Author Topic: How long does a bike last?  (Read 6224 times)

Gin1984

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How long does a bike last?
« on: December 10, 2015, 08:00:13 PM »
Assuming you take care and maintain a bike, how many miles should you be able to get out of it?

shuffler

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2015, 10:40:47 PM »
Many 10s of thousands of miles, if not 100s of thousands.

Eventually your question runs up against the Ship of Theseus problem, as you become a bike nut and continually make adjustments.

sol

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 11:12:50 PM »
Bikes are almost too easy to service, so after you've replaced all of the parts is it really the same bike any more?  Most people will replace brake pads regularly,  chains and cogs slightly less often, wheels and bearings every five to seven years.  Handlebars and forks usually last the longest.  Basically anything other than getting a new frame effectively means it's the "same" bike.

I know folks who still ride steel frames from the late 1970s as daily commuters.  Those bikes are pushing 40 years old and some have been ridden every single one of those years.

GuitarStv

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2015, 07:02:49 AM »
It depends.  My dad gave me his old Peugot UO8 steel framed bike from the early 70s, and I was all excited to try and fix it up.  The frame is in good shape.  The thing is, older bikes often have funny compatibility issues . . .

- If I want to change the pedals, I can't.  The cranks are french threaded, which is non-standard.
- If I want to change the cranks for something lighter and that can accept regular pedals, I can't.  The bottom bracket is french threaded . . . and there's only one compatible bottom bracket unit that I can find which costs 50$!
- The stem that's currently on it is an AVA stem . . . and apparently they occasionally break off mid-ride.  However, it's a non-standard size stem . . . so there would be some bodging with sandpaper if I wanted to replace it with a newer one.
- The wheels currently on the bike are chromed steel . . . and they downright suck for braking power.  They're also not 700C, which means I can't just buy a standard bike wheel at the store and replace them.
- The frame isn't designed for normal modern road bike spacing for the rear hub.  It might be possible to mechanically spread the rear triangle to accommodate this, but I could ruin the frame doing this.
- The derailleur hangar is not designed for regular Shimano stuff, so I'd have to do some steel grinding and hope for the best if I wanted to replace the damaged old simplex derailleur that's currently there.
- The shift levers are damaged . . . but there's no standard mount for downtube levers on the frame, Peugot decided to go with a proprietary clamp on thing for their crappy plastic levers.
- If I wanted to use bar end shifters on the bike, there are no brazed on cable stops . . . so I'd have to figure out some way of running and routing the cables properly.
- Oh yeah, non-standard saddle post diameter, and the seat post that's currently there doesn't work with normal saddles with rails underneath.
- The front derailleur doesn't work all that well either.



It's possible to fix all of these issues . . . but with old components and changing standards . . . there does come a point where it's cheaper to buy a new bike.

argonaut_astronaut

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2015, 07:17:26 AM »
It depends.  My dad gave me his old Peugot UO8 steel framed bike from the early 70s, and I was all excited to try and fix it up.  The frame is in good shape.  The thing is, older bikes often have funny compatibility issues . . .

- If I want to change the pedals, I can't.  The cranks are french threaded, which is non-standard.
- If I want to change the cranks for something lighter and that can accept regular pedals, I can't.  The bottom bracket is french threaded . . . and there's only one compatible bottom bracket unit that I can find which costs 50$!
- The stem that's currently on it is an AVA stem . . . and apparently they occasionally break off mid-ride.  However, it's a non-standard size stem . . . so there would be some bodging with sandpaper if I wanted to replace it with a newer one.
- The wheels currently on the bike are chromed steel . . . and they downright suck for braking power.  They're also not 700C, which means I can't just buy a standard bike wheel at the store and replace them.
- The frame isn't designed for normal modern road bike spacing for the rear hub.  It might be possible to mechanically spread the rear triangle to accommodate this, but I could ruin the frame doing this.
- The derailleur hangar is not designed for regular Shimano stuff, so I'd have to do some steel grinding and hope for the best if I wanted to replace the damaged old simplex derailleur that's currently there.
- The shift levers are damaged . . . but there's no standard mount for downtube levers on the frame, Peugot decided to go with a proprietary clamp on thing for their crappy plastic levers.
- If I wanted to use bar end shifters on the bike, there are no brazed on cable stops . . . so I'd have to figure out some way of running and routing the cables properly.
- Oh yeah, non-standard saddle post diameter, and the seat post that's currently there doesn't work with normal saddles with rails underneath.
- The front derailleur doesn't work all that well either.



It's possible to fix all of these issues . . . but with old components and changing standards . . . there does come a point where it's cheaper to buy a new bike.

