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Old 02-20-2016, 07:45 AM
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Tire inspection

My XJ1100 has Metzeler ME880 tires on the front an rear. The date codes are 4407 and 3407. I bought the bike in 2012. The tires appear nearly new. I have not ridden it very much but enough to keep the carbs working.

The previous owners appeared to have replaced the tires in 2007 or 2008 and mostly parked the bike. The bike is alleged to have been parked indoors by the original owners and I believe it with the absence of rust almost everywhere that my XJ650 of the same year was rusted.

What exactly am I looking for to inspect for possible problems with 9 year old tires?
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Old 02-20-2016, 08:53 AM
andreashweiss andreashweiss is offline
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date code tires.

good morning. I tend to ride any bike I am on at higher than the posted speed. I like to push a bike into the corner. I would take those tires off, drill a big hole in the side wall and buy the best new tires I could afford. The tires are too old for my piece of mind. thanx andreas
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Old 02-20-2016, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreashweiss View Post
good morning. I tend to ride any bike I am on at higher than the posted speed. I like to push a bike into the corner. I would take those tires off, drill a big hole in the side wall and buy the best new tires I could afford. The tires are too old for my piece of mind. thanx andreas
I tend to agree. That being said, I'm riding on even older tires right now. The bike was parked in the basement all those years, inoperable, with new tires on it. I can feel the rubber is still soft, so I'm out riding around on them. I'll replace them once the pavement gets hot and I'm venturing farther from the house day to day. It's a risk I'm willing to take as I see it as low in this case. YMMV
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Old 02-20-2016, 09:10 AM
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The rear tire on the 80SG is almost worn to where it needs replacement, Dunlop K491 Elite II. Older than I want to admit now that I just checked the "born on date"... Picked up a new 230 Tourmaster rear a while back. The worn tire that I now know is also old, is on the way out this spring. New front 230 Tourmaster is already on the front, so a nice matched set.

With that said, a tire on a bike kept in a garage out of the sun and elements will stay serviceable longer than a bike stored under the old oak tree out back.

Use your judgement as to whether the sidewalls are showing cracking, is the rubber hard or not, or what our own comfort feels good with based on the tire date.
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Old 02-20-2016, 09:36 AM
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Tires

Those dates put the tires in a gray area for sure. Best to replace them with newer ones. I have used many of the Metzler tires with 0 problems.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:43 AM
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Ok, so I should clean the tires, inspect for cracks, inspect softness and probably buy new tires anyway. I will compare to the new tires I just had installed on the FJR.

With that said, I have a small dilemma. The front should be 100/90-19. The Metzeler web site shows a 100/90-19 in the ME880, but none of the parts web sites I have looked at has that in stock. They mostly all have a 110/90-19. The fender clearance should accommodate the wider tire, but just barely.

Anyone ever use a wider tire than spec in front?
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:07 PM
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IanDMacDonald IanDMacDonald is offline
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The 110 works, but will be a tight clearance. I had tjem on mine, and now have Metzeler LaserTecs now.
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Old 02-20-2016, 04:59 PM
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At that age and where you live, those tires are probably getting marginal... unless the bike was stored in an air-conditioned space.

FWIW, when the Feds did a big tire study in the wake of the Firestone/Ford Explorer debacle, they were unable to find any reported accidents that could be solely attributed to aged tires... The 'tire expiration' is primarily a legal fiction to remove liability off the manufacturers. You won't find ANY tire manufacturer who will say that their tires become 'unsafe' beyond that expiration date, merely that they 'recommend' that you replace them.
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Last edited by crazy steve; 02-20-2016 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfCentury View Post
With that said, I have a small dilemma. The front should be 100/90-19. The Metzeler web site shows a 100/90-19 in the ME880, but none of the parts web sites I have looked at has that in stock. They mostly all have a 110/90-19. The fender clearance should accommodate the wider tire, but just barely.
The ME880 runs a bit big. IIRC, I measured mine at 105 mm wide for a 100/90-19. The bigger tire might not fit. Bigger tires turn in slower. I wouldn't try to fit the 110 Metzeler unless you can find someone who can tell you it fits.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:17 AM
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Just my opinion we all have one but tires have changed in the past 10 years not only in wear but in bonding. What you see outside may not be the only issue with a tire that has some age on it I Had a continental on mine that looked good still in balance was stored in a basement but what is did to me was create a high speed wobble that I could not find where it came from. New tire cured it so it was the tire. However I had a cousin who has a Chevy 2500 pick up and had Goodyear tires with less than 5000 miles on them but about 8 years old. No exterior cracks vehicle garaged most of the time and never driven on anything but paved roads and had one blow right off the rim at 70 miles an hour with no warning. On a bike that you tend to push it tires can be a real risk. I have heard of many having similar issues but these I know happened not just passed around stories.
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Old 02-21-2016, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy steve View Post
At that age and where you live, those tires are probably getting marginal... unless the bike was stored in an air-conditioned space.

