General bike lifespan

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General bike lifespan
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Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 10:10 Quote
Before asking, this will be a very general discussion. Obviously there are a ton of factors that can play a part in this.

Generally speaking, what would you say the lifespan of a bike is? With how quickly things change and improve in the bike world, how long does a bike "last"? How often do you plan or expect to replacing a bike?

For example, lets say you have $5,000 for 5 years (not including broken parts or maintenance items, upgrades only). Would you buy 1 bike for $5,000? Would you buy a bike for $2,500, and then in 2.5 years buy another? Maybe spend $3000 on a decent bike, and leave $2,000 for upgrades over the 5 years? Obviously that doesn't account for parts that may be sold if they are replaced/upgraded, but you get the idea.

And yes, I know there are still tons of people out there riding bikes 5 or 10 years old or more. I'm just curious how long you would expect a bike to "last" when buying one.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 12:47 Quote
I keep a bike for 3-4 years. Gives me plenty of time for upgrades to keep it feeling fresh. After 3-4 years I'll start to get that new bike itch & start looking for deals on whichever gently used bike I can find. Sell the old one & begin the cycle over again.

Although who knows what the future will bring. We've had such a huge dynamic change in mountain bike frames & components I think that has pushed a lot of people to upgrade. I can't see the changes happening in next 5 years being nearly as radical, should add some life to these current rigs.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 13:16 Quote
I think it depends on how fast the industry is changing and whatnot, but every time I buy a bike I intend to basically keep it indefinitely...or until I no longer feel safe on it.

If the frame is good and I like riding the bike, then I'll just fix whatever needs fixing and keep riding it forever.

If I don't trust the frame (like my current carbon frame that broke in 5 months of riding), then I'll be looking to get another frame and swap the parts over.

It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 13:34 Quote
Explodo wrote:
I think it depends on how fast the industry is changing and whatnot, but every time I buy a bike I intend to basically keep it indefinitely...or until I no longer feel safe on it.

If the frame is good and I like riding the bike, then I'll just fix whatever needs fixing and keep riding it forever.

If I don't trust the frame (like my current carbon frame that broke in 5 months of riding), then I'll be looking to get another frame and swap the parts over.

It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

That's what is tripping me up. Carbon is a whole other can of worms in my book. One unfortunate rock hit and its time for a new frame. Still not 100% on-board with carbon frames. But, with these direct to consumer bikes, I could pick up a Canyon Spectra CF 7.0 for $3,000. Specs are decent, but you have the "hassle" of dealing with everything yourself if you ever need anything. On the flip side, you spend $5,200 on a Santa Cruz Bronson (carbon, similar spec), and you presumably get a higher quality product, a lifetime warranty (and a good one at that from all the stories I've read), and LBS support. But a $2,200 jump is huge if the bike will be replaced in 2 years.

But I've noticed the trend of quick turnaround on parts/bikes, which has me wondering why?

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 15:27 Quote
derfernerf wrote:
Explodo wrote:
I think it depends on how fast the industry is changing and whatnot, but every time I buy a bike I intend to basically keep it indefinitely...or until I no longer feel safe on it.

If the frame is good and I like riding the bike, then I'll just fix whatever needs fixing and keep riding it forever.

If I don't trust the frame (like my current carbon frame that broke in 5 months of riding), then I'll be looking to get another frame and swap the parts over.

It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

That's what is tripping me up. Carbon is a whole other can of worms in my book. One unfortunate rock hit and its time for a new frame. Still not 100% on-board with carbon frames. But, with these direct to consumer bikes, I could pick up a Canyon Spectra CF 7.0 for $3,000. Specs are decent, but you have the "hassle" of dealing with everything yourself if you ever need anything. On the flip side, you spend $5,200 on a Santa Cruz Bronson (carbon, similar spec), and you presumably get a higher quality product, a lifetime warranty (and a good one at that from all the stories I've read), and LBS support. But a $2,200 jump is huge if the bike will be replaced in 2 years.

But I've noticed the trend of quick turnaround on parts/bikes, which has me wondering why?

I would never buy a used carbon frame that didn't come with warranty.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 15:35 Quote
Explodo wrote:
derfernerf wrote:
Explodo wrote:
I think it depends on how fast the industry is changing and whatnot, but every time I buy a bike I intend to basically keep it indefinitely...or until I no longer feel safe on it.

