Mountain bikers always have spare tires with them. And most of the time, you just store them somewhere and forget about them. Why? Because they’re just an extra pair of tires!
But what happens when you store tires is that they easily succumb to dry rot.
This damages the tires’ composition and makes them unsafe for riding. It distorts the tires’ shape and increases the chances of it exploding when you use it.
This article helps you avoid this by discussing the best ways of storing tires and avoiding dry rotting.
Clean and dry the tires
The first thing you should consider is to always clean the tires first. And not just ordinary cleaning, but you also must make sure that it is very dry. There should be no traces of dirt, asphalt, or dust on it.
These contaminants can damage the tire and seep into its material and cause further deterioration when stored in the long term. Using cleaning products is a nice idea. But not all of the time.
This is because some products like tire shine for winter tires contain tire dressings and petroleum which are corrosive to your tires. Just use a tire brush, water, and regular soap to rinse off any impurities on the tire tread to prevent dry rot. Wipe them thoroughly afterward.
Keep tires away from direct sunlight
Never store tires in an area that is exposed directly to the sun. The sun’s heat contains UV rays which can damage your tires in the long run. Many experts also confirm that UV rays are the biggest factor in tire deterioration.
Direct sunlight heats the tires’ rubber material and leads to early deterioration. UV rays can also easily penetrate the rubber and dry it out.
This then leads to its rubber compounds breaking down, which then causes cracks and deformities. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible when storing your mountain bike tires.
You can also cover it with a thick tarpaulin or cloth so that sunlight can’t easily penetrate it. Also, make sure that the light can’t pass through the tarp or fabric. You can also purchase tire covers that are specifically designed to protect your bike tires from dry rotting.
Store in a dry and cool place
The best area to store tires in a dry environment that has a cool temperature.
Humidity levels should also be consistent and shouldn’t fluctuate because the constant changing of humidity and temperature can damage the tires and lead to dry rot. However, it’s also not recommended to store them in freezing temperatures because the rubber compound can freeze and crack later.
The ideal storage temperature is around 10 to 20 degrees celsius. You should store your tires in a climate-controlled storage unit. This maintains a consistent environment that isn’t too warm or too cold.
Basements are a good choice as well. But just make sure that they are away from water tanks, furnaces, pumps, or machines that produce ozone. We also recommend that you avoid storing your tires in your garage because sunlight and weather changes are common here and can lead to dry rot for unmounted tires.
Store them in the right position
You must store the unmounted tires in the right position once you already have a storage location. We don’t recommend that you hang or stack bike tires because these can create deformities especially if they aren’t moved around that much. But there are also times when you have no choice but to stack them horizontally because you don’t have much space.
One of the best ways to store the tires is to hang them on soft small hooks. You can also stack them on top of each other and not put much pressure. It’s also best if you rotate the position of the tires monthly to avoid deformities.
Inspect the tires before use
Tires can last for many years without getting any damage if they are just stored properly. But many experts claim that the average lifespan of unused tires is just five to six years after their production date. This is because the tires’ rubber compound breaks down.
If you are taking your tires out from storage and you plan to use them, make sure that you first check signs of cracking.
Look for signs of wear and tear because these usually happen with unused tires that haven’t moved for years. Pests like termites, rats, and other insects might have also munched on the tires and damaged them.
How long do bike tires last in storage?
It depends on a variety of factors such as age, how much you have used them, rubber compound, storage location, and positioning.
But you can expect bike tires to last five to six years after their production date if they are kept in a dry and dark place with constant temperatures that won’t fluctuate.
Best Methods For Storing Your Bike Tires
Stack bike tires
Stacking bike tires is the most common way of storing tires. You can do this by laying the tire’s sidewall flat and separating them with a piece of cardboard. However, you need to change their position regularly, just like every month, to avoid distortion.
Hang bike tires
You can also hang your bike tires and inflate them slightly up to a maximum of 5 or 10 PSI. This PSI is enough to avoid the tire compound from sagging. You can use a garden hose hanger or lumber hook to serve as a hook for your tires.
Bike tires are folded in cardboard packaging when you buy them. This means that this is their original storage position and you can do this back to them again.
Just fold your tires and tie them down with a zip tie or rubber band. Just make sure that you don’t store them for months because this can damage the tires long-term.
Learning how to store mountain bike tires properly is important so you don’t end up wasting them.
There are already many cases when stored bike tires are damaged because of dry rotting. Either they are exposed to direct sunlight, or get wet now and then.
Whichever the case is, it’s best to keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place without putting much pressure on them. When you do, then you’ll surely have another set of tires to put on your wheels whenever you need them.