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Bike life expectancy - how long does yours last

TaliusTalius Posts: 282
edited January 2014 in Commuting chat
How long do you reckon your bike should last?

My Scott Speedster is now 6 years old, and has done probably about 25000 miles. And it's dying. It's had work done, and I've looked after it as much as anyone can be bothered to look after a £1000 commuter stalwart, but I guess it's a long way from being like Trigger's broom. It's had new wheels, brake pads, cables etc, but essentially the frame (aluminium), drivetrain (part ultegra), and key bits are all as bought. It's not that its now got any major issues, it's still perfectly usable for my commute. But it just seems a bit like a very old dog, where it wants to run around and bark and chase things, but nothing really works as well as it used to, and it's all a bit patchy and geriatric.

I know I need to get a new one, and I will do, but I will miss this bike. Just wondering whether people think it's done a good service, or whether I should patch it up and keep on with it?

Cheers!
Merckx EMX 5
Ribble 7005 Audax / Campag Centaur

RIP - Scott Speedster S10
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    If the frame's in one piece, everything else is replaceable. The chainset should last pretty much indefinitely, but I'd expect to replace the chain every couple of thousand miles, the cassette maybe every year and the chainrings every couple of years or so; bottom bracket bearings only last a year or two. Mechs last a long time, but you might need to replace the jockey wheels.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    Six years out of a commuter frame in London is pretty good going.

    I have had frames that last longer and frames that have not lasted anywhere near that long.

    IMHO, if you like the frame keep it and replace all the worn things, inc headset, gear levers, brakes etc. This may prove a bit more expensive than a new bike but you could pace it out a bit to spread the cost; and you would hold on to the frame you like.

    As you are aware, many bikes are made down to a price, also some newer technologies, IMHO, are not as good as what they are meant to replace.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    It's not the bikes fault that it is badly maintained. My Ribble is currently on about 18,000 miles. It looks and rides like a new bike. I expect that to be the same when it reaches 25,000 miles (probably early next year).

    Once it is about 25 years old, you could consider giving it an honourable retirement!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Surely there's nothing on a bike that's not replaceable meaning that it can go one forever unless the frame is cracked or something. You can replace wheels, bearings in the wheels, spokes etc, you can replace cassettes and chainrings and chains, cables, even mechs are serviceable. Bikes have relatively few parts and unlike cars or motorbikes can be pretty easily brought back to excellent riding condition again... If you replace everything that's worn and give it a good clean it could be as good as new. I suppose there's a point at which you've replaced everything on the bike and the frame is the only original component and it may as well be a new bike! Question is whether you want to spend the money on the old bike or whether you'd prefer just to censored everything on a new shiny model!
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    c'mon.

    To answer your question:

    YES your bike is "clearly" worn out and you "need" a new one.
    (but that doesn't mean you need to get rid of the old one, does it? y'know just keep it for a spare, maybey tart it up a bit................... :D )
  • TaliusTalius Posts: 282
    will3 wrote:
    c'mon.

    To answer your question:

    YES your bike is "clearly" worn out and you "need" a new one.
    (but that doesn't mean you need to get rid of the old one, does it? y'know just keep it for a spare, maybey tart it up a bit................... :D )


    That is of course the answer I was looking for, and the misses will now have to take note. Thanks Will :D

    I am thinking about replacing some bits and keeping it as the wet weather spare. Need to do more regular fettling in future I guess.
    Merckx EMX 5
    Ribble 7005 Audax / Campag Centaur

    RIP - Scott Speedster S10
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,353
    You could replace almost everything on the frame if you re particularly smitten by it but there comes a point where it's cheaper to ride it into the ground, buy a new one and give the old one an honourable burial. To be honest it sounds like you re at that point. The decision you have to make is do you go for someting special that you can wax lyrical with Rolf about in 10 years time or another runaround you don't mind destroying...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Very personal choice, if the frame is well looked after, I'd be inclined to keep adding parts as required, most people don't do 4+k miles a year so getting nearly new used parts would be a cheaper way of doing it. But if you want a new bike, then clearly it's justified.
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    needs a right good service

    Things to do - new cassette and chain, new jockey wheels, check wear on the chainrings
    things to check - wheel bearings? bottom bracket dead? headset? tyres? can't see the shifters being knackered, maybe new inner cables and relube the outers if they aren't the posh sealed ones
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • Talius wrote:
    How long do you reckon your bike should last?

    My Scott Speedster is now 6 years old, and has done probably about 25000 miles. And it's dying. It's had work done, and I've looked after it as much as anyone can be bothered to look after a £1000 commuter stalwart, but I guess it's a long way from being like Trigger's broom. It's had new wheels, brake pads, cables etc, but essentially the frame (aluminium), drivetrain (part ultegra), and key bits are all as bought. It's not that its now got any major issues, it's still perfectly usable for my commute. But it just seems a bit like a very old dog, where it wants to run around and bark and chase things, but nothing really works as well as it used to, and it's all a bit patchy and geriatric.

    I know I need to get a new one, and I will do, but I will miss this bike. Just wondering whether people think it's done a good service, or whether I should patch it up and keep on with it?