FWIW, when the Feds did a big tire study in the wake of the Firestone/Ford Explorer debacle, they were unable to find any reported accidents that could be solely attributed to aged tires... The 'tire expiration' is primarily a legal fiction to remove liability off the manufacturers. You won't find ANY tire manufacturer who will say that their tires become 'unsafe' beyond that expiration date, merely that they 'recommend' that you replace them.
Hi Steve

A history of this bike. I bought from a guy who drove it from Minnesota to Virginia Beach. He bought it from the original owner (female) who kept it indoors while not being ridden. I believe it.

He wanted to take a cross country trip on a bike but did not want to own it nor restore it. As soon has he got home he put it up for sale on Craigslist. I bought it in Virginia Beach.

The odometer was broken and had 36,000 miles showing. My suspicion is that almost no miles were put on the bike after the Metzelers were mounted.

When I picked it up, I put into a storage unit and drove it occasionally until I bought a house in NC in late 2013. It has been in my garage constantly unless I am riding it.
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Old 02-21-2016, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViperRon View Post
Just my opinion we all have one but tires have changed in the past 10 years not only in wear but in bonding. What you see outside may not be the only issue with a tire that has some age on it I Had a continental on mine that looked good still in balance was stored in a basement but what is did to me was create a high speed wobble that I could not find where it came from. New tire cured it so it was the tire. However I had a cousin who has a Chevy 2500 pick up and had Goodyear tires with less than 5000 miles on them but about 8 years old. No exterior cracks vehicle garaged most of the time and never driven on anything but paved roads and had one blow right off the rim at 70 miles an hour with no warning. On a bike that you tend to push it tires can be a real risk. I have heard of many having similar issues but these I know happened not just passed around stories.
Yeah, a motorcycle blowout would be a really big problem. Good advice.
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:18 PM
crazy steve crazy steve is offline
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It all gets down to your comfort level after inspecting the tires. Personally, where I live I wouldn't hesitate to run those tires if they looked good. You hear lots of antidotal horror stories, but the number of tire failures that have been proven to be caused by age are almost non-existent.

[quote] However I had a cousin who has a Chevy 2500 pick up and had Goodyear tires with less than 5000 miles on them but about 8 years old. No exterior cracks vehicle garaged most of the time and never driven on anything but paved roads and had one blow right off the rim at 70 miles an hour with no warning. [quote]

Ron, I hate to say this but this is the typical story that really doesn't prove anything. I had a identical experience with a tire that was only a few years old, but in my case I just barely caught out of the corner of my eye a very small bit of debris come out from under the car next to me and strike my rear tire. The tire blew out (at 70 mph) and by the time I got stopped it was so shredded that it would have been impossible to determine what caused the failure. If I hadn't seen anything and the tire was 'old', this could be another 'well, the tire just failed for no reason, must be it was old' stories.
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Fast, Cheap, Reliable... Pick any two

'78E original owner - resto project
'78E ???? owner - Modder project FJ forks, 4-piston calipers F/R, 160/80-16 rear tire
'82 XJ rebuild project
'80SG restified, red SOLD
'79F parts...
'81H more parts...

Other current bikes:
'93 XL1200 Anniversary Sportster 85RWHP
'86 XL883/1200 Chopper
'82 XL1000 w/1450cc Buell, Baker 6-speed, in-progress project
Cage: '13 Mustang GT/CS with a few 'custom' touches
Yep, can't leave nuthin' alone...

Last edited by crazy steve; 02-21-2016 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:37 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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Hey there HalfCentury,

I had my bike that had the tranny die in 1992, parked it, didn't get around to working on it till 2000, done in 2001. Had Dunlop 491 Elite II's with plenty of tread depth. However, the bike did sit outside for those 9 years, so they were a little hard, but I was still rather ignorant, and so I used them. Rode 2 long distance rallies, first, VA to Alexandria Bay, NY. and back; then down to Asheville, NC and ran the twisties. Then next year another rally up to Pennsylvania, and then again down to XS East area. I was actually riding it these first few rallies instead of trailering. After arriving in Northern Ga. a fellow Xsive showed me that I had worn my rear down to a slick in the middle! The year before, the rear would break loose when I would vigorously downgear during the twisties and such!

SO...that Saturday Morning, got up extra early, rode the 20 miles into down to the local bike shop, had a NEW Dunlop Elite II put on, and it was like night and day. Felt like I was riding on rails it was so stable and grippy! Had a great weekend and no worry ride back home!

So...like Steve said, if they feel relatively soft and no signs of cracking in the tread grooves, then you are probably safe in getting your miles of wear out of them. YMMV!

T.C.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:29 PM
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I agree Steve that the tire would probably be ok and I would try it, but I would look for feel and handling and have a suspicions outlook till I rode it a little. And as you said Steve there has been little accepted proof that a tire has ever failed from age just like there is little proof of any wrong doing in Benghazi just what the people who were there said happened and no one ever believes them. That is why people just throw tires away rather than report it its too much trouble. I worked at a Woolco automotive store back in the 70's and we replaced a lot of Firestone tires and some I know mechanics saw separation on the inside but that could have been from over or under inflation hitting chug holes what ever but I do remember we threw darn near every steel belted firestone tire in the grind pile instead of the retread then. I remember because I was the stock boy doing the count and logging the serial numbers.

I would drive it and just check it and if it feels funny throw it away.
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