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Component lifespans

jonKranked

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Nov 10, 2005
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Now I know this might be a contentious topic, and there's obviously the disclaimer that lifespan is impacted by use (ie more miles/usage/riding time will generally equate to a shorter lifespan)....

But how long, generally speaking, do people expect certain components to last? Drivetrain? Suspension? Wheels? Have you found expensive parts last longer? What about carbon vs alloy? I know these days a lot of people get upgrade fever and won't even keep a bike a single year, but there are still lots of people out there trying to get get the most out of their bikes and will ride them until they no longer function properly and can't get service parts (where applicable).

What got me pondering this is I have a set of cranks that I purchased new, and are 7, maybe 8 years old. They've seen only light usage (including almost 2 years of no usage due to a back injury and me not being able to ride my hardtail during this time). They developed a squeak and I emailed the company asking about possible solutions (yes I googled as well, that's not the point here). Part of the response I got was essentially that the cranks are likely beyond their lifespan (not in these exact words, I was reading between the lines some). I should also add that this particular crank model was discontinued about 6 years ago. I'm not trying to put this company on blast or anything, but this is what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. Just curious to hear everyone's thoughts.
 

slimshady

¡Mira, una ardilla!
Dec 20, 2007
2,561
660
La Plata, Argentina
As you said, frequency of (ab)use is a mayor factor when calculating lifespan of any part of a bike. When applied to your particular experience with those cranks, I'd say aging shouldn't be an issue with metal (assuming they're made of aluminium here) parts. It's like stating a shelf life of 4 years would impact the riding life of a stem or a handlebar...
 

Electric_City

The orangutans are loose!
Apr 14, 2007
1,424
295
Interesting topic.

Cranks I'd expect to last or outlast the frame. My 07 Sunday came with RF Diablos cranks. They were built to take punishment. But when I was building my new DH bike in 2015 I was hesitant since the drive side arm is pressed onto the spindle. I'd hate to go off a drop and have both pedals hit the ground. 8 years was a long time in my book. Otoh, my 1998 XTR cranks can still be used if I could find a bike that takes a threaded BB and a Hollowtech 2 splined BB.

Bars? Until they get some good scratches in them. I'll personally only use aluminum.

Wheels? Rims should be tensioned when built and I'll retention them if they're loose or losing tension. I'll replace a rim when it's got enough dents to be considered weak or if it's bent (again, only aluminum). A new rim might last 5 years or one day.

Hubs get rebuilt annually and should last a long time. My 2010 Hadleys are still used and my 2007 DT 340's are still on my DH bike. Bearings have been replaced once in both sets.

Fork and shock? Follow the mfrg recommended service. I don't really see a "fatiigue life" on these but rather a "wear life".

Drive train? Replace it when it's worn.

Derailleur and shifters? I never saw these as parts that I'd want to spend a lot on. I can take a brand new bike out today and wrap that derailleur on a stick or rock. $60 is good enough for me and last several seasons.

Stems and seatpost generally don't get replaced for wear. Ime
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,524
331
Warsaw :/
Now I know this might be a contentious topic, and there's obviously the disclaimer that lifespan is impacted by use (ie more miles/usage/riding time will generally equate to a shorter lifespan)....

But how long, generally speaking, do people expect certain components to last? Drivetrain? Suspension? Wheels? Have you found expensive parts last longer? What about carbon vs alloy? I know these days a lot of people get upgrade fever and won't even keep a bike a single year, but there are still lots of people out there trying to get get the most out of their bikes and will ride them until they no longer function properly and can't get service parts (where applicable).

What got me pondering this is I have a set of cranks that I purchased new, and are 7, maybe 8 years old. They've seen only light usage (including almost 2 years of no usage due to a back injury and me not being able to ride my hardtail during this time). They developed a squeak and I emailed the company asking about possible solutions (yes I googled as well, that's not the point here). Part of the response I got was essentially that the cranks are likely beyond their lifespan (not in these exact words, I was reading between the lines some). I should also add that this particular crank model was discontinued about 6 years ago. I'm not trying to put this company on blast or anything, but this is what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. Just curious to hear everyone's thoughts.
It's just the bearings not the cranks themselves so the creak should be fixable, no?

For stuff that moves I expect 5 years under non heavy use but not for casettes and sprockets since those wear down faster, same for chains.

