How Long Do Bikes Last?

Breakdown of the longevity of different bike parts

Biking is an incredible sport that helps you improve your health and well-being and keeps you fit and active.

It also offers a cheap and eco-friendly mode of transport. You can use your bike to commute to work daily, ride around the park or your block, or hit the trails on weekends.

If you plan to invest in a bike for your health and daily commutes, you may wonder, “how long do bikes last?

On average, bikes last for more than 30 years, and some even last a lifetime. But this depends entirely on the make and quality of your bike, how you use and care for it, your regular riding terrain, and a host of other factors.

Here, we will give you the complete breakdown of the longevity of different bike parts. We will also cover different ways you can extend bicycle life and how to improve the lifespan of a bicycle. Let’s dive in.

How Long Do Bikes Last: Compare Longevity By Component

Bicycle frame lifespan

Knowing how long your bike parts will last on average will serve as a good starting point to help you understand the overall lifespan of your bike. Here, we will delve into how long different bike components last:

Frame

In theory, a good bike frame can last forever if you ensure regular bike maintenance and replace old and worn parts frequently. But you need to ensure you buy it from a trusted manufacturer. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your new bike. Even a cheap bike from a reputed manufacturer can serve you well for decades.

The minimum you can expect a decent bike frame to last is five to ten years. High-quality bike frames can last up to 30 years or even longer. Keeping your bike clean and riding it mostly on smooth terrain and in good riding conditions will further enhance the lifespan of its frame.

Riding in wet, gritty conditions can cause increased wear and tire of the bike frame and other components. This can reduce their lifespan, especially if they are poorly treated and stored.

The type of bike also contributes to its lifespan. Mountain bikes have a sturdier frame design. So, they can take hits and knocks better than a delicate road bike that has been handled roughly or used on rough terrain.

The lifespan of a bike frame also depends on its quality. Here are some common bike frame materials and how long they last:

Aluminum

Aluminum bike frames are the cheapest on the market and are, therefore, more common. These frames can last for 30 years or more if they are of good quality and well-maintained. The minimum you can get out of them is a decent six years.

Carbon

Carbon Frame

Carbon frames cost more, but they have a higher strength-to-weight ratio. They can last longer than aluminum frames if you use them for easy riding. But keep in mind that they are highly prone to damage in an accident.

Steel

Steel frames have superior strength and won’t break down even after years of heavy use and knocking around. So they can last much longer than their aluminum and carbon counterparts. But note that they are heavier than other bike frame materials and can corrode if they face neglect.

Titanium

Titanium frames cost the most. But they last for 40 years or even a lifetime. Unlike steel, they are lightweight and also don’t corrode.

Wheels

Generally, bike wheels last long and need replacement only if you see signs of damage, such as a damaged wheel rim or broken spokes. Even in these cases, you can often repair and true your bike wheels instead of completely replacing them.

Tires

Lifespan of Bicycle Tires

Mountain bike tires last a good number of miles, say, up to 8,000 miles on average. On the other hand, road bike tires have a much shorter lifespan and will last anywhere between 1,000 and 3000 miles.

If you store brand-new bike tires in a cool, dry place, they can last for about five to 10 years. But remember that you must regularly replace your bike tires to ensure a smooth and safe ride.

Inner Tubes

A bike’s inner tubes need replacement every few years when used on a bike. Punctures or other damage can cut their life short drastically. So, three to four years is a good rule of thumb for changing a bike’s inner tubes.

The inner tubes inside road bike tires are smaller and enjoy less protection from dirt and debris on the ground. So, they are more susceptible to damage than the inner tubes of mountain bike tires with knobbly edges that limit their exposure to debris.

Wider and bigger tires can extend the lifespan of a bike’s inner tubes, as they protect the inner tubes better and run at a lower tire pressure. So, the inner tubes are less prone to punctures and other damage.

Chain

Over time, bike chains stretch out and become loose and weak with frequent use, despite regular cleaning and lubrication. 

So, you will have to replace your bike chain when it reaches a certain length between chain rings. This will help prevent issues like a skipping chain, wearing of other bike parts, and accidents.

On average, you should change your bike chain every 1,500 to 2,000 miles to keep your bike in good condition.

Brake Pads

Lifespan of Brake Pads

Over time, brake pads wear down with frequent rubbing against the tires when you slow down your bike. Other factors also impact how frequently you need to replace your brake pads, such as your weight, riding frequency, riding intensity, riding conditions, bike type, and so on.