    Cheers!

    What exactly is wrong with it? Keep in mind Ribble are going a full 105 groupset for £299 which would make your bike feel like new! - But you probably don't even need all that.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    My bike is as good as the day I bought it, sure its had 3 sets of wheels, 2 saddles, 3 seat stems, a new crank set, two new front chain rings, three bottom brackets, and more cassettes, chains and brake blocks than I can count but it has always served me well and never failed, not one bit of it.

    RIP Trigger.

    Bought my bike in 2007.

    There is something special when I guy whips out a mainstream bike that you've never seen before because it's about 10 years old and despite you being on a modern day modern tech bike, still struggle to keep up with the blasted thing. Makes you wonder why you spent all that money...

    Its like car enthusiasts pulling out a Escort Cosworth (still looks new and freshly polished) and burning the knickers off a new Ford Focus Whatever. You gotta respect that.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    ddraver wrote:
    You could replace almost everything on the frame if you re particularly smitten by it but there comes a point where it's cheaper to ride it into the ground, buy a new one and give the old one an honourable burial.

    This isn't really true IMO. The only way this can happen is by poor maintenance as you end up with needing to replace lots of things at the same time. You don't have electrical systems that deteriorate and are irrepairable without complete replacement. Or corrosion that continually needs to be repaired year after year. If something breaks or wears out on a bike, you replace it with a new part and it is as good as new again. On my Ribble I have replaced cables, brake blocks, tyres, BB bearings, wheel bearings, hub bearings, cassettes, chains and the chainrings. Each component is replaced when required (or rather a while after required because I am a bit disorganised!) and the most expensive of these parts has been the big chainring but that was only about £35 off Ebay.

    At some point, I'll need the shifters servicing which I think is about £30 each. Then the front wheel is nearly worn out but that should be about £60 at the most to replace.

    None of my bills have been more expensive than a new bike - or infact anywhere near. The 'run it into the ground' argument may work with cars but certainly doesn't with bikes - providing you fix/replace things when they need it. But if you don't fix things when they need it, there is no point buying a new bike either as it will just deteriorate rapidly to the same state the old bike was in! :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • It has been said already that a good frame lasts beyonds 6 years, all you need to do is replace parts in stages...

    BUT TO BE HONEST, you probably just want a new bike isn't it?
    I ride with God on my mind and power in my thighs....WOE betide you!
    I know I'm not the fastest rider on earth BUT I KNOW I AM NOT the slowest!!!
    If you Jump Red Lights in order to stay ahead you are a DISGRACE!!
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    To be honest, I expect my tourer to out last me.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    I just saw the receipt for my commute bike. Bought in 1991. The original parts are the frame, fork and seatpost.

    If you've had a bike for a while it has memories!
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,353
    Rolf F wrote:
    ddraver wrote:
    Stuff.

    More Stuff

    Ok well lend Talius your time machine and he can go back and maintain what he didnt 6 years ago...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    ddraver wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    ddraver wrote:
    Stuff.

    More Stuff

    Ok well lend Talius your time machine and he can go back and maintain what he didnt 6 years ago...

    But he doesn't need it. Bikes aren't complicated. He'd replaced the obvious stuff but other parts just 'don't work as well as they used to' - they probably just need cleaning. How can you make cleaning a dirty component more expensive than buying a new bike? It doesn't cost anything. Yes, there maybe a few parts that now need replacing together but it's not as though it's likely to cost much/any more than if you fixed the issues as they arose anyway.

    I'd love to know how in what circumstnace it would be cheaper to spend a grand on a new bike than repair an existing, functional one.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,353
    edited January 2014
    I ve been around here long enough to know that youre more than happy to argue for the sake of arguing Rolf.

    Talius has our views - he can decide how to balance time spent fettling/cleaning/repairing vs money saved over having a bike that he has to do nothing on and doesnt mind trashing. Both options are equally valid...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    Rolf F wrote:
    I'd love to know how in what circumstnace it would be cheaper to spend a grand on a new bike than repair an existing, functional one.


    Oh that one's easy, you see you start off needing some new wheels and some bar tape and before you know it, you've spent £600 on a new wheelset, upgrades the transmission, replaced that seatpost with a carbon one, and so on and hey presto it's more.

    Look, the fella want's a new bike k?
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Cost of replacing everything at once that wouldn't reasonably be expected to last forever (based on my commuting bike):
    Chain £15
    Cassette £25
    Chainrings £50
    Wheel bearings £20
    Rims £70
    Bottom bracket £15
    Headset bearings £10
    Jockey wheels £10
    Cables £30
    Brake blocks £5
    Cable guide under bottom bracket £3 (I've just killed one)
    Tyres £40

    That's less than £300; the figure for many bikes would be cheaper than this (eg cheaper rims/tyres/cassette), and you'd have to be using some pretty flash kit to come in dramatically higher. This includes a lot of items like rims and chainrings which should typically last several years, and assumes you replace *everything* at once. Replace stuff when it needs replacing, and you get the new bike experience all the time, rather than spending most of your time riding a sh*tter while you wait for enough components to die to justify the replacement.