Handlebars and stems have been discussed here. Handlebars I change every 2 years unless I start riding way less on a given bike. The only stem I trust to last longer is my chunked stemcrown but that thing is burly as hell.
 

kazlx

Patches O'Houlihan
Aug 7, 2006
6,565
1,361
Tustin, CA
High wear items I tend to replace more often, like rings, cassettes and chains. I've tried all different levels and usually just end up buying the 'nicest' ones I can find cheap on sale and run those, like X9 or XT level. I've got 2 years on my used ENVEs on my Banshee with zero problems, zero truing, and they run great. Most other stuff, I've usually never had an issue with short of damage that required repair or replacing. In the grand scheme of things, bikes are pretty cheap and I just usually replace whatever needs replacing.
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
829
217
SWE
@jonKranked check your cranks for cracks since they are subjected to quite a few load cycles they can therefore show signs of fatigue. It can apparently take some time between the formation of the crack and total failure, at least for aluminium cranks. You can use dye penetrant inspection spray if there is no obvious cracks.
 

jonKranked

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Nov 10, 2005
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It's just the bearings not the cranks themselves so the creak should be fixable, no?
@jonKranked check your cranks for cracks since they are subjected to quite a few load cycles they can therefore show signs of fatigue. It can apparently take some time between the formation of the crack and total failure, at least for aluminium cranks. You can use dye penetrant inspection spray if there is no obvious cracks.
guys, this isn't about the specific issue on my cranks, just the general topic. and no, not BB. that was the first thing i tried. definitely not cracks either. as best i could chase the gremlins down its the threaded pedal insert. and while not widespread, was a known issue with the cranks. it's just an annoyance, really.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,037
1,460
AK
Cranks? Unless you've messed up the spline interface by riding with them loose, there should be no problems. I bashed my xx1s into many rocks and hard objects and they eventually failed, but not after a lot of DHing, racing, park days, etc. Except for cracky RF cranks, they last for years for me. I have a backup set of Turbines from about 5 years ago, I use them on and off (when the Next cranks are cracked).

What they told you sounds like grade A bullshit.

I do find to some extent that higher priced stuff last longer, but this isn't across the board, at some point you make sacrifices in durability for light weight. X01 derailleurs have lasted me years and I haven't busted one. The X01 cassettes same thing, they don't last forever, but are doing MUCH better than the old shimano 11-36s that I'd get about a year out of. Hubs, years out of my DT and Hopes and no issues. The problematic areas are usually BBs (we get lots of water and muck and it's just hell on BBs here) and brakes for me. The brakes I have are doing "ok", but they seem to be on about a 2 year cycle before they crap out. I had better luck with some other brands in terms of reliability, but not necessarily function and power. I've beat the crap out of some carbon rims for 5 years, retired them from enduro and DH to XC racing, heh, still going fine. In that case, they are "cheap" rims compared to Envy/NOS, etc.

Suspension kind of goes both ways, some of the newer stuff is so damn hard to service, requiring special tools, microscopes, bullshit, that most people just let it go and run it into the ground. You can usually do air-spring/lube service on most, but not all stuff, relatively easily, but going further than that often gets real complicated with some of the stuff. RS gets a gold star for their attempt at keeping the charger relatively simple and easy to bleed, but some of the stuff out there is just ridiculous and you are expected to send it in every year or something.
 

jonKranked

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Nov 10, 2005
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One thing I will mention is certain brands of high end hubs will last seemingly indefinitely with proper service. I'm currently/still running my very first hadley front hub that I purchased all the way back in 2001. It is still basically flawless.
 

Katz

Monkey
Jun 8, 2012
162
272
Arizona
Snip....Fork and shock? Follow the mfrg recommended service. I don't really see a "fatiigue life" on these but rather a "wear life"....snip
Not that I do big huck-to-flat on daily basis (if ever - I'm old and fragile), this video got me thinking about fatigue life on the CSU.


Snip...but there are still lots of people out there trying to get get the most out of their bikes and will ride them until they no longer function properly and can't get service parts (where applicable)....snip
I fall in that category because 1) I'm cheap, 2) I realize a new bike/parts won't make me a better rider.

I occasionally replace non-consumable parts when they cause some annoying reliability issues - a couple of recent examples include the derailleur pivot/mount screw on my old X01 derailleur coming loose after every ride, and Shimano brake's Variable Bit Point feature.

