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Vinegar your tires, really... this is a thing?
 

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17465
Location: Portland, OR

4/26/19 10:30 AM

Vinegar your tires, really... this is a thing?

;)

http://www.challengetech.it/news/179/en


“Vinegar.” I said again, patiently, “Vinegar.” I thought they are pulling some old Belgian joke, which would be fine, but I did not want to pass along the joke before I understood I alone bore the brunt of the joke. “Yes,” they said, “You must wipe the tires with vinegar, any cheap vinegar, to clean the sticky oils from the tread and “dry out” the surface of the natural rubbers.” I know that vinegar is an astringent that will dry oils from your skin so I let them continue.

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Pino
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 162
Location: Apeldoorn - The Netherlands

4/26/19 1:50 PM

We use vinegar to clean the tires every time we ride the track. The banking is pretty steep and you would use voodoo to optimize grip.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

4/26/19 3:07 PM

Interesting...I've never heard that one before. It has the ring of an "old wives tale", but perhaps there's something to it. I don't ride handmade tires, so I'm not particularly worried about it.

I'm somewhat confused by Pino's comment. If vinegar makes "small stones" less likely to stick to the tires, wouldn't it make the tires less likely to stick to the track? Or perhaps, he's referring to an outdoor track where dirt, sand, dust and such sticking to the tires would make them less grippy.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6279
Location: Maine

4/26/19 4:25 PM

My understanding

I think you would apply vinegar after you have hung the tires for a year for the rubber to age...:)

I’m not doubting Pino, track racing is a world I have no knowledge of.

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Pino
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 162
Location: Apeldoorn - The Netherlands

4/27/19 5:52 AM

Did anyone see the crash of Wouter van Aert in Paris-Roubaix?

A couple of riders who ride the track here, blamed it on the failure of the mechanics to clean the newly mounted tubulars with vinegar. The crash happened in the first corner threader faced with a new bike.

We use it also when riding on a clean track as the one we have here in Apeldoorn (look for Omnisport Apeldoorn).
Main purpose would be to clean the surface of a new tubular (or tyre) and remove the new coating and dust/dirt.
I doubt the purpose would be to prevent new cuts. To harden the surface you would have the tubular stocked in a dark/dry/cool place for a few years before mounting them. Rubber would get a bit harder/dryer.
This would be contrary to the goal you have on the track, which is to have a soft/grippy surface.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2995
Location: Midland, MI

4/28/19 8:11 AM

NH3

I always use ammonia on the slicks on my AA Fueled dragster. It make them smoke more :)

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3279
Location: NorCal

5/1/19 12:22 AM

"I always use ammonia on the slicks on my AA Fueled dragster. It make them smoke more :)"

I always wondered why in the old days the water box or burn-out area of the dragstrip was called a "bleach box".

Maybe there is something about rubber and ionic liquids that works together to create or restore traction, but as for new tires there is no doubt that there is something very slippery on them (mold-release or preservative) that makes them dangerous the first time that they are thrown into a corner.

Same with aged tires that haven't been ridden in months or years, very slippery until some mileage has passed under them.

Now combine aging with newness and that rider's fall could have been predicted.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

5/1/19 5:56 AM

My understanding is that as tires age (car tires at least) and aren't used, compounds on the surface of the tread dry out, which can cause it to crack. This is particularly a problem if they're exposed to sunlight. When tires are uses, these compounds are continually forced back to the surface and help to preserve it.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2995
Location: Midland, MI

5/2/19 2:53 PM

Wearing off

They aren't forced back in. They wear off. The surface oxidizes and forms a brittle/friable layer. Think about those crumbling sidewalls on the "gumwall" bike tires of old. When you ride the tire or drive the car, the brittle surface is continuously scrubbed off, leaving fresh rubber.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17465
Location: Portland, OR

5/2/19 4:26 PM

I try to remember to pick bits outta the tires at stops and so forth. Or grab a stick and reach down to rub it as the tire rotates and pops new residents off. Then less are likely to work into an thru to the tube.

Going to try [been doing] the vinegar wiping. Put a small bottle in the car next to the chain lube...

Here it is 1/2 and 1/2 flints and glass shards and occasionally a wire from a blown out steel belted tire... And once in a great while a chunk of glass, but since fatter rims/tire running less pressures have been deployed not seen this, yet. In fact last chunk was a 23mm Tubular @ 100 PSI. Tire was toast, last time for me with sew ups... It just seemed like the 72 Paramount should be riding on them...

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

5/2/19 6:00 PM

Kerry, I think you misunderstood. The compounds in question are forced to the surface from within the tread by the flexing during use. They prevent the tire from dry rotting. It's why tires that are used continually aren't prone to dry rot, even in areas that are not subject to wear. I know this is true of automotive tires, but I don't know if it's the case for bike tires as well.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2995
Location: Midland, MI

5/4/19 10:59 AM

Understanding

Once rubber is compounded and vulcanized, things are not moving around in the matrix. The antioxidants and UV inhibitors are uniformly distributed throughout the rubber and don't migrate due to the flexing of the rubber. If someone said this happens in car tires, I would have to see the research that supports the claim, because I'm pretty certain this is simply not what is happening.

The reason rubber (or any plastic) "dry rots" is because the antioxidants and UV inhibitors are actually consumed by the chemistry going on. Antioxidants react with (and are thus destroyed by) the free radicals generated by UV and ozone exposure, and the UV inhibitors are consumed as they are hit by UV radiation. Think of them as sacrificial compounds that shield the actual rubber.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

5/4/19 6:38 PM

OK, perhaps the article I read was incorrect and I can't recall the source. Your second paragraph sounds very familiar and makes perfect sense based on what I know about UV inhibitors in other applications.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3279
Location: NorCal

5/6/19 7:38 PM

Out here in CA, the chemical activity happens quite fast. Tires become squeaky after just a month or two of sitting, and an inner tube left hanging in a ventilated garage can show cracks/leaks within just 2-3 months in summertime.

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2995
Location: Midland, MI

5/8/19 8:35 AM

Ozone?

Whereabouts in CA? That suggests a lot of ozone in the air. Think about how good that is for your health!

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3279
Location: NorCal

5/8/19 10:48 AM

North-east of the central valley, so the predominant summertime airflow path can drift in from the South Pacific and China, then pass through L.A, the central valley (farmland and metro's), through Sacramento Valley and finally up into these Sierra Foothills where tree-sap vapors mix in and cook into photo-chemical smog.

It's a very nice place to live but the smog/ozone can peak high at times during the Summer months.

Not particularly blaming China here as that's certainly the smallest part of the problem, but there is all that manufacturing there and dilution only can do so much when the air is moving in the "wrong" direction. Their local air can of course be far, far worse than here.

Another real "hot spot" for smog level is the San Gabriel Valley, East of Los Angeles. From the trails up atop the Santa Monica Mountains above L.A. you can plainly see how bad that the air is from it being relatively trapped in place above 60 miles of metro sprawl.

A lot (and I mean a LOT) has been done to address California's smog levels over the decades, what a difference it has made!

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