dangerous "thing" before I, or anyone else, can use it again.

Hope your son reads this thread and gets the message that others are watching out for him. Best of luck to him!
 

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Those tires will last forever. Since they are so old they will be very hard and never wear out. This is not a good thing :) If your tires are not wearing out every 10,000 miles then they are probably very slick. Why screw with your life for $200? Even dropping his bike will cost him that.
 
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