With the price of high-end MTBs approaching that of motorcycles and automobiles, right or wrong, I tend to project my service life expectancy of cars and motos (10 years) on MTBs. But if I get five years of reliable service out of major structural components, I would be reasonably satisfied. IMHO.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
2,702
717
UK
One thing I will mention is certain brands of high end hubs will last seemingly indefinitely with proper service. I'm currently/still running my very first hadley front hub that I purchased all the way back in 2001. It is still basically flawless.
OTOH I've never had a single Hope hub body last longer than 9 years of frequent use. Hope fanbois don't even realise it because upgradeitis means they never put a hope hub through anywhere near the amount of riding I do.
Here's one I prepared earlier this year.
cracked ProII.jpg


it's always a similar way they fail. You pretty much never see that sort of failure on a shimano hub body.
 

jonKranked

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Nov 10, 2005
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OTOH I've never had a single Hope hub body last longer than 9 years of frequent use. Hope fanbois don't even realise it because upgradeitis means they never put a hope hub through anywhere near the amount of riding I do.
Here's one I prepared earlier this year.
View attachment 132144

it's always a similar way they fail. You pretty much never see that sort of failure on a shimano hub body.
Hence I said "certain". While hopes are nice, it's the only hub I've ever broken as well. Front hub, flange broke off. It was on my trials bike.
 

iRider

Turbo Monkey
Apr 5, 2008
1,884
239
What got me pondering this is I have a set of cranks that I purchased new, and are 7, maybe 8 years old. They've seen only light usage (including almost 2 years of no usage due to a back injury and me not being able to ride my hardtail during this time). They developed a squeak and I emailed the company asking about possible solutions (yes I googled as well, that's not the point here). Part of the response I got was essentially that the cranks are likely beyond their lifespan (not in these exact words, I was reading between the lines some). I should also add that this particular crank model was discontinued about 6 years ago. I'm not trying to put this company on blast or anything, but this is what got me thinking about this topic in the first place. Just curious to hear everyone's thoughts.
If they are Shimano cranks then no need to worry. :D
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
2,702
717
UK
While hopes are nice
WTFs "nice" about a hub? Especially one that isn't made very well?

I only bought so many Hope hubs over the years as spares are easily available here and Hope's customer service/warranty used to be absolutely brilliant. It's not anymore so I'll probably never buy another Hope product ever again.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,037
1,460
AK
WTFs "nice" about a hub? Especially one that isn't made very well?

I only bought so many Hope hubs over the years as spares are easily available here and Hope's customer service/warranty used to be absolutely brilliant. It's not anymore so I'll probably never buy another Hope product ever again.
They are pretty dumb simple, press out bearings, service, press in new/serviced bearings. I like that. Trying to change the freehub side bearing on a DT swiss hub requires a vice, a special tool, and about 12 of your friends to try and turn the wheel the opposite way that it's been jamming itself over the last 5 years. Nice hubs, but that one part isn't very serviceable/easy to deal with. Hopes are probably made out of cheese so they are easy to machine along with all the different bongs that Hope machines, but at least they are simple and have good support (kits).
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,493
848
Seattle
Trying to change the freehub side bearing on a DT swiss hub requires a vice, a special tool, and about 12 of your friends to try and turn the wheel the opposite way that it's been jamming itself over the last 5 years.
That's true of the older ones but they went to a smaller OD bearing there a few years ago so that it fits through the drive ring without having to take it out. FWIW.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,605
764
Australia
Stems and seatpost generally don't get replaced for wear. Ime
I reckon stems don't last forever. At least not in my experience. When I broke my Thomson X4 it wasn't a particularly hard hit, certainly nothing more than it had seen a million times in the past. It lasted 8 years before it broke but shit is gonna fatigue.
 

Olly

Chimp
Oct 1, 2015
97
34
I had a Cannondale Prophet from 2006 to 2011, then a Tranny Covert from 2011 to 2016. Apart from the odd scrape and a bit of cable rub, frames, shocks, front wheels, cranks, bars and stems seem to last a long time under me. I tend to trash rear wheels - rims and spokes mostly (Crossmax XL, Flow, Flow EX, Hope Enduro) but not hubs (Hope Pro2 and Evo seem fine to me - but I don’t ride as much or as hard as Gary - the only hub I ever snapped in half was a Shimano!). Cane Creek and FSA headsets are pretty good, but the lower bearings do not last all that long when subjected to a UK winter.

Forks last fairly well as long as I service them regularly - more often than BOS or Fox tell me to. But eventually the kashima/whatever wears or gets scratched in a crash and a new CSU is rarely good value compared to what my mates with upgraditis are selling! Although they’re mostly on 29ers now and I’m still rocking the fun-sized wheels so that source has dried up a bit. (One friend has gone Nomad - Patrol - Nomad - Following - Insurgent - Wreckoning - Following MB - Offering in the time since I bought my Suppressor).