Being at the (new) beginning of my bike commuting experience, I often wonder if it would be cheaper to buy a commuter bike on CL with all the bells and whistles rather than adding a piece here and there. The first rainy day I rode in I sat through my work day with wet underwear so I stopped and bought a rear fender on my way home. The days started to get shorter and darker and I was getting ignored by cars so I bought a head/tail light. I have been thinking a front fender would be nice to keep the road muck off of my face. My current problem is that my local craigslist isn't very active and is overpriced compared to larger cities.

PoutineLover

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2015, 08:36:10 AM »
Mine has lasted ten years so far, I have had to fix some things here and there but it doesn't cost me that much and it would be even cheaper if I learned to do repairs myself. My ex rides a bike that was his dads ages ago, and it's still in good condition. I think if a bike is maintained it can last decades.

monstermonster

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2015, 08:43:06 AM »
It depends.  My dad gave me his old Peugot UO8 steel framed bike from the early 70s, and I was all excited to try and fix it up.  The frame is in good shape.  The thing is, older bikes often have funny compatibility issues . . .

- If I want to change the pedals, I can't.  The cranks are french threaded, which is non-standard.
- If I want to change the cranks for something lighter and that can accept regular pedals, I can't.  The bottom bracket is french threaded . . . and there's only one compatible bottom bracket unit that I can find which costs 50$!
- The stem that's currently on it is an AVA stem . . . and apparently they occasionally break off mid-ride.  However, it's a non-standard size stem . . . so there would be some bodging with sandpaper if I wanted to replace it with a newer one.
- The wheels currently on the bike are chromed steel . . . and they downright suck for braking power.  They're also not 700C, which means I can't just buy a standard bike wheel at the store and replace them.
- The frame isn't designed for normal modern road bike spacing for the rear hub.  It might be possible to mechanically spread the rear triangle to accommodate this, but I could ruin the frame doing this.
- The derailleur hangar is not designed for regular Shimano stuff, so I'd have to do some steel grinding and hope for the best if I wanted to replace the damaged old simplex derailleur that's currently there.
- The shift levers are damaged . . . but there's no standard mount for downtube levers on the frame, Peugot decided to go with a proprietary clamp on thing for their crappy plastic levers.
- If I wanted to use bar end shifters on the bike, there are no brazed on cable stops . . . so I'd have to figure out some way of running and routing the cables properly.
- Oh yeah, non-standard saddle post diameter, and the seat post that's currently there doesn't work with normal saddles with rails underneath.
- The front derailleur doesn't work all that well either.



It's possible to fix all of these issues . . . but with old components and changing standards . . . there does come a point where it's cheaper to buy a new bike.

Sorry you got a french bike without knowing what you're getting into! That being said, these are all pretty easy to fix!

Just visit your local bike co-op or used bike shop. We (I work at one) have a ton of french bike parts and usually work on old Peugots and other french touring bikes a lot - because they've got great bones. The only issue with french bikes is that you're going to have to source used parts most of the time. You can also find versions of nearly everything new on Velo Orange:  http://www.velo-orange.com/

That's if you want a project bike. If you just want a bike that works, sell the Peugot to someone who wants a beautiful 70's french bike.

monstermonster

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2015, 08:46:24 AM »
The question is  what do you consider "lasting"? You're going to need to change out components to keep the bike in good working order. Once you have new wheels, tires, and drivetrain, do you consider it the same bike?

A good steel frame will last forever if you don't ride it hard and hang it up wet. Carbon won't make it much past 3 years. Aluminum varies.

(Source: I'm a bike shop employee.)

NoStacheOhio

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2015, 08:56:42 AM »
I got a (ridiculous) Gary Fisher MTB when I was a teenager. I still have it 15+ years later. It isn't in tip-top shape, but still works fine.

Gin1984

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2015, 08:59:01 AM »
The question is  what do you consider "lasting"? You're going to need to change out components to keep the bike in good working order. Once you have new wheels, tires, and drivetrain, do you consider it the same bike?

A good steel frame will last forever if you don't ride it hard and hang it up wet. Carbon won't make it much past 3 years. Aluminum varies.

(Source: I'm a bike shop employee.)
I live in WNY, which is a very wet area, what kind of frame should I be looking for?  I guess a good question is how long those components last as well? 

GuitarStv

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2015, 09:04:41 AM »
Carbon won't make it much past 3 years.

Really?  3 years?  Do they just explode at that point?

monstermonster

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2015, 09:55:10 AM »
Carbon won't make it much past 3 years.

Really?  3 years?  Do they just explode at that point?

Nearly, Carbon is great for go-fast bikes that you're going to turn over frequently, but regular use of a carbon bike will end up causing stress points and the frame will weaken and break. You can't weld carbon back together like you can steel, so you end up just having to trash the frame.  Well-cared for carbon mountain bikes might make it a bit longer, but it's just not a superior frame material for daily use (especially if you're actually MTBing.)

monstermonster

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2015, 10:01:29 AM »
The question is  what do you consider "lasting"? You're going to need to change out components to keep the bike in good working order. Once you have new wheels, tires, and drivetrain, do you consider it the same bike?

