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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any idea the typical lifespan of a bike? I read where after 5 years thats it. This true? Is it more whenever the frame cracks is when you need a new ride? I've got a Blur (aluminum).

That being said, thinking my next ride would be titanium. Any thoughts on the best of the best? Litespeed, Moots, Seven?
 

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I road my last MTB for 19 years before passing it on to a friend's son who rides it regularly. Before I passed it on it had been ridden quite agressively and throughout the country. I could'nt even guess as to how many miles were on it. It hurt to give it up. but I wanted the upgrades and some one else needed it more than me. I can't imagine having to replace a $1500 frame after only five years.
 

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I would say for an alum mountian bike at 5 years or so of hard riding that it might be time to think of a new bike. It also depends on they type of bike, like a downhill bike after 5years I wouldn't want to go and hit some 30foot gaps and stuff. but if it is a xc bike it should be fine. just inspect you frame after every ride and look for anything that is out to the ordinary
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting replies and I agree with all of them. I was reading the latest issue of Mountain Bike Action Magazine and it mentions the whole lifespan issue. Talks about how on average that bikes last 4-5 years then its time to get a new one. I love my Blur. Couldnt really think about buying a new one. Had it for about 4 years now, going through some major changes on the components now but other than that its a gem. I guess if the frame cracks so be it. I'd order a new frame from Santa Cruz. I only threw it out there because the article made it sound like even if your frame isnt cracked within that timeframe you should upgrade regardless. Made it sound like a pair of running shoes.
 

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skibum1 said:
Made it sound like a pair of running shoes.
I hear that... my x-lbs started telling me to upgrade after 2 years... thus, they are my x-lbs. If I buy a $1500 frame, I'd ride it until it cracks. A well made Alum frame will last a lot longer than 5 years. IMO.

matt
 

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I'm still riding my dads old bike as my Single speed. It's 20 years old, still going strong, still all original.
 

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Short answer - until it breaks.

Long answer - depends on design, material, how much it's used, and how abusive the rider is on the bike.

Got currently two bikes from '94 - one steel on CF. Both still work, and should continue to do so for a while yet. Got my Alum bike just two years ago. I don't want to replace it, and it should have many years left on it.

Just a quick thought, take a look on E-Bay and see how many bikes are being sold on there that are more than 2 or even 5 years old. Take a look at the pics and decide for youself if you'd be willing to ride 'em.

JmZ

skibum1 said:
Any idea the typical lifespan of a bike? I read where after 5 years thats it. This true? Is it more whenever the frame cracks is when you need a new ride? I've got a Blur (aluminum).

That being said, thinking my next ride would be titanium. Any thoughts on the best of the best? Litespeed, Moots, Seven?
 

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ravingbikefiend
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My oldest bike is 52 years old and still going strong.

My newest bike is my Trek HT and at a mere 7 years old is still going strong as my singletrack specific SS.

Most of the other bikes date to the late 60's through the late 80's.
 

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I think the OP's issue is mainly with aluminum frames. Aluminum will fatigue, and thus fail, much quicker than steel or titanium. I have no doubt a steel frame will last for decades, but I do think aluminum's lifetime is far shorter. It will obviously vary depending on how aggressively the bike was ridden.
 

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ravingbikefiend
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Aluminum is certainly the poorest material to use if you want to have a bike that will live a long life as it's fatigues far more quickly than steel or Ti.
 

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If you read some articles on carbon fiber, you'll find that it's far superior to alloys in terms of fatigue life. It virtually never wears out. The downside is that it's pretty much unrepairable if badly damaged in a crash.
 

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timwoody said:
If you read some articles on carbon fiber, you'll find that it's far superior to alloys in terms of fatigue life. It virtually never wears out. The downside is that it's pretty much unrepairable if badly damaged in a crash.
Tell that to one local rider who snapped the chainstay clean in half on his CF road bike. He look it up to the composites lab at the local university and had them wrap the broken section up in carbon fiber, and he's still riding it. It looks silly, with the big blob in the middle of the stay, but it's holding up well after a couple of years.
 

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Jessep said:
A well designed steel frame shouldn't wear out either.. As long as the stress is below a certain limit (endurance limit), it'll theoretically last forever.. As for aluminum, any sort of repeated stress will eventually cause failure..

and stuff
I fail to comprehend how my '96 Klein Pulse is still intact. It's been ridden long and hard, has some pretty good sized dings in a coupe of spots, but no cracks.

Same for my road bike. It's a Vitus 979. For those who don't know, it's a bonded aluminum frame form the late 70's. Yes, it's glued together. It's light as hell, and the tubing looks like it should be steel, since it's so thin. It's whippy as all get out, but it hasn't broken yet.
 

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Hardtails Are Better said:
Tell that to one local rider who snapped the chainstay clean in half on his CF road bike. He look it up to the composites lab at the local university and had them wrap the broken section up in carbon fiber, and he's still riding it.
That's cool. Unfortunately, few of us have access to a composites lab where someone would help us repair a frame. From what I understand (and I just bought my first CF road bike, so I'm still learning about this stuff) if you break a carbon frame, you can expect your bike shop and the manufacturer to tell you that you need a new one.

Are there any frame builders who take on the liability risk of repairing carbon?

I've ridden steel and aluminum mountain bikes for nearly 20 years and never managed to break a frame, so I think most major manufacturers build bikes that will last a lot of years under normal use. But from the articles I've seen, carbon's fatigue life is unmatched. My only concern with a CF mountain bike would be bashing it against rocks, which could damage the fiber structure. It seems that steel and Ti frames might be better for that kind of abuse.
 
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