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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember a TdF piece a couple of years ago about Lance and company aging their tubies in French caves or something for a period of years to increase their grip or something. Anyways, I've got a couple of nice pairs of clinchers I've sprung for over the past few years (Vittoria (02) and Veloflex (05) high-end ones).

I ride on them a couple of times a year, and probably have 250-400 miles on each, and they seem to be holding up fine, with only a few little nicks. When they're not in use, I keep them in a cool dark place (hanging in closet).

I'm going to assume I can keep using them as long as the rubber doesn't separate from the threads or something. I figure that if the rubber starts to feel brittle, I'll chuck them, but not the case so far.

Anybody know much about tire life, if Lance's aging thing is a gimick, and if there is any truth to the aging thing. I realize that Lance and his ilk can probably tell the subtle differences. Me, I just don't want to replace 80 dollar tires if I don't have to.
 

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Thanks for reminding me of one of the funniest parts of that "Lance Chronicles" episode...I got a good chuckle relating this to one of Armstrong's TDF mechanics (who happens to live near me)...his only response was "Those crazy Belgians..." :rolleyes:

Let's see...does rubber typically get more compliant or does it get stiffer with age?...hmmmm...
 

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tanhalt said:
Let's see...does rubber typically get more compliant or does it get stiffer with age?...hmmmm...

I wonder if the idea was aging the cotton or silk more so than the rubber?
The majority of the better tubulars are mainly cotton or silk & the rubber comprises a very thin layer. Just wondering ;) I dont age my tubulars but I do prestretch them on blank rims till I need them.
 

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flying said:
I wonder if the idea was aging the cotton or silk more so than the rubber?
The majority of the better tubulars are mainly cotton or silk & the rubber comprises a very thin layer. Just wondering ;) I dont age my tubulars but I do prestretch them on blank rims till I need them.
Naah...I think the "idea" is that the old Belgian mechanic was taught this ritual by a "master"... and who is he to question the wisdom of his forebears?

It must work, too, since Lance won 7 TDF's in a row...on 6-7 year old tires!

There's an old saying about training that you don't know if a pro is fast because of, or in spite of, his training. Well, you can say (almost) the same thing about some bike mechanics and their "rituals"...:rolleyes:
 

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Not all that weird.

There are some facts behind aging tires. In the days of Coppi and Bartali, tubular tires were hand-built, with rubber cement bonding the layers. Because the solvent in the rubber cement evaporated very slowly, it was common practice to store the tires for a year or so after they left the factory. Rubber stores best in a cool, dark environment at relative humidities between 60 - 90%, so most people stored them in their basements.

Because tires are now vulcanized, they can be used right after they're made. Still, it's not such an absurd idea to let the rubber softening agents outgas before using the tire. The rubber is a bit harder afterwards, which means the tread is more resistant to punctures. There's also a slight lessening of rolling resistance because of the harder rubber, but I doubt if it would make much of a difference to the outcome of a race.
 

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wim said:
There are some facts behind aging tires. In the days of Coppi and Bartali, tubular tires were hand-built, with rubber cement bonding the layers. Because the solvent in the rubber cement evaporated very slowly, it was common practice to store the tires for a year or so after they left the factory. Rubber stores best in a cool, dark environment at relative humidities between 60 - 90%, so most people stored them in their basements.

Because tires are now vulcanized, they can be used right after they're made. Still, it's not such an absurd idea to let the rubber softening agents outgas before using the tire. The rubber is a bit harder afterwards, which means the tread is more resistant to punctures. There's also a slight lessening of rolling resistance because of the harder rubber, but I doubt if it would make much of a difference to the outcome of a race.
Like I said....an ancient "ritual" which, although it MAY have had some utility in the distant past, is no longer necessary. Besides, I highly doubt that the mechanic (or anyone else) has ever done a controlled experiment to see if there actually was any difference (and if there is a difference, is it favorable?) between fresh tires and the tires he "aged" for over 6 years (!)

He may as well have been performing a Voodoo ceremony over the tires and rubbing them with chicken bones...:rolleyes:

I found this "procedure" to be very amusing, especially considering all the "high tech" testing and development done by the "F1" team in most of the other areas of bicycle racing technology.
 

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I found this "procedure" to be very amusing, especially considering all the "high tech" testing and development done by the "F1" team in most of the other areas of bicycle racing technology.
Bicycle racing always was and still is full of misconceptions, myths and die-hard habits. Some of the things about bicycles you believe to be true right now will greatly amuse those who will start riding after you hang it up.
 

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wim said:
Bicycle racing always was and still is full of misconceptions, myths and die-hard habits. Some of the things about bicycles you believe to be true right now will greatly amuse those who will start riding after you hang it up.
Heck...I amuse MYSELF sometimes thinking about some of the things I used to "believe",...until I actually took the time to question the validity of those "beliefs". :)
 

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Speedy critters.

I hear you. In the 1960s in Europe there was a theory going around that you'd ride faster if you eat the meat of animals that can run fast. I believed it then - and the less said about that, the better.:eek:

But there is mystery in bike racing - far removed from physics, aerodynamics and nutritional science. Some days you ride so unexplainably fast and strong that you can't believe you're inhabiting the same old body. No sense in asking why - just, as the song goes, let the mystery be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Science, not speculation

Take a look at this:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html

And, I can't find a credible reference online, but I'm certain that a valid study was published recently that stated that the bread crust is more nutritious than the bread inside. Had something to do with the formation of new organic compounds as the outside of a baking loaf of bread browns. Who knew. I thought is was just something that the crazy granddad of my college girlfriend said along with tales of giging frogs and "shiving Japs in the war" (his words not mine).

Anyways, my point is that both the hot water freezing and the bread studies seem at first counterintuative.

Is there anything to the aging rubber thing? I don't know, but it seems that most are quick to discount things that seem absurd without scientific reasoning, either pro or con.

Anybody know of a legit study on the properties of aging rubber (vulcanized or not), or of the cotton/silk threads that these tires contain?

Maybe there's really something to crusty Belgian/French mechanics hanging tires in the wine cellar? Probably not, but does any of us really know?
 

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indianabob said:
Maybe there's really something to crusty Belgian/French mechanics hanging tires in the wine cellar? Probably not, but does any of us really know?
Tires in the wine cellar??? Sounds like a great excuse to go have a splash of the vino in the afternoon under the premise of making sure the tires are aging properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
rockstar2083 said:
Tires in the wine cellar??? Sounds like a great excuse to go have a splash of the vino in the afternoon under the premise of making sure the tires are aging properly.
Ha! Maybe that's how it all got started? Maybe I'll put the dirty dishes, laundry, and table that needs refinishing in the "wine cellar." Wait, I don't have one, oh well.
 

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indianabob said:
Anyways, my point is that both the hot water freezing and the bread studies seem at first counterintuative.
I'd say the point is that a poorly designed experiment will give poor results that may seem counterintuitve because what is being revealed is not the phenomenon expected. What does the water example prove? That cooling one water sample that differs in many ways from another including being hotter, may freeze faster? Big deal. I think that would be intuitive to most people. The falllacy is starting with the premise that the water/cooler systems are identical except for the temperature of the water in the experiment. In all the examples cited in the write-up that isn't the case. Who would be surprised that 34F water in a thermos would freeze more slowly than 210F water in an aluminum pan?
 
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