Bicycle tires are made of two layers, both of which use rubber for their flexibility. The outer surface or tread is only rubber, while the layer below, known as the carcass, is a fabric that is coated or soaked with rubber, so rubber degradation is the biggest concern when storing unused tires. How long do bicycle tires last in storage?
Bicycle tires will last 3 to 6 years in storage if they are stored in a cool, dark place to prevent cracking or tears. Heat and light exposure will degrade the rubber compound causing it to dry rot quicker. Tread patterns, size, weight, and thickness doesn’t affect the amount of time a tire will last in storage.
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How Long Do Unused Bike Tires Last
A poorly made tire is always going to fail first. All unused bike tires last around 3 to 6 years. There’s not a lot of variation in the material and shelf life of a good-quality bicycle tire.
For example, you might expect, as I did, that a thicker tire will last longer, but it won’t.
The outside layer of thick tires will break down at the same rate as a thinner tire, or one with a different tread pattern, leaving you with a useless tire either way.
Rubber is rubber, and the chemical makeup isn’t something companies adjust much when making bike tires, so they all begin on surprisingly even footing.
Do Bike Tires Go Bad With Age
Bicycle tires do go bad with age. Rubber will begin to dry rot after 3 to 6 years, even when nothing else speeds up the process.
Most bike tire companies recommend a maximum storage time of 6 years, but it’s important to note that the tire will only maintain its peak performance for around 3 of those years.
Although an older tire is safe to use 4 to 6 years after the manufacturing date, you shouldn’t expect them to hold up as well or last as long.
It’s essential to inspect tires that have been in storage before use. Look for any small cracks or tears, and always check over the material for dry spots where it is flaking or crumbling.
If you find any problem areas dispose of the old tires immediately. Don’t put them on your bicycle.
Which Bike Tires Last The Longest In Storage
No brand or style of bike tire lasts longer in storage because the rate at which rubber breaks down is the same.
However, cheaply made tires from unreliable companies won’t stay viable as long as most. Companies that cut their rates have to make up that money somehow.
That usually means a lack of quality control, inferior materials, or cutting other corners, so it’s best to store bike tires from well-known and trusted companies.
I strongly recommend Maxxis – Minion DHF Dual Compound Tubeless Folding MTB Tires for overall durability.
These tires are known for their ability to outlast other brands, and they come with a limited warranty that covers any factory defects or problems with the workmanship. Learn more about them by clicking here.
- MINION DHF: With a tread design that deftly balances rolling speed with braking and cornering traction, it's hard to find fault with the Minion DHF. That's probably why it's one of the most imitated tires in mountain biking.
- EXO: An extremely cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of select mountain tires. This densely woven fabric is also lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tire remains unaffected. Choose EXO Protection for exceptionally rocky, treacherous trails where the chance of sidewall cuts and abrasions is high.
- DUAL COMPOUND: Two compounds used within the tread offer lower rolling resistance and increased cornering grip compared to single compound tires.
- TUBELESS READY: Sealant-compatible rubber is used with a Tubeless Ready bead to securley lock to the rim with, or without, an innertube.
How To Make Bike Tires Last Longer In Storage
There are several ways to make bike tires last longer in storage. Simply putting them up properly can mean the difference between wasted money and tire you use year after year.
Below I’ve collected a quick list of ways to make your tires last when packed away in storage:
- Don’t store tires in the open air. Always cover them.
- Wrap tires in cellophane or plastic before putting them away if you can’t cover them.
- Make sure there’s air movement in the place where you store your tires.
- Avoid storing bicycle tires near ozone producing machines
- Always keep tires vertical on a wall or horizontal, laying flat.
- Never put up inflated tires. Let the air out first.
Bicycle Tire Storage Ideas
You can store tires on a wall rack in a garage, basement, or attic so long as it’s climate controlled. Spaces with no heat or cooling are problematic for rubber tires.
More importantly, it’s easy to rotate tires on a wall rack, and you can wrap the individual tires instead of covering them.
Be wary of garage storage since engines like those in cars and lawn care equipment can create ozone.
The other best option for storing your unused bicycle tires is to get a plastic tub. The shallow tubs that have lids and fit under your bed are great for this because you can lay the tires down horizontally.
They won’t need rotating, and it’s easy to avoid heat vents. Once you close the lid, you can put the tires under your bed or in a closet somewhere indoors where it won’t get too hot or be exposed to sunlight or ozone.
How Long Do Mountain Bike Tires Last In Storage
Mountain bike tires or MTB tires are notorious for their upkeep needs. It can be difficult to tell exactly when you need to replace this style because the tread is more prominent to begin with.
Fortunately, the treads are only part of the overall concern with unused tires because they’re rubber like the rest. For this style, you need to check for dry rot.
How fast a stored MTB tire dry rots will depend on whether you have stored it properly and the climate where you live. In arid regions like the desert, dry rot can set in quickly.
They will see damage in four or five years. It could be sooner if you store the tires in a garage or outdoor shed where they heat up more than usual.
Meanwhile, people who live in damp areas can usually get six or sometimes seven years before the tires begin to rot. The added moisture benefits the rubber and helps keep it pliant and hydrated.
How Long Do Road Bike Tyres Last In Storage
Road bike tyres last the same 3 to 6 years as most other tires. However, some people swear that you can safely store a road bike tire for over a decade.
The problem with this idea is that it’s hard to verify. Manufacturers don’t recommend it, and all the ‘evidence’ is in the form of individual unverified tales.
For example, a contributor on Bike Forums said, “…in a dark, cool, dry basement. My experience is that my tires last at least 20 years, but obviously, by the time they get up over 15 or so years old, I use them on closer-to-home rides, don’t want to take any chances.”
I recommend replacing your road bike tires after no more than six years or when they start to show damage, whichever happens first.
How Long Do Fat Bike Tires Last In Storage
Fat tire bikes mat seem like their tires should store for longer. Sadly they don’t. The expiration date on fat tires, even when stored unused, is six years after the manufacture date.
Any fat bike tire over six years old needs to be replaced regardless of tread wear or apparent fitness for riding.
Helpful Tips To Know About How Long Bicycle Tires Last In Storage
Bicycle tires last for years in storage as long as it’s dark and cool. Unfortunately, tires exposed to sun, ozone, and get won’t make it that long.
Here are more helpful tips to know about how long bicycle tires last in storage.
- There’s not much point in having bike tires that last more than six years. For one thing, most riders will need to change tires long before they rot or break down. Plus, thanks to advances in technology, you are likely to find better and longer-lasting tires 5 or 6 years from now.
- Schwalbe’s tires come in pre-Addix and post Addix rubber. The Addix compound is meant to help tires with speed, grip, and softness. However, there is some evidence that it also makes tires more likely to store for a maximum of 6 years rather than only lasting for 3.
- Things that cause bike tires to degrade include time, UV light or photodegradation, ozone, solvents, chemicals, or heat, and freezing.
Bicycle tires last a long time in storage. At worst, you should expect any half-decent brand to produce a tire that can stay on the shelf for at least 3 years.
If the storage conditions are ideal, dark, not too dry, cool, and far from any ozone or solvents, then your tires could store up to 6 years.
Most tires have a 6 year expiration date anyway because they are prone to deterioration over time.