I’ve no idea how long a regularly serviced Reverb would last because they annually replaced it for free instead Non-telescoping seatposts would wear just from constant sliding up and down on wet, gritty, muddy rides.

Practically everything else is a wear part. Pedals go through bushings and bearings. Drivetrains get worn out. Brakes are Shimanos…
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798
I've had problems with Hadley not handling wet weather riding very well (seized needle bearings, not an off-shelf part) and I've broken hub shells on only DT hubs. I really like DT's spokes and rims though - big fan of the FR570.

Gary mentions riding Hope hubs for 9 years but I was breaking internal axles on that original model (even on a Sunday with a proper through axle, however I do know the 10mm ones didn't have this problem because the internal axle is inherently 1mm thicker) so I had to upgrade to the Pro2 Evo, which I found to be a strong and reliable hub. I know toodles did take out 1 freehub body, although I think the crappy stock bearings are to blame for that - once replaced they seem good. In any case the Pro4 seems to address that too, so depending on the usage case and configuration, upgrades can address old problems.

Since the thread was originally about cranks though - I think the solution here for long term reliability is sticking with a dual-pinchbolt design. That means most Shimano and a handful of FSA models that used the same setup. Every non-dual-pinchbolt crank design I've seen has developed problems eventually - E.13 (LG1 / TRS P3 wankconnect), Raceface (incl. SIXC), Truvativ/SRAM (X01, XX1, descendent etc).

Interestingly I've found expensive suspension (BOS, Cane Creek, etc) to develop problems far sooner than some cheaper brands eg. Fox, especially with their more reliable gear pre-X2. Both Fox and RS forks seem reasonably reliable now. However with brakes I've found more expensive ones to last longer and perform more consistently after a few years of use under their belt, whereas cheaper brands (SRAM, Shimano, etc) start having problems after a season or two of hard use.

In short - I don't think there's any hard and fast rule. I do like to run the same gear for a very long time when possible and don't mind making a big initial investment for gear that lasts - a big reason is that when stuff fails or has problems, it causes stress and downtime regardless of how good the warranty/support is (and with most MTB gear internationally, support sucks anyway). I have noticed some of the best products come at the end of lifecycle just before a complete revamp, so occasionally you can have something very reliable if you don't need the latest and greatest.

Mostly though, I think you just have to spot which designs are lasting and hoard those until the next wave of unreliable junk gets sufficiently updated and reliable.
 

jstuhlman

We noticed.
Dec 3, 2009
9,203
4,014
Cackalacka du Nord
once i realized why i really liked riding and stopped trying to be an xc racerboi, i searched around until i found a frame to be my “one” frame and built around it. i literally ran it until the company didn't make replacement parts to support it. i warrantied the rear triangle once after lots of abuse when it cracked at a known point of stress/failure.

in general, i’ve found xt cranks to be most excellent. my sixc bars and thomson stem area also long lasting. kona wah wah pedals good for 7+ years. xt brakes also good for mebbe 5 years until i stuffed one into a berm at the local dh park this fall. hope hubs have been flawless, as were my ex500 rims. we’ll see how the non-strong-size ex471s do.

weakest point for me over the years has been rear derailleur. in general i’ve gone cheap/x9 level, but recent gx equivalents have fucking sucked. about to try an x01...we’ll see...
 

Gallain

Monkey
Dec 28, 2001
182
43
Sweden
Fox rep here in Sweden told me yesterday that he expects a fork to last 5-6 full services.
I was asking about a fork that developed some strange noises and is 3 years old but not ridden much. 5-6 full services goes by pretty fast for some people... Not me but for some people...
 

djjohnr

Turbo Monkey
Apr 21, 2002
1,852
469
Northern California
OTOH I've never had a single Hope hub body last longer than 9 years of frequent use. Hope fanbois don't even realise it because upgradeitis means they never put a hope hub through anywhere near the amount of riding I do.
Here's one I prepared earlier this year.
View attachment 132144

it's always a similar way they fail. You pretty much never see that sort of failure on a shimano hub body.
I broke a DT240 the exact same way.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
2,702
717
UK
Gary mentions riding Hope hubs for 9 years but I was breaking internal axles on that original model
Yeah. I didn't mention it. but rear axles breaking was a 'feature' of all Hope hubs until that revision on the ProII evo.
I'm old enough to have run them from the original Ti bodied, Ti free hub bodied QR XC Ti glide hubs and broke a few of those axles too and saw others broken on road bike wheels.
Odd Ti freehub bodies didn't really ever become an option for anyone elses hubs. It's about the only place I'd genuinely like Ti to be used on any bike.
 