    I really can't understand why people don't maintain their bikes properly, it must make them horrible to ride...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,320
    Decades.

    These two bikes...

    b1-small.pngb2-small.png

    ...are both more than two decades old. The racer is about 25 years old, and the MTB about 23. Both are still in decent nick. The MTB was used as my main commuter until recently, but is currently awaiting a new back wheel as the axle has broken.

    The other parts replaced on the MTB are the chain, rear freewheel, handlebars and grips I think (brake pads etc. nothwithstanding). The racer is all original apart from the pedals, rear wheel and chain I think.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • If you are censored about maintenance and don't buy aluminium frames, a bike can last for many decades. If you ride in the wet a lot and don't keep up the maintenance, a bike can last very little.
    This bike is 33 years old, but it has seen the rain on a couple of occasions and it receives lots of attention
    DSC_1263_zpsc35e1c09.jpg

    This will clearly not last that long...

    DSC_1879_zps1af8184d.jpg
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    edited January 2014
    will3 wrote:
    Oh that one's easy, you see you start off needing some new wheels and some bar tape and before you know it, you've spent £600 on a new wheelset, upgrades the transmission, replaced that seatpost with a carbon one, and so on and hey presto it's more.?

    £1000 bike. New wheels ~£150. Call it £156 with the bar tape!

    Upgrades - this isn't about upgrades. Ddravers point was that at some point it is cheaper to ride the bike into the ground - so to state that a repair is uneconomic based on the cost of upgrades isn't exactly a fair argument!

    TGOTBs list is fairer - but even that isn't as cheap as it might be. I often pay a lot less by buying spares when they are on offer or just finding the best online prices. Of course, if the bike is pretty old school, it becomes much cheaper to maintain with less to go wrong and component costs about half that of modern bikes.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    tumblr_m8gybq9k7E1r0j8nh.jpg

    :)
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,353
    edited January 2014
    What about replaing like with like - lets say 105 with 105

    Ultegra/105 brakes pads = £10 an end so £20 - putting me 400% over TGOTB's price

    105 cassette = £40, not 25

    Rims and bearings fine but most of us are also talking about a shop to rebuild the wheel too so lets add another £50 at least on to that (and I think we ll know that in London that would be exceptionally generous)...

    Plus time spent, plus LBS service time etc etc
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • I think everyone's missing the point:

    OP, is your current bike a road bike or the hybrid version? If the latter, they of course you need a new bike.

    Other than that, I'll say that I personally have cracked two different frames: one steel, one aluminium in the past two years. I keep my bike clean and well maintained, but I ride them really too damn fast on really badly maintained roads. Ho hum. So far, when I've broken a frame, I've managed an upgrade to replace it.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    It's always worth embarking on building up a fleet. One day you'll wake up late, pop into the shed to get the bike out to go to work and discover a puncture which will make you 10 minutes late. Or will it?! Not if you have a backup.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    will3 wrote:
    tumblr_m8gybq9k7E1r0j8nh.jpg

    :)


    You must have as low an impression of my intellect as I now have of yours as a result of you posting the above! :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    ddraver wrote:
    Ultegra/105 brakes pads = £10 an end so £20 - putting me 400% over TGOTB's price
    http://www.discobrakes.com/?s=0&t=2&c=31&p=411&
    ddraver wrote:
    105 cassette = £40, not 25
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/shim ... -prod50454

    The cassette link above appeared at the very top of the list when I googled "105 cassette". I'm assuming that people are going to make a *vague* effort to shop around :roll:

    LBS service time - learn to do it yourself. That way, you're not stranded if something goes wrong when you're out. Probably requires £50 worth of tools, which you can build up gradually as and when you need them, and it's incredibly rewarding to transform a clicky/grinding/non-functioning bike back into a fully-functioning and smooth-running one. I'd find it much harder to get the bike to the bike shop at a time when it's open, collecting it etc, than just doing the job myself. Unless you're replacing a rim, most bike maintenance jobs take 10-15 mins...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    ddraver wrote:
    What about replaing like with like - lets say 105 with 105

    Ultegra/105 brakes pads = £10 an end so £20 - putting me 400% over TGOTB's price

    105 cassette = £40, not 25

    Rims and bearings fine but most of us are also talking about a shop to rebuild the wheel too so lets add another £50 at least on to that (and I think we ll know that in London that would be exceptionally generous)...

    Plus time spent, plus LBS service time etc etc

    These are fair points - diy maintenance does make a difference (to all of these costs) but you'd hope that most people who can manage to get 25000 miles out of a bike will be able to do most things themselves. But who needs to put a £40 cassette on a commuter? I recently bought two spare Veloce cassttes for my Ribble - special offer from Halfords - £16 each. Swissstop pads same price for a set of four. Bought some Tacx Jockey wheels from Ribble - about £6.50 irrc.

    Wheel rebuild - £60-£70 will buy a whole wheel. I daresay Ugo will tell us what he'd charge if you bunged him your nice hub in the post and asked him to turn it into a Taste the Value complete commuting wheel.
    Faster than a tent.......
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