Brake pads typically last for about 500 to 1,000 miles. So, you should change your brake pads after you reach that point to ensure good braking and riding performance.

Brake Cables

Over the years, as you ride, your bike’s cables that attach the brakes and gears to the other bike components tend to become overstretched. It can affect your bike’s braking or shifting performance and cause the cables to snap mid-ride.

Usually, brake cables have a lifespan of around 2,500 to 5,000 miles. After that, you should replace them to avoid untoward accidents and mishaps.

Cassettes

Although many bikers replace their bike chains regularly, they tend to leave out their bike’s cassette. When the bike chain drags on the cassette’s cogs, it wears down the cassette over time. This causes the chain to skip when too much force is going through it.

Occasional replacement of your bike cassette will greatly increase your bike’s lifespan and keep it in good shape. You should typically replace the cassette every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you clean your bike cassette regularly and look after it well, it can also last for more than 10,000 miles.

Warranty Offered By Leading Brands

How Long Do Bikes Last and what are the warrantees Offered by Brands

Many leading bike brands provide limited lifetime warranties for only certain bike components, such as frames and rigid forks. Suspension forks and almost all other bike parts almost never include a lifetime warranty.

Manufacturer warranties give a basic idea of the typical lifespan of a bike frame. But note that a longer warranty does not guarantee that a brand’s bikes will be more durable or long-lasting. It may only be that its legal and marketing teams have made tall claims, thinking you’ll resell or get rid of the bike before any issues crop up.

You must remember here that lifetime warranties apply only to the bike’s original owner.

Nonetheless, here are the warranty periods that some leading brands currently offer to customers:

To qualify for the above warranties, you must buy a new bike from an authorized dealer and register it with the manufacturer. Also, keep in mind that warranties become void if you use or modify the bike beyond its intended purpose.

Brands also offer different terms of warranties in various countries. So, check the terms in your country before buying a bike from a manufacturer.

How To Prolong A Bike’s Lifespan?

Tips and Tricks on how to prolong bike lifespan

Here are some simple ways you can make the most of your bike and prolong its lifespan:

Choose A Good Bike

A good-quality bike will have a longer lifespan than a bike from a department store. It will also provide a better riding experience and save a lot of money on frequent repairs. You don’t need to buy the most expensive bike on the market. But just make sure it is from a reliable manufacturer.

Store Your Bike Properly

Keeping your bike hidden away from the elements will prevent it from aging quickly. You don’t have to store your bike in a heated garage. Simply protecting it from rain and snow will extend its lifespan considerably.

Clean Your Bike Regularly

Bicycle Cleaning Spray and degreaser

Dirt, sand, snow, and salty water damage bike components and reduce the life expectancy of your bike. Clean your bike frequently, especially if you live in a place that gets a lot of snow.

Lubricate

Lube the bike chain and other parts regularly to ensure a smooth and efficient ride every time. Lubing your bike is a simple and straightforward process that can go a long way in extending the life of your bike. You can also get a chain cleaning tool to speed up the process further.

Replace Bike Parts Often

Replace bike components as and when they wear down. Moving parts in your bike, like the bike chain, brake pads, cassette, and bearings, need special care and maintenance. 

If you don’t want to go the DIY route, take your bike to your local bike shop once or twice a year for a tune-up—depending on how frequently you ride it.

When Is It Time To Get A New Bike?

Rusty Chain and Cassete

If your trusty old bike suits your riding needs, fits you well, and is well-maintained, it should last you a lifetime. However, if your riding needs or frequency have changed, your bike doesn’t fit you, or it is in poor condition, it’s time to get a new one.

You may also want to get a new bike if you have been eyeing the latest model on the market and no longer love your old one.

In this case, you can sell your old bike if it is in decent condition. Otherwise, you can donate your bike to a charity that will refurbish and reuse it. It is even possible to salvage parts from bikes in a terrible condition and use them for repairs.

Conclusion

So, how long do bikes last? Good bikes last for decades as long as you regularly clean and care for them. Store your bike properly and lubricate it often. 

You must also replace worn parts to prevent other parts from wearing out quickly and reducing your bike’s lifespan.

If you found our article interesting and informative, check out our website to read more such articles and guides on biking.

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Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Matthew Carpenter

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