6thElement

Schrodinger's Immigrant
Jul 29, 2008
4,143
1,926
Odd Ti freehub bodies didn't really ever become an option for anyone elses hubs. It's about the only place I'd genuinely like Ti to be used on any bike.
I wouldn't have thought it hard enough for HG style freehubs unless some of the splines were steel reinforced - I can't remember who does this on alloy freehubs.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
2,702
717
UK
I wouldn't have thought it hard enough for HG style freehubs unless some of the splines were steel reinforced
Eh?
Titanium? Steel Cassette sprockets didn't cut into them if that's what you mean.
They were a lot harder than every Alu freehub body I've ever seen.
I still have a Ti glide freehub kicking about somewhere I kept when the body cracked. Must be around 25yrs old and had 10s of 1000s of miles put into it. There's no marking from sprockets on it.
 

Loki87

Monkey
Aug 24, 2008
107
69
Salzburg, Austria
Now the comment about the forks is interesting! I've always wondered about the lifespan of forks as they see a lot of heavy abuse but then i have never seen or heard of a broken chassis either, except for some pros sending a massive jump and casing it.
Some people seem to run their avy cartridges forever which begs the question if this is a fox problem? Was he referring to internal wear or the whole system getting trashed?
 

commencaldh

Jeremy Hottinger
Apr 26, 2015
137
17
I personally like to keep frames as long as possible, especially when they fit me as well as my Tracer, but I swap components when I feel that they aren't performing as well they should. Wheels really take the most beating on my end, so I am planning on swapping to something stronger. I replaced my guides mainly because I hated the feel, more so than they needed to actually to be replaced. As far as drivetrain, the XO 11speed that came on my bike has taken 2 years of abuse and only now is starting to show signs of wear, but I don't really see the need to upgrade to Eagle, and have never felt like I needed another gear. As far as Carbon vs Aluminum, I think that if you have the money, go for nice carbon wheels, but definitely not bars. Carbon bars seem like an unnecessary worry to me as far as torquing and breaking, but carbon wheels are fantastic. For the everyman, though, aluminum wheels are great, and something like Spank Spike Race 33s should last a long time.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
2,702
717
UK
i have never seen or heard of a broken chassis either
Really?
I've bent every single part of a fork chassis at some point.
ie. steerers, crowns, stanchions and lowers.
and snapped/cracked a few lower legs and fork braces.
it's not uncommon at all.

Are you relatively new to riding?
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,605
764
Australia
Really?
I've bent every single part of a fork chassis at some point.
ie. steerers, crowns, stanchions and lowers.
and snapped/cracked a few lower legs and fork braces.
it's not uncommon at all.

Are you relatively new to riding?
Are you relatively new to bending your arms on landings? :D
 

Loki87

Monkey
Aug 24, 2008
107
69
Salzburg, Austria
Really?
I've bent every single part of a fork chassis at some point.
ie. steerers, crowns, stanchions and lowers.
and snapped/cracked a few lower legs and fork braces.
it's not uncommon at all.

Are you relatively new to riding?
Nope,17 years of DH.
I do know quite a few fast guys and legit have never witnessed anything like it first hand. Ok i've seen cracked dropouts and the like,but nothing i'd attribute to fatigue due to extended time of use but rather impact or misuse. So that's where i'm coming from with the question. Of course if you hit the fork hard enough it'll give in,but will it also fail simply due to age after a relatively short amount of time as stated by the fox technician? And if so will it result in creaking, lack of performance due to trashed cartridge or simply implode in a flash of bright light?
 

Katz

Monkey
Jun 8, 2012
162
272
Arizona
....but will it also fail simply due to age after a relatively short amount of time as stated by the fox technician?
I'd say no.

I brought it up because I'm one of those cheap bastards who don't upgrade the frame/fork until there's no way to repair them. Most people I know personally seem to get a new fork or a complete new bike every couple of years for one reason or another anyway; non-issue for those people.

I'm still riding a 2015 NA1 36. It has about 3500 miles on. I'm hesitant to buy a new fork because 1) mine is working perfectly fine, 2) my hubs are non-boost, 3) I may get a 29" bike next.

But I feel a bit better after reading the info @Gallain posted. 3500 miles equate to about 466 hours at my typical 7.5-mph average moving speed; the fork is past the half way point of its intended service life (5~6 full service intervals at 125 hours) but still has some margin left.

I'll invest in a new CSU if I can find new one, just to be on the safe side. Cheaper than facial reconstruction and dental procedures.