How long should bike bits last?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Morrisette, 30 Jan 2008.

  1. Probably this is an extreme numpty question!

    My work colleague and I have both recently have fairly new (18 months old-ish) fairly cheap hybrid bikes. They have gone in for services and have both needed new brake pads (which I expected), but also chains and chain sets. Is it normal for these to wear out so quickly? My bike does live outside, which I guess wouldn't help to extend the life of components.

    I suppose what I'm really asking is, are the shops doing the old 'let's see what we can get the women to pay for' technique you experience so often in garages:wacko:
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Not on my experience ... my 18 month old bike needs all that and more... I think in my case its partly a learning curve - I'm gradually learning that unless I look after my bike it is going to wear out quickly. So because I didn't clean all the rubbish off my rims often enough I now need new wheels. (Brake pads only last 3-6 months for me - lots of hills).

    Also I get the impression that the less cheap stuff may also last longer as well as being nicer. But I'm still learning (thanks for all the tips I get on here).
  3. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    I would'nt advise leaving the bike outside without covering it.
  4. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I have just had to shell out for new wheels, new chain, new sprocket cassette, new headset, new bottom bracket, new brake blocks. I feel your pain. The bottom line is that if you are using your bike every day and want to enjoy it in good working order then you need to spend money on it, this will ultimately far surpass the original purchase price which is only one element in keeping a bike on the road.

    You could always leave it until it is no longer ridable and then buy a new one. You would then have to spend considerable time riding a poor performing bike though which would not be enjoyable and would probably be extremely dangerous.

    You can minimise your expenditure by regular cleaning and maintenance, if you can commit to learning a little about the basics then you would know if your chain needed replacing and could just order and fit a new one yourself. You would know that you were not being ripped off.
  5. At that age, especially if it lives outside, I'd expect it to need brake pads, cables and probably a chain. I'm a bit surprised the chainset is shot, though - and that's an expensive part.

    Normally, you'd expect perhaps to replace chainrings - some are made of soft alloy to save weight, so they do wear out. It's possible though, that your chainset is all in one piece, so it isn't possible to replace just the rings. I'd be a bit suspicious of the claim that the whole chainset needs replacing otherwise - why not reverse the rings (wears the other side of the teeth) or replace the worn ones?

    If your chain's worn out, you might need a new cassette as well, but it seems you got away without that this time.
  6. OP

    Morrisette New Member

    Thanks all, this is reassuring.

    It's not the fact of having to spend money on the bike, (well, not much:smile:). obviously mechanical parts will break/fall off/need replacing, I just wonder at how quickly this seems to happen. I don't really thrash along, and I live in Cambridge so can't even find any hills!!

    I also realise that keeping it outside is not ideal, although there isn't any rust on it.

    But anyway it should be nice to ride with some nice new bits! I've got a 'courtesy bike' with a basket on it at the moment - arrrgh they are annoying!
  7. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    I think you've done very well to get the parts to last that long.

    There's no way I could get chain to last that long, never mind a set of brake pads!. Generally I have to change the chain every 3 months and my pads on a monthly basis.

    Although I have gone through a set of pads in a single ride before now.
  8. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
  9. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    blimey, I'm starting to consider keeping my old junker, gotta be twelve years plus old, done well over 20k miles and to my recollection is on the same chain and block as day one, the odd wheel now and then but front is original, still has the shiny things

    new BB and rear axle this year after five years in the garden growing things

    shags of tyres and brake blocks granted but all original after that

    always lived outside barring the last six months, no maintenance other than replacing broken, fallen off bits

    it got a full service about five years ago by a place than said it wasn't worth servicing, uneconomic

    they clearly don't make them like they used to
  10. OP

    Morrisette New Member

    I reckon that is true, I used to ride a real old clunker Raleigh sort-of touring bike that I think was rescued from the tip, and that only needed a new chain after about 6 years.

    It did need new brake blocks but I never got round to it.

    Then it was nicked.

    Hopefully by someone who didn't realise about the brakes.:biggrin:
  11. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    The old five speed chains (for example) were pretty chunky and didn't wear out fast.

    I am surprised to here people talking about changing brake blocks monthly. I live in a very hilly part of the world and expect my blocks to last thousands of miles, certainly not wear out in a single ride.
  12. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Every 3 months ???:biggrin:
  13. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    Are you doing 4k miles a month?
  14. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    There are so many variables involved that there's not really a simple answer as to 'how long'. Regular maintenance will, of course, lengthen the life of any item. With chains, I tend to not be the best at cleaning them but do oil them on a regular basis. I've knackered the chain on my fixed after 1500km but the roads around here are pretty mucky. I treat chains as consumables (like brake pads, tyres or tubes) rather than as components. Consequently, I have a stock of spare chains in the same way as I have spare tubes etc.
  15. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I suspect that when the OP said about the chain set being replaced, she actually meant the rear sprockets. I've never worn a chainring in over forty years, and cassettes can have their lives extended by a factor of three if you replace the chain in time.

    I would also think that the shop would replace anytihing that is over half way throught it's life, even though it had a good few thousand miles left in it. That's just the way mechanics work, be it on bikes, cars or even prams.
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