If the frame is good and I like riding the bike, then I'll just fix whatever needs fixing and keep riding it forever.

If I don't trust the frame (like my current carbon frame that broke in 5 months of riding), then I'll be looking to get another frame and swap the parts over.

It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

That's what is tripping me up. Carbon is a whole other can of worms in my book. One unfortunate rock hit and its time for a new frame. Still not 100% on-board with carbon frames. But, with these direct to consumer bikes, I could pick up a Canyon Spectra CF 7.0 for $3,000. Specs are decent, but you have the "hassle" of dealing with everything yourself if you ever need anything. On the flip side, you spend $5,200 on a Santa Cruz Bronson (carbon, similar spec), and you presumably get a higher quality product, a lifetime warranty (and a good one at that from all the stories I've read), and LBS support. But a $2,200 jump is huge if the bike will be replaced in 2 years.

But I've noticed the trend of quick turnaround on parts/bikes, which has me wondering why?

I would never buy a used carbon frame that didn't come with warranty.

I'm glad I'm not the only one! Just like you said, if I paid that kind of money for a carbon bike, I would plan to keep it for quite some time before getting a new bike/frame.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 15:42 Quote
No need to be scared of carbon. Calfee & other companies out there can repair carbon frames & they (Calfee) warranty their work for 10 years. . Not the case with Aluminum.

Plus if it's crash damage you're not covered by the mfg's warranty. So you're only option is repair or replace. The repair is much more affordable than a new frame.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 15:58 Quote
eshew wrote:
No need to be scared of carbon. Calfee & other companies out there can repair carbon frames & they (Calfee) warranty their work for 10 years. . Not the case with Aluminum.

Plus if it's crash damage you're not covered by the mfg's warranty. So you're only option is repair or replace. The repair is much more affordable than a new frame.

Very true. And to further go off of my previous point, I've seen some claims of direct to consumer bikes being $1,000+ for a crash replacement frame (plus waits of 6+ weeks), where some of the more well known companies I've seen for around $400-$700, if it came down to needing a replacement.

At some point you have to weigh your options of, is a cheaper DTC bike worth the savings, or is the well known brand worth the convenience. If you can get 5 years out of a bike, the investment of a nicer package seems more worth it than a lesser "throwaway" bike

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 at 21:20 Quote
eshew wrote:
No need to be scared of carbon. Calfee & other companies out there can repair carbon frames & they (Calfee) warranty their work for 10 years. . Not the case with Aluminum.

Plus if it's crash damage you're not covered by the mfg's warranty. So you're only option is repair or replace. The repair is much more affordable than a new frame.

In my personal experience, carbon frames are fragile crap that breaks too easily to be worth my time...though I'm waiting to get through this next summer on a carbon frame to verify or disprove that opinion. I have a very nice, highly regarded, brand-name carbon frame that failed very quickly. I'm eager to see if I got the one-off bad luck frame or that's just how much they suck.

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 at 4:38 Quote
derfernerf wrote:
Before asking, this will be a very general discussion. Obviously there are a ton of factors that can play a part in this.

Generally speaking, what would you say the lifespan of a bike is? With how quickly things change and improve in the bike world, how long does a bike "last"? How often do you plan or expect to replacing a bike?

For example, lets say you have $5,000 for 5 years (not including broken parts or maintenance items, upgrades only). Would you buy 1 bike for $5,000? Would you buy a bike for $2,500, and then in 2.5 years buy another? Maybe spend $3000 on a decent bike, and leave $2,000 for upgrades over the 5 years? Obviously that doesn't account for parts that may be sold if they are replaced/upgraded, but you get the idea.

And yes, I know there are still tons of people out there riding bikes 5 or 10 years old or more. I'm just curious how long you would expect a bike to "last" when buying one.

First thing to clear - MTB-ing is/can be expensive, if you are in the MTB to be in cheap sport, better start running or simmilar. Also, you will loose money as consumer, it just depends will you loose less or more. But you will loose it Big Grin
Lifespan of bike depends on:
- usage, if riding a lot and/or falling a lot on DH tracks and rocks, expect it to be quite short
- financial state of rider, if dentist or money no problem, then lifespan is quite short, new bikes appear not beacuse old one is not good enough but just because they can
- mental state alias itch - there comes the time when you think you "need" new bike because... you just need it. There is no rational reason, just irrational Big Grin
- time/interest - for occasional riding of loop or two on local XC loop lifespan of bike can be loooong
- crime rate in neighborhood - if high, lifespan can be short...