A good steel frame will last forever if you don't ride it hard and hang it up wet. Carbon won't make it much past 3 years. Aluminum varies.

(Source: I'm a bike shop employee.)
I live in WNY, which is a very wet area, what kind of frame should I be looking for?  I guess a good question is how long those components last as well?

I'm a big proponent of steel for affordability and durability, but aluminum is also fine as long as you dry your bike off when it gets awful and make sure you have fenders to protect the frame (and your ass.) You may want to look into disc brakes as they're much better for wet roads.

Quality tires will last 2000ish miles, depending on terrain.
Quality wheels will last 8000ish miles as long as you're truing them every so often, you're not carrying very heavy loads, and you replace your brake pads before they start scraping the wheels (disc brakes are a different story and need more regular care)
Drivetrain should be taken care (adjusted) of every 700ish miles and the chain should be replaced at that time - complete replacement I'd say every 1500-2000 miles. You should oil your chain weekly or so.
Cables & brake pads should be changed when they're worn out (really varies based on use)

All of these vary a lot based on your weight, your commute terrain, your parking situation (covered or not) and your proclivity to handle your bike.

Gin1984

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2015, 10:03:17 AM »
The question is  what do you consider "lasting"? You're going to need to change out components to keep the bike in good working order. Once you have new wheels, tires, and drivetrain, do you consider it the same bike?

A good steel frame will last forever if you don't ride it hard and hang it up wet. Carbon won't make it much past 3 years. Aluminum varies.

(Source: I'm a bike shop employee.)
I live in WNY, which is a very wet area, what kind of frame should I be looking for?  I guess a good question is how long those components last as well?

I'm a big proponent of steel for affordability and durability, but aluminum is also fine as long as you dry your bike off when it gets awful and make sure you have fenders to protect the frame (and your ass.) You may want to look into disc brakes as they're much better for wet roads.

Quality tires will last 2000ish miles, depending on terrain.
Quality wheels will last 8000ish miles as long as you're truing them every so often, you're not carrying very heavy loads, and you replace your brake pads before they start scraping the wheels (disc brakes are a different story and need more regular care)
Drivetrain should be taken care (adjusted) of every 700ish miles and the chain should be replaced at that time - complete replacement I'd say every 1500-2000 miles. You should oil your chain weekly or so.
Cables & brake pads should be changed when they're worn out (really varies based on use)

All of these vary a lot based on your weight, your commute terrain, your parking situation (covered or not) and your proclivity to handle your bike.
Awesome, thank you!

zephyr911

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2015, 10:22:30 AM »
How long is a rope?

Rubic

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2015, 10:34:32 AM »
I have/had a 1973 Nishiki that is on permanent loan to a friend.  (The deal is she can keep it as long as she's riding it, but can't sell it to someone else.)

Lugged steel frame, downtube friction shifters, triple-crank with a stable rear rack.  Originally bought it for a fixed-gear conversion, but it was in too nice of a condition to modify.  I rode it successfully on a 600K brevet in Kentucky.

My friend didn't think she'd like the old bicycle, but took it to a local bike shop to replace the saddle.  The bike wrenches were gaga over the cool retro-look and now my friend is proud of her "new" ride.

JZinCO

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2015, 10:43:25 AM »
How long does a bike last?

Until it's stolen or scrapped for metal.

AlanStache

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2015, 11:31:24 AM »

Have had at least one that was scrapped because of frame damage in a minor accident.

Then it also depends on how much of a bike snob you are. 


Mr. Green

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2015, 12:53:38 PM »
My mother bought me a fairly expensive mountain bike (~$500) when I was 15-ish. Still the bike I ride today, and I'm 32. I haven't abused it, but I haven't kept it well maintained either. I imagine a decent bike with a little bit of care can last you a lifetime.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 12:56:15 PM by Mr. Green »

TrMama

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2015, 01:05:37 PM »
Carbon won't make it much past 3 years.

Really?  3 years?  Do they just explode at that point?

Nearly, Carbon is great for go-fast bikes that you're going to turn over frequently, but regular use of a carbon bike will end up causing stress points and the frame will weaken and break. You can't weld carbon back together like you can steel, so you end up just having to trash the frame.  Well-cared for carbon mountain bikes might make it a bit longer, but it's just not a superior frame material for daily use (especially if you're actually MTBing.)

Really? I've been riding a Garneau carbon frame (road bike) for over three years and it still looks like new. Short of being hit by a car, I can't imagine this frame won't outlast me.

Jack

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2015, 02:04:05 PM »
Carbon won't make it much past 3 years.