Suggest you follow the philosophy - buy the best bike you can afford and suits your riding style and ride it until it is not doing it that anymore. Leave the calculations for forum/couch riders.... Big Grin

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 at 10:27 Quote
Explodo wrote:
In my personal experience, carbon frames are fragile crap that breaks too easily to be worth my time...though I'm waiting to get through this next summer on a carbon frame to verify or disprove that opinion. I have a very nice, highly regarded, brand-name carbon frame that failed very quickly. I'm eager to see if I got the one-off bad luck frame or that's just how much they suck.

Care to share what frame?

onyxss wrote:
First thing to clear - MTB-ing is/can be expensive, if you are in the MTB to be in cheap sport, better start running or simmilar. Also, you will loose money as consumer, it just depends will you loose less or more. But you will loose it Big Grin
Lifespan of bike depends on:
- usage, if riding a lot and/or falling a lot on DH tracks and rocks, expect it to be quite short
- financial state of rider, if dentist or money no problem, then lifespan is quite short, new bikes appear not beacuse old one is not good enough but just because they can
- mental state alias itch - there comes the time when you think you "need" new bike because... you just need it. There is no rational reason, just irrational Big Grin
- time/interest - for occasional riding of loop or two on local XC loop lifespan of bike can be loooong
- crime rate in neighborhood - if high, lifespan can be short...

Suggest you follow the philosophy - buy the best bike you can afford and suits your riding style and ride it until it is not doing it that anymore. Leave the calculations for forum/couch riders.... Big Grin

I'm fully aware of the cost, just basic maintenance alone can rack up quite a bill. My wife tells me I tend to only be involved with expensive hobbies XD

The responses I see here are much more realistic. Buy a bike, and ride it until it cant ride. Seems like the people who frequently replace stuff do it just because. Which is totally fine, but I'm not trying to buy a $5,000 bike every year...

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 at 11:17 Quote
Explodo wrote:
It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

I think that has a bit more to do with the fact that people who can afford carbon frames generally have enough money to get the new versions whenever they come out. Obviously not everyone fits this, but this has been my experience

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 at 12:27 Quote
matt-15 wrote:
Explodo wrote:
It seems that a lot of carbon frame riders(at least on PB) tend to keep frames or bikes for relatively short (1-2 years) periods and then replace them before they fail. That's a very disposable way of viewing things. I don't like to buy things that won't last.

I think that has a bit more to do with the fact that people who can afford carbon frames generally have enough money to get the new versions whenever they come out. Obviously not everyone fits this, but this has been my experience

And from a scientific standpoint, carbon should last longer than AL, as it doesn't really fatigue like metal does.

Posted: Jan 26, 2020 at 7:55 Quote
I don’t think the lifespan of a bike or frame is relevant in most cases. 90+% of the time it is the upgrade bug - not frame failure- driving the purchase of a new bike/frame.

And I don’t think design advances in the bike industry really make much difference, either.

Some folks simply enjoy getting something new (or at least new to them) every couple years and are willing to put the money into making it happen.

Others just keep whatever they have for as long as it keeps making them happy.

Posted: Jan 26, 2020 at 10:48 Quote
Absolutely, "the upgrade bug" is the main reason for replacing perfectly serviceable bikes.
Parts that do wear are easily swapped out but if one is hankering after the latest wheel size or geometry then complete bike it is.

There is no reason why a frame that is undamaged will not last for 10s or years (or more). I think it is unlikely that many of the modern alloy or composite frame will ever last as long as a good old bit of steel.

My feeling is the it is in the industries interests to feed this as standing still would ultimately cost them business. IN the early days of mountain biking there were real improvements but for a long time now the gains have become marginal. Unless you are riding in top level competitions I remain unconvinced that most people would honestly notice the difference. It is like musical instruments where the new (or mostly different) feels better.

Again both areas are beset with the diminishing returns where the more you pay, the lest real change or improvement there is. At the top level it is often personal choice rather than one being better than the other.

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