Really?  3 years?  Do they just explode at that point?

Nearly, Carbon is great for go-fast bikes that you're going to turn over frequently, but regular use of a carbon bike will end up causing stress points and the frame will weaken and break. You can't weld carbon back together like you can steel, so you end up just having to trash the frame.  Well-cared for carbon mountain bikes might make it a bit longer, but it's just not a superior frame material for daily use (especially if you're actually MTBing.)

Really? I've been riding a Garneau carbon frame (road bike) for over three years and it still looks like new. Short of being hit by a car, I can't imagine this frame won't outlast me.

Carbon fiber (or rather, the resin that holds it together) can also be damaged by UV light, which causes it to weaken over time. Also, things like scratches and over-tightened fasteners can cause stress concentrations. The layers of carbon fiber delaminate -- which can happen below the surface, so you don't notice it -- and the frame becomes weaker, so then what used to be a normal loading can suddenly become a catastrophic failure.

BlueMR2

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2015, 03:59:01 AM »
My "daily beater" bike is an old steel frame beast that I got back in '86.  It has not been well maintained and has been quite heavily abused.  Still, it gets along just fine.  :-)

mspym

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2015, 01:06:06 AM »
It depends.  My dad gave me his old Peugot UO8 steel framed bike from the early 70s, and I was all excited to try and fix it up.  The frame is in good shape.  The thing is, older bikes often have funny compatibility issues . . .

- If I want to change the pedals, I can't.  The cranks are french threaded, which is non-standard.
- If I want to change the cranks for something lighter and that can accept regular pedals, I can't.  The bottom bracket is french threaded . . . and there's only one compatible bottom bracket unit that I can find which costs 50$!
- The stem that's currently on it is an AVA stem . . . and apparently they occasionally break off mid-ride.  However, it's a non-standard size stem . . . so there would be some bodging with sandpaper if I wanted to replace it with a newer one.
- The wheels currently on the bike are chromed steel . . . and they downright suck for braking power.  They're also not 700C, which means I can't just buy a standard bike wheel at the store and replace them.
- The frame isn't designed for normal modern road bike spacing for the rear hub.  It might be possible to mechanically spread the rear triangle to accommodate this, but I could ruin the frame doing this.
- The derailleur hangar is not designed for regular Shimano stuff, so I'd have to do some steel grinding and hope for the best if I wanted to replace the damaged old simplex derailleur that's currently there.
- The shift levers are damaged . . . but there's no standard mount for downtube levers on the frame, Peugot decided to go with a proprietary clamp on thing for their crappy plastic levers.
- If I wanted to use bar end shifters on the bike, there are no brazed on cable stops . . . so I'd have to figure out some way of running and routing the cables properly.
- Oh yeah, non-standard saddle post diameter, and the seat post that's currently there doesn't work with normal saddles with rails underneath.
- The front derailleur doesn't work all that well either.



It's possible to fix all of these issues . . . but with old components and changing standards . . . there does come a point where it's cheaper to buy a new bike.

Sorry you got a french bike without knowing what you're getting into! That being said, these are all pretty easy to fix!

Just visit your local bike co-op or used bike shop. We (I work at one) have a ton of french bike parts and usually work on old Peugots and other french touring bikes a lot - because they've got great bones. The only issue with french bikes is that you're going to have to source used parts most of the time. You can also find versions of nearly everything new on Velo Orange:  http://www.velo-orange.com/

That's if you want a project bike. If you just want a bike that works, sell the Peugot to someone who wants a beautiful 70's french bike.
I have a refurbished Mixte version of the UO8 that I picked up mostly for the frame and which my partner and I spent a few months rebuilding. It was fun and now I have a gorgeous bike that no one else does, cyclocross wheels and all. Rebuilt the wheels to run 700, changed to thumb shifters and some shimano golden arrow friction shifters from the parts pile, replaced the central pull brakes, ground down a head stem to fit a more modern handlebar set. But if this isn't your idea of fun....

mskyle

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Re: How long does a bike last?
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2015, 10:38:20 AM »
I have a Trek 7.3Fx that I bought new in 2008 or 2009, iirc. It's a standard aluminum-frame commuter bike; if you were to buy a new one today it would cost ~$600 I think. I've had to replace the tires once (after about five years), the brake pads many times, the front and rear brake calipers (very recently, so after 6-7 years), the chain and cassette a few times apiece, and the shifter cables once. I think I might be getting into wheels and bearings territory, which has me considering whether I want to stick with this bike or to go with something cuter or faster.

This bike has ~2 years each of daily year-round commuting, fair-weather commuting/erranding, and recreational-only use, was always stored in a garage or indoors, but hasn't been particularly well-looked-after in general (when I ride home in the rain or snow, the last thing I want to do when I get home is wash off my drive train - hence all the chains and cassettes!).